Bengalee

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The tiny male STRAWBERRY FINCH, natty in red vest with white polka dots, seasonally assumes a drab garb (bird at extreme left, above) resembling, though darker than, the plumage of the female (perched, right wing extended, and flying). The domesticated BENGALEE, of uncertain origin, has been bred in three forms-dark brown and white, fawn and white, and pure white. The first two are shown here (center, perched and flying). A native of the Netherlands Indies and the Malay Peninsula, the JAVA SPARROW (lowest pair, normal and white forms) is a large and hardy breed.

By Alexander Wetmore
Originally appeared in the December 1938 issue of the National Geographic Magazine

This Web version COPYRIGHT 2004

The Bengalee is a domesticated variety credited to the Japanese and developed from the crossing of small weavers of the genus Uroloncha, its history being so obscure that the exact ancestry is not known.

These are chunky little birds that handle as easily as canaries, since they are accustomed to live only in cages and would be completely at a loss if they found themselves at freedom.

There are three varieties – a dark-brown one and a light – brown one with extensive white markings, both shown in Color Plate IV, and a third, not illustrated, that is pure white throughout, except for the feet and bill.

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