SOME apology is perhaps necessary for the title of this book, since the " Ducks " herein dealt with belong not to the quack-quack tribe. "Bombay Ducks" is a time-honoured Anglo-Indian expression.
In the palmy days of the East India Company, when the now-barren pagoda-tree showered its fruits upon all who shook it, the European residents of the Western Presidency were known as Bombay Ducks to distinguish them from Bengal Qui-his and Madras Mulls.
In very early times " Ducks " was spelt " Duckys " and is probably a corruption of the Latin duces = leaders or " bosses."
Dwellers in Bombay are no longer called ducks, nevertheless the expression Bombay Ducks or Bombay Duck still survives.
It now denotes (I know not why) brittle pieces of sun-dried fish which are eaten with curry in South India.
It seems to me that the animals dealt with in this volume, all of which are to be found on the " Bombay side," have at least an equal right with pieces of dried fish to be called " Bombay Ducks."
The illustrations are reproductions of photographs of living birds taken by Captain R. S. F. Fayrer, I. M. S.
Efforts have been made to produce, not so much a series of pretty pictures as a number of likenesses that will assist people to identify the originals when they meet them in the flesh.
How far the photographer has been successful every reader must judge for himself; but only those who have tried to photograph living birds will be able fully to appreciate the value of Captain Fayrer's work.