THE JAVA SPARROW.
PLATE I. and II.
The Padda, or Rice-Bird, Edw. Nat. Hist. Birds, i. p. 41. pls. 41-42 (1743).
Le Padda, Edw. et Catesby, Samml. Ausland. Vog. i. t. 81-83 (1749).
Coccothraustes caerulescens, Klein, Av. Prodr. p. 96 (1750).
Loxia fusca, Linn. Mus. Adol. Frid. p. 18 (1754).
Loxia oryzivora, Linn. Amoen. Acad. iv. p. 243 (1759).
Coccothraustes sinensis cinerea, Briss. Orn. iii. p. 244. pl. xi. f. 4 (1760).
Coccothraustes sinensis cinerea, Briss. Syn. Meth. i. p. 377. No. 12 (1763).
Loxia oryzivora, Linn. Syst. Nat. i. p. 302 (1766).
Coccothraustes sinensis cinerca, Gerini, Stor. Nat. Ucc. iii. pl. 328. fig. 1 (1771).
Loxia oryzivora, Mull. Volls. Natursystem, 3. p. 550 (1773).
Le Padda, ou l'oisean de Riz, Buff. Hist. Nat. Ois. iii. p. 463 (1775).
Gros-Bec de la Chine, Buff. Pl. Enl. 152. fig. 1 (1777).
Le Calf at, Buff. Hist. Nat. Ois. iv. p. 371 (1778).
Le Padda, on l'oiscan de Riz, Bodd. Tabl. des Pl. Enl. 152. 1 (1783).
Java Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Syn. iii. p. 129 1783).
Red-Eyed Bunting, Lath. Gen. Syn. iii. p. 210 (1783).
Java Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Syn. Suppl. 1. p. 151 (1787).
Loxia oryzivora, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 850 (1788).
Emberiza calfat, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i. p. 887 (1788).
Loxia javensis, Sparrm. Mus. Carls. Fas. 4. tab. lxxxix. (1788).
Loxia oryzivora, Lath. Ind. Ornith, i. p. 380 (1790).
Emberiza calfat, Lath. Ind. Ornith, i. p. 418 (1790).
Loxia oryzivora, Licht. Cat. Rer. Nat. Rar. p. 43 (1793).
Loxia oryzivora, Daud. Trait. d’Ornith. ii. p. 393 (1800).
Sunda Grosbeak, Lath. Gen. Syn. Suppl, ii. p. 195 (1801).
Loxia javensis, Lath. Ind. Ornith. Suppl, ii. p. xlv. (1801).
Le Padda, Vieill. Ois. Chant, p. 94. pl. 61 (1805).
Loxia javensis, Shaw, Gen. Zool. ix. p. 300 (1815).
Loxia oryzivora, Shaw, Gen. Zool. ix. p. 316. pl. 51 (1815).
Emberiza calfat, Shaw, Gen. Zool. ix. p. 415 (1815).
Coccothraustes oryzivora, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. xiii. p. 545 (1817).
Fringilla oryzivora, Horsf. Trans. Linn. Soc. 1822, p. 161.
Fringilla oryzivora, Raffles, Trans. Linn. Soc. 1822, p. 314.
Java Grosbeak, Lath. Hist. Birds, v. p. 251 (1822).
Red-Eyed Bunting, Lath. Hist. Birds, v. p. 331 (1822).
Loxia oryzivora, Hahn und Kust. Vog. Asien, Lief. x. t. iii. (1822).
Fringilla oryzivora, Swains. Zool. Ill. iii. pl. 156 male et female (1822-3).
Fringilla oryzivora, Licht. Verz. Doubl. p. 89 (1823).
Emberiza calfat, Vieill. Encycl. Meth. p. 923 (1823).
Coccothraustes oryzivora, Vieill. Encycl. Meth. p. 1016 (1823).
Coccothraustes oryzivora, Shaw, Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 87 (1824).
Loxia javensis, Shaw, Gen. Zool. xiv. p. 83 (1824).
Loxia oryzivora, Cuv. Regn. An. p. 412 (1829).
Red-Eyed Bunting, (Cuv.), Griff. Aves, ii. p. 129 (1829).
Java Grosbeak, (Cuv.), Griff. Aves, ii. p. 153 (1829).
Loxia javensis, Gulliver, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1842, p. 111.
Amadina oryzivora, Strickl. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1842, p. 167.
Amadina oryzivora, Blyth, Journ. Asiat. Soc. 1846, xv. p. 285.
