Natural history

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"Soft-tailed Flycatcher", native name "Mur-re-a-nera"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 23 x 17 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 261


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Bird in profile, facing to the left. It is perched on a tree stump on a base that is gradated from yellow to green, against a plain background. The upper parts of the bird are brown with black patches. The underparts are yellow ochre, except for the throat which is blue. The tail consists of five long, straight feathers with widely spaced barbs, and is approximately twice as long as the main body. 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 left "Natural size Native name Mur-re-a-nera. May".
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • The drawing is inscribed in ink at top right with the number "184.". 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 "Soft tailed Flycatcher Sup 2. 224". This has been copied in ink at bottom left, "Soft tailed Flycatcher. Male. Latham Syn Suppt 2. p. 224.". The page reference is to Latham's Second Supplement to the General Synopsis of Birds (1802).
  • This bird was more recently identified as the Emu Wren, Stipiturus malachurus (male) in Hindwood K. A. (1970).
  • The drawing is annotated in pencil at top "Lambert Drawings II. 11". 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 12261
  • 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. 'Historical Associations and Early Records of the Emu Wren', The Emu Vol.31 pp.33-110, 1931.
  • 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).