Natural history

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"Chattering Bee Eater"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [Between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 29.3 x 20.7 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 176


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Bird seen from almost frontal view, the body turned slightly to the right and head to the left. The bill is yellow, and the tongue pink and forked. The head is black to dark grey, with a yellow patch behind the eye. The neck, throat and breast are white to grey with darker grey markings. The belly is white and the wing yellow to brown. The tail feathers are grey with white tips. The drawing is framed by a pencil border and annotated in ink and pencil.


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  • Port Jackson Painter]
  • The drawing is annotated in ink at bottom "Natural size. The Iris is doubtfull.". It is also annotated vertically along the centre of the left hand side, "a chattering bird & often prevents the Sportsman from getting a shot at the Pattigorang". ("Pattigorang" = kangaroo.)
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated
  • The drawing is inscribed in ink at top right with the number "97.". This refers to the catalogue list compiled by John Latham c. 1801 which was acquired with the drawings, and is filed with them at the end of the Watling Drawings series.
  • The drawing is annotated in pencil at top centre "Chattering Bee eater Sup. 2. 154", at top left "Type of Menops garrulus". This has been copied in ink at bottom, "Chattering Bee eater Lathams Syn Supp.2.p.154.". The page reference is to Latham's Second Supplement to the General Synopsis of Birds (1802).
  • This bird was more recently identified as the Noisy Miner, Myzantha melanocephala in Hindwood K. A. (1970). (ITIS gives Manorina melanocephala as the preferred name for the Noisy Miner.)
  • The drawing is annotated in pencil at top centre "Lambert Drawing I. 56.". This refers to a related set of drawings from the collections of the 13th Earl of Derby, held in the Library at Knowsley Hall, Lancashire.
  • The author of this catalogue record is Suzanne Stenning.
  • By permission of the trustees of the Natural History Museum (London)
  • Two sets of transparencies held in the Natural History Museum (London) Zoology Library and Picture Library: Picture Library reference number 12176
  • James Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available
  • Latham, John. Supplement II to the General Synopsis of Birds. London: Leigh, Sotheby, 1802.
  • Hindwood K. A. 'The "Watling" drawings with incidental notes on the "Lambert" and the "Latham" drawings', Proceedings of the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales for the years 1968-69 (1970).