Museum Leverianum

Museum Leverianum
by George Shaw
No. IV

Y 153

No. IV.

hand-tinted engraving of Angola Vulture

C. R. Ryley delt. W. Skelton sculp.

Vultur Angolensis.   The Angola Vulture.

London Published as the Act directs. Octr 2. 1792. by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum rectum, apice aduncum.

Caput (plerisque) impenne, antice nuda cute.

Lingua bifida.


Vultur albus, orbitis nudis incarnatis, remigibus basique caudæ nigris.

Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 7.

Falco Angolensis.

Gmel. Syst. 1. p. 252.

RARIOR est et pulchrior hæc species plerisque vulturini generis. Eadem fere ei magnitudo ac anati anseri Linnæi, forma autem gracilior. Rostrum albicat. Cutis nuda ad rostri basin subcærulea. Irides melinæ, cinctis oculis cute implumi carnei coloris. Cum reliquis plerisque congeneribus caput 154 sit denudatum, huic pennis contegitur. Tota avis albet, exceptis remigibus tectricibusque majoribus seu secundariis, nec non caudæ basi nigrantibus, quæ tamen albo terminantur. Crura pallida.

In Angola innascitur pulchra hæc species, primum a celeberrimo Pennanto descripta. Reliquis plerisque vulturibus alacri ingenio dicitur antecellere.

Y2 155



Bill strait, hooked at the tip.

Head commonly bare of feathers, with a naked skin in front.

Tongue bifid.


White Vulture, with naked flesh-coloured orbits, the longer wing-feathers and base of the tail black.

Angola Vulture.

Pennant’s Tour in Wales, vol. 1. p. 228, t. 19.

Lath. Synops. 1. p. 18.

THE very rare species of Vulture here represented, is possessed of a degree of elegance not often seen in this voracious tribe. In size it is not far inferior to a goose, but is of a more slender make. The bill is of a pale or whitish colour; the cere, or bare skin at the base, blueish; the irides straw-coloured, and the eyes are surrounded by a bare flesh-coloured skin. The head is not naked, as in most other vultures, but clothed with feathers. The whole bird is white, except the larger wing-feathers, or remiges, which 156 are black. The base, or lower part of the tail, is also black; but both that and the wings are tipped with white. The legs are of a pale colour.

This curious species is a native of Angola, and was first described by Mr. Pennant: it is said to be of a more lively and active disposition than most other vultures.


hand-tinted engraving of Cupreous Cuckow

C. R. Ryley del. J. Fittler sculp.

Cuculus Cupreus.   The Cupreous Cuckow.

London Published as the Act directs Octr. 2. 1792 by J. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum teretiusculum.

Nares margine prominulæ.

Lingua sagittata, plana, integra.

Pedes scansorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 168.


Cuculus aureo-cupreus, abdomine femoribusque flavis.

DE patria avis pulcherrimæ jam primo descriptæ nihil adhuc pro certo compertum. Africanam tamen pene ausim pronunciare ob summam affinitatem quæ ei esse videtur cum aliis nonnullis ejusdem generis Africam incolentibus.

Mole alaudam communem fere æquat, corpore longiori et elegantiori. Tota superne contegitur plumis nitidissime cupreis et versicoloribus; splendore nempe, variata luce, partim aureolo, partim quasi æneo et rubriori. Pennæ rotundatæ, ita dispositæ sunt ut squamis non sint absimiles. Venter femoraque Narcissi 158 Jonquillæ Linnæi flavedine obducta. Cauda leviter cuneata, rectricibus nempe exterioribus duabus intermediis gradatim contractioribus, notatisque una et altera ad apicem macula alba triangula. Rostrum pedesque nigrant.

Si totam avem spectes uno intuitu, affinem quodammodo putes Cuculo aurato. Ab eo tamen valde differt coloribus, caudaque longiori.




Bill somewhat bending.

Nostrils bounded by a small rim.

Tongue short, pointed.

Feet scansorial.


Copper-coloured Cuckow, with a gloss of gold; the abdomen and thighs yellow.

THE very elegant bird figured on the present plate is a species never before described: its native country is not certainly known; it is, however, most probably, an African bird, and is pretty nearly allied to some other African species of this genus.

In size it is almost equal to a lark, but is of a longer and more delicate form. It is remarkable for the beautiful lustre and changeable appearance of its plumage, which, on the whole upper surface of the bird, is of a bright copper-colour, with a metallic splendor, varying according to the direction of the light into a much brighter or more golden cast in some parts, and into 160 a much stronger and redder copper-colour in others. The feathers are of a rounded shape, and, from their disposition on the bird, have an appearance resembling scales. The belly and thighs are of a beautiful jonquil-yellow. The tail is slightly cuneiform, or with the side-feathers shortening a little gradually from the middle ones. One or two of the exterior tail-feathers on each side are also marked at the extremity with a triangular spot of white. The beak and legs are black.

In general shape and appearance this bird is somewhat allied to the Cuculus auratus, or Gilded Cuckow, but differs much in its colours, and in having a longer tail in proportion.

Z 161

hand-tinted engraving of Ichneumon

Reinagale del. J. Fittler sculp.

Viverra Ichneumon.   The Ichneumon.



Dentes Primores sex: intermediis brevioribus.

Molares plures quam tres.

Lingua retrorsum sæpe aculeata.

Ungues exserti.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 63.


Viverra cauda e basi incrassata sensim attenuata, pollicibus remotiusculis.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 63.


Gesn. Quadr. 568.

Ichneumon, s. Vulpecula Zeilanica.

Seb. Mus. 1. p. 66. t. 41. f. 1.

