Zoological Illustrations/VolIII-Pl129

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Zoological Illustrations Volume III Plate 129.jpg

MELLIPHAGA torquata,

White-collared Honeysucker.

Generic Character.—See Pl. 43.

Specific Character.

M. olivaceo-fulvâ, infra albâ; capite auribusque nigris; torque nuchali lunato, albo; superciliorum cute rubrâ.
Fulvous olive, beneath white; head and ears black; nape with a white crescent, skin of the eyebrows red.
Black-crowned Honeysucker. Lewin's Birds of N. Holland, pl. 24.

An elegant, though not a richly coloured bird; remarkable for the bright red of the skin above the eyes, and the milk-white collar at the back of the head. It is from New Holland, and, like others of its tribe, derives its nourishment chiefly from the nectar of flowers; as more particularly mentioned in my first observations on this genus at pl. 43.

The figure is of the natural size: excepting the crown and sides of the head (which are deep black), the whole upper plumage is olive yellow: the shoulders, quills, and tail brown; the two latter margined with olive, but the exterior quills with white: the throat, breast, and collar round the nape pure white; skin of the eyebrows red.

The Lunated Creeper of Dr. Shaw (Le Fuscalben of Vieillot, Certh. pl. 61. p. 122.) is, I apprehend, a distinct species. It is described as being cinnamon brown above, with a bright red spot of feathers behind the eye. In the temperate climate of New Holland, that variation from the usual colouring of particular species, so frequent in tropical birds, is seldom met with; neither can these two birds be sexes of one species, because Lewin, who wrote on the spot, particularly remarks that the female of this is like the male; he further adds, it is found near Paramatta, and the Hawkesbury river, in thick bushy woods.

Lewin's figure is so excellent, that I should not again have represented this bird, had not the plate been prepared previous to the publication of his work. The outline figure of the bill will show more clearly the uncommon length of the nostrils, a character which is peculiar to this genus.