Travels Of Richard And John Lander Travels in West Africa (Congo Francais, Corisco and Cameroons) by Mary H. Kingsley




















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One of the chief features of Free Town are the jack crows.  Some
writers say they are peculiar to Sierra - Page 30
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One Of The Chief Features Of Free Town Are The Jack Crows.

Some writers say they are peculiar to Sierra Leone, others that they are not, but both unite in calling them Picathartes gymnocephalus.

To the white people who live in daily contact with them they are turkey buzzards; to the natives, Yubu. Anyhow they are evil-looking fowl, and no ornament to the roof-ridges they choose to sit on. The native Christians ought to put a row of spikes along the top of their cathedral to keep them off; the beauty of that edifice is very far from great, and it cannot carry off the effect produced by the row of these noisome birds as they sit along its summit, with their wings arranged at all manner of different angles in an "all gone" way. One bird perhaps will have one straight out in front, and the other casually disposed at right-angles, another both straight out in front, and others again with both hanging hopelessly down, but none with them neatly and tidily folded up, as decent birds' wings should be. They all give the impression of having been extremely drunk the previous evening, and of having subsequently fallen into some sticky abomination - into blood for choice. Being the scavengers of Free Town, however, they are respected by the local authorities and preserved; and the natives tell me you never see either a young or a dead one. The latter is a thing you would not expect, for half of them look as if they could not live through the afternoon.

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