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Coerebidae, Tanagridae, Cotingidae, Conuridae; 1 is Antillean only—Todidas; while 1—Ampelidae—is confined (in the western hemisphere) to North America, and almost to the Nearctic region. Of the 95 genera, no less than 31, or almost exactly one-third, are peculiar; while of the 203 resident species, 177 are peculiar, the other 26 being all inhabitants of South or Central America. Considering how closely the islands approach the continent in several places—Florida, Yucatan, and Venezuela—this amount of speciality in such locomotive creatures as birds, is probably unexampled in any other part of the globe. The most interesting of these peculiar genera are the following: 4 of Turdidae, or thrushes—1 confined to the large islands, 1 to the whole archipelago, while 2 are limited to the Lesser Antilles; 2 genera of Tanagridae, confined to the larger islands; 2 of Trogonidae, also confined to the larger islands; 5 of hummingbirds, 3 confined to the Greater, 1 to the Lesser Antilles; 2 of cuckoos, one represented in all the large islands, the other in Jamaica only; 2 of owls, one peculiar to Jamaica, the other represented in St. Croix, St. Thomas, Portorico, and Cuba; and lastly, Todus, constituting a peculiar family, and having representative species in each of the larger islands is especially interesting because it belongs to a group of families which are wholly Neotropical—the Momotidae, Galbulidae, and Todidae. The presence of this peculiar form, with 2 trogons 10 species of parrots, all but one peculiar; 16 peculiar humming-birds belonging to 8 genera; a genus of Cotingidae; 10 peculiar tanagers belonging to 3 genera; 9 Coerebidae of 3 genera: together with species of such exclusively Netropical genera as Cartba, Certhiola, SyccUis, Phonipara, Elainea, Pitangus, Campephihis, Chloronerpes, Nyctibius, Stenopsis, Lampornis, Calypte, Ara, Chrysolis, Zenaida, Leptoptila, and Geotrygon, sufficiently demonstrate the predominant affinities of this fauna; although there are many cases in which it is difficult to say, whether the ancestors of the peculiar genera or species may not have been derived from the Nearctic rather than from the Neotropical region. The several islands differ considerably in their apparent productiveness, but this is, no doubt, partly due to our knowledge of Cuba and Jamaica being much more complete than of tfavti. The species of resident land-birds at present known are as follows:—
If we count the peculiar genera of each island, and reckon as (£) when a genus is common to two islands only, the numbers are as follows:—Cuba 7£, Hayti 3£, Jamaica 8£, Portorico 1, Lesser Antilles 3£. These figures show us, that although Jamaica is one of the smaller and the most isolated of the four chief islands, it yet stands in the first rank, both for the number of its species and of its peculiar forms of birds,—and although this superiority may be in part due to its having been more investigated, it is probably not wholly so, since Cuba has also been well explored. This fact indicates, that the "West Indian islands have undergone great changes, and that they were not peopled by immigration from surrounding countries while in the condition we now see them; for in that case the smaller and more remote islands would be very much poorer, while Cuba, which is not only the largest, but nearest to the mainland in two directions, would be immensely richer, just as it really is in migratory birds.
The number of birds common to the four larger islands is very small—probably not more than half a dozen; between 20 and 30 are common to some two of the islands (counting the Lesser Antilles as one island) and a few to three; but the great mass of the species (at least 140) are confined each to some one of the five islands or groups we have indicated. This is an amount of isolation and speciality, probably not to be equalled elsewhere, and which must have required a remarkable series of physical changes to bring about. What those changes probably were, we shall be in a better position to consider when we have completed our survey of the various classes of land animals.
In the preceding enumeration the Bahamas have been included with Cuba, as regards the birds they have in common; but they possess some half dozen species not found elsewhere, and even one central American genus of humming-birds (Doricha) not found in any other part of the Antilles. We have thus given Cuba rather more peculiar species than it really possesses, so that the proportionate richness of Jamaica is rather greater than shown by our figures.
The destruction of the forests and the increase of population, with, perhaps, the use of firearms, seem to have led to the extermination of some species of birds in the smaller islands. Professor Newton has called attention to the work of M. Ledru, who, in 1796, described the birds of St. Thomas. He mentions a parrot and a parroquet in the island, the latter only being now known, and very scarce; also a green pigeon and a tody, both now unknown. No less than six species of parrots are said to have been formerly lound in Guadeloupe and Martinique, which are now extinct.
Plate XVII. Illustrating the peculiar Mammalia and Birds of the Antilles.—The scene of this illustration is Cuba, the largest of the West Indian islands, and one in which all its peculiar zoological features are well developed. In the foreground is the agouta \Sotenodon cubanus), a remarkable insectivorous animal which, with another species inhabiting Hayti, has no allies on the American continent; nor anywhere in the world but in Madagascar, where a group of animals are found constituting the family Centetidse, to which Solenodon is said undoubtedly to belong. Above it are a pair of hutias (Capromys fournieri), rat-like animals belonging to the South American family Octodontidae. They live in the forests, and climb trees readily, eating all kinds of vegetable food. Three species of the genus are known, which are found only in Cuba and Jamaica. Just above these animals is a white-breasted trogon (Prionoteles temnurus), confined to Cuba, and the only species of the genus. Near the top of the picture are a pair of todies (Todus multicolor), singular little insectivorous birds allied to the motmots, but forming a very distinct family which is confined to the islands of the