Amadina oryzivora, Gray et Mitch. Genera Birds, ii. p. 369. No. 4 (1849).
Amadina oryzivora, Blyth, Cat. Birds Mus. A. S. Beng. p. 118 (1849).
Munia oryzivora, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. p. 451 (1850).
Padda oryzivora, Reichb. Avium. Syst. Nat. pl. lxxvi. fig (1850).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Cab. et Hein. Mus. Hein. i. p. 174 (1851).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Gray, Gen. et Subgen. Birds, p. 76 (1855).
Oryzivora leucotis, Blyth, Indian Orn. MS (1855).
Oryzivora orizivora, Blyth, Ind. Ornith. MS (1855).
Coccothraustes oryzivora, Eyton, Cat. Birds, p. 247 (1856).
Padda orizivora, Horsf, et Moore, Cat. Birds Mus. East Ind. Comp. ii. p. 504 (1856-8).
Padda orizivora, Moore, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1859, p. 443.
Oryzornis oryzivora, Swinh. Ibis, 1860, p. 60.
Padda oryzivora, Reichb. Singvogel, p. 42. pl. xv. f. 135-139 (1861).
Padda vereeunda Reichb. Singvogel, pp. 41, iv. pl. xv. 133 (1861).
Munia oryzivora, Swinh. Ibis, 1861, p. 45.
Munia oryzivora, Newton, Ibis, 1861, p. 115.
Munia oryzivora, Bernst. Journ, f. Ornith. 1861, p. 179.
Munia oryzivora, Sch Proc. Zool. Soc. 1863, p. 219.
Munia oryzivora, Swinh. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1863, p. 299.
Munia oryzivora, Wall. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1863, p. 486.
Munia oryzivora, Jerd. Birds of Ind. ii. p. 359 (1863).
Loxia oryzivora, Martins, Journ, fur Ornith. 1866, p. 14.
Munia oryzivora, Schl. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1866, p. 424.
Munia oryzivora, Hartl. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 826.
Munia oryzivora, Schl, et Poll. Madag. p. 154 (1868).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Cab. Decken’s, Reis. O.-Afr. iii. p. 30 (1869).
Amadina oryzivora, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 55 (1870).
Munia vereeunda, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 54. No. 6760 (1870).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Finsch et Hartl. Vogel Ost-Afr. iv. p. 433 (1870).
Padda vereeunda, Finsch et Hartl. Vogel Ost-Afr. iv. p. 433 (1870).
Padda oryzivora, Swinh. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1871, p. 385.
Loxia oryzivora, Walden, Trans. Zool. Soc. 1872, viii. p. 72.
Fringilla orizivora, Bligh, Journ. As. Soc. (Cey. Br.), 1874, p. 67.
Padda oryzivora, Salvad. Cat. Ucc. Borneo, p. 263 (1874).
Padda orizivora, Hume, Nests and Eggs, ii. p. 454 (1875).
Loxia javensis, Gulliver, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1875, p. 490.
Padda oryzivora, Wald. Trans. Zool. Soc. 1875, ix. p. 207.
Padda oryzivora, Tweedd. Ibis, 1877, p. 317.
Munia oryzivora, Hartl. Vog. Madag. p. 404 (1877).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Fisch. et Reichn. Journ, fur Orn. 1878, p. 266.
Padda oryzivora, Salvad. Cat. Uccelli. Sum. p. 263 (1879).
Padda oryzivora, Legge, Hist. Birds Ceylon, pp. 646-7 (1879).
Padda oryzivora, Sharpe, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1879, p. 344.
Spermestes oryzivora, Russ, Stubenvogel, i. p. 136. pi. viii. (1879).
Loxia oryzivora, Licht. Cat. Rer. Nat. Rar. p. 43 (ed. 1882).
Padda oryzivora, Scl. Vert. An. Gar. Zool. Soc. p. 240 (1883).
Oryzornis oryzivora, Bohm, Journ. fur Ornith. 1883, p. 201.
Oryzornis oryzivora, Schal. Journ, fur Ornith. 1883, p. 363.
Oryzornis oryzivora, Fisch. Journ, fur Ornith. 1885, p. 136.
Padda oryzivora, Kutter, Journ, fur Ornith. 1885, p. 352.
Munia orizivora, Shelley, Ibis, 1886, p. 312.
