Now one of the light-blue chatterers, then a lovely trogon, would seize a fruit as it darted by; or the delicate white wing and claret-coloured plumage of a lovely pompadour would glance from the foliage; or a huge-billed toucan would pitch down on a bough above us, and shake off a fruit into the water.
All that afternoon she feasted, Warruk spurning the delicacies she offered him but growling savagely as she drew the young of a trogon out of its nest in the cavity of a termites' domicile which was plastered, like a huge knob, on one of the high branches.
"Trogons! Yes, you said they were trogons." "Trogon resplendens. Those long-tailed feathers are fitly named, Nat, for they are splendid indeed." "Glorious!" I cried enthusiastically; and though we worked for some time longer my help was very poor, on account of the number of times I kept turning to the splendid trogons to examine their beauties again and again.
Its back is of a brilliant metallic- green colour, and the breast steel blue. The natives call it the Suruqua do Ygapo, or Trogon of the flooded lands, in contradistinction to the red-breasted species, which are named Surtiquas da terra firma. I often saw small companies of half a dozen individuals quietly seated on the lower branches of trees.
"Yes, Nat," he continued, "from the East, where the bamboo is used for endless purposes. It is hard, and will bear a sharp point, and is so abundant that the people seem to have no end to the use they make of it." "And have you seen birds like these alive, sir?" "No, Nat, but I hope to do so before long. That blue-billed gaper probably came from Malacca, and the trogon too.
It is deep velvety black, with a curved band of spots of a brilliant metallic-green colour extending across the wings from tip to tip, each spot being shaped exactly like a small triangular feather, and having very much the effect of a row of the wing coverts of the Mexican trogon, laid upon black velvet.
"This pretty dark bird with the black and white and crimson plumage is the rain-bird the blue-billed gaper; and this softly-feathered fellow with the bristles at the side of his bill is a trogon." "A trogon, sir?" "Yes, Nat, a trogon; and these little bamboo skewers tell me directly that the birds came from somewhere in the East." I looked at him wonderingly.
Sometimes a flock of parrots or bright blue chatterers swept from tree to tree, or a trogon swooped at a falling bunch of fruit and caught it ere it reached the water; while ungainly toucans plumped clumsily down upon the branches, and sat, in striking contrast, beside the lovely pompadours, with their claret-coloured plumage and delicate white wings.
I carefully put away the trogon, and crossed to where Pete was busy getting the kettle to boil, and making other preparations for our evening meal. No light task, for his fire troubled him a good deal, and he began about it at once. "What I want, Master Nat," he said, "is some regular good stiff clay to make up into bricks. They'd bake hard.
"No, Master 'Sunbeam; they are rather rare; so we must take great care of the skins of these we have shot." "Is their flesh good to eat?" he asked. "Excellent; and many a gourmand would be glad to make a meal of it. However, at dinner-time, you shall try for yourself; and you will meet with very few people who, like you, have partaken of the trogon massena."