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image for Audubon paints the Mangrove Cuckooin the Florida Keys and Key West

A Guide to John Audubon's visit to the Florida Keys 

 

 

 

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AUDUBON


INDIAN KEY
1832


CORMORANT


ROSEATE
TERN


GRAY
KINGBIRD


REDDISH
EGRET


LOUISIANA
HERON


SANDY KEY


WHITE IBIS


WILLET

 
ZENAIDA
DOVE


WHITE
CROWNED
PIGEON


THE AUDUBON HOUSE IN
KEY WEST


AUDUBON'S
KEY WEST


KEY WEST AFTER
AUDUBON


ROSEATE
SPOONBILL


GREAT
WHITE
HERON


GREAT
BLUE
HERON


KEY WEST
DOVE


FLAMINGOS


BLUE-
HEADED
QUAIL DOVE


FRIGATE BIRD


BROWN
PELICAN


MANGROVE
CUCKOO


TORTUGAS


SOOTY
TERN


BLACK
HEADED GULL


BROWN
NODDY


CAYENNE
TERN


BROWN
BOOBY


SANDWICH
TERN


NIGHT
HERON


GREENSHANK


GREAT
MARBLED
GODWIT


MANGO
HUMMING-
BIRD


TROPIC
BIRD




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John Audubon visits Key West

and paints the Mangrove Cuckoo

 

map of Florida Keys and Key West

May 1832 - Mangrove Cuckoo painted in Key West


Mangrove Cuckoo
Audubon painting of Mangrove Cuckoo from Birds of America
Above image from Historical Museum of Southern Florida - Audubon images at the Historical Museum website were produced from prints of an original Elephant Folio belonging to the museum. http://www.historical-museum.org/collect/audubon/audubon.htm) See Audubon House  

 

Audubon painted this bird in Key West in May, 1832. Lehman's branch is of a seven-year-apple.

 

Audubon writes,

"The plant, on a twig of which I have represented the Mangrove Cuckoo, is found on all the Florida keys, and at times is seen growing in a large patch on the mud flats that exist between the outer islets and the mainland. The leaves are thick,glossy above,furred, and of a dull brown colour beneath."

Additional portions of what Audubon wrote in his Ornithological Biography, Volume II, pages 390 to 391 appear below:

"A few days after my arrival at Key West in the Floridas, early in the month of May, Major Glassel of the United States' Army presented me with a specimen of this bird, which had been killed by one of the soldiers belonging to the garrison. I had already observed many cuckoos in the course of my walks through the tangled woods of that curious island ; but as they seemed to be our Common yellow billed species, I passed without paying much attention to them . The moment this specimen was presented to me however, I knew that it was a species unknown to me, and thought, as I have on many occasions had reason to do, how vigilant the student of nature ought to be, when placed in a country previously unvisited by him. The bird was immediately drawn, and I afterwards shot several others, all precisely corresponding with it.

'The habits of the mangrove Cuckoo I found to be much the same as those of two well known species. Like them, it is fond of sucking the eggs of all kinds of birds in the absence of their owners, and also feeds on fruit and various kinds of insects. It is, however, more vigilant and shy, and does not extend its migrations northward beyond the eastern capes of the Floridas, appearing, instead, to confine itself mostly to the islets covered with mangroves, among the sombre foliage of which trees it usually builds its nest, and rears its young. . . . "

"The White-headed Pigeon is frequently robbed of its eggs by this plunderer, and it is alleged by the fishermen and wreckers that it destroys the squabs when yet very young, but I saw no instance of this barbarous propensity. . . ."

 

 

Additional information about the mangrove cuckoo may be found by following this link to eNature.com

 

 


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