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years passed before examples became at all common in museums, and Temminck writing in 1823 (Rec. d'Ois. livr. 23) was only able to refer to a single one at Paris, beside the two originally received in England. Seven years afterwards he figured a male which was alive at Paris, and says there was another in Holland. But at or about the same time the species was exhibited in London (Bennett, Gard. and Menag. Zool. Soc. ii. p. 8), where it has even bred, though the only young bird that, after an incubation lasting from 7th May to 30th June 1846, or 54 days, was hatched lived but six weeks (Broderip, Leaves from the Note-Book of a Naturalist, pp. 14-16).
The male Condor is remarkable among birds for the large caruncle which crowns his head, like an exaggerated cock's comb, and falling down on the culmen of the back often leaves an
open space in front of the base. This and his CONDOR.
bare head and neck of a dull reddish colour, (After Swainson.)
wrinkled into many folds, give him a very peculiar expression, and the hard dry appearance of the latter contrasts with the ruff of white down that separates it from the glossy black of the rest of the plumage, except the edges of the wing-coverts and the secondary wing-quills which are white. The range of the Condor extends from near the mouth of the Rio Negro on the east coast of Patagonia, through the Strait of Magellan and along the Cordilleras of the Andes to about lat. 8° N. It is possible that some of the older Spanish accounts usually taken to refer to the Condor were based upon the equally-large Vulture of North America, Cathartes or Pseudogryphus californianus, a species which seems to be rapidly becoming extinct.
CONIROSTRES, the fourth Family of PASSERES in Duméril's arrangement (Zoologie analytique, p. 43), containing STARLINGS, FINCHES, and several other groups; but, though admitted by him to be a wholly artificial assemblage, it is one that has been for a long while recognized by systematic writers.
COOT, a well-known British water-fowl, the Fulica atra of Linnæus, belonging to the Family Rallidæ (RAIL). The word Coot, in some parts of England pronounced Cute, or Scute, is of uncertain origin, but perhaps cognate with Scout and SCOTER—both names of aquatic birds—a possibility which seems to be more likely since the name Macreuse, by which the Coot is known in the south of France, being in the north of that country applied to the Scoter (Edemia nigra) shews that, though belonging to very different Families, there is in popular estimation some connexion between the birds. The
1 It is owing to this interchange of their names that Yarrell in his British Birds refers a description, assigned to Victor Hugo (who, I have the best Latin Fulica (in polite French, Foulque) is probably allied to fuligo, and has reference to the bird's dark colour. The Coot breeds abundantly in many of the larger inland waters of the northern parts of the Old World, in winter commonly resorting, and often in great numbers, to the mouth of rivers or shallow bays of the sea, where it becomes a general object of pursuit by gunners whether for sport or gain. At other times of the year it is comparatively unmolested, and being very prolific its abundance is easily understood. The nest is a large mass of flags, reeds, or sedge, piled together among rushes in the water or on the margin, and not unfrequently contains as many as ten eggs. The young, when first hatched, are beautiful little creatures, clothed in jetblack down, with their heads of a bright orange-scarlet, varied with purplish-blue. This brilliant colouring is soon lost, and they begin to assume the almost uniform soody - black plumage which is worn for the rest of their life ; but a characteristic of the adult is a bare patch or callosity on the forehead, which being nearly white gives rise
Orlo to the epithet “bald ” often prefixed to the bird's name. The Coot
Coor. (After Swainson.) is about 18 inches in length, and will sometimes weigh over 2 lb. Though its wings appear to be short in proportion to its size, and it seems to rise with difficulty from the water, it is capable of long-sustained and rather rapid flight, which is performed with the legs stretched out behind the stumpy tail. It swims buoyantly, and looks a much larger bird in the water than it really is. It dives with ease, and when wounded is said frequently to clutch the weeds at the bottom with a grasp so firm as not even to be loosened by death. It does not often come on dry land, but when there, marches leisurely and not without a certain degree of grace. The feet of the Coot are very remarkable, the toes being fringed by a lobed membrane, which must be of considerable assistance in swimming as well as in walking over the ooze-acting as they do like mud-boards.
