2. New Zealand crow.
Sir James Hector, in drawing attention to this very fine specimen of the New Zealand crow, or jay, as it should more properly be called made interesting reference to the complete isolation of the orange-wattle crow in the South Island and the blue-wattle crow in the North Island. It was strange, he said, that a narrow strip of water like Cook Strait should make the line of demarcation in the species so distinct. The manner in which the two species were so absolutely circumscribed held good in an extraordinary way. For instance, he showed that an albino of the blue-wattle species kept the blue wattles, while an albino of the South Island species still kept the yellow wattles. Thus we were face to face with one of the most curious problems in the colouration of birds.
Apparently a bird would “sport” in the colour of its feathers, though in anything in the nature of skin it would not do so.