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Central Africa. It is found in the regions which border the colony of the Cape, and is called blessbock by the Dutch. In manners it resembles the gnu, and lives in small families of seven or eight.
The springer antelope (A. euchon) is named springbock by the Dutch. It inhabits the plains of Southern and Central Africa, and assembles in vast flocks during its migra tory movements. "These migrations, which are said to take place in their most numerous form only at the intervals of several years, appear to come from the north-east, and in masses of many thousands, devouring, like locusts, every green herb. The lion has been seen to migrate, and walk in the midst of the compressed phalanx, with only as much space between him and his victims as the fears of those immediately around could procure by pressing outwards. The foremost of these vast columns are fat, and the rear exceed ingly lean, while the direction continues one way; but with the change of the monsoon, when they return towards the north, the rear become the leaders, fattening in their turn, and leaving the others to starve, and to be devoured by the numerous enemies who follow their march. At all times when impelled by fear, either of the hunter or the beast of prey darting among the flock, but principally when the herds are assembled in countless multitudes, so that an alarm cannot spread rapidly and open the means of flight, they are pressed against each other, and their anxiety to escape impels them to bound up in the air, showing, at the same time, the white spot on the croup dilated by the effort, and closing again in their descent, and producing that beautiful effect from which they have obtained the name of Springer and Showy-bock.”—Griffith's Animal Kingdom, vol. iv. p. 209.
The kevel (A. kevella) is nearly all ied to the dorcas, but does not appear to occur to the north of the Atlas, with the exception, perhaps, of the western coast of Morocco. In Central Africa, across the banks of the Congo, and southwards as far as the country of the Caffres, it forms numerous flocks. The pallah (A. melampus) is a beautiful species, mentioned by Lichtenstein. It is described as a model of legance and vigour, and is a native of Caffraria, especially the Boshuana country. It never appears to the south of the Koorges Valley The klipspringer (A. 4 reo
tragus) was formerly very abundant near the Cape, but is now rare, except in the interior of the country. They dwell among rocky precipices, and spring from cliff to cliff with surprising strength and agility. The steenbock (A. rupestris) likewise dwells among the rocks. It is found near Algoa Bay, but is now rare in the Cape colony. The vlackti steenbock (A. rufescens) is among the most beautiful of the smaller antelopes of Africa. The name of vlackti is bestowed upon it, in consequence of its inhabiting the plains or open country. The bush-antelope (A. silvicultrix) is found at Sierra Leone, where it is called the bush-goat. It usually quits its cover in search of food about sunrise. The four-tufted antelope (A. quadriscopa) is a native of Senegal. The duicker bock (A. mergens) is a timid species, fearful of thunder and other unaccustomed sounds. It inhabits bushes, and rises every now and then upon its hind legs for the sake of surveying its vicinity. It then stoops down and darts under cover, from which custom it has no doubt obtained the name of duicker, or the stooper. The guevei (A. pygmæa) consists of two well-marked varieties, if two distinct species have not been confounded under a single name. At present we shall allude only to the smaller, which is remarkable for its diminutive size. A female in Bullock's Museum scarcely exceeded the general dimensions of a Norway rat, and the legs were no thicker than a goose's quill. The gueveis are brought from the coast of Guinea, and are sometimes observed to occur in the vicinity of the Cape of Good Hope.
One of the largest of the African antelopes is the bubale (A. bubalis of Pallas), equal in size to a stag. It congregates in troops, among which frequent and sometimes fatai combats take place. This species was well known to the ancients, and is represented among the hieroglyphical figures of the temples of Upper Egypt. It inhabits Barbary and the Great Desert of Northern Africa.
We may here mention the gnu, as an animal classed by Sparrman and others among the antelopes. It assembles in large herds among the southern, and probably the central deserts of Africa. It is not now found nearer the Cape than the great Karroo district. Of this animal there appears to be more species than one.
The next group which demands our notice is the bovine tribe, including all the larger kinds of horned cattle. Of these, the only species peculiar to Africa is the Bos caffer, or Cape buffalo, the qu'araho of the Hottentots, a fierce and vindictive animal of great strength. This species is characterized by the dark rufous colour of its horns, which spread horizontally over the summit of the head, with their beams bent down laterally, and the points turned up. They are from eight to ten inches broad at the base, and divided only by a slight groove, extremely ponderous, cellular near the root, and five feet long, measured from tip to tip along the curves. The hide is black and almost naked, especially in old animals. This buffalo lives in herds, or small families, in the brushwood and open forests of Caffraria. According to Sparrman, he is not content with simply killing the person whom he attacks, but he stands over him for some time in order to trample him with his hoofs and heels, at the same time crushing him with his knees, and tearing to pieces and mangling his whole body, and finally stripping off the skin with his tongue. The surest way to escape is, if possible, to ride up a hill, as the great bulk of the buffalo's body, like that of the elephant, is a weight sufficient to prevent his vying with the slender and fine-limbed horse in swiftness. It is said, however, that in going down hill, this formidable animal gets on much faster than the horse.
