Re: birding-aus Robinson Crusoe's mystery birds

Subject: Re: birding-aus Robinson Crusoe's mystery birds
From: Ronald Orenstein <>
Date: Tue, 01 Jun 1999 07:41:28 -0400
>Apparently, Selkirk took up birding as a hobby to pass the lonely days and
>he was particularly interested in -
>1. a dark bird with a red breast which he thought resembled a blackbird, and
>2. a multicolored hummingbird "no bigger than a large humble bee."

There are only a limited number of land birds on the Juan Fernandez
Islands.  These include, however, an endemic hummingbird, the Juan
Fernandez Firecrown Sephanoides fernandensis.  The Green-backed Firecrown
S. sephanoides also occurs there; possibly Selkirk did not realize there
were two species.  The dark bird could possibly be the Grey-flanked
Cinclodes C. oustaleti, but this is white below; a much better candidate is
the Austral Thrush Turdus falcklandii, which does have a reddish breast and
would certainly remind an Englishman of a blackbird.
Ronald I. Orenstein                           Phone: (905) 820-7886
International Wildlife Coalition              Fax/Modem: (905) 569-0116
1825 Shady Creek Court                 
Mississauga, Ontario, Canada L5L 3W2          
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