Thursday, February 4, 2010

Mégapic de Magellan

Originally posted 6/8/10 - backdated to organize posts by topic.


Here is Plate II by C. Delahaye from Alfred Malherbe's Monographie de Picidées, depicting Mégapic de Magellan - the Magellanic Woodpecker of Chile and Argentina that I was lucky enough to observe during my travels in Patagonia.

Clicking on the image above will take you to my online album of plates from Monographie de Picidées where, if you like, you can download a high resolution file of this public domain image.  The album is worth a visit to examine the illustration in fine detail (see e.g., the male's yellow eye).
The feathers at the base of the female (behind the tree trunk) bird's bill should appear the same color red as the male's head, but that color has changed to an odd shade of violet during the almost 150 years since it was created.  This illustration also seems simplistic compared to the others, and the birds look the most cartoonish to me.  Then again, the image grows on me when I recall that this third largest woodpecker of the Americas can often appear cartoonish in life as well as in illustration!
The image above is within the public domain and it appears here courtesy of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University in the City of New York.

For a glimpse at the past, see this interesting, related bit of information from Fieldiana: zoology, Volume 13, Part 2 by Field Museum of Natural History, Field Columbian Museum, Chicago Natural History Museum from March 1918, a catalogue of birds of the Americas and adjacent islands, available here at Google books.

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