Schlagwort-Archive: Alcedinidae

Mangareva Kingfisher

The Mangareva Kingfisher still is one of the most enigmatic birds I am aware of so far.

The species inhabited the Gambier Islands, and another species occurring 1000s of km to the northwest of it, the Niau Kingfisher (Todiramphus gertrudae Murphy), is still officially assigned to this bird as a subspecies.

I have desperately tried to find the original description of this species, and here it is.:

Il existe, en effet, depuis longtemps dans les galeries du Muséum un Martin- pêcheur qui a été rapporté en 1841 de Mangarewa (archipel Gambier) par l’Astrolabe (Voyage au Pôle Sud) et qui répond exactement à la description et à la figure de l’Halcyon Reichenbachi. Cet oiseau a le sommet de la tête d’un roux qui va en s’éclaircissant et tire au blanc jaunâtre du côté, du front, mais qui est assez intense sur le vertex où se détachent quelques plumes vertes. Sur les oreilles il existe aussi, de chaque côté une tache verte, passant au noirâtre en arrière et tendant à rejoindre une bande noire qui fait le tour de l’occiput. Cette bande foncée limite en dessus un large collier blanc, un peu sali par quelques taches noires, qui se fond sur les côtés dans la teinte blanche qui couvre toutes les parties inférieures du corps, les flancs seuls offrant un peu de roux et encore sur des points cachés entièrement par les ailes. Celles-ci sont d’un vert légèrement bleuâtre, avec des lisérés roux très fins au bord des couvertures alaires. La queue est également d’un vert bleuâtre au milieu, d’un vert mélangé de grisâtre sous lespennes externes, qui sont d’ailleurs incomplètes. Enfin le bec est noir et la mandibule, inférieure blanche ou plutôt jaunâtre dans toute sa portion basilaire. Les pattes sont d’un m brun foncé. La longueur totale de l’oiseau est de 0,170; l’aile mesure 0,090, la queue 0,880, le bec 0,018; le tarse 0,014. Dès 1889, en faisant une revision des Alcédinidés du Muséum en vue de leur instal- lation dans les nouvelles galeries, j’avais désigné ce Martin-pêcheur de Mangarewa sous le nom d“ Halcyon Gambieri; mais je n’en avais pas publié la description jusqu’à ce jour.“ [1]

translation:

For a long time, there has been a kingfisher in the galleries of the Museum who was brought back in 1841 from Mangarewa (Gambier Archipelago) by the Astrolabe (Journey to the South Pole) and who exactly corresponds to the description and the figure of Halcyon Reichenbachi. This bird has the top of the head red that brightens to yellowish white on the side of the forehead but is quite intense on the vertex where some green feathers stand out. On the ears there is also, on each side a green patch, passing blackish back and tending to join a black band that goes around the occiput. This dark band has a large white necklace on top, a little dirty with a few black spots, which is melting on the sides into the white hue that covers all the lower parts of the body, only the flanks offering a little russet and are, on some points, hidden entirely by the wings. These are a slightly bluish green, with very fine red rims at the edge of the wing coverts. The tail is also bluish green in the middle, of a green mixed with greyish under the outer feathers, which are also incomplete. Lastly, the beak is black, and the mandible underneath is white or rather yellowish throughout its base portion. The legs are of a dark brown. The total length of the bird is 0,170; the wing measures 0,090, the tail 0,880, the beak 0,018; Tarsus 0,014. As early as 1889, by making a revision of the Alcedinidae of the Museum with a view to their installation in the new galleries, I had designated this kingfisher of Mangarewa under the name of Halcyon Gambieri; but I had not published the description so far.

***

What I am wondering about most is the fact that the Mangareva – and the Niau Kingfishers still are regarded to as a single species; on the other hand, both forms are rather similar to each other.

Which of the many other Polynesian islands might once have harbored their own kingfisher forms not known to us today?

