Zoological Illustrations/VolIII-Pl179

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Zoological Illustrations Volume III Plate 179.jpg

MUSCIPETA labrosa,

Red-lipped Flycatcher.

Generic Character.—See Pl. 116.

Specific Character.

M. nitidè nigra; rictu labroso, rubro; cruribus infra genua plumatis.
Glossy black; gape margined by a red skin; legs feathered beyond the knees.

This bird, though unattractive in its colours, is nevertheless very remarkable. It may be almost said to have lips; for round the gape, at each angle of the mouth, is a narrow loose skin; perfectly naked, and rather projecting. This singularity is increased by its colour in the live bird; which, by a note attached to the specimen, is stated to be of a beautiful red. It seems a species hitherto unknown, and was found near the Great Fish River of Southern Africa.

The figure is rather less than the natural size; the whole plumage deep black; glossed with bluish green in every part but the quill and tail feathers; the quills inside are grey, margined with olive; the first of these is very short, the second and third shorter than the fourth, and the two next are nearly of equal length. The tail has ten feathers, and is even, except the two outer pair, which are progressively shorter. The bill rather thick and strong, the culmine not very apparent, the upper mandible strongly notched, the under but slightly; the nostrils are hid by thickset incumbent feathers, mixed with hairs; these cover the aperture, which is rather large, round, and encircled by a narrow membrane. The legs are very short, the three fore-toes united as far as the first joint, the hind-toe short; the claws of all are small, and the sole of the foot perfectly flat, like the Bee-eaters. I have been minute in noting these characters, because, although the bird will stand at present in the great family of the Flycatchers, there is no doubt they will hereafter be divided into distinct groups.