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FAMILY 54.—MEGALÆMIDÆ. (13 Genera, 81 Species.)



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The Megalæmidæ, or Barbets, consist of rather small, fruit. eating 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, 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:—

Genera Ethiopian Region. Oriental Region. Neotropical Region.
Tricholaema , ... 1 sp. W. Africa -
Pogonorhynchus 12, All Trop. & S. Af. -
Tetragonops ... 2, --- " --- Peru & Costa Rica
Megalaema ... 29, --- --- The whole region
Xantholaema ... 4 ,, --- --- The whole region
Xylobucco . 2, W. Africa
Barbatula ... 9, Trop. & S. Africa
Psilopogon . 1 , , --- --- Sumatra
Gymnobucco ... 2, W. Africa
Trachyphonus... 5, Trop. & S. Africa
Capito ... ... 10, --- --- Equatorial Amer.
to Costa Rica
Calorhamphus... 2, --- -- Malay Pen., Su-
matra, Borneo
Stactolaema ... 1 , || W. Africa

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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.)




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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. p. 264).

FAMILY 57.—COLIIDÆ. (1 Genus, 7 Species.)



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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 Musophagida, but they are most abundant in South and East Africa.

FAMILY 58.—CUCULIDÆ. (35 Genera, 180 Species:)

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The Cuculidæ, 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) Phonicophäes (1 sp.), Ceylon ; (2198) Rhamphococcyx (1 sp.), Celebes; (2196) Rhinococcyx (1 sp.), Java; (2198 pt aud 2203) Rhopodytes (6 sp.), Himalayas to Ceylon, Hainan, and Malaya; (2203 v) 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 ; (2199) 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; (2230—2232) Cacomantis (15 sp.), Oriental and Australian

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