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Darwin Correspondence Project

To P. L. Sclater   14 February [1860]

Down Bromley Kent

Feb. 14th

My dear Sir

Very sincere thanks for your kind information, which is very valuable to me.— I asked G. R. Gray about the Otus & Zenaida—but whether he will give me satisfactory information I know not.—1 I had intended asking you whether the Strix punctatissima & Pyrocephalus nanus differed in any degree whatever, in size & duskiness from the same species on the Mainland.2 This would be very interesting to me; but I fear I am too troublesome.—

With sincere thanks | Yours very faithfully | Charles Darwin


See letter from P. L. Sclater, 11 February 1860. George Robert Gray, an assistant in the zoological department of the British Museum, had worked on Birds after John Gould’s departure for Australia. Gray described species of owls (Otus) and doves (Zenaida) for the volume (see Correspondence vol. 2). CD’s letter to Gray has not been found. CD seems to have pre-empted Sclater’s offer to obtain information regarding these species at the British Museum (see letter from P. L. Sclater, 11 February 1860).
In Birds, pp. 34–5 and 45–6, Strix punctatissima and Pyrocephalus nanus were stated to be species that were confined to the Galápagos Islands. Sclater had recently advised CD that they also occurred in Ecuador (see letter from P. L. Sclater, [3? February 1860]).


Birds: Pt 3 of The zoology of the voyage of H.M.S. Beagle. By John Gould. Edited and superintended by Charles Darwin. London: Smith, Elder and Co. 1839–41.

Correspondence: The correspondence of Charles Darwin. Edited by Frederick Burkhardt et al. 29 vols to date. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1985–.


Thanks PLS for information about variation in birds. Asks for more information.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Philip Lutley Sclater
Sent from
Source of text
American Philosophical Society (Mss.B.D25.197)
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2695,” accessed on 13 July 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 8