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that some of the most gorgeous colours prevail. Others obtain protection in a variety of ways; and the amount of cover or concealment always afforded by the luxuriant tropical vegetation is probably a potent agent in permitting a full development of colour.
Birils.-Although the number of brilliantly-coloured birds in almost every part of the tropirs is very great, yet they are by no means conspicuous; and as a rule they can harilly be said to add much to the general effect of cquatorial scenery.
The teavler is almost always disappointed at first with the birils, as he is with the flowers and the beetles; and it is only when, gun in hand, he spends days in the forest, that he finds out how many beautiful living things are concealed by its ilense foliage and gloomy thickets. A considerable number of the handsomest tropical birds belong to family groups which are confined to one continent with its adjacent islands; and we shall therefore be obliged to deal for the most part with such large divisions as tribes and orders, by means of which to define the characteristics of tropical bird-life. We find that there are three important orders of birds which, though by no means exclusively tropical, are yet so largely developed there in proportion to their scarcity in extra-tropical regions, that more than any others they serve to give a special character to cquatorial ornithology. These are the Parrots, the Pigeons, and the Picaria, to cach of which groups we will devote some attention.
Parrots. The parrots, forming the order Psittaci of naturalists, are a remarkable group of fruit-cating birils, of such high and peculiar organization that they are often considered to stand at the head of the entire class.
They are pre-eminently characteristic of the intertropical zone, being now here absent within its limits (except from absolutely desert regions), and they are generally so abundant and so conspicuous as to occupy among birds the place assigned to butterflies among insects. A few species range far into the temperate zones. One reaches Carolina in North Americi, another the Magellan Straits in South America ; in Africa they ouly extend a few degrees !zond the southern tropie; in North Western India they reari 35 North Latitude; but in the
Australian region they range farvest towards the pole, being found not only in New Zealand, but as far as the Jacquarie Islands in 5to South, where the climate is very cold and boisterous, but suficiently uniform to supply vegetable food throughout the year. There is hardly any part of the equatorial zone in which the traveller will not soun have his attention called to some members of the parrot tribe. In Brazil, the mat blue and yellow or crimson macaws may be ser wery evening wending their way homeward in pairs, almost as commonly as rooks with us; while innumerable parrots and parraquets attract attention by their har:h cries when disturbed from some favourite fruit-tree. In the Moluccas and New Guinea, white cockatoos and gorgeous lories in crimson and blue, are the very commonest of birds.
No group of birds---perhaps no other group of animals -exhibits within the same limited number of genera and species, so wide a range and such an endless variciy of colour. As a rule parrots may be termed green birds, the majority of the species having this colour as the basis of their plumage relieved by caps, gorgets, bands and wing-spots of other and brighter hues. Yet this
general green tint sometimes changes into light or deep blue, as in some macaws; into pure yellow or rich orange, as in some of the American macaw-parrots (Conurus); into purple, grey, or dove-colour, as in some American, African, and Indian species; into the purest crimson, as in some of the lories ; into rosy-white and pure white, as in the cockatoos; and into a deep purple, ashy or black, as in several Papuan, Australian, and Mascarene species. There is in fact hardly a single distinct and definable colour that cannot be fairly matched among the 390 species of known parrots. Their habits, too, are such as to bring them prominently before the eye. They usually feed in flocks; they are voisy, and so attract attention ; they love gardens, orchards, and open sunny places; they wander about far in search of food, and towards sunset return homewards in noisy flocks, or in constant pairs.
Their forms and motions are often beautiful and attractive. The immensely long tails of the macaws, and the more slender tails of the Indian parraquets; the fine crest of the cockatoos; the swift
of the smaller species, and the graceful motions of the little love-birds and allied forms; together with their affectionate natures, aptitude for domestication, and powers of mimicry—combine to render them at once the most conspicuous and the most attractive of all the specially tropical forms of bird-life.
The number of species of parrots found in the different divisions of the tropies is very unequal. Africa is by far the poorest; since along with Madagascar and the Mascarenc islands, which have many peculiar forms, it scarcely numbers two dozen species. Asia, along
with the Malay islands as far as Java and Borneo, is also very poor, with about thirty species. Tropical America is very much richer, possessing about 140 species, among which are many of the largest and most beautiful forms. But of all parts of the globe the tropical islands belonging to the Australian region (from Celebes eastward), together with the tropical parts of Australia, are richest in the parrot tribe, possessing about 150 species, among which are many of the most remarkable and beautiful of the entire group.
The whole Australian region, whose extreme limits may be defined by ('elebes, the Marquesas, and the New Zealanı group, possesses about 200 species of parrots.
Pigeons.--These are such common birds in all temperate countries, that it may surprise many readers to learn that they are nevertheless a characteristic tropical group. That such is the case, however, will be evident from the fact that only sixteen species are known from the whole of the temperate parts of Europe, Asia, and North America, while about 330 species inhabit thu tropics. Again, the great majority of the species are found congregated in the equatorial zone, whence they diminish gradually toward the limits of the tropics, and then suddenly fall off in the temperate zones.
Yet although they are pre-eminently tropical or even cquatorial as a group', they are not, from our present point of view, of much importance, because they are so shy and so generally inconspicuous that in most parts of the tropics an ordinary observer might harılly be aware of their existence. The remark applies especially to America and Africa, where they are neither very abundant nor peculiar; but in the Eastern hemisphere,
and especially in the Malay Archipelago and Pacific islands, they occur in such profusion and present such singular forms and brilliant colours, that they are sure to attract attention. Here we find the extensive group of fruit-pigeons, which, in their general green colours adorned with patches and bands of purple, white, blue, or orange, almost rival the parrot tribe; while the golden-green Nicolar pigeon, the great crowned pigeons vi New Guinea its large ats turkeys, and the goldenyellow fruit-ilove of the Fijis, can hardly be surpassed for beauty
Pigeons are especially abundant and varied in tropial archipelagoes; so that if we take the Malay and Pacific islands, the Madagascar group, and the Antilles or West Indian islands, we find that they possess between them more different kinds of pigeons than all the continental tropies combined. Yet further, that portion of the Malay Arrhipelago cast of Borneo, together with the Pacific islands, is exceptionally rich in pigeons; and the reason seems to be that monkeys and all other arboreal mammals that devour eyes are entirely absent from this region. Even in South America pigeons are scarce where monkeys are abundant, and rice rersit; so that here we seem to get a glimpse of one of the curious interactions of animals on each other, loy which their distribution, their habits, and even their colours may have been influenced ; for the most conspicuous pigeons, whether by colour or by their crests, are all found in cotintries where they have the fewest enemies.
Picuria.--The extensive and heterogeneous series of birls now comprised under this term, include most of the