To Osbert Salvin 1 June 1868
Down. | Bromley. | Kent. S.E.
June 1 1868
My dear Sir
I have thought that you wd forgive me for troubling you with some queries, & wd kindly answer them as far as you can. I have numbered my queries; & if you will return the paper your answers by reference to my numbers will be shortened.
But there is another point in which you can perhaps aid me. In your paper (Ibis Vol. 2.) you sometimes speak of having collected male Humming birds in certain relative proportions to the females; in other cases you speak of having collected so many actual male & female specimens. Now if your catalogue permits you without much trouble to tell me how many male & how many female specimens were collected in the case of the 7 species, mentioned by you, in which the males are in excess, I shd much like to know. Also I shd like to hear the actual number of male & female specimens in the 2 species in which the females were in excess.1
I unfortunately returned the Vol. of the Ibis & omitted to copy something which you said about the males killing each other. May I say that Mr S “has no doubt that the males frequently kill each other.”2 And now I will add my other queries.
Pray forgive me for being so troublesome & believe me My dear Sir | yours sincerely | Ch. Darwin
1 Is Trogon Mexicanus the same as Calurus resplendens, which de Saussure says makes a nest with a hole at each end?3 Do you believe this?
2. May I say that the males alone in Penelope & its sub-genera have the first or the 2 or 3 first primary wing feathers arched & attenuated, & in some species with part of the web cut out? I shall then give from Proc. Zoolog. Soc. your account of the noise thus made.4
3. Are the primary or secondary wing feathers of Selasphorus cut out? & is this structure confined to the males?5
4. In the pigeon Leptopila (is this spelt right?) is it the primary or secondary wing-feathers which are bowed & attenuated? Is this structure confined to the males? Is it actually known that these pigeons thus make any peculiar sound?6
Encloses some queries.
Would also like information about proportion of male to female humming-birds.
Reference to OS’s paper in Ibis, vol. 2.
Please cite as
Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 6221A,” accessed on 24 January 2017, http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/DCP-LETT-6221A