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The ‘I’iwi Drepanis coccinea was discovered during James Cook's third circumnavigation (1776–80) and described by G. Forster in 1781. Several possibly authentic specimens and data sources linked to the original expedition exist. However, investigations into preparation style of the various ‘I’iwi specimens in question identified five different workshops and thus provenances. Only one specimen (at Göttingen, Germany) can unequivocally be considered authentic Cook material.
Ceylon Junglefowl was described in 1807 by the Dutch ornithologist Coenraad Jacob Temminck. The specimens he examined were tailless (‘rumpless’) and therefore he named them Gallus ecaudatus. In 1831 the French naturalist René Primevère Lesson described a Ceylon Junglefowl with a tail as Gallus lafayetii (= lafayettii), apparently unaware of Temminck's ecaudatus. Subsequently, ecaudatus and lafayettii were realised to be the same species, of which G.stanleyi and G.lineatus are junior synonyms. However, Charles Darwin tried to disprove the existence of wild tailless junglefowl on Ceylon in favour of his theory on the origin of the domestic chicken.
The observation of an all-dark Pseudobulweria petrel in the Bismarck Sea, Papua New Guinea, in April 2017, is described, together with a review of similar at-sea observations. The affinity of these birds to Fiji Petrel P. macgillivrayi is discussed and some suggestions made as to how knowledge of this population might be advanced so that, ultimately, its conservation can be facilitated along with a suite of imperilled Pacific petrels that urgently require safeguards.
We document a sighting of the Critically Endangered New Zealand Storm Petrel Fregetta maoriana made during a pelagic expedition in May 2017 off Gau Island, Fiji. This is the first confirmed record of this recently rediscovered species away from New Zealand, and provides evidence of long-distance dispersal by failed or non-breeders to tropical waters. It expands the known range by c.2,000 km north. Identification necessitated a thorough review of the ‘streaked storm petrels’ of the Pacific Ocean and this is summarised.
Resplendent Quetzal Pharomachrus mocinno is endemic to montane cloud forests of Middle America. Disjunct populations in the highlands north (southern Mexico and northern Central America) and south of the lowlands of Nicaragua (Costa Rica and Panama) have been recognised subspecifically by several authorities (e.g. Ridgway 1911, Cory 1919, Dickinson & Remsen 2013, Gill & Donsker 2017), but have also been suggested to merit species status (Solórzano & Oyama 2010). We present morphometric differences in the elongated uppertailcoverts of adult males. We analysed width and length of the uppertail-coverts of 73 adult male specimens in European ornithological collections. Mean width and mean length of the uppertail-coverts were significantly greater in northern P. m. mocinno compared to southern P. m. costaricensis. Our data support a previously published proposal to treat the two taxa as species based on molecular and other morphological data.
Four pairs of Fiery-necked Nightjars Caprimulgus pectoralis, each with two young, were observed from hatching to fledging at four different localities in Zimbabwe, two pairs of C. p. fervidus in Mashonaland and two pairs of C. p.crepusculans in Manicaland. Development of the young was measured and their behaviour recorded daily, as was adult behaviour. My observations provided corrections and additions to the literature. C. p. pectoralis and C. p. fervidus remove eggshells from the nest area after hatching, but C. p. crepusculans does not. Chicks provide a feeding stimulus by grasping the adult's bill in its own. By not responding until this stimulus, the adult ensures that each chick receives its fair share of food. Chicks do not return to the nest to be fed. They move towards a calling adult, on or off the nest. The ‘wooting’ call is not a warning call, but is used by adults to summon their chicks, which respond immediately by running towards the sound. Rictal bristles appear on day 18, and are only 2 mm long on day 19, providing no protection for the eyes during the first days of flight. On days 18–19, when the middle claw is 3–4 mm long, the inner flange splits to form a comb of four teeth 1 mm deep, the start of the pectinate claw. Primaries emerge centrifugally, as in adult moult pattern, wherein primaries moult descendantly. Adults leave their territories soon after breeding, whereas chicks, which become independent at 19–23 days, remain in their natal areas.