Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
PHALERIS CRISTATELLA, Gmel.
My drawing of this singular bird, which belongs to the north-west coast,
was taken from a specimen in the Museum of the Zoological Society. Since then I
procured one for description, from Mr. LEADBEATER.
ALCA CRISTATELLA, Gmel. Syst. Nat., vol. i. p. 552.
CURLED-CRESTED PHALERIS, Phaleris cristatella, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v.
Adult, 10, wing, 6 3/4.
North-west coast of America.
Bill shorter than the head, stout, straightish, broad at the base,
compressed toward the end. Upper mandible with a prominent basal rim as in the
Puffins, its dorsal outline convex and declinate, the sides sloping, a prominent
line descending from the base of the ridge to the anterior part of the nostril,
which is linear-oblong, and near the margin, besides which there are several
faint grooves; at the base is a somewhat triangular horny plate detached from
the rest of the mandible, of which latter the margin is very convex behind the
nostrils, then ascends, forms a slight festoon before them, and finally a deep
sinus behind the decurved, narrow, but rather obtuse tip. Lower mandible with
the angle rather long and wide, the dorsal line ascending and a little convex,
the sides sloping outwards, a ridge passing obliquely from behind the angle to
near the tip, the edge sinuate in correspondence with that of the upper, the tip
Body full and compact; neck short and thick; head rather large, ovate.
Feet short, placed far behind; tibia bare for a quarter of an inch; tarsus very
short, much compressed, anteriorly with small oblique scutella, the rest
reticulate; hind toe wanting; anterior toes scutellate, connected by emarginate
webs; the inner toe much shorter than the outer, which is of the same length as
the middle, claws rather stout, moderately arched, compressed, rather obtuse; on
the anterior part of the forehead is a tuft of about twenty linear recurved
feathers, of which the longest measures 2 1/2 inches.
Plumage dense, blended, glossy. Wings of moderate length, narrow, pointed;
primaries incurved, tapering, the first longest, the rest rapidly graduated;
secondaries rounded. Tail very short, rounded, of fourteen rounded feathers.
Bill orange; feet greyish-blue. The general colour of the upper parts is
brownish-black, of the lower deep purplish-grey. There is a short line of
elongated linear acuminate white feathers, commencing under the eye, and
proceeding along the side of the neck.
Length to end of tail 10 inches; bill along the ridge 7/12, along the edge
of lower mandible 1; wing from flexure 6 9/12; tail 1 7/12; tarsus 1 1/12; inner
toe 11/12, its claw (3 1/2)/12; middle toe 1 (4 1/2)/12, its claw 4/12; outer
toe 1 7/12, its claw 3/12.