IChneumonem tradiderunt veteres crocodilo esse inimicissimum, ovaque ejus diligentissime exquirere. Non miror eum ova ad comedendum expetere; vix tamen credam alia quavis de causa ipsi crocodilo præcipue infensum.

Colebant eum antiqui Ægyptii quod e domibus mures, sorices, aliaque id generis animalia expulerit: cum enim in eorum latebras corpus gracile insinuando inde ea posset exturbare, adjunxit plus quam felinæ audaciæ peritiam 162 Viverræ Furonis. Sævit in serpentes hostili odio. His de causis ali sæpe solet Ichneumon ab Ægypti incolis, nec non Orientis aliquibus populis. Cito mansuescit; nec offendit immunditiis.

Magnitudine vix cedit feli. Singuli pili ferrugineo griseoque alternatim crebroque annulati. Caput gracile, rostro acuto et elongato. Oculi flammeum rubentes. Aures breves et rotundatæ. Cauda basin villosissima, inde sensim ad extremum decrescens. Dentes acutissimi. Ungues validi.

Repit non raro Ichneumon humi, more fere serpentis, et de subito insilit in prædam. Flagrat acerrimo odio in felem, eamque semper aggreditur, et, ut plurimum, debellat.

Z2 163



Six cutting teeth, two canine teeth, in each jaw.

Sharp nose: slender body.

Five toes before: five behind.



Weasel with tail thick at the base, and from thence gradually tapering.

The Indian Ichneumon.

Edw. pl. 199.

La Mangouste.

Buff. 13. 150. pl. 19.

THE Ichneumon is one of those animals which were well known to the ancients, and has been particularly celebrated for its supposed antipathy to the crocodile, of which it is said to seek the eggs with great diligence, and devour them. Exclusive however of its addiction to the eggs as an article of food, it can hardly be supposed to bear any peculiar animosity to that animal.

Its principal value amongst the antient Egyptians arose from its great usefulness in clearing the houses of the inhabitants from rats, mice, and other 164 vermin, which it pursues with still greater ardor and dexterity than the cat, and is enabled, from the form of his body, to wind into the cavities inhabited by those creatures in the manner of a ferret. It is also a severe enemy to snakes, which it never fails to destroy. In consequence of this faculty of destroying vermin, it is frequently domesticated in Egypt as well as in many parts of the eastern regions.

It is am animal of great cleanliness, and is easily tamed. Its general size is scarce inferior to that of a cat. Its colour is a sort of ferruginous grey, each hair being marked with several alternate circles of those colours. The head is of a slender form, and the snout long and sharp: the eyes of a bright fire-colour: the ears short and rounded: the tail very thick of hair at the base, and from thence gradually tapering to the extremity. The teeth are extremely sharp, and the claws strong.

It frequently creeps along on its belly, with a kind of serpentine motion, and suddenly springs on its prey. It is an enemy to the cat, which it is generally said to conquer and destroy.


hand-tinted engraving of Royal Cuckow

C. R. Ryley del. Noble Sculp.

Cuculus Regius.   The Royal Cuckow.

Publishd. June 22. 1791 by J. Parkinson Leverian Museum London.



Rostrum teretiusculum.

Nares margine prominulæ.

Lingua sagittata, plana, integra.

Pedes scansorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 168.


Cuculus? nigro-cærulescens, remigibus phœniceis, rostro rubro super frontem flavo, occipite purpureo.

QUOD evitandam, quantum fieri possit, censeam novorum generum institutionem, ex qua sæpe oriuntur error et confusio, magnificam hanc avem nomine tabulæ inscripto designavi. Fatendum sane est non modo hanc sed et Cuculum Persam Linnæi, cui affinis videtur, a reliquo genere sejungi, et in distincto et sibi proprio debere numerari, quippe tum rostris tum corporis habitu ab aliis differant.


Inter aves rarissimas habenda est species de qua jam agitur. Tota capite remigibusque exceptis, splendide nigrat cyaneo perfusa. Rostrum fulvum, seu rubescens; qua parte super frontem assurgit, leviter melinum. Utrinque a basi mandibularum stria alba retro paululum excurrit. Vertex capitis occiputque atro-purpurea. Remiges eximie phœnicei. Crura fusca. Africam interiorem incolit Cuculus regius.




Bill somewhat bending.

Nostrils bounded by a small rim.

Tongue short, pointed.

Feet scansorial.


Black Cuckow? with a gloss of blue; crimson remiges; red beak yellow on the front, back of the head purple.

IT is merely from a wish to avoid the confusion arising from the institution of new genera without absolute necessity, that the magnificent bird here represented is called by the title expressed on the plate. In fact, not only this bird, but the Cuculus Persa of Linnæus, (with which it seems to have a considerable affinity,) ought to be separated from the genus Cuculus, and arranged in a distinct one; their beaks and whole habit differing from the rest of the cuckow tribe.


The species here figured is extremely rare. The whole bird, except the head and remiges, is of a deep black, with a rich cast of glossy blue. The beak is of a pale fulvous red; the upper part, which rises over the forehead, is of a pale straw-colour. From the hinder part of the mandibles on each side proceeds a streak of white, running backwards to a small distance. The upper and back part of the head are of a deep crimson or purple. The remiges, or long wing-feathers, are of the richest and fullest crimson or carmine-colour. The legs brown. It is an inhabitant of the interior parts of Africa.

Aa 169

hand-tinted engraving of Fox-Tailed Monkey

S. T. Edwards delt. et sculpt.

Simia Pithecia.   The Fox-Tail’d Monkey.

Pub. as the Act directs March 17th. 1790, by Jas. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Dentes Primores utrinque quatuor, approximati.

Laniarii solitarii, longiores, hinc remoti.

Molares obtusi.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 34.