Figures. Edwards, Birds, pl. 41-42. Edw. et. Catesb. pl. 81-83. Briss, pl. si. f. 4. Gerini, pl. 328. f. i. Pl. Enl. 152. f. i. Sparrm, pl. lxxxix. Vieill. O. C. pl. 61. Good. Shaw, G. Z. ph 51. Hahn et Kust. t. iii. Swains. Z. Ill. pl. 156. Reichb. Singvog. pl. xv.
English. Padda, or Rice Bird. Java Sparrow. Java Grosbeak. Red¬-Eyed Bunting. Sunda Grosbeak. Paddy bird. Vereeund Padda.
French. Le Gros-bee eendre de la Chine. Le Padda, ou l'oiseau de Riz.
Le Gros-bee de la Chine. Le Galfat ou Calfat. Le Padda Modest.
German. Reis-vogel. Reismaher. Reisfresser. Riesfnk. Der Padda. Gatterer. Der Reis Kernbeisser. Der Veseheidene Reisvogel.
Java. Glale, Horsfield.
Sumatra. Gelatik, Raffles.
Bengal. Ram Gira, Blyth.
Habitat. Java and Malay Archipelago.
Introduced into India, China, Mauritius, Reunion, S. and E. Africa and Australia.
Mule. Crown of head, nape, outer margin of ear-eoverts, chin, lower rump, upper tail- coverts and tail black ; hind neck, back, all the wing-coverts, secondaries, throat and breast pale slaty grey ; primaries pale ashy brown, edges of outer web pale slaty grey ; quills dark brown ; large patch occupying cheeks and ear-coverts and under tail-coverts white ; belly, sides, flanks, thighs and under wing-coverts dark vinous, tinged with pink ; under side of wing grey : bill crimson, with white margins and tip ; iris reddish brown ; lids red ; feet pinkish flesh colour: length 5.2, wing 2.8, tail 1.9, tars. 0.7, culm. 0.6. Plate I. fig. 1.
Female. Similar in every detail : length 4.75, wing 2.7, tail 1.9, tars. 1.7, culm. 0.6. Plate I. fig. 2.
WITH BLACK HEADS.
Male. Head entirely black with faint indication of the white patch on cheeks and ear-coverts ; entire upper parts and breast dark slaty grey ; in the centre of belly a blackish lunar patch ; belly greyish white ; under tail-coverts white. Pl. II. fig. 1. supposed female of authors.
Female. Similar, with less black on the centre of belly, the vinous blended into the grey of breast and white of under tail-coverts.
Toung Bird. Upper parts and chest pale slaty grey, tinged with buff, palest on the margins of the feathers, darkest on the crown ; primaries and tail dark slaty brown ; cheeks, chin, centre of belly, thighs and under tail-coverts white, tinged with buff ; a few upper tail-coverts black : bill and legs pale fleshy-brown, reddish on the culmen. “iris brownish-red,” (Bernstein).
Pl. II. fig. 2. This is Loxia javensis, Sparrm, and Padda vereeunda, Rchb.
Young. Upper parts and chest dark slaty grey, strongly tinged with reddish brown, darkest on the crown ; primaries and tail slaty brown ; cheeks, chin and under tail-coverts whitish, tinged with pale rufous ; belly and flanks pale rufous-brown, paler in the centre : bill and legs pale fleshy brown, tinged with pink on the culmen.
Pl. II. fig. 3.
Observ. Having carefully examined a large series of adult specimens, I am enabled to say that it is almost impossible to distinguish the male from the female when alive, even in dimensions, the males vary as much as the females, therefore it would be useless to take the size as a guide for the selection of either sex, and doubtless large numbers of people who purchase supposed pairs, in most instances get two males or two females.
The birds with black heads have been described and figured by many authors as a variety, and by others as the female, now I have carefully dissected a number of these and found both male and female are alike, at the same time I have searched for an account of the black headed birds in a state of nature, and failed, but they do change in confinement, as my father (Mr. A. D. Bartlett) tells me “they will moult into white cheeks again. I am unable to give any reason for their changing from white cheeks to black, and back again, but this they certainly do, as far as I can make out ; this change does not depend upon age, sex or season.”
It will be seen by reference to the synonymy that I have united four described species viz :—Loxia oryzivora, Linn. Emberiza calfat, Gmel. Loxia javensis, Sparrm, and Padda verecunda, Reichb.
THERE are but few general works on ornithology which do not contain an account or figure of this very lovely Weaver-bird, and without hesitation, I may say that the Java Sparrow is one of the best known foreign cage-birds throughout the world ; it is kept by vast numbers of persons, not for its song (for it has none), but for its very beautiful plumage, it is also a bird which is easily managed in confinement and requires little attention, the food being simple and dry, viz :—rice, canary-seed, millet, wheat, and similar seeds.
