Saturday 13 January 2024

Bronze-Winged Mannikins: a colour plate from 1969

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. This is the 16th in the series.

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The artist for this plate was Chloe Elizabeth Talbot Kelly (born 1927) who went on to illustrate a number of field guides. Her paintings of birds appear in art sales. She began painting in 1945 at the Natural History Museum in London.

The article accompanying this plate was written by Colin James Oliver Harrison (1926-2003) who worked for many years at the Natural History Museum’s bird collection at Tring.

The Bronze-winged or Bronze Mannikin (Spermestes cucullata) occurs in grassland across a large swathe of Africa. Large flocks feed mainly on grass seeds but also take small invertebrates during breeding in the wet season. 

Avicultural Magazine Vol 74, 1968

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