Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/324

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312
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

varied kinds, both in the matter of form and plumage. One of the most evident types exemplifying the kinship between the Caprimulgi and the owls is the extraordinary species found in the caves of Caripe in South America and in Trinidad. This is the well-known "oil bird," the Steatornis caripensis of science, and also called the guacharo by the natives, who enter every season the caves where it breeds to collect the young. This is done to obtain the grease by trying out their fat-laden bodies, and thus the species has a certain economical importance. In its structure Steatornis is much like some owls, and its two to four white eggs, laid

PSM V44 D324 The whip poor will a vociferus.jpg
Fig. 2.—The Whip-poor-will (A. vociferus)♂. Drawn by the author and much reduced.

in a nest built by the bird of clay, closely resemble the eggs of certain birds of that group. Likewise it is nocturnal in habit, and markedly differs from the average goatsucker inasmuch as it feeds upon fruit and certain oily nuts. Structurally it has been examined with some care by the British anatomist Garrod, who fully appreciated its relation to the owls. Well it may be said that most owls have long legs which they can use to full advantage, which our night hawks and whip-poor-wills do not possess, those members being so short in them that they can only shuffle over the ground with difficulty. Yes, but there is also a Central and South American species of goatsucker, with legs so long that it can run upon terra firma with all the swiftness and ease of one of