Simia caudata imberbis, vellere nigro apice albo, cauda nigra villosissima.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 40.

Cercopithecus pilis nigris apice albo vestitus, cauda pilis longissimis.

Briss. Quadr. 195.

Simia Pithecia.

Schreber Saeugth. 1. p. 125. t. 32.

AB aliis sui generis facile dignoscitur Simia Pithecia, cauda pilis longissimis densissime hirsuta. Guianam incolit in America Australi. Coloris est, ut plurimum, fusco-nigricantis, interdum subferrugineum aliquid retinentis. In nonnullis etiam pilorum extremitates albescunt. Facies crine seu lanugine albicante immutabiliter tecta est, barbaque cingitur paulo promissiore quam est pilus quo vultus obducitur. Albida sunt inferiora corporis. Magnitudo hujus simiæ est quasi felis domesticæ majoris.




Front Teeth in each jaw 4, placed near together.

Canine Teeth solitary, longer than the others, distant from the remaining teeth or grinders.

Grinders obtuse.


Blackish-brown Monkey, with the tips of the hairs whitish; the tail extremely full of hair.

Le Saki.

Buff. 15. p. 88. pl. 12.

Fox-tailed Monkey.

Pennant. Hist. Quadr. p. 207.

THIS species of Monkey is distinguished from all the rest of its genus by the unusual appearance of its tail, which is thickly coated with hair of extraordinary length. It is a native of Guiana in South America.

The general colour of this species is a deep brown, which is sometimes accompanied with a ferruginous tinge; and in some the tips of all the hairs are whitish. The face is always coated with white downy hair, and is surrounded by a sort of beard, of somewhat longer hairs than those on the face. The under parts of the body incline to whitish. The claws on all the feet are sharp. It is about the size of a large cat.

Aa2 171

hand-tinted engraving of Mephitic Weasel

Reinagale del. Skelton sculp.

Viverra Mephitica.   The Mephitic Weasel.



Dentes Primores sex: intermediis brevioribus.

Molares plures quam tres.

Lingua retrorsum sæpe aculeata.

Ungues exserti.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 63.


Viverra nigro-castanea, dorso albo, cauda villosissima.

Viverra Mephitis.

Gmel. Syst. Nat. p. 83.

IN America Septentrionali generatur quæ in tabula depingitur Viverræ species. Amat præcipue sylvas; aliquando tamen, more putorii Europæi, in domos irrepit et stragem infert gallinis. Huic quoque eadem fere magnitudo est ac putorio, cum modica quadam pulchritudine. Color imus eximie ferrugineo-nigricat, dorso fascia seu fasciis albis longitudinalibus notato. Cauda longa et villosissima fere tota albet. More reliqui generis aves quadrupedesque minores prædatur, ovaque avidissime devorat. Acuti sunt dentes unguesque validi.


Mirus est se defendendi modus, qui dubitari prorsus posset, ni testarentur de eo homines fide dignissimi. Si enim subito irritetur, aut in periculo sit a venatoribus, effluvia illico emittit dire odeo olentia, ut aëra longe lateque infando fœtore inquinet et corrumpat.

At vero nisi paulo augeatur veritas ab iis qui teterrimi odoris non sine horrore reminiscuntur, cedit huic longe quicquid præterea in rerum natura fœdum sit et putidum. Pestilentissimo hoc halitu repulsi canes prædam longius persequi recusant, hominesque in fugam vertuntur. Quod si vel minima particula humoris odiosi infauste in venatorem inciderit, offendiculo statim fit omnibus, nec in hominum societatem recipi possit donec vestes exuerit, iterum iterumque eluendas, totumque corpus creberrima purgatione lustraverit.

Dicitur Viverra mephitica cicur interdum et mansueta in domibus Americanis nutriri; quod si fiat, præcipue cavendum videtur, (ut recte observavit solertissimus quidam physicus,) ne injuria aliqua provocetur ad ultionem. Notandum præterea vaporem pestilentem emittere non huic soli speciei proprium et peculiare esse, sed inesse minorem hujusmodi vim et aliis paucis Americam incolentibus.




Six cutting teeth, two canine teeth, in each jaw.

Sharp nose: slender body.

Five toes before: five behind.



Blackish-brown Weasel with white back, and extremely villous tail.

Le Chinche.

Buff. 13. p. 294. pl. 39.


Pennant. Hist. Quadr. p. 343.

THE animal here represented is a native of North America, where it resides principally in woods, but sometimes, like the common polecat, strays into houses, and commits depredations amongst poultry. It also resembles the polecat in size, but its appearance is far more elegant, and indeed it possesses no inconsiderable share of beauty; its general colour being a very fine blackish-brown, varied on the back with one or more longitudinal bands of white. The tail, which is very long and bushy, is also nearly white. Like others of this genus, it preys on birds and the smaller quadrupeds. It is also fond of eggs, which it greedily devours. It is armed with sharp teeth, and its claws are of considerable strength.


The principal mode of defence which Nature has bestowed on this animal is of a nature so extraordinary, that were it not asserted by persons of most unquestionable credit, it would seem entirely apocryphal.

When suddenly irritated, or when pursued, and in danger of being taken, it possesses the faculty of suddenly emitting effluvia so powerfully offensive as to taint the air to an almost incredible distance.

If the descriptions given of this odious vapour are not aggravated by the abhorrent recollection of those who have experienced its effects, every other ill smell which nature can produce, is surpassed by the overpowering fætor of this extraordinary quadruped. In consequence of this horrible emanation the dogs relinquish their pursuit, and men are obliged to fly with precipitation from the tainted spot: but if unfortunately the least drop of the liquid which it commonly discharges at this particular juncture, should happen to light on the clothes of the hunter, he becomes a general nuisance wherever he appears, and is obliged to divest himself of his dress, and practice all the arts of ablution, in order to be restored to the society of mankind.

