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Old And Sold Antiques Digest Article

Birds - The Chatters

( Originally Published 1894 )

The Chatterers, or Cotingidoe include among them, the Cock of the Rock, one of the most beautiful of South-American birds. Resembling a pigeon in size, its head is sufficiently like that of the farm-yard cock to account for its name, which is also made to indicate the nature of its haunts. Its coat is a warm saffron yellow and its crest resembles a fan. Sir Robert Schomburgh says: "While traversing the Kikiritze mountains in Guiana, we saw a number of that most beautiful bird, the cock-of-therock, or Rock Manakin (rupicola elegans), and I had an opportunity of witnessing an exhibition of some of its very singular antics, of which I had heard stories from the Indians, but had hitherto disbelieved them. Hearing the twittering noise so peculiar to the Rupicola, I cautiously stole near, with two of my guides, towards a spot secluded from the path from four to five feet in diameter, and which appeared to have been cleared of every blade of grass, and smoothed as by human hands. There we saw a cock-of-the-rock, capering to the apparent delight of several others, now spreading its wings, throwing up its head, or opening its tail like a fan; now strutting about, and scratching the ground, all accompanied by a hopping gait, until tired, when it gabbled some kind of note, and another relieved it. Thus three of them successively took the field, and then with self-approbation withdrew to rest on one of the low branches near the scene of action. We had counted ten cocks and two hens of the party, when the crackling of some wood, on which I had unfortunately placed my foot, alarmed and dispersed this dancing party." The Bell Bird of Brazil; the Umbrella Bird of the Amazons, the Broadbills, the Plant cutters, the Oven bird, and the Ant-Thrushes are all included in this group.

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