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Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds. Most of which have not been figur'd or describ'd, and others very little known from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill design'd.
[Part I] (1743)

The greatest martin or swift,   pp. [Plate] 27-27


Page 27

( 27 )
The Greatefi M A R. T I N or S W I F T.
T      H I S Bird in Shape is like the common Black Martin or Swift; but
I believe
twice the Bignefs; the Head Something flat, and pretty broad, the Bill frnall,
the Slit of the Mouth deep, reaching under the Eyes; the Neck fhort, the
Wings very
long, the Tail of a moderate Length. This Plate Mhews the Bird of itsnatural
Bignefs,
or rather lefs, if it differs from the Truth, the Bird being dry'd with the
Body remain-
ing in the Skin; the Bill is black, a little hooked at the Point; the upper
Side of the
Head, Neck, Back, Wings, and Tail, are of a dirty brown Colour; the Back
and Rump
however, are Iormething lighter, tho' of the fame brown Colour ; the outer
or firft
Quills are of a darker Brown than the other Parts, which happens in mofI
Birds; the
infide of the Quills, and under-fide of the Tail, are of a fainter Brown
inclining to
Afh-colour; from the Bill, downward, the Throat is white; on the lower Part
of the
Neck it hath a Bar of Brown fpotted with Black, in form of a Collar; the
Breaft and
Belly are white; the Thighs,, lower Belly, and Covert-feathers under the
Tail, are of
a light Brown, or rather dirty White; the Sides of the Breall and Belly,
near the
Wings, are mixed a little with brown Marks, the Edges of fome of the Feathers
being
Brown; the Legs are fhort, and cover'd with fine downy Feathers of a light
Colour;
the Toes, four in Number, feem'd to fland all forward, of a black Colour,
as are the
Claws. This Bird fo nearly refembles the LeJger Martin, call'd the Sand or
Bank
Martin, that the Defcription of the one might almoft ferve for the other,
fave that this-
is as large as a Black-Bird, or very near it, and that very little bigger
than a Jren.
I had this Bird of Mr. Catesby, who has obliged me with many new and curious
Birds to draw after. It was fhot on the Rocks of Gibraltar, by a Brother
of Mr.
Catesby's, who refided fome time there. Gibraltar being fo near to Africa,
'tis pro-
bable the Birds of Paffge may pafs in Flocks from Europe to Barbary, and
from thence
to Europe at certain Seafons. It would be worthy the Obfervation of Englijh
Gen-
tlemen who refide there, to take particular Notice if there be any fuch Pafrages
there,
and what Birds they are that pafs, and at what Seafons they go Southward,
and at what
Times they return Northw'ard, which might give fome Light to the paffing
of Birds,
which at prefent we know very little of. It is hardly to be thought that
Land Birds
1hould choofe wide Seas to pafs over, when fo Ihort a Cut is to be found
, Ve


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