To add to the history of these strange circumstances, it is affirmed that the animal is sometimes tamed by the Americans, and rendered domestic; but, surely, (as an eminent zoologist has well observed,) if this be ever really practised, the creature ought to be treated with the highest attention, lest it should at any time be provoked to exert its extraordinary faculty. It should be added that this pestilential vapour is not absolutely peculiar to the present species, but is exerted in a somewhat inferior degree by two or three others of its genus, which are also natives of the American continent.


hand-tinted engraving of Leverian Trogon

C. R. Ryley del. J. Fittler Sculp.

Trogon Leverianus.   The Leverian Trogon.

Published as the Act directs Octr. 2. 1792. by I. Parkinson, Leverian Museum.



Rostrum capite brevius, cultratum, aduncum, margine mandibularum serratum.

Pedes scansorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 167.


Trogon violaceus viridi-aureo nitens, alis nigris, abdomine albo, remigibus tribus exterioribus nigris apice albis.

NON plene et in omnibus congruit formosissima hæc avis cum ulla Trogonis specie adhuc descripta. Trogoni tamen violaceo Lathami quam reliquis similior est, nec impossibile puto quin illius sit varietas; ni fortasse sexu tantum differat.

Rostrum plumbeo-nigricat, versus apicem albescens. Caput, collum, pectus, egregie et saturatim violaceo-cyanea. Alæ nigræ. Remigum latus exterius margine albo notatur, unde sit, ut alis clausis, lineæ multæ concolores ducantur. Dorsum cyaneo-viride subaureum splendet. Tectrices caudæ superiores quasi sericæ, perviridi-cæruleo lucidissimæ. Cauda ipsa nigrans, ut tamen paululum 176 virescat, e rectricibus constat apicem fere quadratis, seu quasi subtruncatis, intermediis duabus ad extremum aterrimis. Rectrices tres utrinque exteriores gradatim breviores nigrant, lateribus apicibusque oblique albo terminatis, ut demonstrat tabula. Abdomen album subgilvo levissime perfusum. Crura pedesque nigrant.

Americæ Australis est incola Trogon Leverianus; et cum reliquis plerisque congeneribus in Cayena præcipue cernitur. Magnitudine Trogonem violaceum æquat.

Bb 177



Bill short, thick, convex, generally dentated on the edges.

Nostrils covered with stiff bristles.

Feet scansorial.


Violaceous Trogon with a gloss of green-gold; wings black; abdomen white; the three exterior tail-feathers black with white tips.

THIS most elegant bird does not perfectly agree with any species of Trogon hitherto described. It however approaches more nearly to the Trogon violaceus, or Violet-headed Curucui of Mr. Latham, than to any other species; and it is not impossible that it may be either a variety, or a sexual difference of that bird.

The beak is of a dark lead-colour, growing much lighter or whitish towards the tip: the head, neck, and breast, are of a very fine and deep violet-blue: the wings black; the long-feathers or remiges edged on the exterior side with white, forming several longitudinal streaks of that colour when the wings are closed. The back is of a deep blueish green, with a slight golden tinge. 178 The upper tail-coverts silky, and of a very deep lucid blue-green. The tail itself black, with a cast of green; the feathers of a squarish, or subtruncated form, and the middle ones slightly tipped with very deep black. The three exterior feathers on each side gradually shorten, and are black, obliquely edged and tipped with white, as represented in the figure. The abdomen is white, with an extremely slight tinge of reddish or buff. The legs and feet are black.

It is a South American bird, and, like most others of its genus, is found in Cayenne. Its size is equal to that of the Trogon violaceus.

Bb2 179

hand-tinted engraving of Roebuck

Reinagale del. Skelton sculp.

Cervus Capreolus.   The Roebuck.



Cornua solida, tenera, corio hirto tecta apiceque crescentia, denudata, annua.

Dentes Primores inferiores octo.

Laniarii nulli (interdum solitarii superius.)

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 92.


Cervus cornibus ramosis teretibus erectis: summitate bifida.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 94.

Cervus cornibus teretibus erectis.

Briss. regn. an. p. 89. n. 5.


Gesn. Quadr. p. 324. 1098.

CERVUS Capreolus, Europæorum minimus, distinguitur cornubus ut plurimum trifurcis, raro paucas uncias longitudine superantibus. Forma pulchra et eleganti, eo nostratibus gratior est, quod non advena sit et exoticus, sed indigena et quasi autocthon; in hunc usque diem in nonnullis Scotiæ montibus ferus et juxta naturam degens.


Color ei fusco-cinereus, ferrugineo leviter perfusus. Corporis inferiora longe pallidiora fere albicant. Facies prope oculos et super rostrum nigricat. Anteit pernicitate Capreolus reliquos plerosque congeneres.

Ingenio timidissimo, ægerrime cicur evadit: nec gregatim incedit, ut solet magna pars cervini generis, sed parvulis tantum est selectis manipulis, sæpissime e mare, femina, et hinnuleis constantibus.




Horns upright, solid, branched, annually deciduous.

Eight cutting teeth in the lower jaw; none in the upper.



Deer with smallish upright rough trifurcated horns.


Pennant. Quadr. p. 108.

Le Chevreuil.

Buff. 6. p. 289. pl. 22. 23.

THE Roebuck is the smallest of the European Deer, and is distinguished by its short and generally trifurcated horns, which seldom exceed the length of a few inches. It is not only pleasing in its general appearance, but becomes more peculiarly interesting from its being a native of our own island; and is still found in its natural or wild state in some parts of Scotland.