The true habitat of this species is Java ; from that island it has been conveyed by man, from a very early period, to all parts of the world, and in many places it has been liberated, where it thrives and increases very rapidly ; in its native island it is exceedingly abundant where it does much damage to the seed-crops. According to various authors it is plentiful throughout China and is used by the Chinese artists in their beautiful landscape paintings ; it is found on most of the islands of the Malay Archipelago, Madras, East Indies, Ceylon, Mauritius, Reunion, Sumatra, Madagascar, Australia and South and East Africa.
From the mass of material which I have brought together respecting this bird, I hope the following extracts may fulfil the object of the present work.
Bechtein says :—“These birds are brought in great numbers by ships from Java, and the Cape of Good Hope ; where, on account of the ravages they commit in the rice fields, they have as bad a reputation as the sparrows among ourselves. They are prized only for their beauty. Their cry is “Talc ! Tak !” Their song is very monotonous, and consists of two notes, “Dirr ! Dirr ! Dehi !” The first note is given with a humming sound ; the second is higher in the scale, and much more clearly uttered.”
The most interesting notes on this bird in its native haunts, are given by Dr. H. A. Bernstein from his own observation, he says :—“Just like our European field-sparrows the rice-bird inhabits exclusively cultivated tracts of land, and here he is very commonly to be seen. During the time when the rice-fields (Sawah's) are placed under water, that is in the months November till March or April, when the sown rice is growing up and ripening for harvest, the rice-birds live in pairs or in small flocks in gardens, villages, woods and thickets, where for food they have the seeds of various plants, several small fruits and probably insects and worms, for I have frequently seen them on country roads etc., looking about on the ground where it was hardly likely they could find anything else. As soon however, as the rice-fields begin to turn yellow and are laid dry by drawing off the water, they resort thither, often in large flocks, and not uncommonly do a considerable amount of damage, so that every kind of trouble is taken to drive them away. In neighbourhoods which suffer specially from these feathered thieves, one, or if the field is large, several little watch-houses are erected in the middle of the field resting on four high bamboo stakes, whence numerous threads run in all directions to thin bamboo sticks set up at certain distances from one another through the whole field : to these threads are hung large dry leaves, gay rags, dolls, wooden clappers and such like things. Now when the person sitting in the little watch-house, like a spider in a web, pulls the threads, at the same moment all the dry leaves rustle, the dolls shake, the clappers sound and the unbidden guests fly away frightened. Also after the harvest the birds find their table well spread in the rice fields lying fallow to the commencement of the rainy season, that is till towards the beginning of November, as numerous acres not only lie fallow but also all kinds of weeds spring up among the stubble in an incredibly short space of time, whose seeds quickly ripening afford them a welcome nourishment. At this time they are fairly plump and well nourished and offer, especially the young ones, a favourite dish, on which account they are snared in large numbers.
“I have several times found the nest of Munia oryzivora : sometimes at the summit of various trees, sometimes among the numerous creepers which cover the stems of the Areng palms. They vary in size and form according to their position : whilst those attached to trees are for the most part larger and possess, on the average, a fairly regularly half ball shaped form, those placed among creepers on the stems of Areng palms are smaller and of a less decided, irregular form, only slightly hollowed out in the centre. All nests however are almost exclusively composed of the stalks of various grasses which are not very firmly twined together, so that the whole build is of no great solidity. The number of the shining white, somewhat long-shaped eggs varies between sis and eight in the nests found by me. Their diameter lengthwise amounts to 21 mill., their greatest diameter through the middle 14 millim.”
Mr. R. Swinhoe saw it on the “Amoy, in flocks, and occasionally met with it during winter and spring,” and he says it is “wild at Hong Kong during the early spring, and found about Canton and Shanghai. A South China bird, extending to the Straits of Malacca and Java.”
Mr. E. Newton procured it in the Mauritius, and Dr. Hartlaub in his ‘Birds of Madagascar,’ says :—“Introduced from India to Bourbon and the Mauritius, but has become rare on the former island, where it is called Calfat. Pollen saw this bird building in the niches of the facade of the town council-house at St. Denys, together with our house-sparrow.”
In Mr. R. B. Sharpe’s paper 'On the Birds of Labuan,’ he tells us that “Governor Ussher observes ” :—“This bird was introduced to the island by Mr. Low ; it has thriven, and is now in prodigious numbers.”
