Slike strani


the knees.--- Back toe, small.---Briffon has eighteen species of this genus, and we are inclined to think them as common to the shores of America as Europe,

9. PROCELLARIA. The Peterel, which forms this genus, inhabits all parts of the ocean; it braves and sports with the most furious storms, and some of the species seem to enjoy those tremendous scenes which sink the courage of the bravest men : they are found in great plenty in the seas near the

cape of Good Hope and along the coasts of America, in the fame parallels. The characters of this genus are.-- Bill, straight, except at the end, which is hooked.--- Nostrils, cylindric and tubular.---Legs, naked above the knees.---No back toe, but a sharp spur pointing downwards instead.

[blocks in formation]

The Merganser is the species that forms this genus; it is found in the north of Europe and north of America.---Its bill is fender, a little depressed, furnished at the end with a crooked nail; edges of each mandible very sharply serrated.---Nofirils, near the middle of the mandible small and subovated.---Tongue, slender.---Teet, the exterior toe longer than the middle. The largest birds of ih s species are between a duck and goose, the smaller about the size of the duck. There are in the whole about seven species known. ,

[blocks in formation]

This genus includes the whole of the duck tribe, under the name of Swan, Goose, Duck, Widgeon, Teal, &c. of which near feventy fpecies are known in America ; of the species of the swan only one, of the goofe ten, the rest ducks, &c. The distinguishing characters of this genus are---Bill, strong, broad, flat or depressed, and com. monly furnished at the end with a nail, edges marked with sharp lamillæ.--- Nostrils, small, oval...-Tongue, broad, edges near the base fringed.--- Feet, iniddle toe the largeft.

[blocks in formation]

The birds in this genus which may be said to belong to America, or found in its seas, are the Pelican, of which there are two species and four varieties belonging to that continent: the Boobies, fix fpecies ; the Frigat or Man of War bird; and, according to the opinion of Buffon, the Garnet. The characters of the pelican are.--Bill, long and straight, the end hooked or floping.---Nostrils, either entirely want. ing, or small and placed in a furrow which runs along the sides of VOL. IV. 3


the bill.-Face, naked.-Gullet, naked, and capable of great distension.--Toes, all four webbed.

GEN. 13, PHAETON: This genus is formed of the tropic birds; a class of the winged tribe, whose favourite haunts are the sequeftered islands of India and America. There are three species known.-The bill is compressed flightly floping down, point sharp, under mandible angular. --Noftrils, pervious.---Toes, all four webbed.---Tail, cuneiform, two middle feathers tapering and extending to a vast length beyond the others.

[blocks in formation]

Charaéters---Bill, long, straight, sharp-pointed.---Neck, of a great length.---Face and gullet, covered with feathers.---Toes, all four webbed. The darter or anhinga is the only bird in this genus. We believe there are three species, besides varieties, in the southern part of the new continent.


The penguin may be considered as the link between birds and fishes.---Its bill is strong and straight, bending only a little towards the point.---Fongue, covered with ftrong, fharp spincs, pointing backwards.---Wings, very small, pendulous, useless for flight, covered with mere flat fhafts.---Body, covered with thick, fhort feathers, with broad shafts placed as compactly as scales.---Legs, short and thick, placed entirely behind.---Toes, four ítanding forward, the interior loose, the rest webbed.---Tail, consisting of only broad thaftş. There are two species found on the coasts of South-America.*

* We noticed at the beginning of this account of American birds, that in the division and orders we had followed Mr. Pennant--the several gencra are as classed by Linngus, except where otherwise mentioned.


[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

IMPERFECT as the list of American quadrupeds and birds must

be confeffed to be, those of the reptiles, fishes, and infects must be much more so ; few have been the characters who, with leisure and abilities, have poffeffed the inclination for these researches, and those who have attempted any thing of this kind, have contented themselves with very partial advances, or have found such difficulties as have prevented any great progress; they have, however, done sufficient, we trust, to stimulate others to a farther pursuit, and we may reasonably hope that a few years will open to us a more particular acquaintance with the woods, the marshes, the mountains, and waters of the new continent. The following lists in a more particular manner refer to North-America, though perhaps the greater part are found all over the continent.



Green Tortoise,

Testudo, Mydas, Hawkbill do.

imbricata, Loggerhead do.

marina. Raii. Trunk do.

Soft-shelled do.
Serrated do.
Chequered do.

Mud do.
Great Land do. called in the United States Gopher.

3 F 2

FROG, fwells

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

*This formidable animal has a vast mouth, furnished with sharp teeth ; from the back to the end of the tail Terrated ; skin tough and brown, and covered on the sides with tubercles. Grows to the length of from eighteen to twenty-three feet.

This dreadful species is found in the warmer parts of North-America, and most numerous as we approach the south, and the more fierce and ravenous; yet in Carolina it never devours the human species, but on the contrary, shuns mankind, yet will kill dogs as they swim in the rivers, and hogs which feed in the swaps. It is often seen foating like a log of wood on the surface of the water, and is mistaken for such by dogs, and other animals, which it feizes and draws under water to devour at its leisure. Like the wolf, when presled by long hunger, it will swallow mud, and even stones, and pieces of wood. They often get into the wears in pursuit of fish, and do much mischief by break. ing them to pieces.

They are torpid during the winter in Carolina, and retire into their dens, which they form by burrowing far under ground; it makes the entrance under water, and works upwards. In spring it quits its retrcat, and resorts to the rivers, which it swims up and down, and chiefly teeks its prey near the mouth, where the water is brackish.

It roars and makes a dreadful noise at its first leaving its den, and against bad wear ther. It lays a vatt number of eggs in the sand, near the banks of lakes and rivers, and leaves them to be hatched by the fun : multitudes are destroyed as soon as harched, either, by their own species, or by fish of prey, In South-America the carrion vulture is the instrument of Providence to destroy multitudes, by that means preventing the country from being rendered uninhabitable. Bartram, in bis account of his travels, has given a very particular account of these creatures.

+ This little creature is to:ally green ; very flen der ; tail near double the length of the hody, and its whole length about five inches.

It ish hits Carolina, is doinrliic, familiar, and harmless; sports on tables and win. dows, and amud by iis ability in catibiiyfies, gizes at mankind without concern;

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PrejšnjaNaprej »