Zoological Illustrations/VolI-Pl44

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Zoological Illustrations Volume I Plate 44.jpg


Grooved-bill Aracari.

Generic Character.

Rostrum capite longius, crassum, inane, cultratum, basali margine incrassatum, maxillæ angulo frontali obtuso; tomia serrata: nares superæ in maxillæ basi: lingua angusta, pennacea. Cauda elongata, cuneata. Pedes scansorii. Illiger. Prod. p. 202.

Typus Genericus Ramph. Aracari Linn.

Bill longer than the head, thick, light, curved, thickened at the basal margin, the frontal angle obtuse, the margins serrated. Nostrils nearly vertical, situated on the base of the bill. Tongue long, slender, feathered. Tail elongated, cuneated. Feet scansorial.

Generic Type Aracari Toucan Lath.

Specific Character.

P. viridis, subtus pallidior; jugulo albescente, circa oculos cæruleus; rostrum duobus sulcis longitudinalibus incisum.
Green Aracari, beneath paler; throat whitish, round the orbits blue; bill with two lateral longitudinal grooves.
P. sulcatus. Swainson, in Journal of Royal Institution, vol. 9. p. 267.

All those species of the Linnæan Toucans having a long wedge-shaped tail, and the nostrils passing through the upper part of the bill, are comprehended by Illiger and other continental writers under this genus. They have been called by the French Aracari; which name I have retained as an English generic distinction. They inhabit the same country and situations as the real Toucans, which are distinguished by having a short, broad, and even tail, and the nostrils placed behind the bill.

A fine example of this very rare bird I first met with in the small collection sent to my excellent friend, E. Falkener, Esq. from the Spanish Main. I have since noticed another which was in Mr. Bullock's museum, and is now in the possession of Lord Stanley: these are the only two specimens known.

This bird was first described by me in the Journal of the Royal Institution near a year ago. When Professor Temminck was in England, I showed him the manuscript description and drawing which I had then made: he assured me he had never seen the bird before, otherwise than in Bullock's museum. A short time after, my account of it was published. I observe, however, that in the new edition of his Manuel he gives this name to a new bird of his own: no description however follows, and it is therefore impossible to say if the Professor intends it for this identical species.

We must postpone any further observations on this family, and conclude by giving the original description above alluded to.

Total length twelve inches, of which the bill in extreme length measures three. It is much curved, and more attenuated than any of the Aracaris, being thickest at the base; from which it narrows to a sharp point at the tip. The upper part is convex, and somewhat thickened; the sides are compressed, and the upper mandible has two broad slightly indented grooves on each side: the base has a few transverse wrinkles, and the serratures deep and unequal. The lower mandible half the depth of the upper, the sides concave, and the teeth less. The colour (in the dried bird) black; the base of the lower and the upper half of the superior mandible rufous, the base with a whitish marginal line. The nostrils are more lateral than usual, being placed in a line with the eye; the orbits naked and reddish brown, the feathers encircling which (particularly beneath the eye) are vivid cerulean blue. The whole upper plumage is parrot green, paler beneath, with a gloss of golden yellow on the cheeks and sides: throat dusky white. Wings short, five inches long, and rounded; inner shafts of the quills black, margined with whiteish. Tail cuneated, green, four inches and a half long, the four middle feathers equal. Legs dusky black.