Mr. James Mottly of Benjermassing, South-Eastern Borneo says they are “Rather common here, and exceedingly destructive to the rice-fields, feeding on them in vast flocks. These birds are taken in thousands by the natives, and are a favourite article of food, being exceedingly fat. In confinement they become very familiar, and breed readily. I have a great number of them ; and many which have escaped do not leave the house, but are constantly on the outside of the cage which formerly held them.”
It was also “observed by Dr. v. Martens in the Museum of the Military Library at Manilla, and, in all likelihood, an indigenous species.” (Arthur, Marquis of Tweeddale).
Capt. W. V. Legge, in his admirable work on the 'Birds of Ceylon,’ tells us “This well-known bird which is largely imported into Ceylon as a cage-pet, has been successfully acclimatized in Ceylon. It is now no uncommon occurrence to meet with a small flock on the compound surrounding the Colombo Lake.”
Mr. Jerdon tells us that it is wild in Madras, Capt. W. V. Legge mentions specimens from Tenasserim, it was procured according to E. Blyth in the Merqui province, Mr. Buxton obtained specimens at Lampong in Sumatra, Mr. A. E. Wallace found it at Lombok, and “It has been introduced into St. Helena, and according to Mr. Melliss, is numerous there.” It has been collected by Dr. Kirk, Dr. Bohm and others at Zanzibar, where it was introduced some years ago.
In the 'Birds of Ceylon,’ above mentioned, Capt. W. V. Legge concludes his article on this species with the following passage— “Habits.—This bird appears to affect trees as much as the nearly allied Munias resort to the ground. It flies swiftly, and is restless and shy. In confinement it is as docile as all birds of its kind, and it is consequently a favourite cage-pet. It feeds on the ground, tripping quickly on the grass, and clings, with the agility of its family, to stalks of grain, to which it is no doubt very destructive during harvest-time.”
Mr. Allan Hume, in his valuable and interesting volume of ‘Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds,’ gives the following particulars of the nidification.
“This species, the well-known Java Sparrow, a native of that island but now naturalized in Mauritius, Ceylon and other places, has naturalized itself also in the neighbourhood of Madras, whence I have had many specimens, killed wild, as well as the eggs sent to me by my friend the late Captain Mitchell. He “found a nest near Madras in August
containing five eggs. It was placed like a Munia’s in a thorny bush 7 or 8 feet from the ground. The nest was globular and very large, chiefly composed of fine grass but with a few broad-bladed leaves of millet inter¬twined. The entrance small, circular, and lateral.”
“The eggs were very regular ovals, pure, glossless white, and varied from 0.7 to 0.75 in length, and were (all the three he sent me) 0.55 in breadth.”
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a ? E. B. Java. 5.65 0 2 0.7 0.6
b ? E. B. Java. 5.55 2.65 1.95 0.7 0.6
c ? E. B. ? 5.6 2.65 2 0.7 0.68
d Male E. B. Java (H. Blyth.) 5.2 2.8 1.9 0.7 0.6
e Female E. B. India (A Johnstone) 4.75 2.7 1.9 0.75 0.6
f Male E. B. ? 5.7 2.7 2 0.75 0.65
g ? E. B. ? 5.5 2.7 1.95 0.75 0.65
h ? E. B. ? 5.1 2.65 2 0.7 0.65
i Male E. B. Malacca. 5.5 2.75 2 0.75 0.65
j Male E. B. Australia. 5 2.75 2 0.7 0.65
k ? E. B. Lombok. 5.2 2.6 2 0.6 0.6
l ? E. B. Java. 5.5 2.6 2 0.7 0.6
m Male E. B. ? 5.2 2.6 2 0.7 0.6
n Male E. B. ? 5.1 2.6 2 0.7 0.65
o ? E. B. Java. 5.35 2.7 1.9 0.7 0.65
p Male E. B. ? 5.5 2.75 2 0.75 0.65
q Female E. B. ? 5.45 2.65 1.9 0.7 0.55
r Female E. B. ? 5 2.65 1.9 0.75 0.6
s Female E. B. ? 5.5 2.5 2 0.7 0.6
t jun. E. B. Saigon. 5.4 2.7 1.6 0.75 0.6
u jun. E. B. India. 4.55 2.55 1.6 0.67 0.55
Figures (Plate I.) are taken from d and e.
Figures (Plate II.) are taken from p, t and u.