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Darwin Correspondence Project

From RB. Hinds   19 July [1843]

29 Alfred Place | Bedford Square

July 19—

My dear Sir,

Soon after the receipt of your note Mr Gould obtained from the Zoological Society a species of Cactornis.1 I have recently seen it, and you will be gratified to learn that I recognize it as a native of Bow Island. It is I believe a new species and Mr. Gould proposes to figure it.2

I am | Yours truly | R. Brinsley Hinds Charles Darwin Esq.


Cactornis inornatus, Gould. The species was interesting because Cactornis was previously known to inhabit only the Galápagos. Bow Island (now Hao) is in the Tuamotu Islands, French Polynesia, over 3,000 miles west of the Galápagos. See Hinds, ed. 1844, 1: 42–3 and Plate 25. However, the plate is not by John Gould, but by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins. Cactornis inornatus is now classified as Pinaroloxias inornatus, Gould. The habitat has since been corrected to Cocos Island, south-west of Costa Rica, which HMS Sulphur visited and which CD surmised was likely to be its station (see Birds, p. 105). For the correction, see C. W. Richmond, Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington [DC] 15 (1902): 247–8.


Hinds, Richard Brinsley, ed. 1844. The zoology of the voyage of HMS Sulphur, under the command of Captain Sir Edward Belcher … during the years 1836–42. 2 vols. London.


CD will be gratified to learn that RBH has recognised a species of Cactornis as a native of Bow Island [Hao, Tuamotu Archipelago].

Letter details

Letter no.
Richard Brinsley Hinds
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
Source of text
DAR 205.3: 276
Physical description
ALS 2pp

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 683,” accessed on 20 May 2024,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 2