RUNTS. (SCANDEROONS: DIE FLORENTINER TAUBEN AND HINKELTAUBEN OF NEUMEISTER; PIGEON BAGADAIS, PIGEON ROMAIN.)
Beak long, massive; body of great size.
[Inextricable confusion reigns in the classification, affinities, and naming of Runts. Several characters which are generally pretty constant in other pigeons, such as the length of the wings, tail, legs, and neck, and the amount of naked skin round the eyes, are excessively variable in Runts. When the naked skin over the nostrils and round the eyes is considerably developed and wattled, and when the size of body is not very great, Runts graduate in so insensible a manner into Carriers, that the distinction is quite arbitrary. This fact is likewise shown by the names given to them in different parts of Europe. Nevertheless, taking the most distinct forms, at least five sub-races (some of them including well-marked varieties) can be distinguished, which differ in such important points of structure, that they would be considered as good species in a state of nature.]
SUB-RACE 3/I. SCANDEROON OF ENGLISH WRITERS (DIE FLORENTINER AND HINKELTAUBEN OF NEUMEISTER).
[Birds of this sub-race, of which I kept one alive and have since seen two others, differ from the Bagadotten of Neumeister only in not having the beak nearly so much curved downwards, and in the naked skin round the eyes and over the nostrils being hardly at all wattled. Nevertheless I have felt myself compelled to place the Bagadotten in Race II., or that of the Carriers, and the present bird in Race III., or that of the Runts. The Scanderoon has a very short, narrow, and elevated tail; wings extremely short, so that the first primary feathers were not longer than those of a small tumbler pigeon! Neck long, much bowed; breast-bone prominent. Beak long, being 1.15 inch from tip to feathered base; vertically thick; slightly curved downwards. The skin over the nostrils swollen, not wattled; naked skin round the eyes, broad, slightly carunculated. Legs long; feet very large. Skin of neck bright red, often showing a naked medial line, with a naked red patch at the distal end of the radius of the wing. My bird, as measured from the base of the beak to the root of the tail, was fully 2 inches longer than the rock-pigeon; yet the tail itself was only 4 inches in length, whereas in the rock-pigeon, which is a much smaller bird, the tail is 4 5/8 inches in length.
The Hinkel- or Florentiner Taube of Neumeister (Table 13 figure 1) agrees with the above description in all the specified characters (for the beak is not mentioned), except that Neumeister expressly says that the neck is short, whereas in my Scanderoon it was remarkably long and bowed; so that the Hinkel forms a well-marked variety.]
SUB-RACE 3/II. PIGEON CYGNE AND PIGEON BAGADAIS OF BOITARD AND CORBIE (SCANDEROON OF FRENCH WRITERS).
[I kept two of these birds alive, imported from France. They differed from the first sub-race or true Scanderoon in the much greater length of the wing and tail, in the beak not being so long, and in the skin about the head being more carunculated. The skin of the neck is red; but the naked patches on the wings are absent. One of my birds measured 38 1/2 inches from tip to tip of wing. By taking the length of the body as the standard of comparison, the two wings were no less than 5 inches longer than those of the rock-pigeon! The tail was 6 1/4 inches in length, and therefore 2 1/4 inches longer than that of the Scanderoon,--a bird of nearly the same size. The beak is longer, thicker, and broader than in the rock-pigeon, proportionally with the size of body. The eyelids, nostrils, and internal gape of mouth are all proportionally very large, as in Carriers. The foot, from the end of the middle to end of hind toe, was actually 2.85 inches in length, which is an excess of .32 of an inch over the foot of the rock- pigeon, proportionally to the relative size of the two birds.]
SUB-RACE 3/III. SPANISH AND ROMAN RUNTS.
[I am not sure that I am right in placing these Runts in a distinct sub- race; yet, if we take well-characterised birds, there can be no doubt of the propriety of the separation.