COTILE CINCTA (Bodd.).
Hirondelle brune a collier du Cap de Bonne Esperance, Daubent. Pl. Enl. vii. pl. 723.
Hirundo cincta, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 15 (1783, ex Daubent.).
Brown-collared Swallow, Lath. Gen. Syn. ii. pt. 2, p. 577 (1783).
Hirundo torquilla, Gui. Syst. Nat. ii. p. 577 (1788) ; Lath. Ind. Orn. ii. p. 579 (1790) ; Keulem. Nederl. Tijdsehr. iii. p. 384 (1866).
Cotyle torquata, Rupp. Syst. Uebers, p. 22 (1845) ; Bp. Consp, i. p. 342 (1850) : Heugl. Syst. Uebers, p. 17 (1856) ; id. Ibis, 1859, p. 339.
Cotyle cincta, Gray, Gen. B. i. p. 60 (1845) ; id. Cat. Fissir. Brit. Mus. p. 30 (1848) : Horsf. & Moore, Cat. B. E.I. Co. Mus. i. p. 97 (1854) ; Layard, B. S. Afr. p. 58 (1867) ; Gurney, Ibis, 1868, p. 43 ; Heugl. Orn. N.O.-Afr. i. p. 164 (1869) : Finsch & Hartl. Vog. Ostafr. p. 144 (1870) ; Blanf. Geol, & Zool. Abyss, p. 319 (1870) ; Sharpe, P. Z. 8, 1870, p. 297 ; id. Ibis, 1870, p. 1-79 ; id. Cat. Afr. B. p. 15 (1871) ; Ayres, Ibis, 1873, p. 281, 1874, p. 106 ; Ussher, Ibis, 1871, p. 62 ; Buckley, t. c. p. 375 ; Sharpe & Bouvier, Bull. Soc. Zool. Prance, i. p. 38 (1876) ; Ayres, Ibis, 1876, p. 421, 1878, p. 286 ; Bocage, Orn. Angola, p. 188 (1877-81) ; Shelley, Ibis, 1882, p. 259 ; Butler, Feilden, & Reid, Zool. 1882). 250 ; Bocage, Jorn. Lisb. 1882, p. 22 ; Sharpe, ed. Layard’s B. S. Afr. pp. 358. 839 (1883) ; Salvad. Ann. Mus. Civic. Genov. (2) i. p. 121 (1884) ; Seebohm. Ibis, 1887, p. 343.
Cotyle eques, Hartl. P. Z. S. 1866, p. 325 ; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1870, p. 297.
Cotile cincla, Gray, Hand-l. B. i. p. 73, no. 875 (1869) ; Sharpe, Cat. Birds in Brit. Mus. x. p. 101 (1885) ; Salvad. Ann. Mus. Civic. Genov. (2) vi. p. 232 (1888 ; Shelley, P. Z. S. 1888, p. 40.
Cotile eques, Gray, t. c. p. 74, no. 879 (1869).
C. major : cauda hand albo maculata : subcaudalibus albis : torque praepeetorali brunnea.
Hab. in regione AEthiopica fere tota.
Adult male. General colour above brown, rather lighter on the rump and upper tail-coverts, the bead somewhat darker ; wing-coverts like the back, some of the outer ones near the bend of the wing with paler edges ; bastard-wing, primary-coverts, and quills dark brown, a little lighter on the edges of the feathers ; tail-feathers dark brown ; lores blackish, as well as the Feathers round the eye ; above the lores a broad streak of creamy white ; ear-coverts dark brown ; sides of neck brown like the back ; checks and entire throat white, separated from the breast by a very broad band of chocolate-brown; rest of the body white, the flanks slightly shaded with smoky brown ; in the centre of the breast a streak of dark brown in continuation of the brown pectoral band, several of the feathers being dark brown on their inner webs ; thighs and adjacent feathers on the sides of the rump brown ; axillaries and under wing-coverts white, slightly shaded with smoky brown ; quills dusky brown below : “bill and legs black ; iris dark hazel” (T. E, Buckley). Total length 6.1 inches, culmen 0.45, wing 5, tail 2.4, tarsus 0.5.
