Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
DIOMEDEA CHLORORHYNCHOS, Gmel.
A skin of this bird was sent to me by Mr. TOWNSEND, who procured it in the
Pacific Ocean, not far from the mouth of the Columbia river. The species is
well known, and one which, unlike most of the others, has been tolerably well
DIOMEDEA CHLORORHYNCHOS, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 326.
Length, 37; wing, 21; bill, 5 1/4; tail, 8 1/4.
Pacific Ocean, not far from Columbia river.
Bill longer than the head, nearly straight, stout, much compressed. Upper
mandible with its dorsal outline much declinate and nearly straight for a third
of its length, then concave, ascending to the unguis, on which it is arched and
decurved in the third of a circle, the ridge broad, convex, rounded at the base,
separated in its whole length by a groove, margined below beyond the nostrils by
a prominent line, from the sides, which are erect and convex, the edges sharp,
the unguis decurved, much compressed, with its sides flattened, and the tip
acute. Nostrils sub-basal, prominent, tubular, having a horny sheath. Lower
mandible with the angle very narrow, reaching to the tip, and having, at its
extremity a long slender interposed horny process; the outline of the crura
gently ascending and quite straight until near the end, when it is a little
decurved, the sides ascending, nearly erect, a little convex, the edges sharp,
the tip extremely compressed, its upper edges decurved.
Head rather large, ovate, compressed anteriorly; neck of moderate length;
body full. Feet rather short, stoutish; tibia bare for three-quarters of an
inch, covered all round with small angular scales; tarsus roundish, reticulated
with small angular and roundish scales; toes three, long, slender, the outer
very little shorter than the middle, which exceeds the inner by three-quarters
of an inch; they are covered above with small angular scales for half their
length, in the rest of their extent with scutella, and connected by emarginate
webs, the outer and inner with an external lobed membrane. Claws rather small,
slender, slightly arched, rather depressed, convex above, somewhat obtuse.
Plumage full, soft and blended. Wings very long and very narrow, the
humerus and cubitus being extremely elongated; the first primary longest, the
rest very rapidly diminishing; the secondaries extremely short. Tail of twelve
broadly rounded feathers, short, rounded, the lateral feathers one inch shorter
than the middle.
Bill black, with the ridge in its entire length and breadth, the tip of the
upper mandible, and the crura of the lower along their inferior edge, yellow.
Feet yellow, claws yellowish-grey. The head and neck are ash-grey, the fore
part of the back shaded into blackish-grey; the wings entirely brownish-black,
the shafts of the primaries white, toward the end brownish-black; the hind part
of the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, white; the tail deep grey, the bases
and shafts of the feathers white. The loral space is of a darker grey than the
rest of the head, and that colour deepens at the fore part of the eye, forming a
spot which includes the whole of the upper eyelid, and the anterior half of the
lower, of which the other half is white; the lower half of the neck anteriorly,
the breast, sides, abdomen, lower tail-coverts, some of the axillaries, and the
larger lower wing-coverts white; the rest being brownish-black.
Length to end of tail 37 inches; bill along the ridge 5 3/12, along the
edge of lower mandible 4 10/12, its height at the base 1 9/12, at the middle 1,
at the angle 1 2/12; wing from flexure 21; tail 8 1/4; bare part of tibia 3/4;
tarsus 3 2/12; inner toe 3 7/12, its claw 7/12; middle toe 4 5/12, its claw
9/12; outer toe 4 5/12, its claw 5/12.