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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Notes to R. B. Sharpe’s “A Monograph of the
Alcedinidae” (S204b: 1868-1871)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: Notes/letter fragments interspersed throughout Sharpe’s monographic treatment of the kingfishers family. The comments below supplied by Wallace do not include Sharpe's many quotations of already published Wallace writings. Note that the main portion of Sharpe's work is not paginated. To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S204B.htm

[[p. xlv]] … "These birds [[Tanysiptera]] are all inhabitants of dense thickets or forests where there is soil free from dense vegetation, from which they can pick up insects, small mollusks, or Crustacea. They rest on branches three to five feet from the ground, and dart down on their prey, often with such force as to stick their bill into the ground, as shown by its being often covered with mud. They are said to nest in deserted white-ants' nests or in caves or holes in banks. In Aru T. hydrocharis was often brought me by the native boys alive. They caught them before dawn, roosting under ledges of the coralline rocks which border the forest waterstreams in those islands."

[[p. n.p.]] … "Alcedo moluccensis has the bill black, with a red patch at the base of the lower mandible; feet red; iris dark. It frequents banks of streams and eats small fish."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This species [[Alcedo beryllina]] is less of a forest bird than its ally A. meningting, being found chiefly in the plains of East Java and Lombock on the banks of the river. It has very much the habits of our own Kingfisher, and feeds, I believe, mainly on minute fish."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This minute Kingfisher [[Alcyone pusilla]] frequents the banks of small streams in the deep forest, feeding on small fish and Crustacea. It appears to be scarce, or perhaps from its small size and retiring habits, is less easily seen than its more conspicuous allies."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Pelargopsis melanorhyncha]] "Bill black; inside of the bill and soles of the feet orange; feet above black; eats fish, shrimps, &c."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This little Kingfisher [[Ceyx solitaria]] seems to be strictly confined to the Papuan Islands. The stomachs of those I killed contained the remains of water-beetles and other insects."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This beautiful little bird [[Ceyx rufidorsa]] is not uncommon in Malacca and the large western islands of the Archipelago in low dry or swampy jungle, but generally near some stream or lake. Often while searching after other birds, its rapid chirping note would be heard, and it would dart by, appearing more like a small flame of fire than a living thing. It eats small insects which it picks from the ground, darting upon them as an ordinary Kingfisher darts upon a fish."

[[p. n.p.]] … "Ceyx cajeli inhabits swampy thickets in Bouru, feeding on water-insects and minute fish, which it captures in pools and ditches."

[[p. n.p.]] … "it [[Ceyx lepida]] is the most abundant and characteristic species in the Moluccas. Its habits resembles those of Ceyx rufidorsa, Strickland."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This species [[Syma torotoro]] was always rare, and I know nothing about its habits, except that it occurred in thick forest, in similar places to those frequented by the Tanysipterae which it appears somewhat to resemble in its habits."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Halcyon cyanoventris]] "Iris dark brown; bill and feet coral-red ; length of a fresh specimen 10 3/4 inches. I found this species in East Java frequenting the banks of streams shaded by forest. It often perched high up on the branches, but in other respects resembled our own Kingfisher in its habits."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Halcyon albicilla]] "frequents the rocky and forest-clad sea-coasts of New Guinea, Waigiou and Gilolo, feeding on fish and small crustaceans."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Halcyon diops]] "Iris dark brown; eats insects, dragon-flies, etc. I often saw it on the beach and in the cocoa-nut groves in the town of Ternate."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This species [[Halcyon australasiae]] was procured by me in Lombock and Timor, and when in the flesh measured 8 1/4 inches. It frequents thickets near the sea, and feeds on insects, especially grasshoppers."

[[p. n.p.]] … "Carcineutes pulchellus is found in the thickets near streams, where it seems to feed chiefly on small crabs, which it picks up off the mud. I found it in Malacca and Java."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This beautiful species [[Caridonax fulgidus]] was found in a few localities in the Island of Lombock, in low woods and thickets, where it feeds on coleopterous insects, and probably also on Myriapoda, small Crustacea and land shells, darting down from its perch to seize them on the ground, and returning to the same post, just as a Kingfisher seizes a fish."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This rare species [[Tanysiptera nympha]] was obtained by my assistant, Mr. Allen, in the interior of the North-West peninsula of New Guinea; and the single specimen he obtained is, I believe, the only complete and authentic one in Europe. New Guinea is the only island which [[p. n.p.]] possesses two species of this genus, and may therefore be looked upon as its metropolis, and as more likely than any other part of the world to produce new forms of Kingfishers, connecting this isolated group with the rest of the family."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Tanysiptera hydrocharis]] … "eats insects, digging its beak into the ground. It roosts in the holes of rocks by the sides of small streams."

[[p. n.p.]] … [[Tanysiptera acis]] had some "small land-shells in the stomach."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This fine species [[Dacelo gaudichaudi]] was not uncommon in swampy jungle, where its curious loud barking was often heard, and was sometimes mistaken for a dog. It feeds on Crustacea, mollusca and myriapoda which it picks up off the ground. I at first took the blue and brown-tailed forms for distinct species and have a note to the former "sexes alike;" but have unfortunately not kept a blue-tailed female, as I afterwards came to the conclusion that the difference was sexual."

[[p. n.p.]] … "This species [[Cittura cyanotis]] was obtained only in the hot dry forests at the foot of the great volcano of Klabat, near the north eastern extremity of Celebes. It was very scarce. Its habits were similar to those of the Dacelos, hunting about near the ground, from which it picked up insects and molluscs, returning to perch upon a low horizontal bough in the thickest parts of the jungle."

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