Descriptions of Three New Birds from the Belgian Congo Part 1

Descriptions of Three New Birds from the Belgian Congo.

by James Chapin.

The whole of the large collection of birds secured by the Congo Expedition of the American Museum of Natural History during the years 1909 to 1915, under the leadership of Mr. Herbert Lang, has now arrived safely at the Museum. It is composed of material gathered all across the Belgian Congo, from Boma on the west to Aba in the northeastern corner, but the greater part from the more remote territory between Stanley Falls and the Enclave of Lado, including the dense equatorial forests of the Ituri, Nepoko, and Bomokandi, and the high-grass and bush country of the Uele District to the north and northeast.

Of the relatively small number of zoological expeditions that have passed through and collected in these regions, none has ever before been able to make such a prolonged stay, and the varied zoological results of this Expedition are surely of the highest scientific interest. The ornithological collection contains in the neighborhood of six thousand skins, and represents some 600 different species, a number of them of course new to science. These it is our purpose to describe as promptly as possible in this Bulletin, before taking up the greater work of a general report on all the forms collected, with more extended notes on their distribution, habits, food, and nests.

Descriptions of the first three new forms follow:

=Chaetura melanopygia= sp. nov.

Related to _C. stictilaema_, but much larger, with feathers of upper breast more heavily margined with blackish, and without any trace of a light rump-band.

Description of type, collector's No. 4986 Congo Exp. A. M. N. H., [Male] ad. Avakubi, Ituri District, Belgian Congo, Aug. 15, 1913.

Upper parts brownish-black (chaetura-black, Ridgw.) becoming black on wings and tail, with faint violet and green reflections (green on freshly molted feathers). Ear coverts drab, bordered with fuscous-black; feathers of throat pale smoke-gray, margined with fuscous, those of upper breast similar, but heavily bordered with fuscous-black, consequently with a very pronounced "scaly"

appearance; lower breast growing darker, so that the dark borders are less conspicuous, and the feathering of the belly completely fuscous-black with slight oily gloss. Under wing coverts mouse-gray with darker edges, flanks and under tail-coverts black with slight greenish gloss. Tail slightly rounded.

Iris dark brown, bill black, feet bluish, shading to dusky brown on tips of toes and claws. Sexual organs enlarged.

Length (skin) 145 mm.; wing 164; tail 49.5; bill (exposed culmen), 7.5; metatarsus 13.

Only one specimen secured, out of two or three of these swifts that were flying about over the Ituri River, in company with several examples of _Chaetura cassini_. In spite of our long stay in this region, the species was not again positively recognized; but _Chaetura cassini_, _C.

stictilaema_ and _C. sabinei_ were all of common occurrence there.

=Apaloderma minus= sp. nov.

Resembling _Apaloderma narina_, but decidedly smaller, of different coloration, and with bill less swollen. The serration of the maxilla is less pronounced.

The adult male of _A. minus_ is distinguished by the bluer hue of the forehead, throat, and upper breast, which show in certain lights deep violet reflections, and by the more scarlet, less crimson color of the remaining underparts. In life the naked areas on the cheeks are bright yellow, whereas in _A. narina_ they are light green.

The adult female differs in the more tawny or ochraceous coloration of the breast, which is grayish in this sex of _A. narina_, although sometimes washed with light brown on the upper breast. A greenish gloss on the upper breast is more common in females of _A. narina_.

In juvenal plumage both species are entirely buff below, the feathers more or less tipped with dusky.

Type: collector's No. 4983. Congo Exp. A. M. N. H. [Male] ad.

Avakubi Ituri District, Belgian Congo, August 13, 1913.

_Description of Adult Male_ (type).--Throat, upper breast, lores and forehead glossy wall-green, in certain lights with violet reflections; upper tail-coverts much the same, but nape and back brilliant peacock-green. Lower breast, sides, belly, and under tail-coverts bright scarlet-red; feathering of legs dusky, with faint green gloss and slightly bordered with whitish. Primaries fuscous-black, the outer ones margined with white and the inner ones white at the base. Alula and primary-coverts blackish; lesser wing-coverts blackish, broadly margined with green; middle coverts with less green and vermiculated with white. Greater coverts and secondaries blackish vermiculated with white, the former narrowly edged with green, the secondaries only very faintly. Three middle pairs of rectrices blackish, slightly glossed with violet-blue and margined with green; outer three pairs white, with bases black faintly glossed with blue, this blackish color extending out furthest on inner webs, and finally breaking up into small dusky spots.

Iris red-brown; distal portion of bill light greenish gray, base of bill and two naked patches beneath eye light cadmium-yellow, naked skin above eye lemon-yellow; bare skin of foreneck (covered in life by plumage) light blue; feet pale pink.

Length (skin) 254 mm.; length of bill (culmen from base) 18 mm.; height of bill at nostril 9.5 mm.; greatest width of maxilla, near gape, 16 mm.; wing (measured with dividers) 113 mm.; tail 146 mm.

In some of the other male specimens the green borders on the secondaries are lacking, and the exact intensity of the white vermiculation is of course variable. The measurements of a series of 11 adult males are: bill, 17-18.5 mm.; wing, 108-115.5; tail, 136.5-151. This is smaller than any _Apaloderma_ heretofore described.

_Adult Female._ Crown, back, and rump brilliant peacock-green, upper tail-coverts viridian. Lores, forehead, and ear-coverts more brownish; throat and upper breast snuff-brown, sometimes with glossy green at sides of neck or a few narrow green borders on the chest. Lower breast cinnamon, sometimes finely barred with dusky; belly somewhat lighter and rosier than that of male; feathering of legs dusky. Tail similar to that of male; but the vermiculation on the wing-coverts and secondaries is very much finer, and light ochraceous-buff, not white.

