Regent Bowerbird / Sericulus chrysocephalus

Regent Bowerbird / Sericulus chrysocephalus

Regent Bowerbird

SCI Name:  Sericulus chrysocephalus
Protonym:  Meliphaga chrysocephala BirdsNewHolland p.10 pl.6
Category:  Passeriformes / Ptilonorhynchidae /
Taxonomy Code:  regbow1
Type Locality:  New South Wales.
Author:  
Publish Year:  1808
IUCN Status:  

DEFINITIONS

SERICULUS
(Ptilonorhynchidae; Ϯ Regent Bowerbird S. chrysocephalus) Dim. < Gr. σηρικον sērikon  silk  < Σηρες Sēres  the people from whom silk was obtained, the Chinese; "Genus. SERICULUS. Mihi.  Rostrum Orioli rostro simile. Tarsi elongati, validi. Cauda subfurcata.  ...  That Sericulus presents a type of form, totally distinct from all other known birds, cannot I think be questioned; it has the bill of a frugivorous bird, without even the slightest indication of those weak bristles or hairs which, in the Thrushes, are situated on each side of the rictus.  The size and shape of its bill, in fact, is that of a genuine Oriole; the resemblance extends to the nares, and even to the proportional length of the wing and quill feathers: but the tarsi put on quite a distinct form; and by their lengthened, robust structure, give us every reason to suppose that the habits of the bird assimilate to those of the Merulidæ which seek their food, not only among trees, but upon the ground.  We are struck by another anomaly in the tail, which, unlike that of any birds in the last two mentioned groups, is slightly though distinctly forked; this structure we generally find is indicative of a superiority of flight; and is quite unknown to me in any species of Oriolus, Turdus, or Meliphaga.  From a consideration of the above characters, and arguing from theory, I should therefore say that Sericulus would indicate that passage between the true Orioles and the Merulidæ, which at present appears undiscovered; and that its habits and economy may consequently assimilate to both these groups.  ...  All we can say is, that if Sericulus belongs to the circle of Meliphagidæ, it presents a most singular deviation from the general structure of all those birds which are known to be nectiferous.  ...  SERICULUS chrysocephalus.  ...  King Honeysucker, Lewin's Birds of New Holland, Pl. 1.  ...  Front, crown, and upper part of the neck, covered by soft, close-set feathers, of a brilliant golden yellow; those on the head very short, and resembling velvet: this patch of colour borders the ears, and terminates in a half collar round the back of the neck. On the wing, is also a large spot of pure yellow, which covers the scapulars, and leaves only a black tip to the lesser quills" (Swainson 1825); "Sericulus Swainson, 1825, Zool. Journ., 1 (4), p. 476. Type, by monotypy, Meliphaga chrysocephalus Lewin." (Mayr in Peters 1962, XV, 177).
Synon. Xanthomelus.

chrysocephala / chrysocephalum / chrysocephalus
Gr. χρυσοκεφαλος khrusokephalos  golden-headed  < χρυσος khrusos  gold; -κεφαλος -kephalos  -headed  < κεφαλη kephalē  head.
● ex “Figuier étranger” of d’Aubenton 1765-1781, pl. 58, fig. 3, “Figuier orangé” of de Buffon 1770-1783, and “Orange-headed Warbler” of Latham 1783 (syn. Dendroica fusca).
● ex “Carouge à teste jaune d’Amérique” of Brisson 1760 (Icterus).
● ex “Grand Guêpier vert et bleu à gorge jaune” of de Buffon 1770-1783, and “Yellow-throated Bee-eater” of Latham 1782 (unident.; ?Psilopogon sp.).