TACHYCINETA MEYENI (Cab.).
Hirundo leucopyga (nec Licht.), Meyen, Nova Acta Acad. Leop.-Carol. Nat. Cur.
1831, Suppl, p. 73, pl. 10.
Hirundo leucopygia (nec Licht.), Gould in Darwin’s Voy. ‘Beagle,’ Birds, p. 10 (1841).
Pelrochelidon meyeni, Cab. Mus. Hein. Th. i. p. 48 (1850) ; Cass. Cat. Philad. Acad, p. 5 (1853) ; Burm. Th. Bras. iii. p. 144 (1856) ; Sclater, Cat. Amer. B. p. 40 (1862).
Hirundo leucorrhoa, pt., Bp. Consp, i. p. 341 (1850).
Hirundo meyeni, Baird, Review Amer. B. p. 302 (1865) ; Scl. P. Z. S. 1867, pp. 321, 337 ; id. & Salv. Ibis, 1868, p. 185, et 1870, p. 499 ; Gray, Hand-l. B. i. p. 72, no. 848 (1869) ; Scl. & Salv. Nomencl. Av. Neotr, p. 11 (1873) ; iid. P.Z.S. 1878, p. 432 ; iid. Rep. Voy. ‘Challenger,' ii. Birds, p. 100 (1881).
Tachycineta meyeni, Salvin, P. Z. S. 1883, p. 120 ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. pp. 116, 631 (1885).
T. supra purpurascenti-eyaneus : uropygio albo : genis anticis macula nigra notatis.
Hab. in America meridionali.
Adult. General colour above glossy purplish blue, with a broad white band across the rump ; lesser and median wing-coverts like the back ; greater coverts blackish, washed with blue externally : bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills blackish, with a dull bluish gloss ; upper tail-coverts purplish blue ; tail-feathers blackish, washed with steel-blue ; lores and feathers below the eye velvety black, with a very narrow supraloral white line ; head, ear-coverts, and sides of' neck purplish blue like the back ; cheeks and under surface of body white, with a dusky spot at the base of the cheeks; on the chest a slight shade of smoky brown ; sides of upper breast brown, with a wash of purplish blue ; sides of body also washed with pale smoky brown ; axillaries and under wing-coverts smoky brown ; quills dusky brown below, lighter on the inner webs. Total length 5.5 inches, culmen 0.35, wing 4.2, tail 2.1, tarsus 0.45.
The sexes arc alike in colour, and a scries measures as follows :—
Total length. In. Wing. In. Tail. In. Tarsus. In.
a. male ad. Chili (Reed). 5 4.2 1.95 0.45
b. male ad. Chili (Reed). 4.9 4.3 1.9 0.4
c. male ad. Chili (Reed). 5 4.25 1.8 0.45
d. male imm. Coquimbo (Markham). 4.1 4.45 1.7 0.45
e. male juv. Sandy Point ('Challenger') 4.6 3.8 1.25 0.4
f. female ad. Sandy Point ('Challenger') 4.7 4.35 1.9 0.45
Young. Differs from the adult in being duller in colour, and much browner on the head and wings, with narrow ashy-whitish edges to the inner secondaries ; supraloral white streak more distinct ; throat tinged with sandy buff ; fore neck and chest mottled with brown bases, and the centre of the chest with a distinct brown streak caused hy the brown inner webs of the feathers ; gape yellow.
Hab. Chili and Bolivia, Patagonia.
This species has much of the appearance of the Common Martin of Europe (Chelidon urbica), and Mr. Gould aptly remarked, in 1841:—“ Were it not for the bare legs of this little Martin, I should have some difficulty in discriminating between it and the one so well known as a summer visitor in our island.” The structural characters of the species prove, however, that it is a member of the genus Tachycineta, which is strictly an American form.
Mr. Darwin met with this Swallow in Southern Patagonia, at Port Famine, in February, and found it breeding in holes in a cliff of earth. Dr. Cunningham procured specimens at Sandy Point in January, and in the same month and at the same place the naturalists on board the ‘Challenger’ likewise met with it.
This species probably winters in Chili ; for Mr. Darwin found it near Valparaiso from August to September, and Capt. Markham at Coquimbo in November. Mr. E. C. Reed has sent several specimens from the province of Colchagua. A Bolivian specimen, procured by Mr. Bridges, and preserved in the Selater collection, marks the highest northern range of this species, so far as is known at present.
We are not aware that any notes on the habits have yet been recorded.
Our descriptions are from specimens in the British Museum, and the figure has been taken from a bird in the Salvin-Godman collection.
TACHYCINETA MEYENI (Cab.).