Catalogue number: Z/MSS89oWAL/1/p44
Manuscript notes on the hornbill bird (Buceros cassidix), undated, circa 1856.
This is a page from Wallace's small field notebook used between 1855 and 1858, while on his Malay Archipelago expedition. It shows some notes on birds, including an annotated sketch of the head of a hornbill, Buceros cassidix (now called Aceros cassidix, the Sulawesi red-knobbed hornbill), from Macassar.
Without the aid of a camera, Wallace relied on detailed notes and sketches, along with specimens, to remember the details of his expedition discoveries. The colours of the bird's head are labelled (red, blue and black, with an orange beak) and Wallace also records a note on its behaviour: 'eats fruit, but also insects, which it picks off the bark of the branches...'
Wallace went on to write a short article about hornbills in The Intellectual Observer (June 1863) entitled 'The Bucerotidae, or Hornbills'. The species from Wallace's notebook, Buceros cassidix, must have been impressive as it was used to illustrate the article.
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View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.