Zoological Illustrations/VolII-Pl76

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Zoological Illustrations Volume II Plate 76.jpg

MEROPS Savignii,

Black-capped Bee-eater.

Generic Character.—See Pl. 8.

Specific Character.

M. viridis, subtus albescens, uropygio caudâque cæruleis; vertice, strigâ oculari, fasciâque latâ collari nigris; mento, superciliisque albis; rectricibus mediis elongatis.
Green; beneath whitish; rump and tail blue; crown of the head, eye stripe, and broad band across the neck, black; chin and eye-brows white; two middle tail feathers lengthened.

This Bird was pointed out to me by Professor Temminck as described by Le Vaillant in his work on this family, under the name here given; on this authority, therefore, I have been obliged to rest, for I have in vain turned over the catalogues of all the public libraries in the metropolis, in the hope of seeing the work, and ascertaining the fact. The book is modern, and, though expensive, one of standard excellence; but a princely fortune is necessary to purchase such a library as a student should have access to.

Total length eight inches and a half; size rather less than the common bee-eater; the crown in young birds is greenish, in some a dull brown, and in others deep black, margined in the front and sides of the head with a line of white; the ears black, uniting to a broad band across the neck of the same colour, which is margined on the lower part with beautiful sea blue; the nape of the neck, inner covers, and quill feathers, greenish fawn colour; the lesser quills tipt with black; the rump, tail, and outside of the quills next the body changeable greenish blue; the back and upper covers green beneath; the chin is white; the body tinged with greenish, and the under tail covers with blue: the tail three inches long, and in such specimens as have the two middle feathers lengthened, three and a half; bill and feet black.

Inhabits Sierra Leone, and other parts of Africa.