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Colson, Savoie, Eagle (1 Viewer)

janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
In vol.2, pt.6, of his well-known Index Animalium, Charles Davies Sherborn lists on p.1406 an Aquila colsonii, with reference: J.B.Bailly, Bull.Soc.H.N.Savoie, I, 1850, 65. I got the impression that Bulletins of the Society of Natural History of Savoie of so long ago are not available. The volumes on the avifauna of Savoie by Jean-Baptiste Bailly with the title "Ornithologie de la Savoie" (1853), can be found in the Bioheritage Library, but in volume I of the Raptors there is no such name in Aquila, nor the name Colson anyway. Apparently this personal name Colson is or was rather common in Savoie, in spite of its - for France - exotic appearance (Savoie was not always French).
I remember I presented this name to James Jobling a few years ago, but James did not know the name and it got out of sight then. Maybe someone can shed light on this person Colson and thereby solve the etymological issue and also identify the eagle (or raptor) species.
Jan van der Brugge
 

l_raty

laurent raty
I have no etymological explanation to offer for now, but the description is listed in [this Catalogue of scientific papers], and would appear to be:
Bailly JB. 1850. Description d'une nouvelle espèce d'aigle, [Aquila colsonii, Edm. Fairmaire]. Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de Savoie, 1: 65-66.​
Edmond Fairmaire was a Parisian 'naturaliste'; he is cited by Bailly in Ornithologie de la Savoie as having provided specimens for his collection, some of them from abroad (e.g.: "un Cincle à Ventre Noir rapporté de Russie" -- https://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/41751468). The name being attributed to him in the description title suggests Fairmaire used it on the label of a specimen that Bailly acquired from him. Under these conditions, I'm not at all sure it is safe to assume that the bird in question was from Savoy.
 

Björn Bergenholtz

... earlier a k a "Calalp"
Colson's Eagle

Neither I could find a digitized version of a "Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de Savoie, 1", from 1850 (or 1849), not closer than here, or here. Nor do I have any idea regarding the Etymology.

But, it's apparently out there, somewhere ... and as such (if not a pre-historic fossil, of course) I assume it ought to deserve its place in the Key.

In the entry for "BAILLY JEAN-BAPTISTE" [1822–1880], on pp.178-180, in Histoire de l'Académie des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Savoie, de 1820 à 1860, suivie des tables des trente-six premiers volumes des mémoires et des six premiers volumes de documents (1891), here, i'ts: "Aquila Colsoni (Fermaire)" [sic X 2], single ending-i + Fermaire ... !?

Note that this name/bird isn't found (at least not by a Non-French reader like myself) in Bailly's Ornithologie de la Savoie, ou, Histoire des oiseaux ..., published in four volumes, 1853–1854 (the Eagles are, like Jan pointed out, found in Vol 1, 1853, on pp.80–113), here.

However, note the phrase: "On trouve en Savoie une race de sujets fort rares, spécialement composée de mâles, dont la taille ne ... (bottom p.86), that might, could (?) indicate the presence of a local rare Eagle (like a, at that point, retracted Colsoni/i) ...

If of any help?

/B
 

Björn Bergenholtz

... earlier a k a "Calalp"
It's apparently also found in the US, in the Smithsonian Library (for loan); here alt. here, alt. for sale (here), at a bargain price of only 400 EUR! ;)

Maybe the easiest way is to contact the Société d'histoire naturelle de la Savoie itself (here alt. here), they might be able to help?
 

mb1848

Well-known member
Interesting thread! In the alt Sithsonian link it says NH has photo copy of original from Hambrey municipal libraries. This must be the work of Richmond. I would like to see photocopy!
 

janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
Quote Björn:
<It's apparently also found in the US, in the Smithsonian Library (for loan); here alt. here, alt. for sale (here), at a bargain price of only 400 EUR!
Maybe the easiest way is to contact the Société d'histoire naturelle de la Savoie itself (here alt. here), they might be able to help?>


For your information and hoping for a further positive reaction from France, here is the immediate answer to my request:

Bonjour,
J'accuse réception de votre courriel.
Je vais transmettre votre message à la bibliothécaire en charge des bulletins et revues que nous recevons (le bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de Savoie en fait peut-être partie).
Je vous invite à aller voir sur notre site Internet dans la bibliothèque des articles de nos bulletins si cet auteur apparaît. Je vous envoie le lien (mot-clé à saisir dans la barre de recherche) : https://www.linneenne-lyon.org/spip3/spip.php?article53
N'hésitez pas à nous recontacter si vous avez besoin d'autres renseignements.
Cordialement,
Michaël BENSOUSSAN

Secrétaire
Le 09/02/2020 à 22:46, Jan van der Brugge a écrit :

