Sir W. Elliot has also sent me from Madras a pigeon called Yahui, said to have come from Mecca, which does not differ in appearance from the Laugher; it has "a deep melancholy voice, like Yahu, often repeated." Yahu, yahu, means Oh God, oh God; and Sayzid Mohammed Musari, in the treatise written about 100 years ago, says that these birds "are not flown, because they repeat the name of the most high God." Mr. Keith Abbott, however, informs me that the common pigeon is called Yahoo in Persia.]


Beak rather longer than in the rock-pigeon; feathers reversed .

[This is a considerably larger bird than the rock-pigeon, and with the beak, proportionally with the size of body, a little (viz. by .04 of an inch) longer. The feathers, especially on the wing-coverts, have their points curled upwards or back-wards.]


[These elegant birds are smaller than the rock-pigeon. The beak is actually 1.7, and proportionally with the size of the body .1 of an inch shorter than in the rock-pigeons, although of the same thickness. In young birds the scutellae on the tarsi and toes are generally of a leaden-black colour; and this is a remarkable character (though observed in a lesser degree in some other breeds), as the colour of the legs in the adult state is subject to very little variation in any breed. I have on two or three occasions counted thirteen or fourteen feathers in the tail; this likewise occurs in the barely distinct breed called Helmets. Nuns are symmetrically coloured, with the head, primary wing-feathers, tail, and tail-coverts of the same colour, namely, black or red, and with the rest of the body white. This breed has retained the same character since Aldrovandi wrote in 1600. I have received from Madras almost similarly coloured birds.]


[These birds are a very little larger than the rock-pigeon, with the beak a trace smaller in all its dimensions, and with the feet decidedly smaller. They are symmetrically coloured, with a spot on the forehead, with the tail and tail-coverts of the same colour, the rest of the body being white. This breed existed in 1676 (5/22. Willughby 'Ornithology' edited by Ray.); and in 1735 Moore remarks that they breed truly, as is the case at the present day.]


[These birds, as measured from tip to tip of wing, or from the end of the beak to the end of the tail, exceed in size the rock-pigeon; but their bodies are much less bulky; their feet and legs are likewise smaller. The beak is of about the same length, but rather slighter. Altogether their general appearance is considerably different from that of the rock-pigeon. Their heads and wings are of the same colour, the rest of the body being white. Their flight is said to be peculiar. This seems to be a modern breed, which, however, originated before the year 1795 in Germany, for it is described by Bechstein.

Besides the several breeds now described, three or four other very distinct kinds existed lately, or perhaps still exist, in Germany and France. Firstly, the Karmeliten, or carme pigeon, which I have not seen; it is described as of small size, with very short legs, and with an extremely short beak. Secondly, the Finnikin, which is now extinct in England. It had, according to Moore's (5/23. J.M. Eaton's edition (1858) of Moore page 98.) treatise, published in 1735, a tuft of feathers on the hinder part of the head, which ran down its back not unlike a horse's mane. "When it is salacious it rises over the hen and turns round three or four times, flapping its wings, then reverses and turns as many times the other way." The Turner, on the other hand, when it "plays to the female, turns only one way." Whether these extraordinary statements may be trusted I know not; but the inheritance of any habit may be believed, after what we have seen with respect to the Ground-tumbler of India. MM. Boitard and Corbie describe a pigeon (5/24.

Charles Darwin

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