Zoological Illustrations/VolIII-Pl170

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Zoological Illustrations Volume III Plate 170.jpg

MALURUS Africanus,

African Soft-tail.

Generic Character.—See Pl. 170.

Specific Character.

M. suprà rufescens, strigis nigris varius; genis mentoque albentibus, strigâ nigrâ intermediâ; rectricibus attenuatis, nigris, rufo marginatis.
Above rufous brown with black stripes; sides of the head and chin whitish, divided by a black stripe; tail feathers attenuated, black, the margins rufous.
Motacilla Africana. Gmelin, 1. p. 958.
Sylvia Africana. Lath. Ind. Orn. 2. p. 518. Gen. Zool. 10. 2. p. 615.
African Warbler. Lath. Syn. 4. p. 436.
Curruca nævia. C. B. Spei. Brisson. Ois. 3. p. 390. tab. 22. f. 2. Orn. 1. p. 419.
Le Fluteur. Vaill. Ois. d'Afrique.
Le Vaill. Ois. d'Af. 3. pl. 112. f. 2.

The characters of Malurus, together with a few observations on the birds composing it, I have already given at plate 170 of this work. Yet as the species are scattered in several distinct genera of the Linnæan school, I have here represented that which may be termed the type of the genus, as instituted by Professor Temminck, and as modified by myself. On comparing the characters of Timalia (a new genus of Dr. Horsfield's) with those of Malurus, they will be found to designate one and the same group of birds. Indeed, the minute and interesting details, which Dr. Horsfield has given, put the question almost beyond doubt, and lead me to conclude, that the Doctor was not aware, at the time, that his genus was already recorded.

This bird is not uncommon at the Cape of Good Hope. The notes of the male (according to M. Le Vaillant) are soft and agreeable, much resembling those of a flute; the shortness of the wings renders its flight very low. The figure is of the natural size; and the bird has been so well described by Brisson and Latham, that it is needless to repeat what they have said; the figures both of Le Vaillant and Brisson are by no means accurate. The tail feathers are delicate and transparent; and those of the whole body very soft, with detached webs or radii, similar to Dr. Horsfield's Timalia pileata, and gularis.