Adult female. Similar in plumage to the male. Total length 6.2 inches, culmen 0.4, wing 5, tail 2.4, tarsus 0.45.
Young. Differs from the adult in being somewhat darker, and in having rusty edges to the feathers of the upper parts as well as of the pectoral collar. Total length 6 inches, wing 4.7, tail 2.
The amount of brown in the centre of the breast varies with individuals, being sometimes scarcely per¬ceptible, whereas in other examples it extends in a broad streak nearly to the abdomen. It seems to be most strongly developed in the birds of North-eastern Africa, which are also slightly darker, but it is impossible to separate specimens from the various parts of the continent. The white spot on the tail-feather, which induced Dr. Hartlaub to separate C. eques from C. cincta, appears to be merely an accidental character, for the West-African specimens in the British Museum do not possess it ; though, on the other hand, Mr. Seebohm has one from the Transvaal which shows it, but several specimens from the latter locality which we have examined do not exhibit a trace of such a spot. As Count Salvadori has already pointed out, the males appear to exceed the females slightly in length of wing, the latter measuring from 4.9 to 5.15 inches, whereas the males have the wing 5.3 to 5.4 inches.
Hab. Nearly the whole of the Ethiopian Region.
THE present species is easily recognized by the broad band of brown across the chest. Its range is set forth in detail below, and it would appear that it is found nearly everywhere in tropical Africa, but is more plentiful in the southern part of the Ethiopian Region. The following is Mr. E. L. Layard’s account of the species in South Africa:—
“The first specimens of this Bank-Swallow reached me from Capt. Bulger, of H. M. 10th Regiment (2nd Batt.), who procured it at Windvogelberg, on the frontier. I subsequently, in October 1865, discovered it about 14 miles from Cape Town, hawking about a small stream ; it was there in some abundance. I again recognized a pair sitting on the telegraph wires near Somerset West ; and on arriving at Mr. Vigne’s farm found a pair breeding in the bank of the river Zonder End. The nest was about three yards deep, in a low bank. We did not obtain the eggs. The parent birds never seemed to fly far from the spot, but skimmed up and down the river. On our pointing them out, the Messrs. vigne, who have paid some attention to the birds found in their neighbour¬hood, pronounced them strangers to them ; and we do not think they have been in the vicinity of Cape Town till the year 1865. During the whole of 1866, Mr. L. C. Layard found them abundant near Cape Town, and after that date until we left the Cape this Swallow could always be met with in that vicinity during the summer months. Me fancy that previously to this the species could not have been very plentiful at the western end of the Colony, although Mr. F. R. Surtees, who has made a special study of these birds, tells us that he procured it in 1802. About the Berg River we found it not un¬common in September 1869, breeding in the river-banks and the sides of the ditches along the road to Malmesbury. It tunnels a hole about three feet long, of the size of a man’s arm, inclining upwards, and the eggs (four or five) are pure white and rather sharp at the thin end. Axis, 10"' ; diam. 6"'.”
Mr. Ayres gives the following note respecting the bird in Natal :—‘These birds I only found inland. Their flight much resembles that of the Rollers, and they utter a loud chattering note whilst flying. The specimen sent I shot in February near Pietermaritzburg ; it is a heavy, large-sized Swallow, solitary and scarce. The stomach contained good-sized beetles, somewhat broken up.’ Mr. T. E. Buckley obtained a male bird in the Drakensberg Mountains during his journey to the Matabili country. He observes :—‘A summer migrant apparently, as I only saw them on our return journey ; they were not particularly abundant, a few pairs only being seen together in this one spot.’” It is to be noted, however, that Mr. Seebohm considers that the present species is a resident in Natal, and remains there during the winter months.
Colonels Butler and Feilden and Captain Savile Reid, in their joint paper on the ornithology of Natal, observe :—
“First noticed in the Newcastle district early in October, after which it was fairly abundant, frequenting river-banks and ‘vleys.’ It has a very noticeable flight, less jerky and more vigorous than that of its congeners. Reid shot a line female specimen when duck-shooting at ‘Spoonbill’ Vley, near the Buffalo. They appeared to be going to breed in November, in holes in the river-banks, but we did not meet with any occupied nests.”
