in its movements sometimes they appeared in vast numbers, and on the next
day not one was to be seen. At Port Famine, every morning and evening, a long
band of these birds continued to fly with extreme rapidity, up and down the
central parts of the channel, close to the surface of the water. Their flight was
direct and vigorous, and they seldom glided with extended wings in graceful
curves, like most other members of this family. Occasionally, they settled for a
short time on the water ; and they thus remained at rest during nearly the whole
of the middle of the day. When flying backwards and forwards, at a
distance from the shore, they evidently were fishing : but it was rare to see them
seize any prey. They are very wary, and seldom approach within gun-shot of a
boat or of a ship;—a disposition strikingly different from that of most of the other
species. The stomach of one, killed near Port Famine, was distended with seven
prawn-like crabs, and a small fish. In another, killed off the Plata, there was
the beak of a small cuttle-fish. I observed that these birds, wffien only slightly
winged, were quite incapable of diving. There is no difference in the plumage of
the sexes. The w'eb between the inner toes, with the exception of the margin, is
“ reddish-lilac-purple ;” the rest being blackish. Legs and half of the lower mandible
blackish purple. From accounts which I have received, the individuals of
this species, which live in the Northern Hemisphere, appear to have exactly
the same habits as those above described.
I . P e l e c a n o i d e s B e r a r d i . G. R . Gray.
Puffinuria Berardi, Less. Tr. d’Oni. p. 614.
Procellaria Berardi, Quoy et Gaim. Voy. depl. 31
This bird is common in the deep and quiet creeks and inland seas of Tierra
del Fuego, and on the west coast of Patagonia, as far north as the Chonos
Archipelago. I never saw but one in the open sea, and that was between Tierra
del Fuego and the Falkland Islands. This bird is a complete auk in its habits,
although from its structure it must be classed with the Petrels. To the latter Mr.
Gould informs me, its affinity is clearly shewn by the form of its beak and
nostrils, length of foot, and even by the general colouring of its plumage. To the
auks it is related in the general form of its body, its short wings, shape of tail,
and absence of hind-toe to the foot. When seen from a distance and undisturbed,
it would almost certainly be mistaken, from its manner of swimming and frequent
diving, for a grebe. When approached in a boat, it generally dives to a distance,
and on coming to the surface, with the same movement takes flight: having flown
some way, it drops like a stone on the water, as if struck dead, and instantaneously
dives again. No one seeing this bird for the first time, thus diving
like a grebe and flying in a straight line by the rapid movement of its short wings
like an auk, would be willing to believe that it was a member of the family
of petrels ;—the greater number of which are eminently pelagic in their habits,
do not dive, and whose flight is usually most graceful and continuous. I
observed at Port Famine, that these birds, in the evening, sometimes flew in
straight lines from one part of the sound to another; but during the day,
they scarcely ever, I believe, take wing, if undisturbed. They are not very wild:
if they had been so, from their habit of diving and flying, it would have been
extremely' difficult to have procured a specimen. The legs of this bird are of a
“ flax-flower blue.”
2 . P e l e c a n o i d e s G a r n o t i i . G. R . Gray.
Puffinuria Garnotii, Less. Voy. dc I’Coqu. pl. 46.
Procellaria urinatrix, Gm. ?
My specimen was obtained at Iquique (lat. 20° 12'), on the coast of Peru.
M. Lesson, who first described this species, says (Manuel d’Ornitliologie, vol. ii.
p. 394.), “ Le puffinure de Garnot habite par grandes troupes le long des côtes du
Pérou. Il vole médiocrement bien, d’une manière précipitée et en rasant la
mer; mais il préfère se tenir en repos sur la surface des eaux, et plonge très
fréquemment à la manière des grèbes, sans doute pour saisir les petits poissons
qui forment sa pâture.” An anatomical description of this bird is there given.
1 . P r o c e l l a r ia g ig a n t e a . Gmel.
This bird, which is called by the English, “ Nelly,” and by the Spaniards,
“ Quebranta-huesos,” (properly an osprey,) is common in the southern latitudes of
South America. It frequents both the inland sounds, and the open ocean far
from the coast. It often settles and rests on the water. The Nelly, in its flight
and general appearance on the wing, has many points of resemblance with the
Albatross ; but, as in the case of that bird, it is in vain to attempt observing on
what it feeds; both seem to hunt the waters for days together, in sweeping
circles, with no success. In the stomach, however, of one which I opened, there
was the beak of a large cuttle-fish. The Nelly, moreover, is a bird of prey: it was
observed at Port St. Antonio, by some of the officers of the Beagle, to kill a diver.
The latter tried to escape, both by diving and flying, but was continually struck
down, and at last was killed by a blow on its head. At Port St. Julian, also,
these great petrels were seen killing and devouring young gulls. The N elly breeds
on several of the small islands off the coast of Patagonia; for instance, Sea-Lion
Island, in the mouth of the Santa Cruz. Most other species of the family retire
for the purpose of breeding to the Antarctic Islands.