Its colour is a cinereous brown, with a slightly ferruginous cast; the lower parts of the body being much paler or whitish. The face on the parts near the eyes, and the muzzle are blackish. This species is remarkable for its extreme swiftness, in which respect it surpasses most of its congeners.

It is of an extremely wild and timid disposition. Roebucks seldom associate in large groups or herds like many others of the deer kind, but in very small detached parties; commonly consisting of only the male, female, and young.


hand-tinted engraving of Rose-Headed Parrakeet

C. R. Ryley del. J. Fittler sculp.

Psittacus Rodocephalus.   The Rose-Headed Parrakeet.

Published as the Act directs Octr. 2. 1792. by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum aduncum: mandibula superiore mobili; cera instructa.

Nares in rostri basi.

Lingua carnosa, obtusa, integra.

Pedes scansorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 139.


Psittacus macrourus viridis, capite rubro cæruleo obducto, gula nigra, torque nigro et pallide viridi.

Psittacus Ginginianus. β.

Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 100.

Psittacus Erythrocephalus. β. Bengalensis.

Gmel. Syst. Nat. 1. p. 325.

INTER hunc et varietates aliquot minores Psittaci Alexandri seu torquati tanta est similitudo, ut iis potius annumerandus videatur quam ut species diversa describi. Speciem tamen revera distinctam habuerunt tum Buffonus tum Lathamus.

Mandibula superior aurantia est, inferior nigricans. Frons genæque egregie rosea: color autem roseus in reliquo capite gradatim fatiscit, donec a cæruleo 184 molli et eleganti vincatur, lautæ illi floridæque farinæ simillimo, quæ in pruno Aureliano præcipue cernitur.

A basi mandibulæ inferioris circa collum ducitur torquis angustus aterrimus, quem statim infra excipit alter viroris thalassini, qui etiam color super humeros et uropygium leviter perfunditur. Dorsum alæque pulchre viridia. Collum pectus et abdomen flavo-virescunt. Super humerum utrumque macula parva oblonga conspicitur nitide ferruginea. Caudæ longæ rectrices duæ intermediæ cæteris multum productiores cyaneæ sunt, apicibus albis. Duæ his proximæ cyaneæ etiam sunt, sed apicibus subflavescentibus. Reliquarum latus exterius cæruleo-viride, interius flavo-pallens. Crura pedesque griseo-carnea. In India nascitur Psittacus rodocephalus.

Cc 185



Bill hooked. Upper mandible moveable.

Nostrils round, placed in the base of the bill.

Tongue fleshy, broad, blunt at the end.

Legs short. Toes formed for climbing, viz. two forward and two backward.


Long-tailed green Parrakeet, with deep rose-coloured head overcast with blue, with a narrow collar of black beneath the head.

Blossom-headed Parrakeet. Var. A. Rose-headed Ring Parrakeet.

Lath. Synops. 1. p. 239.

THIS beautiful bird in its general appearance hears so near a resemblance to some of the smaller varieties of the Psittacus Alexandri, or Ring Parrakeet, that it might almost be considered as rather belonging to one of these than as specifically distinct. It is however regarded as a distinct species both by the Count de Buffon? and Mr. Latham.

The upper mandible is orange-coloured; the lower blackish: the front and cheeks are of a fine rosy red; which colour on the remainder of the head 186 gradually declines, and is overcast by a strong tinge of full, yet softened blue; which perhaps can be explained by nothing so well as by the appearance of that beautiful bloom which shews to so much advantage on the surface of the Orleans Plumb.

From the base of the lower mandible, round the neck proceeds a narrow collar of the deepest black; immediately beneath which is a corresponding circle of sea-green. A tinge of sea-green is also observable on the shoulders and the rump. The wings and back are of a beautiful green. The neck, breast, and belly, of a fair yellow-green. On each shoulder is a small oblong patch of bright ferruginous. The tail is long, and the two middle feathers much exceed the rest in length, and are of a fine deep blue, with white tips: the two next pair are of the same colour, with pale-yellow tips. The remaining tail-feathers are on their exterior webs of a blueish green, and on their interior ones pale-yellow. The legs and feet are of a greyish flesh-colour. This species is a native of India.

Cc2 187

hand-tinted engraving of Boat-Bill

C. R. Ryley delt. J. Fittler scup.

Cancroma Cochlearia.   The Boat Bill.

Published as the Act directs Octr 2. 1792 by I. Parkinson Leverian Museum.



Rostrum gibbosum: mandibula superiore cymbæ resupinatæ forma.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 233.


Cancroma cinerascens, ventre rufo, vertice lunulaque cervicis nigra.

Lath. Ind. Orn. p. 671.

Cancroma Cochlearia.


Cancroma Cancrophaga?



Briss. 5. p. 506. 1.

SINGULARIS huic avi rostri formatio, quod forsan latius pro longitudine quam alii alicui adhuc cognitæ; mandibula superiore carinata, seu in prominentiam longitudinalem ducta, cymbæ inversæ non longe absimilem. Color primarius plumbeo-cæruleus, pectore pallidiore, abdomine fusco-ferrugineo, magis minusve in diversis speciminibus saturato. Rostrum fuscum. Frons albet. Caput crista nigra, longa, dependula decoratur. Alæ caudaque brevia. Crura valida fusco-flavescunt.


Varietas interdum conspicitur, quam quasi speciem distinctam descripserunt nonnulli physici, licet fortasse differat tantum coloribus, aut sexu, aut ætate magis minusve provecta. Hæc corpus superius fusco-ferruginea est, inferius albida: ad cætera priori similis.

