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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 73

Petrochelidon nigricans, Vieill. (Australian Tree-swallow.)

Petrochelidon nigricans, Vieill. (Australian Tree-swallow.)

Several instances have been recorded of the occurrence in New Zealand of flights of the Australian Tree-swallow. Mr. H. Guthrie-Smith, writing to me from Tutiri Lake, on the 20th August, 1893, says, "While up at the Mahia last week, I observed some birds like Martins or Swallows. They have been there for some weeks, I believe. They were flying high above some blossoming gum-trees when they were first pointed out to me. It was a dark afternoon; but, as far as I could see, their tails were not forked. I should be much obliged if you could tell me to what species they belong. Could they be a flight of Hirundo nigricans?"

Mr. James Dall, of Collingwood, also writes to me, under date of the 25th June, 1893, "During this spring, summer, and autumn there have been large numbers of Australian Swallows or Martins visiting New Zealand—apparently all parts, as I see by a late Canterbury Times that a pair have built a nest and are hatching young ones in a mill about page 109 Oamaru, where they are being greatly cared for by every one. In the spring of 1892 flocks of two or three dozen were observed in the neighbourhood of Cape Farewell." I have no doubt these visitants are referable to the above species. (See "Birds of New Zealand," 2nd ed., vol. i., pp. 74-76.)