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  ― 241 ―

The Crested Goat-Sucker

CAPRIMULGUS CRISTATUS

C. cinereo-fuscus, subtus pallidus, remigibus caudaque fasciis pallidis numerosis, vibrissis utrinque erecto-cristatis. Corpus supra punctis minutissimis subalbidis irroratum.

Cinereous-brown Goat-sucker, pale beneath; with the long feathers of the wings and tail sprinkled with numerous pale fasciæ, and the vibrissæ (or bristles on the upper mandible) standing up on each side, in the manner of a crest. The body on the upper part is sprinkled with very small whitish specks.

The birds of this genus are remarkable for the excessive wideness of the mouth, though the beak is very small; in their manner of life, as well as general structure, they are very nearly allied to the genus Hirundo, or swallow, and indeed may be regarded as a kind of nocturnal swallow. They feed on insects, particularly on beetles. The name Caprimulgus, or Goat-sucker, was given to this genus from an idea that prevailed amongst the more ancient naturalists of their sometimes sucking the teats of goats and sheep; a circumstance in itself so wildly improbable that it would scarce deserve to be seriously mentioned were it not that so accurate a naturalist as the late celebrated Scopoli seems in some degree to have given credit to it.

Colour plate facing page 241 of 'The Crested Goatsucker'



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