Americam Australem incolit Cancroma Cochlearia, locaque aquosa frequentat, victitans more ardearum, ranis, piscibus, reliquisque id genus animalibus.




Bill broad, flat, with a keel along the middle, like a boat reversed.

Nostrils small, lodged in a furrow.

Toes divided.


Cinereous Boat-Bill with the abdomen rufous, (sometimes white,) top of the head and crescent on the neck black.


Lath. Synops. 5. p. 26. t. 76.


Brown illust. p. 92. t. 36.

Le Savacou.

Buff. 7. p. 443. t. 23.

THE formation of the beak in this bird is strikingly singular, and is perhaps broader in proportion to its length than in any other known bird: the upper mandible is carinated, or furnished with a rising longitudinal prominence, which gives it an appearance not ill resembling an inverted boat. The general colour of this species is a dull blueish, or lead-colour; paler on the breast; the abdomen being of a ferruginous brown, more or less deep in different specimens. The bill is dusky: the forehead white: the head furnished 190 with a large black pendent crest, of considerable length. The wings and tail are short. The legs strong, and of a yellowish brown.

Of this curious bird there is a variety, which, though considered as a distinct species by some ornithologists, is probably owing to nothing more than the natural difference of colour, arising either from the more or less advanced age of the bird, or from the difference between the male and female. This variety is of a ferruginous colour above, and whitish beneath: in other respects it resembles the former.

The Boat-bill is a South American bird, and frequents watery places, feeding nearly in the manner of Herons, on fish, frogs, &c.


hand-tinted engraving of Chameleon

Lacerta Chamæleon.   The Chameleon.



Corpus tetrapodum, caudatum nudum.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 359.


Lacerta cauda tereti brevi incurva, digitis duobus tribusque coadunatis.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 364.


Aldr. Quadr. 670.


Raii Quadr.


Gron. Mus. 2. p. 76.

CHAMÆLEONTI miram inesse facultatem colorem pene pro arbitrio mutandi agnoverunt jamdiu omnes physici; nec fama est aliquid celebratius. Hoc tamen non soli chamæleonti contingit, sed et aliis multis lacertis, quamvis longe circumscriptior illis et adductior sit hæc potestas.

Color chamæleontis generalis est sub-cæruleo-cinereus, qui interdum in viridem, interdum subflavum, maculis rufis inæqualiter distinctum transit. Hæc 192 colorum mutatio clarissime cernitur, cum animal ab uno latere soli exponitur: latus enim umbratum plerumque flavet, maculis magnis rotundatis, rufis, variatum. Sed inverso situ, latus quod antea erat in umbra et flavebat, maculis ferrugineis, nunc in fuscum mutatur, dum latus oppositum flavum rufo-maculatum conspicitur. Sæpissime tamen variant hæ colorum mutationes et macularum situs.

Dicitur chamæleontem colorem suum substantiæ cui imponitur assimilare; quod tametsi verum omnino non sit, vero tamen est proximum; cum asserunt Gallici physici chamæleontem linteo albo involutum, post parvum tempus eductum, fere album apparuisse. Fefellit tamen illos experimentum secundo iteratum.

Pulmones huic animali sunt maximi, et frequens est illi corpus pro arbitrio inflandi mos, adeo ut plenum et pingue diu videatur; aliis temporibus, se contrahendi, ut ipsa macie confectum crederes.

Ad hæc usque tempora vulgo creditur Chamæleontem nullo alio cibo indigere præter quem ab æthere absorbeat, aëre nempe vesci. Insectis vero vitam sustentat, quibus dolo callido insidiatur, quæque linguæ suæ, (ut picæ est viridi,) longissime et ad libitum retractæ apice dilatato et tubulato arripit, et incredibili velocitate in stomachum ingurgitat. Inediæ mirum adeo in modum est patiens, ut per aliquot menses sine ullo victu duraverit; opinionem quas vulgus tenet aliqua ex parte comprobans.

Oculi chamæleontis sunt magni et globosi; pars autem denudata seu conspicua, est perexigua, et iride constat aurea, pupilla nigricante: oculisque e contrario directis potest spectare; uno nempe ad cælum, altero in terram verso, vel uno antrorsum, altero retrorsum. Caput interdum cristatum, interdum fere planum. Pedum forma est singularis: antici enim pedes digitos duos habent Dd 193 antrorsum versos, tresque retrorsum, postici tres antrorsum, duos retrorsum. Omnes digiti unguibus validis muniti sunt; quod magis notatu dignum est, quoniam Gronovius, (qui plerumque accurate describit,) hic pessime lapsus est, cum in charactere chamæleontis generico dixit, “pedes unguibus destituti.”

Ut chamæleonti firmior et securior sit sedes, cauda longa ramulum arctius amplectitur. Diversa est illi magnitudo: pene pedalis est interdum in longitudinem; plerumque multo minor. Africam et Asiam incolit, nec non Europæ partes calidiores, Hispaniam nempe et Lusitaniam. Incessus est tardissimus, et non sine cautela ingredi videtur.




Body four-footed, tailed, naked.


Lizard with cylindric incurved tail, and toes conjoined by two and three.

The Chameleon.

THE Chameleon has ever been celebrated for the wonderful power which it possesses of changing its colour in certain particular circumstances and situations. This faculty, however, is not peculiar to the Chameleon alone, but is observable in a less degree in several other species of lizards.

The general colour of the Chameleon is a blueish ash-colour, which sometimes changes to a green, and sometimes to a yellowish colour, spotted unequally with red. This is particularly observable when one side of the animal is exposed to a full sunshine; when the unilluminated side generally appears yellow, with large roundish patches or spots of red-brown. On reversing the situation of the animal, the same change again takes place; the side which was before in the shade, and yellow, spotted with red, now becoming brown; while the other side becomes yellow and red. But these changes are subject to much variety, both as to colour and disposition of spots.