The goat and sheep tribe, so valuable, especially the lat*er, to the human race, present respectively a species pecu har to the continent of Africa. The Egyptian goat, by some however regarded as nothing more than a variety of the domestic breed, is distinguished by the great convexity of its facial line, and a depression between the face and the forehead. The lower jaw projects beyond the upper; the ears are long and flat, and the horns are either very small, and arched slightly backwards, or are entirely wanting. The female scarcely differs from the male in external appearance, with the exception of the straighter outline of the face. It inhabits Upper Egypt. The other animal above alluded to is called the bearded sheep (Ovis tragela phus). It inhabits the desert steeps of Barbary and the mountainous portions of Egypt.
We have now enumerated, with occasional brief descriptions and interspersed notices of their history and habits, the greater proportion of the more remarkable quadrupeds of Africa. To extend the list would have been both easy and agreeable; but we trust that the preceding sketch will suffice to exhibit the prevailing and peculiar features of this branch of African zoology, even though our confined limits should have excluded many minor details, not in themselves devoid of interest, though unessential to our present undertaking. The great preponderance of the antelope tribe, the existence of the giraffe and the hippopotamus, and the numerous troops of equine animals, such as the zebra and the quagga, may be stated as forming the principal zoological characters of this extensive continent.
Natural History of the Birds of Africa.
We shall next take a rapid survey of some other departments of the natural history of Africa; and continuing, as we have commenced, with a certain degree of systematic arrangement, the second great class which attracts the attention of the traveller is that of birds.
The arid and wide-spread plains which compose so large a portion of this continent, are unfavourable to the existence and multiplication of the feathered race. Yet the more umbrageous banks of rivers, the extensive forests which here and there prevail to check the drifting of the desertsand, and those green and grateful oases which towards evening cast their far shadows across a waterless land, harbour in their cool recesses many a gorgeous form of feathered life. Nor can we suppose that the mountain-summits, and those Sierras which occasionally interrupt the horizontal view of the bleached wilderness, are uninhabited by birds of prey, eagle-eyed and swift of wing, there perched securely amid their rocky fortresses, but ever ready to descend with eager cry, when the blast of the simoom overwhelms the
exhausted caravan, or the weary camel "ship of the desert" is seen to stoop its mast-like neck, and the glassy hue of death suffuses its gentle eye, not from the turbulence, but the want of waves. And if, as has been supposed, some of the great African rivers empty their translucent streams into an interior and sea-like lake, many an unknown but beautiful aquatic bird must haunt its mysterious and long-sought-for shores, and revel in the crystal depths of those delusive waters which have already led on to death so many of our brave and devoted countrymen. To these, however, so long as heroic enterprise is valued, they will likewise prove the waters of immortality, though, to their surviving and deploring friends, bitter as the fountain of Marah.
If the multiplicity of species, even in the class of quadrupeds, be found an insuperable obstacle to a detailed account in such a publication as the present, far more must we curtail our remarks when treating of the feathered race, the number of which, not unfamiliar to the ornithologist, does probably not fall far short of 6000 species. Let us commence with the carnivorous tribes.
Several species of vulture occur in Africa, where, as in other countries, they follow troops of armed men,
"Sagacious of their quarry from afar,"
in the hope of ere long preying on their slaughtered bodies. It is, however, by the sense of sight, and not by that of smell, that these birds so quickly discover and assemble round their victims on the battle-field.
The eared vulture (l'oricou of Le Vaillant) is a gregarious species which inhabits the southern parts of Africa. Their nests are placed very near each other, and the birds are seen sitting in vast numbers about the caverns of the rocky mountains where they breed.
A doubtful species called the armed vulture, is mentioned
*The writer of these notices dwelt at one time, during his boyhood, for many months in the family, and constant companionship of the late lamented Major Laing, and was in habits either of personal intimacy or correspondence with the unfortunate Bowdich, Oudney, Clapperton, and the younger Park, who so lately perished following his father's footsteps