In England the sport of Coot-shooting is pursued to some extent on the broads and back-waters of the eastern counties, and in Southampton Water, Christchurch Bay, and at Slapton Lay, and is often conducted battue-fashion by a number of guns. But even in these cases the numbers killed in a day seldom reach more than a few hundreds, and come very short of those that fall in the officiallyauthority for stating, never wrote it), of the “chasse aux Macreuses” to the Scoter instead of the Coot.
Hence also we have Fulix or Fuligula applied to a Duck of dingy appear. ance, and thus forming another parallel case.
organized chasses of the lakes near the coast of Languedoc and Provence, of which an excellent description is given by the Vicomte Louis de Dax. The flesh of the Coot is very variously regarded as food. To prepare the bird for the table, the feathers should be stripped, and the down, which is very close, thick, and hard to pluck, be rubbed with powdered resin; the body is then to be dipped in boiling water, which melting the resin causes it to mix with the down, and then both can be removed together with tolerable ease. After this the bird should be left to soak for the night in cold spring-water, which will make it look as white and delicate as a chicken. Without this process the skin after roasting is found to be very oily, with a fishy flavour, and if the skin be taken off the flesh becomes dry and good for nothing (Hawker's Instructions to Young Sportsmen; Hele's Notes about Aldeburgh).
The Coot is found throughout the Palæarctic area from Iceland to Japan, and in most other parts of the world is represented by nearly allied species, having almost the same habits. An African species (F. cristata), easily distinguished by a red caruncle on its forehead, is of rare appearance in the south of Europe. The Australian and North American species (F. australis and F. americana) have very great resemblance to our own bird; but in South America half a dozen or more additional species are found which range to Patagonia, and vary much in size, one (F. gigantea) being of considerable magnitude. The remains of another large species have been described by Prof. A. Milne-Edwards (Ann. Sc. Nat. ser. 5, Zool. viii. pp. 194-220, pls. 10-13) from Mauritius, where it must have been a contemporary of the Dodo, but like that bird is now extinct.
COPPERSMITH, see BARBET.
CORACOID (named after the coracoid process on the human shoulder-blade, which was likened in shape by mediæval anatomists to a Raven's bill) one of a pair of strong bones which connect the anterior or basal margin of the sternum with the scapula and clavicle, and form the chief articulation of the humerus with the shoulder-girdle (see SKELETON).
CORACOMORPHÆ, Prof. Huxley's name for the large group of DESMOGNATHOUS birds—incomparably the largest of those that now exist, and for the most part equivalent to the PASSERES of Linnæus and Cuvier, and wholly to the VOLUCRES of Sundevall (Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 468-472). (See INTRODUCTION.)
CORMORANT2—from the Latin corvus marinus, through the
1 “La Volée aux Macreuses.” Nouveaux Souvenirs de Chasse et de la Pêche dans le midi de la France, pp. 53-65. Paris : 1860.
2 Some authors, following Caius, derive the word from corvus vorans and spell it Corvorant, but doubtless wrongly.
French (in some patois, of which it is still “cor marin," and in certain Italian dialects “corvo marin” or “corvo marino ")—a large sea-fowl belonging to the genus Phalacrocorax 1 (Carbo, Halicus, and Graculus of some ornithologists), and that group of the Linnæan Order Anseres, now pretty generally recognized by Illiger's term STEGANOPODES, of which it with its allies forms a Family Phalacrocoracidæ.
