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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

Gallinago pusilla, Buller. (Chatham-Island Snipe.) — Gallinago huegeli, Tristram. (Snares Snipe.)

Gallinago pusilla, Buller. (Chatham-Island Snipe.)

Gallinago huegeli, Tristram. (Snares Snipe.)

The Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club for June, 1893, contains a communication from the Rev. Canon Tristram, from which I extract the following: "In the Ibis for 1869, p. 41, Sir W. Buller described a second species [of Snipe] from the Chatham Islands as Gallinago pusilla. Very few specimens have been received, but the species has twice been obtained in New Zealand (to which it is evidently an occasional wanderer): once by Sir James Hector, in the Gulf of Hauraki, and once by Mr. F. B. Hill, on Little Barrier Island. All doubts as to its being a distinct species have recently been set at rest by the large number of specimens obtained in the Chatham Islands by the collectors of the Hon. Walter Rothschild and Mr. H. O. Forbes. I have examined more than twenty specimens, and find that all of them agree in every respect, and cannot be confused with the Auckland Island species. But when Sir W. Buller published his second edition of the 'Birds of New Zealand' he had, unfortunately, sent back to New Zealand his only specimen from the Chatham Islands, and borrowed from me a specimen which had been obtained by Baron A. von Hügel on the Snares, seventy miles south of the southern extremity of New Zealand. This I had put down as Gallinago pusilla, having at that time never seen a Chatham Island specimen. It is very accurately figured and coloured in Buller's second edition; but it proves to be very different from the true G. pusilla. The only other example in existence, so far as I am aware, is a second specimen obtained on the Snares at the same time by Baron A. von Hügel, and in the collection of the Hon. Walter Rothschild."

Canon Tristram says, "This species may at once be distinguished from its congeners by its much redder hue, and especially by the remarkable fineness and delicacy of its markings, the edgings of the upper plumage and the striation and bands on the lower surface being much smaller, closer, and more distinct. In the other two species (Gallinago pusilla and G. aucklandica) the abdomen and thighs are whitish, while page 116 in this they are thickly barred. In this species the three outer tail-feathers on each side are attenuated, with a white edging; in the others only the two outer pairs of tail-feathers appear to be so attenuated."