DIDUS SOLITARIUS (SELYS).
(Plates 25, 25a, 25b.)
- Great Fowl Tatton, Voy. Castleton, Purchas his Pilgrimes, ed. (1625) I p. 331 (Bourbon or Réunion).
- Dod-eersen Bontekoe, Journ. ofte gedenck. beschr. van de Ost. Ind. Reyse Haarlem (1646) p. 6.
- Oiseau Solitaire Carré, Voy. Ind. Or. I p. 12 (1699).
- Solitaire Voy. fait par Le Sieur D.B. (1674) p. 170.
- Apterornis solitarius de Selys, Rev. Zool (1848) p. 293.
- Didus apterornis Schlegel, Ook een Wordje over den Dodo p. 15 f. 2 (1854).
- Pezophaps borbonica Bp., Consp. Av. II p. 2 (1854).
- Ornithaptera borbonica Bp., Consp. Av. II. p. 2 (1854).
- Didine Bird of the Island of Bourbon (Réunion) A. Newt. Tr. Zool. Soc. VI pp. 373-376, pl. 62 (1867).
- Apterornis solitaria Milne-Edw., Ibis (1869) p. 272.
- ? Didus borbonica Schleg., Mus. P.B. Struthiones p. 3 (1873).
- Solitaire of Réunion A. Newton, Enc. Brit. II p. 732 (1875).
The Didine bird of Réunion was first mentioned by Mr. Tatton, the Chief Officer of Captain Castleton, in his account of their voyage given in Purchas his Pilgrimes. His account is as follows:—
"There is store of land fowle both small and great, plenty of Doves, great Parrats, and such like; and a great fowle of the bignesse of a Turkie, very fat, and so short winged, that they cannot fly, being white, and in a manner tame: and so be all other fowles, as having not been troubled nor feared with shot. Our men did beat them down with sticks and stones. Ten men may take fowle enough to serve fortie men a day."
We then find frequent mention of this bird by Bontekoe in 5 separate treatises or editions, from 1646 to 1650, and by Carré in 1699. But the first more detailed description is given by the Sieur D.B. (Dubois) in 1674, which is as follows:—
"Solitaires. These birds are thus named because they always go alone. They are as big as a big goose and have white plumage, black at the extremity of the wings and of the tail. At the tail there are some feathers resembling those of the Ostrich. They have the neck long and the beak formed like that of the Woodcocks (he refers to the woodrails, Erythromachus—W.R.), but larger, and the legs and feet like those of Turkey-chicks. This bird betakes itself to running, only flying but very little. It is the best game on the Island."