« EelmineJätka »
Canada, Porto Rico ; Leuconerpes (1 sp.), Bolivia to North Brazil; Colaptes (9 sp.), La Plata and Bolivia to Arctic America, Greater Antilles; Hypoxanthus (1 sp.), Venezuela and Ecuador; (*) Geocolaptes (1 sp.), South Africa; Miglyptes (3 sp.), Malaya; Micropternus (8 sp.), India and Ceylon to South China, Sumatra and Borneo.
The Wrynecks (Yuna), which constitute this family, are small tree-creeping birds characteristic of the Palaearctic region, but extending into North and East Africa, over the greater part of the peninsula of India (but not to Ceylon), and just reaching the lower ranges of the Himalayas. There is also one species isolated in South Africa.
The Honey-guides (Indicator) constitute a small family of doubtful affinities; perhaps most nearly allied to the woodpeckers and barbets. They catch bees and sometimes kill small birds; and some of the species are parasitical like the cuckoo. Their distribution is very interesting, as they are found in every part of the Ethiopian region, except Madagascar, and in the Oriental region only in Sikhim and Borneo, being absent from the peninsula of India which is nearest, both geographically and zoologically, to Africa.
The Megalaemidae, or Barbets, consist of rather small, fruiteating 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:— Pogonorhynchinae (3 genera, 15 sp.), which are Ethiopian except the 2 species of Tetragonops, which are Neotropical; Megalaeminae (6 genera, 45 sp.), which are Oriental and Ethiopian; and Capitoninae (4 genera, 18 sp.), common to the three regions. l 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 ancient group, and its existing distribution may be due to its former range over the Miocene South Palaearctic 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. POGONORHYNCHINAE, Tricholaema ... 1 sp. W. Africa Pogonorhynchus 12 ,, . All Trop. & S. Af. Tetragonops ... 2 , * G - to o o Peru & Costa Rica. MEGALAMINAE. Megalaema ... 29 ,, to e g & e g The whole region Xantholama ... 4 , , • * * : * ~ * The whole region Xylobucco 2, W. Africa Barbatula 9, Trop. & S. Africa Psilopogon . 1 , , to e to to $ to Sumatra Gymnobucco ... 2 ,, W. Africa CAPITONINAE. Trachyphonus... 5 ,, Trop. & S. Africa . Capito ... ... 10 , , | * s e is is to e & E & * G - Equatorial Amer. to Costa Rica. Calorhamphus... 2 , , • . . to o Malay Pen., Su- - matra, Borneo Stactolaema ... 1 , || W. Africa
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.
The Musophagidae, 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 Corythaia, - and Schizorhis) range over all Africa from Abyssinia to the Cape (Plate V. Vol. I. p. 264).
The Colies, consisting of the single genus Colius, are an anomalous group of small finch-like birds, occuping a position between the Picariae and Passeres, but of very doubtful affinities. Their range is nearly identical with that of the Musophagidae, but they are most abundant in South and East Africa.
The Cuculidae, 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 Palaearctic, 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