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A History of the Birds of New Zealand.

Tringa Acuminata. — (Sandpiper.)

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Tringa Acuminata.
(Sandpiper.)

  • Totanus acuminatus, Horsf. Linn. Trans. xiii. p. 192 (1820).

  • Tringa australis, Jard, & Selb. Ill. Orn. vol. ii. pl. 91 (1829).

  • Schæniclus australis, Gray, List of Birds in Brit. Mus. Coll. part iii. p. 105 (1844).

  • Limnocinclus acuminatus, Gould, Handb. B. of Austr. vol. ii. p. 254 (1865).

  • Tringa acuminata, Salvin, Cat. Strickl. Coll. p. 610 (1882).

Ad. suprà nigricans, plumis angustè albido vel arenario marginatis: collo postico magis cinerascente: dorso postico et uropygio cum supracaudalibus nigris, vix arenario limbatis: tectricibus alarum remigibusque nigricantibus, albido vel pallidè arenario marginatis, tectricibus majoribus et secundariis conspicuè albo marginatis et terminatis: remigum scapis albis: secundariis intimis latè arenario-rufo marginatis: rectricibus cinerascentibrunneis, albido limbatis et terminatis, subterminaliter nigricantibus, a scapis albidis: pileo rufo, nigro vario; loris, supercilio et facie laterali albis, angustissimè nigro punctatum lineatis: gulâ et corpore reliquo subtùs albis, præpectore et pectore superiore arenario-fulvia illo angustè nigro lineato: pectoris summi lateribus quoque nigricante striolatis: subalaribus albis, imis cinerascentibus albo interne marginatis et terminatis.

Adult. Crown of the head and lores dull rufous; each feather centred with brown; nape, hind neck, and the whole of the mantle brownish grey slightly tinged with rufous, each feather largely centred with dark brown, which gradually fades into grey; lower part of back, rump, and upper tail-coverts blackish brown, slightly margined with rufous; wing-feathers dark brown with white shafts, the superior coverts largely tipped, and the secondaries narrowly margined with white; small wing-coverts dull brown with greyish margins; tail-feathers blackish brown, with a narrow margin of fulvous white; line over the eye, chin, and throat white; sides of the head dark grey, speckled with brown; the whole of the fore neck fulvous grey, speckled with brown, and more distinctly on the outer sides; breast, abdomen, and under tail-coverts fulvous white, the latter with a streak of brown down the shafts; sides of the body, axillary plumes, and inner lining of wings pure white; towards the outer edges of the wing mottled with brown. The outermost upper tail-coverts also are white, with a lanceolate streak of brown down the centre. Irides black; bill brown, changing to olive at the base; legs and feet yellowish olive. Length 7 inches; wing, from flexure, 5·15; tail 2·15; bill, along the ridge ·95, along the edge of lower mandible 1·05; bare tibia ·5; tarsus 1·1; middle toe and claw 1·2; hallux and claw ·3.

Young. Gould states that the young of the year are similarly marked to the adult in winter plumage, but have the greater portion of the feathers, and particularly those of the crown and the tertiaries, margined with sandy red and white, and the breast washed with buff.

Only a few examples of this bird, which is common enough in Australia and Tasmania, have occurred in New Zealand, and, so far as I am aware, all of these on the east coast of the South Island.

In its native country it is generally to be met with on the grassy sides of lagoons and in wet marshy places, where it may be seen diligently hunting for aquatic insects and their larvæ, on which kind of food it principally subsists.

The Canterbury Museum contains four specimens (two of each sex), obtained on the shores of Lake Ellesmere, which is separated from the sea only by a narrow neck of sandy ground.