Dd2 195

It has been said that the Chameleon has a power of assimilating its colour to that of the substance on which it is placed. This is not entirely true: yet it seems to make some approach to such a faculty; since the members of the French Academy declare, that on wrapping a chameleon up in a linen cloth for some minutes, it appeared nearly white when taken out; but this experiment did not succeed when repeated afterwards.

The lungs of the chameleon are extremely large, and it has a way of inflating its body, and appearing very plump and full for a long time together; and at other times of contracting itself, so as to appear in the highest degree of extenuation.

There prevails a popular error relative to this animal, which seems to have been almost universally received; viz. that it requires no other nourishment than what it absorbs from the atmosphere, or in the usual phrase, that it feeds on air. On the contrary, it is extremely adroit at catching insects, which it seizes by means of its tongue, which is of a very great length, and is retractile, like that of a woodpecker, and has a sort of widened tubular opening at the end. This it darts upon insects within its reach, and swallows them with a motion so quick that the eye can scarce follow it: and by this means it supports its existence. It is however true, that it can remain for a surprising length of time without any food, so that the common idea is not without some foundation; for a chameleon has been kept for the space of several weeks without the least sustenance whatsoever.

The eyes of the chameleon are large and globular, but the part which is exposed to view is very small, and consists of a gold-coloured iris, with a dark pupil. It has the power of turning its eyes in opposite directions, so as to look with one eye backwards and the other forwards, or with one eye upwards and the other downwards at the same time. The head is sometimes very much crested, and sometimes almost plain. The structure of the feet is 196 singular; viz. the fore-feet have two toes forwards and three backwards, while the hind-feet have three toes forwards and two backwards. All the toes are furnished with pretty strong claws; a circumstance which deserves the greater attention, as Gronovius, an accurate systematic naturalist, has, by a most unaccountable error, made it a principal character of the chameleon to be without claws on the feet. The tail is longish, and the animal makes use of it to fasten itself more securely, by coiling it round the branch on which it sits.

The size of the chameleon is very various. It sometimes measures near a foot, exclusive of the tail, but is generally much less. This curious creature is a native of Africa and Asia, and is also found in some of the warmer parts of Europe, as Spain and Portugal. Its pace is very slow, and it seems to move with much caution and circumspection.


hand-tinted engraving of Red Breasted Roller

C. R. Ryley del. W. Skelton sculp.

Coracias Scutata.   The Red Breasted Roller.

Published as the Act directs. Octr. 2. 1792 by I. Parkinson, Leverian Museum.



Rostrum cultratum, apice incurvato, basi pennis denudatum.

Lingua cartilaginea, bifida.

Pedes ambulatorii.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 159.


Coracias nigra, jugulo pectoreque coccineis.

CORACIAM scutatam nemo adhuc descripsit. Licet corvo vix cedat magnitudine, summa tamen ei videtur esse similitudo cum Muscicapa rubricolli Lathami. Tota nigrat, dorso alisque subcæruleum quiddam nitentibus. Rostrum validum, basin modice latum, apicem leviter emarginatum.

Mandibulæ inferioris extremum pallescit. Superioris utrinque ab imo setæ seu vibrissæ septem protruduntur infra complanatæ, quæque curvatæ sursum tendunt. Exiguo intervallo a rostro, colli anterioris color ad imum pectus nitidissime 198 est coccineus, qui inde in obscure ferrugineum transeuns decurrit fascia interrupta ad ipsum abdomen.

Cauda leviter rotundata constat e duodecim rectricibus, quarum duæ exteriores unciæ dimidio breviores quam cæteræ. Crura brevia, modica, nigrant. Ungues validi, postico reliquis majore. Quænam patria Coraciam scutatam protulerit pro certo non ausim affirmare.




Bill strait, bending a little towards the end, edges cultrated.

Nostrils narrow and naked.

Toes three forward; divided to their origin; one backward.



Black Roller, with crimson throat and breast.

THIS bird, hitherto undescribed, in its general appearance and colour, bears a striking resemblance to the Muscicapa rubricollis, or purple-throated Flycatcher; but is considerably superior in size. It is not much less than a common crow. Its colour is an uniform black, with a slight blueish gloss on the back and wings. The beak is strong, broadish at the base, and slightly notched or emarginated at the tip. The lower mandible is of a palish colour towards the point. On each side the base of the upper mandible are seven vibrissæ or hairs, which are of a flattened form at their lower part, and rise upwards in a curved direction. The fore-part of the neck, from about half an inch below the beak, to the bottom of the breast, is of a very rich 200 bright scarlet, which colour, at the lower part of the breast, sinks into deep ferruginous, and is continued in a broken or interrupted band, down the beginning of the abdomen.

The tail consists of twelve feathers, and is slightly rounded at the extremity, the two exterior side-feathers being shorter than the others by about half an inch. The legs are rather short, moderately stout, and black. The claws strong: that of the back toe larger than the rest. The native country of this curious bird is not certainly known.

Notes and Corrections: No. IV

Number IV of the Museum Leverianum has seven birds, four mammals—and one reptile. Most plates are dated October 1792, but a few go back as far as March 1790.

Vultur Angolensis, the Angola Vulture

is probably Gypohierax angolensis, the palm-nut vulture. It lives in most of subsaharan Africa, including but not limited to Angola.

Cuculus Cupreus, the Cupreous Cuckow

is now Chrysococcyx cupreus, the African Emerald Cuckoo, with naming credit to Shaw.

[Illustration] C. R. Ryley del. J. Fittler sculp.
[Whew. Charles Ryley finally gets James Fittler to spell his name right.]

