1902 Encyclopedia > The Alps > Birds of the Alps

The Alps
(Part 27)


(c) Birds in the Alps

The birds of the Alps are proportionately very numerous. Many southern species find a home in the warmer Italian valleys, and there meet northern forms that descend during the winter and spring, but return to the upper zone in the warm season. Of the more conspicuous species of the high Alps, the lammergeyer (Gypaetos barbatus) --- once common, but now become very rare --- is pre-eminent. It is also found in Algeria, in Syria, and in Northern Asia, but is one of those animals that are threatened with extinction by the progress of civilization. The rock chough (Pyrrhocorax alpinus), distinguished by golden-yellow bill and feet, builds on rocks in the glacial region as high as 10,000 feet above sea. Several song birds, such as the snow lark and snow finch, ascend to the limits of vegetation. The Gallinaceæ are well represented. The cock of the woods (Tetrao urogallus), the grouse, ptarmigan, blackcock, gelinotte, and rock partridge (Caccabis saxatilis), are the most remarkable. The first, which is somewhat rare and extremely shy, surpasses the dimensions of an ordinary well-grown fowl.

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