In the Transvaal, Mr. Ayres has recorded the species as a summer visitant to the neighbourhood of Potchefstroom, and he also found it tolerably common during the summer months about Lydenburg, where it was evidently breeding along the banks of the river. He also observed it in the immediate gold-fields, but not so plentifully. During the late Mr. J. S. Jameson’s expedition to Mashona Land, the species was also met with, but we are not aware that its occurrence has been noticed in any portion of Eastern Africa to the north of the Zambesi.
In South-western Africa it has been procured by Senor Anchieta at Caconda in Benguela, and the British Museum has a specimen procured by Mr. Alfred Heath at Kinsembo in Angola. Messrs. Lucan and Petit met with the species at Chinchonxo on the Lower Congo in April, and in the British Museum is a specimen from Gaboon, obtained by one of the collectors of the Maison Verreaux.
It was met with on one occasion by Mr. Keulemaus when on Prince’s Island with Dr. Dohrn. His note is as follows:—
"I observed this species for several days in Prince's Island. The first time was in June, when I found a pair flying along the shores of the bay which is near the town of the island. They were very tame, and were continually resting on the twigs of a small tree or bush. This species did not seem to be very strong on the wing, for after flying up and down for a few moments, both birds repeatedly rested for some time. I shot one, which proved to be the female, but judging from what I saw of the living birds, the male did not appear to differ in colour. I unfortunately did not secure the latter ; for, immediately on the foil of his mate, he flew up high in the air and disappeared. In September I saw another individual sitting in exactly the same place where I had already killed the previous one, but I was obliged to abstain from shooting it, for fear of hitting some nigger boys who were in the neighbourhood. The call-note of this bird is like that of Hirundo rustica, but I did not hear any song. The present species is known to the inhabitants as an occasional visitor, and is called by some of them Pascusha, by others Undurinha. They also assert that it is found all through the year in the high mountains in the interior of the island, and comes sometimes to the shore.”
The late Governor Ussher observed the present species during his expedition up the River Volta, and thus records the Circumstance:—
“I never met with this Martin but once, up the Volta, where I shot it on a bough overhanging the water ; but as great numbers of Swallows appeared skimming the surface of the water, I do not doubt that C. cincta was among them. The specimen then collected was one of a pair.”
In North-eastern Africa we know more of the present species. Dr. von Heuglin writes :—
“This Swallow is a migratory bird in N.E. Africa Ruppell met with it in the province of Barakit, and I found it near Adowa, at Mareb, and along the brooks of the provinces Dembea and Emfag, which feed the Tana Lake, from the beginning of May throughout the rainy season ; and lastly in October, above a marsh between Tejura and Ghubet-harab, ou the Adail coast ; here, perhaps, in the act of migrating. It lives only in pairs, and breeds at the end of May on the high banks of torrents, in horizontal burrows dug by itself. I was never able to reach the nest itself, owing to its position. It is generally not much above the surface of the water, and just above deep places which could only be readied by swimming.”
Mr. W. T. Blanford states that, during the Abyssinian Expedition he twice met with this Martin, “first on the shores of Lake Ashangi in April, and again about a fort¬night later on the banks of a stream near Antalo.”
Sir W. C. Harris procured a specimen at Angollala in Shoa, and it was also found by the late Marquis Antinori at Daimbi, in the Adda Galla country, in May, and again at Mahal-Uonz and the ‘Kolla’ of Mantek in August. He says that it was plentiful on Lake Cialalaka, which is in the Adda Galla district. Dr. Ragazzi met with it at Ula in May, at Hora in June, and at Daimbi in June. In the collection presented by Emin Pasha to the British Museum were two female specimens obtained by him at Wadelai in February and October.
The descriptions are taken from the British Museum 'Catalogue,’ and the bird figured is in Captain Shelley’s collection.
COTILE CINCTA (Bodd.).