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[1] M. E. Oustalet: Les Mammifères et les oiseaux des iles Mariannes. Nouvelles archives du Muséum d’histoire naturelle 3(7): 141-228. 1895
[2] D. T. Holyoak; J. C. Thibault: Halcyon gambieri gambieri Oustalet, an extinct Kingfisher from Mangareva, South Pacific Ocean. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists‘ Club 97(1): 21-23. 1977

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… just a sketch, but with colors

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edited: 08.08.2021

More bullshit from David Peters‘ Website – The jabiru: a long-legged kingfisher, not a stork

This abomination was created by David Peters on October 24, 2017 and I have no words to describe how much it hurts reading that stuff!

The jabiru: a long-legged kingfisher, not a stork

Or maybe kingfishers (genus: Megaceryle, Fig. 1) are just neotonous [sic] (juvenile-like) jabirus (genus: Jabiru, Figs. 2, 3). Certainly the jabiru, with its solid beak, ventrally convex jawline and high small naris, are not like other storks.

Well, has he ever looked at other storks?

Megaceryle alcyon (Linneaus [sic] 1758), the extant belted kingfisher, had an enlarged beak on an enlarged skull with a shorter neck. As in parrots, by convergence, the nares have migrated back to the orbit.

Since this species is still extant it did not had, it has …, and all kingfishers have enlarged beaks on enlarged skulls and shorter necks ….

Jabiru mycteria (Lichtenstein 1819) was a stork-like kingfisher nesting between the stilt/hummingbird clade and the murre/penguin clade (what variety!) Note the high small naris on the ventrally convex rostrum, as in the belted kingfisher.

That is the part that really hurts, the Jabiru is a perfect stork, and the photo DP has chosen to show on his website shows one that has his legs covered in its own feces – something that all storks do to cool down their body temperature, kingfishers, however, don’t … and a stilt/hummingbird- or a murre/penguin clade does not exist ….

If this turns out to be a case of convergence, and it might… that will come with the addition of more taxa. We’ll see…

This is the only time DP mentions convergence, a concept that he usually doesn’t seem to understand … yep, if two species share a similar way of life they may have more or less identical adaptions to that lifestyle (for example: everything that’s living in the water has some fins or flukes of some kind …).

So, in fact, DP says that the Jabiru must be a kingfisher because – and only because – of its beak! He doesn’t think about the hundreds of other features that this species doesn’t have in common with kingfishers but firmly clings to this one – a beak adapted to catch wiggly prey. Wow!

Like already said before, having outlandish ideas is okay, promoting them as being the one and only truth is insane!

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To show you what we talk about here, here are some photographs of the bird species mentioned in the post.:

Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria (Lichtenstein))

Photo: Bernard Dupont

(under creative commons license (2.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/
Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon (L.))

Photo: Andy Morffew

(under creative commons license (2.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

***

BTW: There is even a so-called Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis (L.)), a species that DP probably never has heard of, otherwise he probably would have chosen this one for his “strange suggestions”.

Stork-billed Kingfisher (Pelargopsis capensis (L.))

Photo: Lip Kee

(under creative commons license (2.0))
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

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edited: 31.07.2021 

Todiramphus ‚divinus‘ – der ‚Göttliche‘ Liest

Two species of Kingfishers were common on Bora-Bora (Halcyon veneratus and Todiramphus tutus), ….

und

HALCYON VENERATUS. (Ruru.)
This species is fairly common, especially on the island of Bora-Bora.

TODIRAMPHUS TUTUS.
Common throughout the Tahiti group.
“ [2]

***

Diese beiden eher flüchtigen Randnotizen aus dem Jahr 1907 sind ein Hinweis auf die ehemalige Existenz einer Vogelart, die heute nicht mehr existiert und von der heute (fast) keine Spur mehr zu finden ist.

