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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 Celebes, the Marquesas, and the New Zealand 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 the 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 equatorial 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 hardly 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 Nicobar pigeon, the great crowned pigeons of New Guinea as large as turkeys, and the goldenyellow fruit-dove of the Fijis, can hardly be surpassed for beauty. Pigeons are especially abundant and varied in tropical 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 tropics combined. Yet further, that portion of the Malay Archipelago east 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 eggs are entirely absent from this region. Even in South America pigeons are scarce where monkeys are abundant, and vice versd; so that here we seem to get a glimpse of one of the curious interactions of animals on each other, by 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 countries where they have the fewest enemies. Picaria.-The extensive and heterogeneous series of birds now comprised under this term, include most of the fissirostral and scansorial groups of the older naturalists. They may be described as, for the most part, arboreal birds, of a low grade of organization, with weak or abnormally developed feet, and usually less active than the true Passeres or perching birds, of which our warblers, finches, and crows may be taken as the types. The order Picariae comprises twenty-five families, some of which are very extensive. All are either wholly or mainly tropical, only two of the families—the woodpeckers and the kingfishers—having a few representatives which are permanent residents in the temperate regions; while our summer visitor, the cuckoo, is the sole example in Northern Europe of one of the most abundant and widespread tropical families of birds. Only four of the families have a general distribution over all the warmer countries of the globe—the cuckoos, the kingfishers, the swifts, and the goatsuckers; while two others—the trogons and the woodpeckers—are only wanting in the Australian region, ceasing suddenly at Borneo and Celebes respectively. Cuckoos.--Whether we consider their wide range, their abundance in genera and species, or the peculiarities of their organization, the cuckoos may be taken as the most typical examples of this extensive order of birds; and there is perhaps no part of the tropics where they do not form a prominent feature in the ornithology of the country. Their chief food consists of soft insects, such as caterpillars, grasshoppers, and the defenceless stick- and leaf-insects; and in search after these they frequent the bushes and lower parts of the forest, and the more open tree-clad plains. They vary greatly in size and appearance, from the small and beautifully

metallic golden-cuckoos of Africa, Asia, and Australia, no larger than sparrows, to the pheasant-like ground cuckoo of Borneo, the Scythrops of the Moluccas which almost resembles a hornbill, the Rhamphococcyx of Celebes with its richly-coloured bill, and the Goliath cuckoo of Gilolo with its enormously long and ample tail. Cuckoos, being invariably weak and defenceless birds, conceal themselves as much as possible among foliage or herbage ; and as a further protection many of them have acquired the coloration of rapacious or combative birds. In several parts of the world cuckoos are coloured exactly like hawks, while some of the small Malayan cuckoos closely resemble the pugnacious drongo-shrikes. Trogons, Barbets, and Toucans.—Many of the families of Picariae are confined to the tropical forests, and are remarkable for their varied and beautiful colouring. Such are the trogons of America, Africa, and Malaya, whose dense puffy plumage exhibits the purest tints of rosy-pink, yellow, and white, set off by black heads and a golden-green or rich brown upper surface. Of more slender forms, but hardly less brilliant in colour, are the jacamars and motmots of America, with the bee-eaters and rollers of the East, the latter exhibiting tints of pale blue or verditor-green, which are very unusual. The barbets are rather clumsy fruit-eating birds, found in all the great tropical regions except that of the Austro-Malay islands; and they exhibit a wonderful variety as well as strange combinations of colours. Those of Asia and Malaya are mostly green, but adorned about the head and neck with patches of the most vivid reds, blues, and yellows, in endless combinations. The African species are usually black or greenish-black, with masses of intense crimson, yellow, or white, mixed in various proportions and patterns; while the American species combine both styles of colouring, but the tints are usually more delicate, and are often more varied and more harmoniously interblended. In the Messrs. Marshall's fine work all the species are described and figured; and few more instructive examples can be found than are exhibited in their beautifully-coloured plates, of the endless ways in which the most glaring and inharmonious colours are often combined in natural objects with a generally pleasing result. We will next group together three families which, although quite distinct, may be said to represent each other in their respective countries, the toucans of America, the plantain-eaters of Africa, and the hornbills of the East —all being large and remarkable birds which are sure to attract the traveller's attention. The toucans are the most beautiful, on account of their large and richlycoloured bills, their delicate breast-plumage, and the varied bands of colour with which they are often adorned. Though feeding chiefly on fruits, they also devour birds' eggs and young birds; and they are remarkable for the strange habit of sleeping with the tail laid flat upon their backs, in what seems a most unnatural and inconvenient position. What can be the use of their enormous bills has been a great puzzle to naturalists, the only tolerably satisfactory solution yet arrived at

* A Monograph of the Capitonidae or Scansorial Barbets, by C. F. T. Marshall and G. F. L. Marshall. 1871.

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