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feathers is a spot or drop of deep black, immediately below which the plumage reflects the most vivid tints of green, gold, and crimson. The legs and feet are coral-red, seamed with white. The eyes are of a glossy blackness, surrounded with a pale greenish blue skin.

In Southern Africa there is a very curious and beautiful little pigeon, scarcely weighing more than a common sparrow. It is called the Cape turtle, and is very generally distributed over Africa, south of the desert, and even down to the valley of the Nile, as far as Nubia. This little bird is only seven inches long, and more than the half of that is occupied by the tail. The plumage of the head, sides of the neck and smaller coverts of the wings, are pale French grey passing into a brown-grey on the back. A remarkable patch of deep black passes over the forehead, the sides of the head as far as the eyes, the chin, throat, and foresides of the neck and breast, where it is prettily rounded off. Black or purplish spots and bands also ornament the wings and tail, and exhibit metallic reflections. Very little is known of the habits of this beautiful bird, farther than that it follows the general law of the other turtles by nestling in trees, and seeking its food upon the ground. The eggs are two in number, white and nearly transparent, and so delicate that they can scarcely be touched without being broken.

People are apt to suppose that the eggs of birds are all very much alike; so much so, that when a striking resemblance between two different objects is desired, it is commonly said that they are as much alike as two eggs. Now the fact is, that the wonderful variety which is

where found


the productions of nature is also observed among

the eggs of birds. Mr. Hewitson, in his beautiful work


on the Eggs of British Birds, has given accurately coloured engravings of several hundred eggs, and it is impossible to examine them without being struck with the remarkable variety in the colour, size, and even form of eggs. As an example of their great difference in colour and form, we give the figures of the eggs of the Ring Dove, the Turtle Dove, and the Ringed Plover, which is also called the Ring Dotterel or Sand Lark. “ This bird,” says Mr. Hewitson, “ breeds in most parts of our sea-coast, being most frequent near the mouths of rivers and smaller streams: it makes no nest, but lays its four conical eggs in a slight hole on the surface of the ground, either amongst small gravel or upon the little hillocks of sand which occur so commonly on our flat beach. In some I have seen the eggs present a very beautiful appearance upon the clean

white sand, frequently near the root of some tall grasses which wave over them as a protection against the storm. These active little birds are ever

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on the watch, and moving long ere you reach their eggs, making little circuits round you, and uttering their sweet plantive whistle, by which you may always infer the near neighbourhood of their eggs or young."


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