In the days when colour printing was extremely expensive, the Avicultural Society had special appeals for funds to support the appearance in Avicultural Magazine of the occasional colour plate. A well-known bird artist was then commissioned. Although the whole run of the Society’s magazines can be found online, the plates rarely see the light of day. Therefore I decided to show one, now and again, on this site.
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This plate from the November-December 1956 issue is Vieillot’s Crested Fireback, a pheasant, also now known as the Malay Crested Fireback, from the Thai-Malay Peninsula and most of Sumatra. It has gone from being considered a subspecies, Lophura ignita rufa, to being split off as a full species, Lophura rufa, in 2014. Jean Delacour (1890-1985), the famous aviculturist and ornithologist, provided a short account of the birds to accompany the colour plate. It is found in lowland forest but now classed as ‘vulnerable’ because of the loss of habitat.
The plate was the work David Morrison Reid Henry (1919-1977) in 1955. He signed his work as D.M. Henry and was an artist favoured by the Avicultural Society for the plates published in this period.