Bonjour Monsieur/Madame,
Permettez-moi, s'il-vous-plaît, de vous présenter une question ornithologique liée à l'histoire naturelle de la Savoie et précisement à l'auteur Jean-Baptiste Bailly. Dans le "Bulletin de la Société de'Histoire Naturelle de la Savoie" cet auteur a décrit une aigle jusqu'à alors (considerée) inconnue, sous le titre suivant:
"Description d'une nouvelle aigle, [Aquila colsonii, Edm. Fairmaire]" (Bull.Soc.Hist.Nat.Savoie, I, 1850, p.65)
Cependant, dans la pratique l'accès à cette publication est assez problématique quand on se trouve très loin d'une bibliothèque ou association qui possède ce bulletin, et il s'agit de l'article de Bailly, seulement.
Je voudrais vous prier, si ça serait possible, de m'envoyer une photocopie de la description que J.B.Bailly a publiée, pour pouvoir la comparer avec les descriptions d'autres aigles qu'il y a ou avait dans la Savoie dans ses jours. Dans son oevre "Ornithologie de la Savoie", tome I, 1853, tel nom n'est pas donné entre les espèces; aussi le nom Colson n'est pas là.
L'élément de ce nom scientifique qui est d'intérêt particulier pour un groupe de membres de BirdForum (comme moi-même) qui fait des études de l'étymologie et des synonymes d'espèces d'oiseaux, est le nom publié Colson (colsonii).
Nous voulons bien savoir qui était ce personnage: avait-il des activités dans l'ornithologie ou l'histoire naturelle et quelle était la rélation avec Jean-Baptiste Baptiste, ou peut-être avec Edmond Fairmaire de Paris, qui apparemment a envoyé des spécimens d'oiseaux à Bailly, et si ce Colson était Savoyen (le nom ne paraît pas français véritablement).
> J'espère que vous pouvez m'aider (ou nous aider) et je vous remercie sincèrement pour investigation nécessaire, mais aussi sans l'identité de Colson la solution de la synonymie du nom scientifique de l'aigle sera bienvenue.
[Pour votre information voici inclue la correspondance actuelle sur ce thème dans BirdForum]
Merci beaucoup,
Jan van der Brugge, Pays-Bas. Le 9. février, 2020

A bientôt, j'espère, mes amis . . .
 

janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
Reaction from the secretary, wonderful!

Bonjour,
J'ai trouvé ce qui semble être l'article que vous recherchez dans le bulletin n°5, année 1849.
Il se nomme en effet "Description d'une nouvelle d'espèce d'aigle", écrit par Jean-Baptiste Bailly, comme vous
l'avez mentionné.
Je vous envoie la copie numérisée de l'article.
Cordialement,
Michaël BENSOUSSAN
Secrétaire

Mr. Michaël Bensoussan has been very helpful: he was able to send the wanted text right away.
I did not succeed in getting the copy on this screen, so I decided to type it out. Any translation of the French and Latin in English, if needed, will follow.
Enjoy, Jan van der Brugge

p.65
ORNITHOLOGIE.
Description d'une nouvelle espèce d'aigle.

Aquila Colsonii. - Aigle de Colson. (Edm. Fairmaire.)

Je m'empresse de faire connaître aux naturalistes de notre pays la description d'une nouvelle espèce d'aigle sur laquelle M. Edmond Fairmaire, de Paris, membre honoraire de la Société, se propose de publier incessament des détails plus étendus.

Proxima aquilæ fulvæ (aigle royal). Corporis staturà præcipitatæ speciei staturam adæquante; totum ferè corpus fusco-nigricans; occipitales pennæ pallide castaneo-fuscæ; humeri albicantes; maxilla superior admodùm prominens; tarsi totà longitudine albi; alæ 2/3 caudæ occupantes partem; digiti breves, armati ungulis robustis.

[p.66]
Habitat in montibus circà urbem Bonæ, ad lacum Fetzara, in provincià Cyrtheana (Constantine) Algiria.

Notre savant collègue m'écrit à ce sujet que, s'étant procuré trois individus de cette espèce, elle attira, dès le premier moment, son attention par la couleur de ses tarses, semblables à ceux de l'aigle royal jeune (Aquila fulva); mais un examen approfondi du ptylose ne lui permit pas de douter que les oiseaux qu'il avait sous les yeux ne fussent entièrement nouveaux; toutefois, l'espèce lui parut très voisine de l'aigle royal.
C'est à M.Colson que l'ornithologie est redevable de la découverte de cette nouvelle espèce, et c'est en mémoire de ce savant distingué, mort récemment en Algerie, victime de son zèle pour la science, que M. Farmaire lui a donné le nom d'aigle de Colson (Aquila Colsonii).
Le Conservateur d'Ornithologie, J.-B. Bailly.

