Some of the quills measure fully 5 in.
The species may be further distinguished by the former having the proximal third of the tail-quills pure white, and the distal two-thirds black, with a narrow white margin, while the latter has the same feathers barred with black and white alternately for nearly their whole length.
The short tail, tipped with numerous slender-stalked open quills, which make a loud rattling noise whenever the animal moves.
This, the stretcher of the cubital quills, is a very interesting muscle.
The young (which on leaving the nest have not the tips of the bill crossed) are of a dull olive colour with indistinct dark stripes on the lower parts, and the quills of the wings and tail dusky.
The wing-quills are brownish black, banded with mottled white, and those of the tail, except the middle pair, which are wholly greyish brown, are banded with mottled white at the base and the tip, but dark brown for the rest of their length.
The ulna is curved and rather stout; it articulates with both carpal bones; the cubital quills often cause rugosities on its dorsal surface.
The sooty-grey colour that, deepening into blackish-brown on the crown and quills, pervades the whole of its plumage - the lower tailcoverts, which are of a deep chestnut, excepted - renders it a conspicuous object; and though, for some reason or other, far from being a favourite, it is always willing when undisturbed to become intimate with men's abodes.
Iron was not known, but copper and tin ores were mined, and the metals combined into bronze of much the same alloy as in the Old World, of which hatchet blades and other instruments were made, though their use had not superseded that of obsidian and other sharp stone flakes for cutting, shaving, &c. Metals had passed into a currency for trading purposes, especially quills of gold-dust and T-shaped pieces of copper, while coco-beans furnished small change.
The varied plumage of the cock - his bright red breast and his grey back, set off by his coal-black head and quills - is naturally attractive; while the facility with which he is tamed, with his engaging disposition in confinement, makes him a popular cage-bird, - to say nothing of the fact (which in the opinion of so many adds to his charms) of his readily learning to "pipe" a tune, or some bars of one.
Society, 1856, p. 61), which indeed it very much resembles, especially in having its tailcoverts and quills tipped with white or light ochreous - points that recent North American ornithologists rely upon as distinctive of this form.
An alloy was formed of two parts silver, one-third copper and one-sixth lead; to this mixture, while fluid in the crucible, powdered sulphur in excess was added; and the brittle amalgam, when cold, was finely pounded, and sealed up in large quills for future use.
There is a total want of quills in their wings, which are incapable of flexure, though they move freely at the shoulder-joint, and some at least of the species occasionally make use of them for progressing on land.
The plumage, which clothes the whole body, generally consists of small scale-like feathers, many of them consisting only of a simple shaft without the development of barbs; but several of the species have the head decorated with long cirrhous tufts, and in some the tail-quills, which are very numerous, are also long.'
He concisely cites (p. 238) no fewer than eight other characters of more or less value as peculiar to the Carinate Division, the first of which is that the feathers have their barbs furnished with hooks, in consequence of which the barbs, including those of the wing-quills, cling closely together; while among the rest may be mentioned the position of the furcula and coracoids, 4 which keep the wing-bones apart; the limitation of the number of the lumbar vertebra to fifteen, and of the carpals to two; as well as the divergent direction of the iliac bones - the corresponding characters peculiar to the Ratite Division being the disconnected condition of the barbs of the feathers, through the absence of any hooks whereby they might cohere; the non-existence of the furcula, and the coalescence of the coracoids with the scapulae (or, as he expressed it, the extension of the scapulae to supply the place of the coracoids, which he thought were wanting); the lumbar vertebrae being twenty and the carpals three in number; and the parallelism of the iliac bones.
The powdered amalgam was then shaken out of the quills on to the plate, so as to completely cover all the engraved pattern.