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Wood Ibises
The last members of the family to be considered are the Wood Ibises, or Wood Storks.
Sacred Ibis
The oldest known, and in many respects the most interesting and the one about which clusters so much of ancient history and mythology, is, of course, the Sacred Ibis (Ibis othiopica) of the Egyptians.
Scarlet Ibis
Beyond doubt the most beautiful of all the Ibises is the magnificent Scarlet Ibis (Guara Rubra) of the eastern coasts of tropical America, whence it ranges north casually, or once did, to Florida, Louisiana, and Texas, though Mr. Ridgway doubts if any of the United States records are valid.
White Ibis
Almost the exact counterpart of the Scarlet Ibis, except as regards color, is the White Ibis (G. Alba), which has the plumage pure white throughout instead of scarlet, and the tips of the quills glossy greenish black instead of blue-black.
Straw-necked Ibis
One of the most remarkable and interesting members of the group is the Straw-necked Ibis (Carphibi's spinicollis), which ranges over the whole of Australia and Tasmania as well as portions of New Guinea, and takes its common name from the presence on the sides of the fore neck of peculiar long, straw-like and straw-colored plumes.
Glossy Ibis
The only other species we shall have space to mention is the Glossy Ibis (Plegadis autumnalis) and its closely related forms.
The Spoon—bills
Although structurally similar to the Ibises, the Spoon-bills are at once distinguished by the form of the bill, this being nearly straight, flattened, narrow in the middle, then expanded out into a broad, spoon-shaped extremity.
Roseate Spoon-bill
The Spoon-bills are nearly cosmopolitan in distribution, and are divided into three genera and about six species, of which the Roseate Spoon-bill (Ajaja ajaja) is the only American representative.
The White Spoon-bill
(Platalea leucorodia) is a slightly larger bird than the American species, and, with the exception of a band of cinnamon-buff on the fore neck, is pure white throughout, with a large nuchal crest of drooping, pointed plumes.
Very peculiar birds indeed are these we shall now consider, having a rosy or bright scarlet plumage, extraordinarily long legs and neck, and a large bill that is bent abruptly downward in the middle as though deformed.
The Goose-like Birds
IN the vast majority of cases the relatively close resemblance between the Ducks, Geese, Swans, etc., is so plainly a mark of kinship that there is usually no question in associating them...
The Screamers
These are birds about the size of a small domestic Turkey, with a small head and a rather fowl-like bill. The legs are of moderate length, but very thick and strong, and naked for a considerable distance above the ankle joint; the toes are very long, the third and fourth being connected at base by a short membrane.
The Horned Screamer
(Palameadea cornuta), so named from the presence on the forehead of a slender, forward-curving horn or caruncle, some five or six inches long, is a native of Guiana, Venezuela, Amazonia, and Ecuador.
The Crested Screamer
Chajá, as it is called in imitation of its cry, inhabits the marshes, lagoons, and level open country abounding in water and succulent grasses of southern Brazil, Paraguay, and La Plata...
The Swans, Geese, Ducks, And Mergansers
The members of this large assemblage are, with possibly slight exception, so typically Duck-like in appearance that there can usually be no difficulty in their recognition.
The first forms we shall consider are the Swans (Subfamily Cygninae), which may be characterized by the very long neck, this being as long as or even longer than the body.
The Trumpeter Swan
(C. Buccinator) takes its name from its peculiar, loud and raucous voice, which is apparently made possible by the convolutions of the windpipe within the breast-bone, which is hollowed out to contain it, suggesting in this respect certain of the Cranes.
Whistling Swan
The other North American species is the Whistling Swan (C. Columbianus), a smaller bird than the last, being only about four and one half feet long and with a spread of wings of about seven feet.
European Whistling Swan
In the northern parts of the Eastern Hemisphere the place is taken by two species belonging to the same group as the American Swans, but they are distinguished at once by having the basal portion of the bill and the lores yellow.
Mute Swan
The Old World is the home also of the Mute Swan (C. Olor), so named from the fact that in the domesticated or semi-domesticated state it is without voice, though in its purely wild state it is said by Naumann to have a loud, trumpet-like note, at least during the breeding season.
Black-necked Swan
The remaining member of this genus is the beautiful Black-necked Swan (C. Melanocoryphus) of southern South America.
Black Swan
The last of the Swans is the celebrated Black Swan (Che-no pis atrata) of Australia. It is a smaller bird than some of the white species, being only about forty inches long, and is brownish black throughout, with the lower surface paler, and with the primaries and secondaries pure white.
Semi-palmated Goose
We now pass to the consideration of the Geese, not, however, the more typical members, but first a few of the so-called outliers, beginning with the Semi-palmated Goose (Anseranas semipalmata) of Australia, which stands as the sole representative of a subfamily (Anseranatinae).
Spur-winged Geese
Quite closely related are the African Spur-winged Geese (Plectropterus), of which some four species, or well-marked geographical races, are recognized.
Pygmy Geese
Belonging to the same subfamily (Plectropterinae), but very different in size and appearance from those last considered, are the curious little Dwarf or Pygmy Geese (Nettopus), of which four species are known, ranging from tropical Africa and Madagascar through India and Malacca to China and Australia.
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