The Journals of John McDouall Stuart, by John McDouall Stuart


[From the Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London. June 9, 1863.]

On a Collection of Birds from Central Australia.


The Board of Governors of the South Australian Institute having liberally forwarded for my inspection a selection from the ornithological collection made by Mr. Frederick G. Waterhouse during Mr. Stuart’s late Exploratory Expedition into Central Australia, I have thought the matter of sufficient interest to bring these birds under the notice of the Society, the more so as it will enable me to make known through our Proceedings a new and very beautiful species of Parrakeet pertaining to the genus Polyteles, of which only two have been hitherto known. Every ornithologist must be acquainted with the elegant P. melanurus and P. barrabandi, and I feel assured that the acquisition of an additional species of this lovely form will be hailed with pleasure. The specific appellation I would propose for this novelty is alexandrae, in honour of that Princess who, we may reasonably hope, is destined at some future time to be the Queen of these realms and their dependencies, of which Australia is by no means the most inconspicuous.

Polyteles alexandrae, sp. nov.

Forehead delicate light blue; lower part of the cheeks, chin, and throat rose-pink; head, nape, mantle, back, and scapularies olive-green; lower part of the back and rump blue, of a somewhat deeper tint than that of the crown; shoulders and wing-coverts pale yellowish green; spurious wing bluish green; external webs of the principal primaries dull blue, narrowly edged with greenish yellow; the remaining primaries olive-green, edged with greenish yellow; under wing-coverts verditer-green; breast and abdomen olive-grey, tinged with vinous; thighs rosy red; upper tail-coverts olive, tinged with blue; two centre tail-feathers bluish olive-green; the two next on each side olive-green on their outer webs and dark brown on the inner ones; the remaining tail-feathers tricoloured, the central portion being black, the outer olive-grey, and the inner deep rosy red; under tail-coverts olive; bill coral red; feet nearly brown.

Total length 14 inches; bill 1/2; wing 7; tail 9; tarsi 7/8.

Habitat. Howell Ponds, Central Australia, 16 degrees 54 minutes 7 seconds South latitude.

Remark. This is in every respect a typical Polyteles, having the delicate bill and elegantly striped tail characteristic of that form. It is of the same size as P. barrabandi, but differs from that species in having the crown blue and the lower part of the cheeks rose-pink instead of yellow.

The following is a list of the other species of birds comprised in the collection:

Trichoglossus rubritorquis. Rare.

Aprosmictus erythropterus.

Platycercus brownii. Rare.

Struthidea cinerea.

Climacteris melanura.

Pomatorhinus rubecula. Rare.

Cincloramphus cruralis.

Artamus leucopygialis.

Artamus cinereus. Rare.

Colluricincla brunnea.

Petroica bicolor.

Pardalotus rubricatus. Extremely rare: the second specimen seen.

Graucalus melanops.

Tropidorhynchus argenteiceps.

Geopelia cuneata.

Geopelia humeralis.

Erythrogonys cinctus.

Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:00