The skin round the eyes was only slightly wattled, whilst that over the nostrils was fairly wattled. The Hon. C. Murray, also, sent me two Carriers direct from Persia; these had nearly the same character as the Madras bird, being about as large as the rock-pigeon, but the beak in one specimen was as much as 1.15 in length; the skin over the nostrils was only moderately, and that round the eyes scarcely at all wattled.]


[I owe to the kindness of Mr. Baily, jun., a dead specimen of this singular breed imported from Germany. It is certainly allied to the Runts; nevertheless, from its close affinity with Carriers, it will be convenient here to describe it. The beak is long, and is hooked or bowed downwards in a highly remarkable manner, as will be seen in figure 24.D. when I treat of the skeleton. The eyes are surrounded by a wide space of bright red skin, which, as well as that over the nostrils, is moderately wattled. The breast-bone is remarkably protuberant, being abruptly bowed outwards. The feet and tarsi are of great length, larger than in first-rate English Carriers. The whole bird is of large size, but in proportion to the size of the body the feathers of the wing and tail are short; a wild rock-pigeon, of considerably less size, had tail-feathers 4.6 inches in length, whereas in the large Bagadotten these feathers were scarcely over 4.1 inches in length. Riedel (5/9. 'Die Taubenzucht' Ulm 1824 s. 42.) remarks that it is a very silent bird.]


[Two specimens were sent me by Sir W. Elliot from Madras, one in spirits and the other skinned. The name shows its Persian origin. It is much valued in India, and is considered as a distinct breed from the Bagdad Carrier, which forms my second sub-race. At first I suspected that these two sub- races might have been recently formed by crosses with other breeds, though the estimation in which they are held renders this improbable; but in a Persian treatise (5/10. This treatise was written by Sayzid Mohammed Musari, who died in 1770: I owe to the great kindness of Sir W. Elliot a translation of this curious treatise.), believed to have been written about 100 years ago, the Bagdad and Bussorah breeds are described as distinct. The Bussorah Carrier is of about the same size as the wild rock-pigeon. The shape of the beak, with some little carunculated skin over the nostrils,-- the much elongated eyelids,--the broad mouth measured internally,--the narrow head,--the feet proportionally a little longer than in the rock- pigeon,--and the general appearance, all show that this bird is an undoubted Carrier; yet in one specimen the beak was of exactly the same length as in the rock-pigeon. In the other specimen the beak (as well as the opening of the nostrils) was only a very little longer, viz., by .08 of an inch. Although there was a considerable space of bare and slightly carunculated skin round the eyes, that over the nostrils was only in a slight degree rugose. Sir W. Elliot informs me that in the living bird the eye seems remarkably large and prominent, and the same fact is noticed in the Persian treatise; but the bony orbit is barely larger than that in the rock-pigeon.

Amongst the several breeds sent to me from Madras by Sir W. Elliot there is a pair of the Kali Par, black birds with the beak slightly elongated, with the skin over the nostrils rather full, and with a little naked skin round the eyes. This breed seems more closely allied to the Carrier than to any other breed, being nearly intermediate between the Bussorah Carrier and the rock-pigeon.

The names applied in different parts of Europe and in India to the several kinds of Carriers all point to Persia or the surrounding countries as the source of this Race. And it deserves especial notice that, even if we neglect the Kali Par as of doubtful origin, we get a series broken by very small steps, from the rock-pigeon, through the Bussorah, which sometimes has a beak not at all longer than that of the rock-pigeon and with the naked skin round the eyes and over the nostrils very slightly swollen and carunculated, through the Bagdad sub-race and Dragons, to our improved English Carriers, which present so marvellous a difference from the rock- pigeon or Columba livia.]


Charles Darwin

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