Entry on the Lear's Macaw

in Die Papageien mongraphisch bearbeitet by Otto FINSCH. Published 1867-8 in Leiden.

Friedrich Hermann Otto Finsch, the great German naturalist and traveller, was born in Silesia in 1839. Apprenticed as a painter on glass, he became assistant curator at the Dutch National Museum in Leiden before becoming curator of the Bremen Museum in 1864. He travelled all over the world, including expeditions to Turkestan and western Siberia in 1876, the South Seas between 1879 and 1882, the Bismarck Archipelago and New Guinea in 1884. He published accounts of birds in every part of the globe, particularly East Africa and Polynesia. (Beiträge zur Fauna Central Polynesiens (1867) and Die Vögel Ost-Afrikas in 1870), but is still chiefly remembered as a leading expert on the parrots of the world.

In 1884 he was appointed Bismarck's imperial commissioner to New Guinea, which led to the formation of German protectorates in the area. There is even a port in New Guinea - Finschshafen - still named after him although the German protectorate became an Australian responsibility at the end of the First World War. From 1905 he was head of the ethnographical department of the Municipal Museum in Brunswick. He died in 1917 aged 78.

Die Papageien, monographisch bearbeitet was produced in two volumes, bound in three parts with five hand-coloured lithographs by the author, in 1867 and 1868. In the first part section of Vol. 1 the author describes the general natural history of the birds, beginning with a historical and literary survey of the subject, followed by a treatment of the habits, geographical distribution, morphology, feathers, anatomy and systematics of parrots. The remaining part of this truly comprehensive work is devoted to the special natural history of parrots, containing a detailed synonymy and elaborate descriptions of the individual genera and species.

†(?)(51.) 5. Sittace Leari, (Bp.). - Lear's blauer Arara

.Anodorhynchus Leari, Bp., Naum. (1856) Heft IV. - Sou., Icon. Perr.t.I. Macrocercus (Cyanopsitta)glaucus, var. Sou. Rev. et Mag. Zool. (1856) p. 57. -Macrocercus hyacinthinus, Lear, Parr. pl.9.-Ara Leari, G.R.Grav, List Psitt. (1859) p.30.

Diagnosis: Kopf und untere Theile meerblau; Flügel, Rücken und Schwanz schön blau.Capite partibusque inferioribus glaucis ; alis, dorso caudaque intense cyaneis.

(Nach Souancé). Von dem einfarbig dunkelblauen A. hyacinthina und dem meerblauen A. g1auca unterschieden : dass Kopf, Nacken und die unteren Theile meerblau sind, während die übrige Oberseite, nebst Flügeln und Schwanz schön dunkelblau ist, Nackter Augenkreis und breiter Rand um Unterschnabel ge1b; Schnabel und Füsse schwarz.

De Souancé führt diese angeblich neue Art zuerst als Varietät von glauca, nach einem Exemplar des Pariser Museums, auf; Bonaparte trennt sie jedoch specifisch.

In wie weit diese Ansicht begründet ist, kann ich ohne eigene Untersuchung des betreffenden Exemplars, nicht beurtheilen, indess kommt mir die Art, immerhin etwas zweifelhaft vor. Es ist nur dies Eine Exemplar bekannt und von diesem noch nicht einmal der Fundort, denn ob der M. hyacinthinus, Vieillot mit hierzu gehört, lässt sich schwer ausmachen, da Vieillots Beschreibung zu ungenau ist und die Maassangaben bei ihm fehlen.

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  • Tuesday 9th July 2024

    There is a short interesting article in the July 2024 issue of the German magazine "Papageien" about the setting up of a nature conservation centre for Spix’s Macaws  in the São Paulo zoo. Under the guidance of biologist Fernanda ... Read More »


 " Naturam expellas furca, tamen usque recurret "

( If you drive out nature with a pitchfork, she will soon find a way back)

Horace (65-8 BC)