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Theodore Roosevelt (1858–1919). Through the Brazilian Wilderness. 1914.

Page 112

finfoot, a bird with feet like a grebe and bill and tail like those of a darter, but, like so many South American birds, with no close affiliations among other species. The exceedingly rich bird fauna of South America contains many species which seem to be survivals from a very remote geologic past, whose kinsfolk have perished under the changed conditions of recent ages; and in the case of many, like the hoatzin and screamer, their like is not known elsewhere. Herons of many species swarmed in this neighborhood. The handsomest was the richly colored tiger bittern. Two other species were so unlike ordinary herons that I did not recognize them as herons at all until Cherrie told me what they were. One had a dark body, a white-speckled or ocellated neck, and a bill almost like that of an ibis. The other looked white, but was really mauve-colored, with black on the head. When perched on a tree it stood like an ibis; and instead of the measured wing-beats characteristic of a heron’s flight, it flew with a quick, vigorous flapping of the wings. There were queer mammals, too, as well as birds. In the fields Miller trapped mice of a kind entirely new.
  Next morning the sky was leaden, and a drenching rain fell as we began our descent of the river. The rainy season had fairly begun. For our good fortune we were still where we had the cabins aboard the boat, and the ranch-house, in which to dry our clothes and soggy shoes; but in the intensely humid atmosphere, hot and steaming, they stayed wet a long time, and were still moist when we put them on again. Before we left the house where we had been treated with such courteous hospitality