The Cormorant, P. carbo, frequents almost all the sea-coast of Europe, and breeds in societies at various stations most generally on steep cliffs, but occasionally on rocky islands as well as on trees. The nest consists of a large mass of seaweed, and, with the ground immediately surrounding it, generally looks as though bespattered with
CORMORANT. (After Swainson.) whitewash, from the excrement of the bird, which lives entirely on fish. The eggs, from four to six in number, are small, and have a thick, soft, calcareous shell, bluishwhite when first laid, but soon becoming discoloured. The young are hatched blind, and covered with an inky-black skin. They remain for some time in the squab-condition, and are then highly esteemed for food by the northern islanders, their flesh being said to taste as well as a roasted hare's. Their first plumage is of a sombre brownish-black above, and more or less white beneath. They take two or three years to assume the fully adult dress, which is deep black, glossed above with bronze, and varied in the breeding-season with white on the cheeks and flanks, besides being adorned by filamentary feathers on the head, and further set off by a bright yellow gape. The old Cormorant looks as big as a Goose, but is really much smaller : its flesh is quite uneatable.
Taken when young from the nest, this bird is easily tamed, and can be trained to fish for its keeper, as was of old time commonly done in England, where the Master of the Cormorants was one of the officers of the royal household. Nowadays the practice is nearly disused, though a few gentlemen still follow it for their diversion. When taken out to furnish sport, a strap is fastened round the bird's neck so as, without impeding its breath, to hinder it from swallowing its captures. Arrived at the waterside, it is cast off. It at once dives and darts along the bottom as swiftly as
the northern islanders' and are then highly
to taste as well as
1 So spelt since the days of Gesner ; but possibly Phalarocorax would be more correct.
? It was formerly the custom, as we learn from Willughby, to carry the Cormorant hooded till its services were required, by which means it was kept quiet. At the present time its bearer wears a wire-mask to protect his eyes and face from the bird's beak.
an arrow in quest of its prey, rapidly scanning every hole or pool. A fish is generally seized within a few seconds of its being sighted, and as each is taken the bird rises to the surface with its capture in its bill. It does not take much longer to dispose of the prize in the dilatable skin of its throat so far as the strap will allow, and the pursuit is recommenced until the bird's gular pouch, capacious as it is, will hold no more. It then returns to its keeper, who has been anxiously watching and encouraging its movements, and a little manipulation of its neck effects the delivery of the booty. It may then be let loose again, or, if considered to have done its work, it is fed and restored to its perch. The activity the bird displays under water is almost incredible to those who have not seen its performances, and in a shallow river scarcely a fish escapes its keen eyes and sudden turns, except by taking refuge under a stone or root, or in the mud that may be stirred up during the operation, and so avoiding observation.
Nearly allied to the Cormorant, and having much the same habits, is the Shag, or Green Cormorant of some writers, P. graculus. The Shag (which name in many parts of the world is used in a generic sense) is, however, about one-fourth smaller in linear dimensions, is much more glossy in plumage, and its nuptial embellishment is a nodding plume instead of the white patches of the Cormorant. The easiest diagnostic on examination will be found to be the number of tail-feathers, which in the former are fourteen and in the Shag twelve. The latter, too, is more marine in the localities it frequents, seldom entering fresh or indeed inland waters.
In the south of Europe a still smaller species, P. pygmæus, is found. This is almost entirely a fresh-water bird, and is not uncommon on the lower Danube. Other species, to the number perhaps of thirty or more, have been discriminated from other parts of the world, but all have a great general similarity to one another. A large and very richly-coloured species, P. perspicillatus, which formerly frequented Bering Island off the coast of Kamchatka, was in 1882 ascertained by Dr. Stejneger to have been extirpated some thirty years before (Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus. 1883, p. 65). A specimen now in the British Museum was figured by Gould (Voy. 'Sulphur,' pl. 32) and two others in the Museums of Leyden and St. Petersburg respectively), with a few bones, brought to Washington by Dr. Stejneger, are all the remains of it known to exist. New Zealand and the west coast of Northern America are particularly rich in birds of this genus, and the species found there are the most beautifully decorated of any. All, however, are remarkable for their curiously-formed feet, the four toes of each being con
See Capt. Salvin's chapters on “Fishing with Cormorants," appended to his and Mr. Freeman's Falconry (London : 1859).