Natural history

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"Axillary Falcon"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 21.3 x 16.2 cm
Reference: Watling drawing - no. 99


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Bird with white head and breast, red eye with black markings around it, black bill and yellow legs. The back, wings and part of the tail are grey blue, with black markings on the wing. The bird is facing left and perched on a tree branch that cuts diagonally from the bottom left of the picture with some foliage, but is set against an otherwise plain background. The picture 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 "Half the Natural size. April ".
  • The work is unsigned and undated.
  • The drawing is annotated in ink in the top right corner with the number "5". 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 left "axillary falcon Syn Sup ii 42". This has been copied in ink at bottom, "axillary Falcon Syn - Latham Suppt. 2 p 42". The page reference is to Latham's Second Supplement to the General Synopsis of Birds (1802).
  • This bird was more recently identified as a Black-shouldered kite, Elanus notatus, or the Letter-winged Kite E. scriptus, ("but more likely the former which is relatively common in the Sydney area whereas the latter is only a very rare straggler") in Hindwood K. A. (1970).
  • 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 12099
  • James Lee of Kensington : purchased ; 1902
  • Data sheet available
  • Latham, John. Supplement II to the General Synopsis of birds. London: Leigh, Sotheby, 1802.