Art. XII.—On the Occurrence in New Zealand of Platalea regia, Gould.
[Read before the Philosophical Institute of Canterbury, 11th July, 1906.]
In vol. ix of our Transactions, Dr. (now Sir) Walter Buller recorded the first occurrence of Platalea regia, Gould, in the colony. That specimen was shot in April, 1875, near the mouth of the Manawatu River, and is now in the collection of birds in the Colonial Museum. In vol. xxvii Sir Walter Buller stated that he had been informed by Mr. Townson, of Westport, that another specimen had been shot, on the Buller River, about January, 1892, and was preserved in Dr. Gaze's collection.
I have now to put on record another occurrence of this fine bird, making the third in a space of thirty years. The specimen, which I now exhibit, was shot on a lagoon near Greytown North, in the Province of Wellington, in the month of May, 1905. This specimen is an immature bird.
As the bird was set up as you now see it when I heard of it, I can only give you the words of the man who shot it. He said, “I was coming home by the side of the lagoon from rabbit-shooting when the bird rose from a hollow just in front of me. I shot it, and was surprised at the bird when I picked it up. I took it along to a friend of mine who dabbles in bird-stuffing, and he set it up for me. I found that it had been seen for some weeks previously flying about the lagoon, and several attempts had been made to stalk it, but all had been unsuccessful owing to its wariness. It had even been christened ‘the white hawk.’”