Sunday, December 27, 2015

C19 Nestling specimens from different clutches

The images below are of nestling Western Ground Parrots from Gould's collection, but held in two different museums. It would also appear that the birds came from different clutches as the Drexel juvenile (one bird) has more down and less-developed feathers.

The bulk of the Gould collection of Australian birds is housed in the Drexel University, Philadelphia (see previous two postings). Unfortunately there is little documentation regarding location of this specimen except 'Western Australia'. It is likely that it was collected by John Gilbert, as he did collect in Western Australia for Gould. No documentation has been found as to a more specific location though John Gilbert was familiar with Western Ground Parrots, having collected indigenous names for them from four regions in Western Australia.

The photo of the Drexel juvenile was supplied by Nate Rice of Drexel University, Philadelphia and is used with permission.

The two side by side nestlings are part of the British Museum of Natural History collection. There is more detail about these specimens in the postings of August 14 and 21, 2015.

The image is COPYRIGHT Natural History Museum.

Liverpool Museum,did have a nestling but it has been lost. Clemency Fisher of the Liverpool Museum supplied the following information. 

The entry from 13th Earl of Derby's Stock book for specimen D640d is "Nestling purchased off Gould Feb. 8 1844.From the sandplain near the ...... Hills, Australia."

Dr Fisher believes that the missing word is 'Wongan' or a permutation of that name and that the missing chick was part of the same clutch as that now held in the British Museum of Natural History.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Gould specimens in Philadelphia

The three Western Ground Parrot skins from the Gould Collection held in the Academy of Natural Science, Drexel University, Philadelphia are pictured below. How the collection came to be there is described in the previous posting.

Gould Collection ANSP 22980 Original no. 218 Western Australia Male
Gould Collection ANSP 22981 Original no. 219 Western Australia Undetermined gender
Gould Collection ANSP 22977 Original no. 223 Western Australia Undetermined gender, Juvenile

All four images below were supplied by Nate Rice, Drexel University, and are used with permission.

The birds are arranged 980, 981, and 977. Although only the male is formally determined as such, the other adult bird is clearly a female. Its beak shape and the streaks and blotches on the throat and upper breast are typical of female Western Ground Parrots. Males are usually larger than females as is the case here. The Juvenile appears to have the male beak shape.

The original labels were replaced and so if there was more specific information on when and where the birds were taken from the wild, and by whom, it is not now available. 

The photo below is the male bird, showing the red feathering above the nostrils (a mature bird), the broad ridge of the upper bill (male), the fine dark streaks on the throat and upper breast (adult male). 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Location of John Gould's collection of Australian birds

John Gould's comprehensive collection of Australian birds is housed in the Academy of Natural Sciences, Drexel University, Philadelphia. How this came about is described in the article below, which appeared in The Emu, Volume 38, October 1938. The Emu is the journal of the Royal Australasian Ornithologists' Union (now Birdlife Australia).

This major Gould collection includes three Western Ground Parrot specimens. 

Several other Gould specimens of Australian birds, presumably duplicates, are in various locations having been sold or swapped individually or in small lots.