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Darwin Correspondence Project

From George Hodgskin   6 January 1877

20 Linden Gardens W | London

6th Jany 1877

Dear Sir,

Admiral Mellersh has forwarded your letter to him of the 3rd inst, and he appears to have committed a blunder in communicating to you about the Birds’ Nest I brought from MVideo last year.1 The nest was delivered to me as a present to you from Señor Rodó, a lawyer of that city;2 and I requested Mellersh more than once to furnish me with your address; and it was only in consequence of one of his recent letters mentioning your recent visit in his neighbourhood, that I renewed the request. Mr Rodó told me the bird that built the nest was called (in the Uruguay) el Boyéro and he described it black or almost black, about the size of our blackbird, and constructs its nest in the woods of Rio Negro— I must often have seen the bird perched on the back of cattle or horses—probably to pluck the hairs to make its nest.3 And as no doubt the Uruguay Republic was occupied by these birds prior to the introduction of those animals, what material could they have employed anciently?

Apologizing for the length of this, I have only to add that I shall this afternoon convey the nest, packed in a cigar-box, to the S.E. Rlway Station directed as you advised4 | I remain | dear Sir | Yours faithfully | G. Hodgskin

Chas Darwin Esq


See letter from Arthur Mellersh, 1 January 1877. CD’s reply to Mellersh of 3 January 1877 has not been found. