Whitehead, John (1860-1899) (DNB00)

WHITEHEAD, JOHN (1860–1899), ornithologist, the second son of Mr. Jeffrey Whitehead of Newstead, Wimbledon, was born at Muswell Hill, Hornsey, on 30 June 1860. He was educated at Elstree under the Rev. Mr. Saunderson, and at the Edinburgh Institution under Dr. Ferguson, who greatly fostered his taste for natural history. Exposing himself too recklessly in the pursuit of his favourite science, he developed a weakness of the lungs, and was compelled to winter in the Engadine in 1881–2, and in Corsica in 1882 and 1883, when he began collecting, and discovered a bird new to science. On his return to England he prepared for a collecting trip to Mount Kina Balu, North Borneo, which lasted from October 1884 to August 1888. He brought back examples of many new animals, including no fewer than forty-five new species of birds. The results of this trip are fully set forth in his ‘Exploration of Mount Kina Balu,’ London, 1893, 4to. In December 1893 he set out for the Philippines. He made nine different trips in those islands, and discovered on Mount Data the first known indigenous mammalian fauna, returning to England in 1896. In January 1899 he started for those islands again, intending to complete his researches there; but the war between the United States and Spain put an end to the plan, and, after waiting a few weeks at Manila, he sailed for Hong Kong, and thence set out to explore the island of Hainau. The expedition was, however, attacked by fever. He with difficulty struggled back to the coast, and died at the port of Hoi-hou on 2 June 1899.

[Country Life, July 1899; Spectator, July 1899; information kindly supplied by Whitehead's father and by Mr. W. Ogilvie Grant.]

B. B. W.