Seriema, Or Cariama
birds prof bird brown
SERIEMA, or CARIAMA,1 a South-American bird, suffi-ciently well described and figured in Marcgrave's work (Hist. Rer. 11-at. Brasilize, p. 203), posthumously published by De Laet in 1648, to be recognized by succeeding onii-thologists, among wliom Brisson in 1760 acknowledged it as forming a distinct genus Carianza, while
Linnams regarded it as a second species of Palanzedea (see SCREAMER, VOI. xxi. p. 552), under the name of P. cristata, Englished by Latham in 1785 (Synopsis, v. p. 20) the " Crested Screamer," - an appellation, as already observed, since transferred to a wholly different bird. Nothing more seems to have been known of it in Europe till 1803, when Azara, published at Madrid his observations on the
birds of Paraguay
(knottamientos, No. 340), wherein he gave an account of it under the name of "Saria," which it bore among the Guamnis, - that of "Cariama" being applied to it by the Portuguese settlers, and both expressive of its ordinary cry.2 It was not, however, until 1809 that this very remarkable form came to be autoptically described scientifically. This was done by the elder Geoffroy StHilaire (Ann. die
Husgum, xiii. pp. 362-370, pl. 26), who . had seen a specimen in the Lisbon musetun ; and, though the genus Dieholop/aus-a term which, as before stated (ORNITHOLOGY, vol. xviii. p. 46, note 1), has since been frequently applied to it-placing it in the curious congeries of forms having little affinity which he called Alectorides. In the course of his travels in Brazil (1815-17), visceral and
osteological anatomy of one which had been received alive the preceding year.1 The Seriema, owing to its long legs and neck, stands some two feet or more in height, and in menageries bears itself with a stately deportment. Its bright red beak, the bare greenish blue skin surrounding its large yellow eyes, and the tufts of elongated feathers springing vertically from its lores, give it a pleasing
and animated expression ; but its plumage generally is of an inconspicuous ochreous grey above and dull white beneath,-the feathers of the upper parts, which on the neck and throat are long and loose, being barred by fine zigzag markings of dark brown, while those of the lower parts are more or less striped. The wing-quills are brownish black, banded with mottled white, and those of the tail,
except the middle pair, which are wholly greyish brown, are banded with mottled white at the base and the tip, but dark brown for the rest. of their length. The legs are red. The Sericma inhabits the campos or elevated open parts of Brazil, from the neighbourhood of Pernambuco to the Rio de la Plata, extending inland as far as Matto Grosso (long. 60°), and occurring also, though
sparsely, in Paraguay. It lives in the high grass, running away in a stooping posture to avoid discovery on beino. approached, and taking flight only at the utmost need. Yet it ands its nest in thick bushes or trees at about a man's height from the ground, therein laying two eggs, which Prof. Burmeister likens to those of the Land-Rail in colour.2 The young are hatched fully covered with grey
down, relieved by brown, and remain for some time in the nest. The food of the adult is almost exclusively animal,-insects, especially large ants, snails, lizards, and snakes ; but it also eats certain large red berries.
Until 1860 the Seriema was believed to be without any near relative in the living world of birds 3; but in the Zoological Pro- ceedings for that year (pp. 334-336) Dr Ilartlaub described allied species discovered by Prof. Burmeister in the territory of the Argentine Republic.4 This bird, which has since been regarded as
entitled to generic division under the name of Chunga burmeisteri (P.Z.S., 1870, p. 466, pl. xxxvi.), and seems to be known in its native country as the "Chunnia, ' differs from the Seriema by frequenting forest or at least bushy districts. It is also darker in colour, has less of the frontal crest, shorter legs, a longer tail, and the markings beneath take the form of bars rather than stripes.
In other respects the difference between the two birds seems to be immaterial.
There are few birds which have more exercised the taxbecome differentiated. Looking at it in this light, we may be prepared to deal gently with the systematists who, having only the present before their eyes, have relegated it positively to this, that, or the other Order, Family, or other group of birds. There can be no doubt
that some of its habits point to an alliance with the BUSTARD (vol. iv. p. 578) or perhaps certain Plovers (see PLOVER, vol. xix. p. 227), while its digestive organs are essentially, if not absolutely, those of the HERON (vol. xi. p. 760). Its general appearance recalls that of the SECRETARY-BIRD (supra, p. 61 7) ; but this, it must be admitted, may be merely an analogy and may indicate no
affinity whatever. On the one hand we have authorities, starting from bases so opposed as Prof. Parker (P.Z.S., 1863, p. 516) and Sundevall; placing it among the Accipitres,5 while on the other we have Nitzsch, Prof. Burmeister,° Martin (ut supra), and Dr Gadow (Journ. f. Ornithologie, 1876, pp. 445, 446) declaring in effect that this view of its affinities cannot be taken. Prof.
Huxley has expressed himself more cautiously, and, while remarking (P.Z.S., 1867, p. 455) that in its skull "the internasal septum is ossified. to a very slight extent, and the maxillo-palatine processes may meet in the middle line, in both of which respects it approaches the birds of prey," adds that "the ossified part of the nasal septum does not unite below with the maxillo-palatines," and
that in this respect it is unlike the Accipitres; finally he declares (p. 457) that, as Otis connects the GeranomoThve with the Charadriomorphx, so Cariama connects the former with the Aetomorphze, "but it is a question whether these two genera may be better included in " the Geranomorphas "or made types of separate groups." (A. N.)
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