Iris red-brown; naked cheek-patches lemon-yellow, base of bill slightly deeper yellow; culmen dusky, bill light green below; feet flesh-color, claws gray.

Measurements of three adult females: bill (culmen from base), 17-17.5 mm.; wing 104.5-113 mm.; tail, 140-149 mm.

An _immature male_ has the green of the upper breast broken by irregular bars of cinnamon. The lower breast is cinnamon mixed with rose, and barred at the sides with green, and shades to light scarlet-red on belly and under tail-coverts. The greater wing-coverts and three inner secondaries bear each a large spot of light ochraceous buff, extending across the whole width of the innermost secondary, and most of the secondaries are vermiculated or speckled on their outer webs with buff. Just behind the eye there is a small spot of white, and the lower edge of the ear-coverts is marked by a buff line.

Iris dark brown; maxilla dusky, but its base greenish-yellow like the naked cheek-patches, mandible light yellowish-green, with light-gray tip; feet pinkish. Bill, 18.5 mm.; wing, 108; tail, 139.

A _nestling_ ([Male]), with tail only 25 mm. long, is of a yellower green above (calliste green); lores, forehead and entire underparts cinnamon-buff, the downy feathers slightly tipped with dusky except on abdomen. The wing-coverts and inner secondaries bear large spots of buff. Iris brownish-gray; bill very light bluish-gray, its base and corners of mouth greenish-yellow; feet pale flesh-color, claws gray.

The spots on the inner secondaries, in the first plumage, appear to be much larger in the case of _A. minus_ than with _A.

narina_, for an immature female specimen of the latter shows only rounded spots on the outer webs not exceeding 5.5 mm. in diameter, while the additional buffy speckling is practically absent.

This trogon was found by us in the Ituri forest, from the Nepoko River south to Avakubi and westward to Banalia, but its range is certainly wider than this. It is a species perfectly distinct from _Apaloderma narina_, but both occur in the same forests, though the latter was also to be heard at times in areas of tall second-growth, whereas _A.

minus_ seemed never to leave the primitive uncut forest, and was extremely shy and difficult to observe. These two trogons may easily be recognized by their voices, the common note of _A. narina_ being a double, dove-like "cu-coo," which is repeated slowly for several seconds, starting faintly but increasing in strength, and accompanied by a slight wagging of the tail. That of _A. minus_ is a series of longer, more mournful sounds that might be represented by the word "kwaw." These calls are given by the males.

As compared with the measurements given in Prof. Reichenow's "Vogel Afrikas" and the British Museum Catalogue, our specimens of _Apaloderma narina_ from the Ituri District seem rather small, and may belong to the race _aequatoriale_ of Dr. Sharpe.

A series of 12 adult males measures: bill (culmen from base) 18.5-21 mm.; wing 117.5-128; tail 146.5-166. The green borders of the secondaries are never very well marked, and sometimes virtually absent.

Seven females from the same region measure: Bill, 18.5-21; Wing 117.5-129; Tail, 149-169.

One male collected in the Uele District, in a small forest tract between Faradje and Aba, is strikingly larger; wing, 134; tail 194.

This example is probably referable to _A. n. narina_.

=Ceriocleptes= gen. nov. (Indicatoridae).

Resembling _Indicator_ in its bill and general form, save for the tail, which is composed of 12 quills, the two middle pairs of nearly equal length, somewhat pointed and curved strongly outwards, the next pair considerably shorter, but also pointed and slightly curved; while the fourth, fifth and sixth are straight, greatly narrowed, and stiffened, becoming successively shorter, so that the outermost pair is not half so long as the median. The tail-coverts are unusually long, those below as long as the longest rectrices, and projecting in the fork of the tail.

=Ceriocleptes xenurus= sp. nov.

Description of type, collector's No. 5628, Congo Exp. A. M. N. H.

[Male] ad., Avakubi, Ituri District, Belgian Congo. Apr. 17, 1914.

Feathers of forehead, crown, back, and rump blackish-brown, bordered or washed with yellowish-citrine, those of nape and upper back whitish at the base. Sides of head lighter, shading gradually to olive-buff on throat, breast, and sides; middle of abdomen still lighter, ivory-yellow. Upper wing-coverts and secondaries fuscous-black (freshly molted feathers blacker) narrowly edged with olive-ocher. Primaries similar, but yellowish border almost entirely lacking; both primaries and secondaries fading to pale olive-buff on their inner edges. Under wing-coverts colored like the breast, but with faint dusky shaft-streaks. Feathering of flanks ivory-yellow, with strong blackish median lines. Two middle pairs of rectrices dull blackish, 3rd pair whitish, with a small blackish spot on the outer edge close to the tip, and a larger concealed black spot on the inner web towards the base; the 3 remaining pairs of rectrices white. The long median pair of under tail-coverts blackish, the next pair similar, but margined with whitish, the remainder ivory-yellow with faint shaft-streaks of dark brown.

Upper tail-coverts fuscous-black, bordered with amber-yellow.[1]

The bill, nostril, and feet resemble those of _Indicator indicator_, but the bill is somewhat stouter, while the wings and tail are shorter. The 9th (outer) primary is intermediate in length between the 6th and 5th; the 7th and 8th are longest.

Iris bright brown, naked edges of eyelids grayish-brown; bill dusky-brown; feet dull grayish-green.

Length (skin), 160 mm.; wing, 93.5; tail 56; bill (culmen from base), 13.5; metatarsus, 14.

This unique specimen was shot by the describer from a tall tree in the forest, where it was accompanied by one other of its kind. The sexual organs were somewhat enlarged; the stomach filled with beeswax, mixed with small pieces of insects. Apparently this species is not in the habit of leading men to beehives.

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