***

Die Gesellschaftsinseln sind einer der ganz wenigen Orte, an denen zwei Eisvogelarten gemeinsam vorkommen, zumindest auf den Inseln Mo’orea und Tahiti im Ostteil der Inselgruppe; hier finden sich der weit verbreitete Borabora-Liest (Todiramphus tutus (Gmelin)), der in der gesamten Inselgruppe vorkommt sowie der Tahiti-Liest (Todiramphus veneratus (Gmelin)) und der Moorea-Liest (Todiramphus youngi Sharpe), die auf jeweils eine Insel beschränkt sind.

Die beiden Verweise auf die Insel Bora Bora deuten aber an, dass dies offenbar auch auf weiteren der Inseln der Fall war.

Tatsächlich ist der geheimnisvolle Liest aber nicht nur durch kleine Randnotizen sondern anhand von mindestens zwei Exemplaren bekannt, die zu Beginn des 19. Jahrhunderts gesammelt wurden, und von denen eines offenbar noch existiert. Dieses einzige noch erhaltene Exemplar wurde 2008 untersucht und mit dem Tahiti- und dem Moorea-Liest verglichen. 

Die Autoren kamen zu dem Schluss, dass es sich hierbei um einen nicht voll ausgefärbten Jungvogel der tahitianischen Art handelt, erwähnen jedoch auch einige Unterschiede, einschließlich eines viel kürzeren Schnabels und einiger Unterschiede im Gefiedermuster, und folgern, dass es sich möglicherweise auch um eine ausgestorbene Unterart handeln könnte. [3]

Die Art wurde auch mindestens einmal bildlich dargestellt (siehe unten). [1]

***

Zwischen Bora Bora im nordwestlichen Teil der Inselgruppe und Mo’orea und Tahiti im Ostteil befinden sich noch vier weitere Inseln, nämlich Huahine, Mai’ao, Ra’iatea und Taha’a, die, zumindest heute, jeweils nur vom Borabora-Liest bewohnt werden.

Sollte die Insel Bora Bora tatsächlich einst zwei Eisvogelarten beherbergt haben, dann muss es sich bei diesem Vogel nicht um eine Unterart des Tahiti-Liest, sondern um eine eigenständige Art gehandelt haben; und, die anderen Inseln zwischen Bora Bora und Mo’orea und Tahiti müssen höchstwahrscheinlich ebenfalls heute ausgestorbene und unbekannte eigenständige Arten beherbergt haben.

***

Meiner bescheidenen Meinung nach handelt es sich bei der Ortsangabe Bora Bora aber schlicht um einen Fehler, und die beiden dort gesammelten Vögel stammen wohl eher von der Insel Tahiti.

… doch wer weiß ….

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Referenzen:

[1] M. L. I. Duperrey: Voyage autour du monde: Exécuté par Ordre du Roi, Sur la Corvette de Sa Majesté, La Coquille, pendant les années 1822, 1823, 1824, et 1825, par M. L. I. Duperrey; Zoologie, par Mm. Lesson et Garnot. Paris: Arthus Bertrand 1828 
[2] S. B. Wilson: Notes on birds of Tahiti and the Society group. Ibis Ser. 9(1): 373-379. 1907
[3] Claire Voisin; Jean-François Voisin: List of type specimens of birds in the collections of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle (Paris, France). 18. Coraciiformes. Journal of the National Museum (Prague), Natural History Series 177(1): 1-25. 2008

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‚Göttlicher‘ Liest (Todiramphus ‚divinus‘)

Darstellung aus: ‘M. Lesson: Description du genre Todiramphe et de deux espèces d’oiseaux; qui le compossent. Mémoires de la Société d’Histoire naturelle de Paris 2(3): 419-422. 1827’

(public domain)

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bearbeitet: 24.10.2020

Was there once a Giant Kingfisher living on the Fiji Islands?

The Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris (Boddaert)) has a extremely wide distribution and occurs from parts of Arabia well into western Polynesia; it is the only kingfisher living on the Fiji Islands (with three endemic subspecies) – yet, may there once have been another kingfisher species?

