Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.18363

    ‘The Taylor bird’

    Peter Mazell (1721, Irish) , Engraver
    Object type
    height (page): 245mm
    width (page): 185mm
    height (print): 195mm
    width (print): 155mm
    Content object
       > animal
          > bird
    Ornithological study of two common tailorbirds, Orthotomus sutorius, referred to here as Motacilla sutoria, in left profile. Only their heads are visible, poking out from beneath their nest, which consists of two leaves stitched together, possibly by plant fibre, and feathers.

    Inscribed below: ‘P Mazell Sculp. THE TAYLOR BIRD’

    Written in the associated description: ‘It [the bird] picks up a dead leaf, and, surprising to relate, sews it to the side of a living one, its slender bill being its needle, and its thread some fine fibres; the lining, feathers, goffamer, and down.’

    Plate 10 from Thomas Pennant’s Indian Zoology (London, 1790), printed by Henry Hughs for Robert Faulder.

    Thomas Pennant (1726–1798), British naturalist, traveller, and writer, was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1767. Best known for his published accounts of tours throughout the British Isles. He never travelled outside of Europe and his account of Indian Zoology was gleamed from drawings brought back by Joan Gideon Loten (1710-1789), a servant in the colonies of the Dutch East India Company and 29th Governor of Sri Lanka, then Ceylon.
    Related fellows
    Thomas Pennant (1726 - 1798, British) , Naturalist
    Joan Gideon Loten (1710 - 1789) , Colonial administrator
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Asia
          > Sri Lanka
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