Art. XXXII.—On the Occurrence of the Nankeen Kestrel of Australia (Cerchneis cenchroides) in New Zealand.
[Read before the Wellington Philosophical Society, 21st August, 1895.]
In November last I received a note from Professor Hutton informing me that a specimen of the Nankeen Kestrel had been shot in New Zealand, and advising me to write to Mr. Cuthbert Studholme for particulars. I accordingly did so, and promptly received the following letter in reply:—
” The Waimate, Canterbury, 13th November, 1894.
“On behalf of my brother I beg to acknowledge the receipt of your letter about the Australian Kestrel. I shot the bird about five years ago close to the house; it was amusing itself by chasing the common hawks away from the carcase of a dead sheep. My two youngest brothers had seen the bird flying about here for fully a week before it was shot…. “Yours sincerely,
“E. C. Studholme.
“Sir Walter Buller, Wellington.”
I have not yet seen this bird, although Mr. Studholme has kindly promised to give me an opportunity of examining it. Professor Hutton informs me that it is a female.
More recently a specimen has been shot on Portland Island. It was sent on the 16th April by Mr. J. R. Dickson, the lighthouse-keeper, to the Colonial Museum, and was handed to me by Sir James Hector for identification. Mr. Dickson, in forwarding the specimen, says: “The body of the bird was very fat; its crop contained crickets and grasshoppers. The iris of the eye was very dark brown; pupil black. It was very shy when perched, but not so on the wing. Its flight was much like that of the Quail-hawk. It was shot on the 6th April, 1895.”
This bird, too, was a female, and, judging by the blueness of the upper tail-coverts, an old one.