Original Information on Plate
- Jean Théodore Descourtilz
- 47 Icterus Voilaceus
- Ink on Paper
- W. Graham Arader III, Arader Galleries
Bird and Plant Information
The four birds depicted in Plate 47 are the Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis, top), the Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus, center), the Sharpbill (Oxyruncus cristatus, bottom-right), and the Pampas Meadowlark (Sturnella defilippii, bottom-left). Of the four birds, O. cristatus is the only representative of the family Tyrannidae. The other three are in the family Icteridae. A. holosericeus was originally identified as militaris, under the genus Sturnella, however, starlings and meadowlarks were historically considered the same genus but are now grouped differently. S. defilippi was also originally mislabeled, however, it is more difficult to trace the taxonomic evolution of the bird given the fact that Descourtilz depicted a version that shares a mixture of both male and female attributes. Descourtilz originally labeled the bird as S. loika, which may be what he actually saw, but given his depiction of the bird, its exact identification remains inconclusive.
The plant species depicted in this plate is in the family Moraceae, most lilely in the genus Ficus.
Ecological Inconsistecies: Range
The range of M. bonariensis is extensive and growing, and thus overlaps with the ranges of A. holosericeus, O. cristatus, and S. defilippii. The exception is a small lack of overlap in the southernmost point of the Guianas, where the range of O. cristatus reaches farther than that of M. bonariensis. Therefore, it is likely that M. bonariensis would be found in the vast majority of the ranges of the other birds.
A. holosericeus, O. cristatus, and S. defilippii have virtually no range overlap and are not likely to be found together. There is a slim chance that S. defilippii could be found in the same range area as A. holosericeus but with the scarcity of S. defilippii it would be an unusual occurrence.
Ecological Inconsistecies: Habitat
Although the range of M. bonariensis is extensive, it prefers open wooded areas and cultivated lands and is not likely to be found in thickly wooded areas, jungle, deserts, or mountains. It could be found with A. holosericeus, which is known to frequent agricultural fields below 600m. S. defilippii is also associated with the latter, although it is not often found in agricultural fields and prefers treeless lowland native grasslands. O. cristatus is most often found in dense forests and thus would not likely be found with the other birds.
Ecological Inconsistecies: Food
All four birds present on plate L2010.85.90 feed on insects although O. cristatus prefers fruits.
Ecological Inconsistecies: Plant Species
O. cristatus may eat the fruit of this plant, but the others are unlikely to feed off of the ficus as they are insectivorous.