Viverra Ichneumon, the Ichneumon

is now Herpestes ichneumon, the Egyptian mongoose.

[Illustration] Reinagale del. J. Fittler sculp.
[Having lost the battle over Ryley’s name, Fittler gets revenge by misspelling Reinagle’s instead. The illustration may have had a date line, but if so, it is lost in the gutter.]

well known to the ancients . . . . amongst the antient Egyptians
[Cursory research reveals that the spelling “antient” didn’t fully disappear until around 1850, although “ancient” was always more common.]

rats, mice, and other vermin
[Unless you have a Latin-speaking ichneumon, in which case it prefers mice, shrews (sorices) and other vermin.]

Cuculus Regius, the Royal Cuckow

may be something in genus Musophaga, part of the turaco family. If so, it is not a cuckoo at all; turacos and plantain-eaters are now an order to themselves, Musophagiformes.

to avoid the confusion arising from the institution of new genera without absolute necessity
[The theme recurs several times in the Naturalist’s Miscellany; Shaw is especially disgruntled about newly defined “Insect” (i.e. arthropod) genera. A few decades later, the introduction of the taxonomic family will help get things organized.]

the Cuculus Persa of Linnæus
[If C. regius is in fact a turaco, then C. persa would be Tauraco persa, the green turaco.]

Simia Pithecia, the Fox-Tailed Monkey

is now Pithecia pithecia, the Guianan saki.

Lin. Syst. Nat. p. 34.
text has Sist.
[The same misprint, or misspelling, occurs both times.]

Schreber Saeugth. 1. p. 125. t. 32.
. in “Saeugth.” missing

Viverra Mephitica, the Mephitic Weasel, or Chinche

This form of the name is attested nowhere else. It is probably an error for V. mephitis, now Mephitis mephitis, the striped skunk.

[Illustration] Reinagale del. Skelton sculp.
[I take it back. Fittler is not the only one who can’t spell “Reinagle”. Oddly, Skelton had no trouble with the name back in Volume I, when it appeared on two of twelve plates. If the illustration had a date line, it is lost in the gutter.]

the overpowering fætor of this extraordinary quadruped
spelling unchanged
[It ought to be “fœtor”, but you can’t be too particular when it comes to æ versus œ.]

Trogon Leverianus, the Leverian Trogon

has a long history of “what the heck is it?” Early sources tend to consider it a variant of Trogon viridis, the Amazonian white-tailed trogon, but it has also been identified with T. caligatus, the gartered trogon. (Another identification, Linnaeus’s T. strigilatus, is no help, since the binomial is itself now listed as “doubtful”.) Unlike so much of the Leverian Museum’s holdings, the specimen is still extant, so things are not yet hopeless.

unde sit, ut alis clausis
text unchanged: expected fit

It however approaches more nearly to the Trogon violaceus, or Violet-headed Curucui of Mr. Latham, than to any other species
[T. violaceus is now known as the Guianan trogon. Nobody seems to think it is the same bird as the Leverian trogon. ]

Cervus Capreolus, the Roebuck

is now Capreolus capreolus, the European or western roe.

[Illustration] Reinagale del. Skelton sculp.
[Skelton’s spelling again.]

commonly consisting of only the male, female, and young
[Female and young, definitely; male, not so much.]

Psittacus Rodocephalus, the Rose-Headed Parrakeet

may be Psittacula cyanocephala, the plum-headed or blossom-headed parakeet. (Today’s rose-headed or rose-crowned parakeet, Pyrrhura rhodo­cephala, wasn’t named until 1870. Unlike Ps. cyanocephala, it lives in South America, not in India—not that this is absolutely dispositive in the present work—and doesn’t especially look like Shaw’s picture.) It will be shown again at Volume 21, Plate 877 of the Naturalist’s Miscellany.

both by the Count de Buffon? and Mr. Latham
punctuation unchanged
[On the Latin side he was content to say Buffonus without question mark.]

Cancroma Cochlearia, the Boat Bill

is now Cochlearius cochlearius, the boat-billed heron. It will be shown again at Volume 17, Plate 713 of the Naturalist’s Miscellany. The Latin name, inciden­tally, means “spoonbill”. Go figure.

[Illustration] J. Fittler scup.
[As an alternative to misspelling the artist’s name, Fittler instead misspells his own job title.]

Briss. 5. p. 506. 1.
text has Briss, for Briss.

pectore pallidiore,
text has pallidore

Alæ caudaque brevia.
[Prolonged study of Messrs. Gildersleeve and Lodge, with particular reference to §286, suggests that since both nouns are feminine, it ought to be breves. (If one or the other had been neuter, brevia would be correct.)]

Lacerta Chamæleon, the Chameleon

is now Chamaeleo chamaeleon, the European chameleon, making it the only reptile in the six Numbers of the Museum. In spite of the English name, it is found around most of the Mediterranean.

I was hoping to find the artists’ names concealed somewhere in the branch—a common trick in some volumes of the Naturalist’s Miscellany—but no such luck. There’s no visible date line, either.

observable in a less degree in several other species of lizards
[Some varieties of octopus are also celebrated for their color-changing ability; in fact they’re much better at it than chameleons.]

a blueish ash-colour, which sometimes changes to a green
text has sometime

but this experiment did not succeed when repeated afterwards
[Regrettably, the Journal of Irreproducible Results will not be founded until 1955.]

Coracias Scutata, the Red Breasted Roller

is now Pyroderus scutatus, the red-ruffed fruitcrow, with naming credit to Shaw. It lives in several parts of South America.

The original of this text is in the public domain—at least in the U.S.
My notes are copyright, as are all under-the-hood elements.
If in doubt, ask.