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Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Vol. III (1829)

Species 3. Tantalus albus. White ibis,   pp. [94]-95


Page [94]


SPECIES 3. TdNTIL US dLLB US,
                      WHITE IBIS.
                  [Plate LXVI.-Fig. 3.]
Le Courli blanc du Bresil, BRISS. V, P. 339, 1O.-BUFF. VIII, p,
  41. Courly blanc d'.Iinerique, Pl. Enl. 915.-White Curlew,
  CATESBY, I, p1. 82.-LATH. Syn. iii, p. 11 1, .o. 9.-. rct. Zool.
  No. s6s.*
  THIS species bears in every respect, except that of colour, so
strong a resemblance to the preceding, that I have been almost
induced to believe it the same, in its white or imperfect stage
of colour. The length and form of the bill, the size, conforma-
tion, as well as colour of the legs, the general length and breadth,
and even the steel blue on the four outer quill feathers, are ex-
actly alike in both. These suggestions, however, are not made
with any certainty of its being the same; but as circumstances
which may lead to a more precise examination of the subject
hereafter.
  I found this species pretty numerous on the borders of lake
Pontchartrain, near New Orleans, in the month of June, and
also observed the Indians sitting in market with strings of them
for sale. I met with them again on the low keys or islands off
the peninsula of Florida. Mr. Bartram observes that "they
fly in large flocks or squadrons, evening and morning, to and
from their feeding places or roosts, and are usually called Spa-
nish Curlews. They feed chiefly on cray fish, whose cells they
probe, and with their strong pinching bills drag them out. " The
low islands above mentioned abound with these creatures and
small crabs, the ground in some places seeming alive with them,
so that the rattling of their shells against one another was in-
  * Tantalus albus, LATH. Ind. Orn. p. 705, Vo, 9.-GMEaf. Sysl. p. 651 ,
AlO 6


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