Page:The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 4 (1900).djvu/119

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

( 93 )


In this month's 'Avicultural Magazine' will be found the first part of "A Naturalist's Notes in Ecuador," by Mr. Walter Goodfellow, who, with Mr. Claud Hamilton, has spent two years in that interesting region. We extract the following remarks anent Humming-birds, which, the writer remarks, would be generally associated with sunny flower-bedecked glades:—"It is true that numbers of them are found (and some beautiful ones too) in the hot forests of Tropical America, but they are much more numerous, and far more beautiful in the higher Andes; some of the loveliest of all being found at altitudes of between eight and thirteen thousand feet; whilst the little Black Hummer with a sapphire throat, known as Jameson's Humming-bird, I have seen, when camping out on the volcano of Pichincha, Condor-shooting, flying past our tent in a heavy snowstorm, with its mournful twit twit, at an altitude of over fourteen thousand feet. I have noticed others of the same family sitting on the telegraph-wires (apparently a favourite post of theirs) along the dusty roads in the central highlands, in the most prosaic manner possible, watching, perchance, for passing insects, darting into the air to seize their prey on the wing, and always returning to the same spot. It seems to be almost a general rule in Ecuador that Humming-birds which make their home in the dense forests lack almost entirely the beautiful iridescence peculiar to most members of the family. But, if they lack colour, many of them have peculiarities of form—as, for instance, the wonderful curved bill of the Eutoxeres aquila, the saw-bill of the Androdon æquatorialis, and the elongated tail-feathers of the Phœthornis syrmatophorus. In showing Humming-birds' skins to friends at home one always hears the remark, 'How lovely they must look flying about!' It is true they do look pretty with their graceful poses, but their wonderful colouring is generally then almost entirely invisible, and certainly not seen to proper advantage, many species looking much the same as one another in freedom, but vastly different when held in the hand and turned to the right light."

In the 'American Naturalist' for December last there has been published the account of a most instructive observation by Florence Wells