than in the southern half of the continent. These vultures certainly are
gregarious ; for they seem to have pleasure in each other’s society, and are not
solely brought together by the attraction of a common prey. On a fine day,
a flock may often be seen at a great height ; each bird wheeling round and
round in the most graceful evolutions. This is evidently done for their sport ;
or, perhaps, is connected (for a similar habit may sometimes be observed during
the breeding season amongst our common rooks) with their matrimonial
2. C a t h a r t e s a u r a . Illi.
Vultur aura, L inn.
--------------- -, Jardine’s Wilson, vol. iii. p. 226.
Vultur jota, Molina, Compendio de la Hist, del Reyno de Chile, vol i. p. 296.
Turkey-buzzard and Carrion Crow of the English in America.
T h i s bird has a wide geographical range, being found from 55° S. to Nova
Scotia (according to Wilson, in Jardine’s edition, vol. iii. p. 231,) in 45° N . ;
or exactly one hundred degrees of latitude. Its lesser range in Northern than
in Southern America is probably due to the more excessive nature of the climate
in the former hemisphere. It is said to be partly migatory during winter, in the
Northern and even in the Middle States, and likewise on the shores of the Pacific.
The C. aura is found in the extreme parts of Tierra del Fuego, and on the
indented coast, covered with thick forests, of West Patagonia, (but not on the
arid plains of Eastern Patagonia,) in Chile, where it is called Jote, in Peru, in
the West Indies; and, according to Wilson, it remains even during winter, in
New Jersey and Delaware, latitude 40°. It and one of the family of Polyborinae
are the only two carrion-feeding hawks, which have found their way to the
Falkland Islands. The Turkey buzzard, as it is generally called by the English,
may be recognized at a great distance from its lofty, soaring and most graceful
flight. It is generally solitary, or, at most, sweeps over the country in pairs.
In Tierra del Fuego, and on the west coast of Patagonia, it must live exclusively
on what the sea throws up, and on dead seals : wherever these animals in
herds were sleeping on the beach, there this vulture might be seen, patiently
standing on some neighbouring rock. At the Falkland Islands it was tolerably
common ; but sometimes there would not be a single one near the settlement for
several days together, and then many would suddenly appear. They were
usually shy ; a disposition which is remarkable, as being different from that
of almost every other bird in this Archipelago. May we infer from this
that they are migratory, like those of the northern hemisphere ? In a female
specimen killed there, the skin of the head was intermediate in colour between
“ scarlet and cochineal red,”* and the iris dark-coloured. D ’Orbigny describes
the iris as being bright scarlet: whilst Azara says it is “ jaune léger.” Is this
difference owing to the sex and age. as certainly is the case with the condors ?
As a considerable degree of confusion has prevailed in the synonyms of this
and the foregoing species, caused apparently by a doubt to which of them
Molina applied the name of Jote, I would wish to call attention to the fact, that
at the present time the C. aura in Chile goes by the name of Jote. Moreover,
I think Molina’s description by itself might have decided the question; he says,
the head of the Vultur jo ta is naked, and covered only with a wrinkled and
reddish (roxiza) skin.
F a m i l y— FALCONIDjE.
S u b -F am . P O L Y B O R IN .® , Swains.
P o L Y B O R U s B r a s i l i e n s i s . Swains.
Polyborus vulgaris, Vieillot.
Falco Brasiliensis Auctonim ; Caracara of Azara j Thaiu of Molina ; and Carranclia of the inhabitants of
T h i s is one of the commonest birds in South America, and has a wide geographical
range. It is found in Mexico and in the West Indies. It is also, according
to M. Audubon, an occasional visitant to the Floridas ; it takes its name from
Brazil, but is no where so common as on the grassy savannahs of La Plata.
It generally follows man, but is sometimes found even on the most desert plains
of Patagonia : in the northern part of that region, numbers constantly attended
the line of road between the Rio Negro and the Colorado, to devour the carcasses
of the animals which chanced to perish from fatigue. Although abundant on the
open plains of this eastern portion of the continent, and likewise on the rocky
and barren shores of the Pacific, nevertheless it inhabits the borders of the damp and
impervious forests of Tierra del Fuego and of the broken coast of West Patagonia,
even as far south as Cape Horn. The Carranchas (as the Polyborus Brasiliensis
is called in La Plata) together with the P . chimango'\, attend in great numbers
the estaucias and slaughtering liouses in the neighbourhood of the Plata. I f an
* In this '\vork, whenever the particular name of any colour is given, or it is placed within commas, it
iinplies, that it is taken from comparison with Patrick Syme’s edition of Y’'erner’s Nomenclature of Colours.
t Milvago Chimango of this work.