Natural history

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"Gold-winged Bee-eater", native name "Wad-de-ar-gal"

Artist: Port Jackson Painter
Created: [between 1788 and 1797]
Dimensions: 19 x 18.4 cm
Reference: Watling Drawing - no. 169


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Bird perched on a forked tree branch against a plain background. The bird's tail is fanned and raised towards the upper left, and its wings are outstretched. The head is turned to the right towards a small insect that is crawling up the main tree trunk. The bill is open to display a forked tongue. The head and back are black, overlaid with pale grey and blue hatched lines. The breast is grey-blue. The tail and wings are brown with orange patches and white tips, and are overlaid with darker hatched lines. 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 "One half the Natural size called from our english People Luerrick from its Note. Native name Wad-de-ar-gal."
  • The drawing is unsigned and undated.
  • The drawing is inscribed in ink at top right with the number "89.". 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 "Gold winged B. eater Sup. 2. 193". This has been copied in ink at bottom, "Gold winged Bee eater Lathams Syn Suppt 2. p. 193.". The page reference is to Latham's Second Supplement to the General Synopsis of Birds (1802).
  • The bird has more recently been identified as the Little Wattle-bird, Anthochaera chrysoptera 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 12169
  • 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).