Collared Kingfisher (Todiramphus chloris ssp. vitiensis)

Photo: Tom Tarrant

(under creative commons license (3.0))
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0

Rollo H. Beck, an American ornithologist, quotes some notes that he received by a Mr. G. T. Barker on June 5, 1925, during a stay on the island of Viti Levu, Fiji: ‚Notes by Mr. G. T. Barker, Suva, Fiji. June 5, 1925‘.:

Giant Kingfisher

I saw this bird, or a single bird at least, on two occasions and it rose, both times, from nearly the same place. On the last occasion, I was on the lookout for it and it passed within twenty feet in front of me so that I had a good opportunity to see it clearly. I was riding down from the village of Navuniwi, Viti Levu Bay, toward the beach and it was from a patch of swampy ground on my left that the bird arose.
The kingfisher was fully eleven inches long, with the same colored plumage as the small kind only more dingy. The blue was not so bright, and the white feathers on the wings were discolored. The back was nearly black. Its flight was heavy-much slower than that of the small species, and as it flew in a straight line toward the mangrove swamp on my right, I noticed that it held its head in a line with the shoulders.
Natives told me that these giant kingfishers were plentiful in the early days, but as the bird nested in the low mangrove, it has practically disappeared since the advent of the mongoose which is a vertitable beach comber, haunting the swamps and beaches. About twenty-five years previously I had seen one of them back of Ovalau, but was told that it was only stray in that part.
On the second occasion of my seeing the giant flycatcher
 [indeed, he writes flycatcher here instead of kingfisher], I dismounted from my horse and went into the swampy patch, finding that the bird had been eating the native sila (Job’s tears) [Coix lacryma-jobi (L.) Lam.].

Ordinary Flycatcher
 [?]

It is generally supposed that this bird is an insect eater, and does not eat fish, but this is not invariably so. As I was coming out of the Wainidoi River, ten miles below Suva, I saw a belo
 [Pacific Reef Heron (Egretta sacra (Gmelin))] fishing in shallow water, and getting close up, noticed that it had a kingfisher in company. Three times I saw the kingfisher dive into the shallow water after shrimps, then fly onto a rock to eat them.“ [1]

So, what’s this somewhat strange account about?

There is indeed a possibility that the large Fijian Islands once harbored more than one kingfisher species, however, this particular account here pretty sure refers to the Collared Kingfisher, with the small species mentioned being the European Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis (L.)).

The whole account is expressed a bit unhappily, and this Mr. G. T. Barker very likely wasn’t a naturalist at all, that becomes very clear when he later also descibes a hummingbird that he had killed on the Fijian Island, and which in fact has been a honeyeater (Myzomela jugularis Peale) (his description, however, does not fully match that species, but that is another story ….).   

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References:

[1] Whitney South Sea Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History. Extracts from the journal of Rollo H. Beck. Vol. 2, Dec. 1923 – Aug. 1925

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edited: 13.03.2020

Blog moving – and, to celebrate the day … a Common Kingfisher

The blog has moved, again, I hope this time it will be for good ….

I wanted to take a break from the strenuous work of logging on, uploading, and, and, and with two small trips outside to freak out relax and freshen up when suddenly this little colorful thing flew in front of my cell phone lens.

The cell phone photo of course was completely useless, so I decided to go back home, catch my camera and to try my luck … maybe the little bird might come back?

It did indeed. 😛

The bird, apparently a female, as can be seen by its red colored lower mandible, was sitting amongst the willow shrubs along the local flood ditch.

The place where I photographed the kingfisher is quite busy, and of course various passers-by had to check what I was probably doing there … hm, of course none of them could see what I saw.

Yah!

The bird is surprisingly well camouflaged due to its small size alone, in addition, most people are completely nature-blind anyway, thus miss al the little treasures surrounding us.

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edited: 29.01.2020