THE DUKE-OF-YORK ISLAND MUNIA.
PLATE VIII. (FIG. 1).
Munia meloena, Selater, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1880, p. 66, pl. vii. fig. 2.
Munia hemimeloena (err. ?), Selater, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1880, p. 66.
Munia meloena, Reichnw, et Schal., Journ, fur Ornith. 1880, p. 322.
Munia meloena, Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. xvi. 1880, p. 192.
Munia meloena, Salvadori, Ornit. Papuasia, p. 439 (1881).
Figure. Selater, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1880, pl. vii. fig. 2.
Habitat. New Britain. Duke of York Island (Brown).
“Nigra ; uropygio, cauda ; tectricibus superioribus et rectricum marginibus externis castaneis ; cauda acuminata, Tectricibus duabus mediis quam caeterae longioribus ; ventre medio rufo, hypochondriis nigro variegatis, crisso nigro ; alis extus et dorso postico fuscescenti-nigris, subalaribus rufescentibus ; rostro crasso et pedibus nigris. Long, tota 4.3, alae 2, cauda; 1.3 ” (P. L. Selater).
Mate. Head and back dull black ; rump and upper tail-coverts glistening ferruginous ; centre tail-feathers and outer edges of the rest glistening pale ferruginous ; primaries and secondaries dull blackish-brown ; chin, sides of head, breast, sides, flanks, latter part of abdomen, and under tail-coverts black ; side feathers irregularly barred with pale rufous like the belly ; axillaries and under wing-coverts pale fulvous ; iris blackish ; bill and feet slaty-black : “length 4.3, wing 2.0, tail 1.3 ” (P. L. Selater).
Female. Similar, but not so black, rump and upper tail-coverts paler glistening ferru¬ginous ; abdomen pale fulvous ; bill and feet slaty-black : length 3.85, wing 2.1. tail 1.4, tarsus 0.65, culmen 0.6.
For the knowledge of the existence of this new and very peculiar black form of Munia, we are indebted to the Rev. G. Brown, who procured it at Kabakadai on the coast of New Britain.
It was described and figured in the ‘Proceedings of the Zoological Society’ for 1880, by Mr. P. L. Selater, who says :—
“This species is remarkable for its general black colouring, varied only by the chestnut upper tail-coverts and the broad rufous patch on the belly. Its bill is stronger even than M. forbesi.
“Besides the skins, Mr. Brown sends a small collection of birds in spirit, of which the exact localities are not stated. It contains a second example of Munia hemimeloena, also Donacicola spectabilis.”
At present no particulars have come to my knowledge respecting the differences of the adult and young, or the habits and nidification.
The only specimen of Munia meloena which I have had an opportunity of seeing is that of a female collected by the Rev. G. Brown at Kabais, New Britain, now in the collection of Canon H. B. Tristram, who very kindly lent it to me for the purposes of this work.
The figure (Plate VIII. fig. 1) is taken from a male in the British Museum.