Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
Vol 1. January, 1897 No. 1
THE RED-RUMPED TANAGER.
I have just been singing my morning song, and I wish you could have heard it. I think you would have liked it.
I always sing very early in the morning. I sing because I am happy, and the people like to hear me.
My home is near a small stream, where there are low woods and underbrush along its banks.
There is an old dead tree there, and just before the sun is up I fly to this tree.
I sit on one of the branches and sing for about half an hour. Then I fly away to get my breakfast.
I am very fond of fruit. Bananas grow where I live, and I like them best of all.
I eat insects, and sometimes I fly to the rice fields and swing on the stalks and eat rice.
The people say I do much harm to the rice, but I do not see why it is wrong for me to eat it, for I think there is enough for all.
I must go now and get my breakfast. If you ever come to see me I will sing to you.
I will show you my wife, too. She looks just like me. Be sure to get up very early. If you do not, you will be too late for my song.
“Birds, Birds! ye are beautiful things,
With your earth-treading feet and your cloud-cleaving wings.
Where shall man wander, and where shall he dwell—
Beautiful birds—that ye come not as well?
Ye have nests on the mountain, all rugged and stark,
Ye have nests in the forest, all tangled and dark;
Ye build and ye brood ‘neath the cottagers’ eaves,
And ye sleep on the sod, ’mid the bonnie green leaves;
Ye hide in the heather, ye lurk in the brake,
Ye dine in the sweet flags that shadow the lake;
Ye skim where the stream parts the orchard decked land,
Ye dance where the foam sweeps the desolate strand.”
THE RED-RUMPED TANAGER.
N American family, the Tanagers are mostly birds of very brilliant plumage. There are 300 species, a few being tropical birds. They are found in British and French Guiana, living in the latter country in open spots of dwellings and feeding on bananas and other fruits. They are also said to do much harm in the rice fields.
In “The Auk,” of July, 1893, Mr. George K. Cherrie, of the Field Museum, says of the Red-Rumped Tanager:
“During my stay at Boruca and Palmar, (the last of February) the breeding season was at its height, and I observed many of the Costa Rica Red-Rumps nesting. In almost every instance where possible I collected both parents of the nests, and in the majority of cases found the males wearing the same dress as the females. In a few instances the male was in mottled plumage, evidently just assuming the adult phase, and in a lesser number of examples the male was in fully adult plumage—velvety black and crimson red. From the above it is clear that the males begin to breed before they attain fully adult plumage, and that they retain the dress of the female until, at least, the beginning of the second year.
“While on this trip I had many proofs that, in spite of its rich plumage, and being a bird of the tropics, it is well worthy to hold a place of honor among the song birds. And if the bird chooses an early hour and a secluded spot for expressing its happiness, the melody is none the less delightful. At the little village of Buenos Aires, on the Rio Grande of Terraba, I heard the song more frequently than at any other point. Close by the ranch house at which we were staying, there is a small stream bordered by low woods and underbrush, that formed a favorite resort for the birds. Just below the ranch is a convenient spot where we took our morning bath. I was always there just as the day was breaking. On the opposite bank was a small open space in the brush occupied by the limbs of a dead tree. On one of these branches, and always the same one, was the spot chosen by a Red-rump to pour forth his morning song. Some mornings I found him busy with his music when I arrived, and again he would be a few minutes behind me. Sometimes he would come from one direction, sometimes from another, but he always alighted at the same spot and then lost no time in commencing his song. While singing, the body was swayed to and fro, much after the manner of a canary while singing. The song would last for perhaps half an hour, and then away the singer would go. I have not enough musical ability to describe the song, but will say that often I remained standing quietly for a long time, only that I might listen to the music.”
The Red-Rumped Tanager has of course been renamed and renamed again. Tracking this bird was not too difficult because of its “red-rump.” It appears the bird became known as the Scarlet-rumped Tanager and now recently has been split into two species. According to Wikipedia – “The Cherrie’s Tanager, Ramphocelus costaricensis, is a medium-sized passerine bird. This tanager is a resident breeder in the Pacific lowlands of Costa Rica and western Panama. This bird was formerly known as the Scarlet-rumped Tanager, but was split as a separate species from the Caribbean form, which was itself renamed as Passerini’s Tanager,Ramphocelus passerinii. While most authorities have accepted this split, there are notable exceptions (e.g. the Howard and Moore checklist).
So now you see why I have so much “fun” every three months updating my Birds of the World pages when the IOC (International Ornithologists’ Union) updates their Birds of the World List. That is the standard used for this site.
Take you choice. Is it the Passerini’s Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii)?
Passerini’s Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii) Xeno-canto org
Or is it the Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis)?
Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis) xeno-canto.org
Or is it the Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus)?
Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus) by xeno-canto.org
Which ever one you choose, they are all in the same Genus called Ramphocelus. They are silver-beaked tanagers and are found in Central and South America. They all like fruit and insects and are closely related.
Crimson-collared Tanager (Ramphocelus sanguinolentus )
Masked Crimson Tanager (Ramphocelus nigrogularis )
Crimson-backed Tanager (Ramphocelus dimidiatus )
Huallaga Tanager (Ramphocelus melanogaster )
Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo )
Brazilian Tanager (Ramphocelus bresilia )
Passerini’s Tanager (Ramphocelus passerinii )
Cherrie’s Tanager (Ramphocelus costaricensis )
Flame-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus flammigerus )
Lemon-rumped Tanager (Ramphocelus icteronotus )
And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe. And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:28-29 KJV)
Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited – Introduction
The above article is the eighth article in the monthly serial that was started in January 1897 “designed to promote Knowledge of Bird-Live.” These include Color Photography, as they call them, today they are drawings. There are at least three Volumes that have been digitized by Project Gutenberg.
To see the whole series of – Birds Illustrated by Color Photography – Revisited
(Information from Wikipedia and other internet sources)
Next Article – The Golden Oriole
Previous Article – The Yellow Throated Toucan
Ramphocelus – Wikipedia