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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 found in Guadelcupe 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 Solenodon 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 Centetidæ, 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 Octodontidæ. 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
Greater Antilles. They are beautifully-coloured birds,-green above, red and white beneath, and are exceedingly active in their movements. To the right are a pair of small humming-birds (Sporadinus ricordi), not very remarkable in this beautiful family, but introduced here because they belong to a genus which is confined to the Greater Antilles.
Table of distribution of West-Indian Birds. As the birds of the West-Indian islands are particularly interesting and their peculiarities comparatively little known, we give here a table of the genera of land-birds, compiled from all available sources of information. Owing to the numerous independent observations on which it is founded, the discrepancies of nomenclature, and uncertainty in some cases as to the locality of species, it can only be looked upon as an approximative summary of the existing materials on Antillean ornithology.
TABLE OF THE RESIDENT LAND-BIRDS OF THE ANTILLES.
NOTE.—Genera confined to the West Indies are in Italics. An (a) after (1) indicates a species common to two islands : but where there are two or more species in an island, or the localities are doubtful, this indication cannot be given. All species not otherwise noted are peculiar to the Antilles.