48. Poliornis poliogenys

No. 48 Bis. Poliornis Poliogenys. TEMM.

P. C. 325.
Buteo Pyrrhogenys, Faun, Jap. VII. b. Pygmaeus, BLYTH.


This species, first obtained by Dussumier, in the Island of Luzon, (Phillipines) and figured by Temminck as the " Buse a joues grises," has now occurred on several occasions, in Southern Burmah, and must therefore find a place in these notes.

Temminck's original remarks and description of this species are as follows: - :

" This little species of Buzzard is less than the European Buzzard by one half, and the beak is somewhat slenderer, and straighter, than that of this latter species. The long wings reach to within a short distance of the end of the tail, which is long and slightly rounded; the toes are nearly similar to those of the Cymindes Buzzards, (of Brazil etc.) or the Honey Buzzard of Europe; the tarsi, however, are long and slender, as in the Asturs; the beak, though smaller, is similar to that of the Honey Buzzard, but the feathers of the lores, and orbital region, are hair-like, as in other Buzzards, and the wing feathers are graduated, as in the Common Buzzard.

" The clear grey colour of the cheek feathers, and the white throat with the central ashy stripe, suffice to distinguish the adult. The mantle is reddish brown, the shafts of the feathers being brown; the quills whitish on the inner webs, and blackish towards the tips, are barred at wide distances, with little black bands; the tail bears four, transverse, blackish bands, on a clear brown ground. The supercilia are white, mingled with greyish; the breast is a uniform brown; the vent, flanks, and abdomen are pure white, broadly barred with reddish brown. The base of the bill and the cere yellow, the tips of both mandibles being black. The feet probably yellow. The whole length 18.1. The tarsi 2.7. A male only 16 inches in Length, retains some of the feathers of the young bird, which shew that in the young, the lower parts are spotted with long brown streaks, bordered on either side with reddish white; the breast is brown mottled with red, each feather with four, more or less rounded, white spots, the white predominates on the vent and flanks, where the brown bars, more or less regularly marked, are much further apart than in the adult. It seems also that the hands on the tail are more numerous in the young than the adult."

Mr. Blyth remarks, in the Ibis for 1866, that this species was also obtained in the Phillipines, by the late Hugh Cuming, and that an interesting notice of it is given in the Ornithological report, accompanying the narrative of Commodore Perry's exploring expedition to the China Seas and Japan. He adds, "a single specimen was procured by the late Dr. Heifer somewhere in the Tenasserim provinces, which I described as Buteo pygmaeus in 1845." This description of Mr. Blyth's, is a far better one than I could hope to write, and I therefore transcribe it from that treasury of ornithology, (and indeed Natural History generally) the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. " Length 18 inches, or perhaps rather more; of wing, 13 inches, and tail 8 inches; bill to forehead (including cere) 0.94 of an inch in a straight line, and 1.25 from point of upper mandible to gape : tarsi, 2 inches; and feathered for nearly its upper third. Colour of the beak blackish, the cere and base of both mandibles, appearing to have been yellow; legs and toes also yellowish, and talons black. General hue of the upper parts, uniform hair-brown, the scapularies and coverts slightly tipped with rufous white: nape white, tipped with brown, and slightly edged laterally with rufous, which colour increases on the sides of tho neck, and tinges the wings, the greater feathers of which have their outer webs uniform brown, and the inner, rufescent near the shaft, and white towards the margin, being barred with the same brown as that colouring the outer web; the coverts are slightly edged, and more largely tipped, with dull rufous ; the longer upper tail coverts are tipped with whitish ; and the tail is nearly of the same brown with the back, but rather paler and more greyish, its middle feathers having four broad dusky bars, the last subterminal, and a rudiment of a fifth which becomes gradually more obscure to the outermost: over and beyond the eye is a conspicuous whitish streak: the under-parts are rufescent whitish, palest on the throat and lower tail coverts, which are without markings, excepting a slight dusky mesial line along the throat; the breast has a broad mesial dusky streak to each feather, assuming on the belly and flanks, more or less, the appearance of transverse bands, which are united along the shafts of the feathers, leaving oval intervals of white, and the feathers being externally margined with pale fulvous; tibial plumes very pale buff, or with rufous central markings; and forepart of the under surface of the wings similarly coloured, the quills albescent underneath and obscurely barred, but dusky towards their tips."

Mr. Swinhoe, in the Ibis for 1864, notices the occurrence of this species in Formosa, and makes the following remarks in regard to his specimen:

" Bill blue black, pale on the gonys and lower portion of base of upper mandible; cere and over the eye dull olive green; eyelids and commissure-angle gamboge ;* legs and toes of a deep rich chrome-yellow; claws black, more or less patched with pale brown, chiefly about their middle portions. Total Length, 16.5 inches; tail, 9 inches; of twelve even feathers, obtuse at the ends, and somewhat graduated outwardly, so as to give the tail a rounded appearance when expanded; wing, 9.25 inches, the fourth and fifth quills equal and longest. Margin of bill with a single deep festoon on each side. Appearance of bird, between Buzzard and Sparrow Hawk; so that Hodgson's generic name, Butastur, is very aptly applied to it. Some feathers of the hind head long and subacuminate, forming a crest protruding about half an inch."

I have never myself seen this species alive, and have no notes in regard to its habits or nidification..

* These are the English equivalents of Temminck's measurements given in the old Paris, feet and inches.

My Scrap Book
Hume, Allan Octavian, ed. My Scrap Book: Or, Rough Notes on Indian Oology and Ornithology. Vol. 1. 1869.
Title in Book: 
48. Poliornis poliogenys
Book Author: 
Allan Octavian Hume
Page No: 
Common name: 
Grey Cheeked Buzzard
Grey-faced Buzzard
Butastur indicus
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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