Text is rendered literally, thus 1x Fairmaire and 1x Farmaire! The Latin part is printed in italics (sorry for my clumsiness . . ., I cannot handle these BF instructions, the technics have their own plan).
All the best for now,
Jan van der Brugge

"Description d'une nouvelle aigle, [Aquila colsonii, Edm. Fairmaire]" (Bull.Soc.Hist.Nat.Savoie, I, 1850, p.65)
 

janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
Minor correction:
for
Corporis staturà præcipitatæ speciei
read
Corporis staturà præcitatæ speciei = body size of forementioned species

Full translation of description: Nearest to Aquila fulva (aigle royal) Body size equal to that of forecited species; body nearly all blackish-brown; crown-feathers pale chestnut-brown; shoulders whitish; the upper mandible somewhat protruding; legs over full length white; wings cover 2/3 of tail; toes short, armed with robust claws.
Jan van der Brugge
 

l_raty

laurent raty
To complete the translation of the Latin text:
"Habitat in montibus circà urbem Bonæ, ad lacum Fetzara, in provincià Cyrtheana (Constantine) Algiria."
= Resides in mountains near the town of Bona, by the Lake of Fetzara, in the Cyrthean province (Constantine), Algeria.

So we need to find a learned M. Colson, who discovered the bird in the region of present-day Annaba in NE Algeria, before dying in this country "victim of his zeal for science" a short time before 1849.
I gave it a quick try, but so far no luck.
 
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mb1848

Well-known member
If the description matches Spanish Imperial Eagle does A colsoni have precedence over adelberti?
 
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janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
In my opinion a full description, with a type specimen and type locality etc. would be needed to substitute colsoni for adalberti. Anyway, Bailly's description is far from satisfactory so as to sustain such a taxonomical decision. The description is not even convincing for reliable identification of Colson's eagle.
A little joke aside: the old rule says that the description of a supposed new species should occur in a well accessible publication. Well, this has hardly been the practice in my experience (but of course I did not live in Bailly's and Colson's days . . .)
Laurent surely might supply us with a more precise reason why this name colsoni should stay in uncertain synonymy, and that at most, I suppose. But it is encouraging for all in the subforum that obscure details keep turning up from almost hidden sources and that the efforts to dig up and enjoy such treasures are going on!
Jan van der Brugge
 

l_raty

laurent raty
A name that has not been used after 1899 can in principle not displace a name that is in wide use (used in at least 25 works by at least 10 authors in the last 50 years and over a period encompassing at least 10 years).

I'm not convinced that three Spanish Imperial Eagles being collected in the mountains of NE Algeria (where Golden eagle would seem rather normal) is a very plausible hypothesis, though.
And, actually, I'm not sure the description itself points clearly in the direction of this taxon either -- although I must admit that, when I read it, this idea occurred to me as well. Yes, the "humeri" are called "albicantes", but "humerus" also means "upper arm" (in the present case, I'm not fully sure it could not just mean the coverts of the inner wing) and "albicans" is not pure white (one might in any case expect it to be "less white" than "albis", which Bailly used for the bird's tarsi). Pure white tarsial feathers, on which the author insists, may also match (immature) Golden better than any imperial eagle; adult imperial eagles (i.e., those with white shoulders) have in any case dark brown tarsial feathering.

The words used by Bailly to describe him ("savant distingué" -- distinguished scholar --, who died at the service of science) suggest to me that Colson must have been some kind of knowledgeable naturalist / scientist. Not a mere French colonist shooting at birds in the countryside near his place of settlement.
 
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janvanderbrugge

Well-known member
Just to get somewhat familiar with the Algerian raptorial avifauna, nice observations of African bird species from further southward: (from site Birds in Algeria, older posts):

Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax) in north-east Algeria
By MaghrebOrnitho, 22 July 2018 Comments [by Mohamed]
This large eagle was photographed this week in north-east Algeria by Mourad Harzallah (a very good naturalist and a local ecotourism guide). The photographer said the eagle was much bigger than the Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), and some of the photos below also attest this.
Several people in a FB group suggested that it’s a Tawny Eagle (Aquila rapax), while others were hesitant to name it. The latter group was concerned especially by the fact that young Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) look similar to the Tawny Eagle. They also mentioned that some old records of Tawny Eagle in southern Morocco may have been, in fact, Spanish Imperial Eagles. Indeed, the the Moroccan Rare Bird Committee re-analysed some old records of Tawny Eagle in 2016, and as one may expect, they were not accepted. For details and more see: Status of Tawny Eagle in Morocco and vagrancy from sub-Saharan Africa. The overall status of the species in Algeria is very similar to its status in Morocco.
Let’s call this bird a Tawny Eagle for the rest of the text. Every comment is welcome, either to confirm the ID or otherwise. Thanks!. Edit: according to the photographer, the bird was confirmed as a Tawny Eagle.

Enjoy, Jan van der Brugge
 

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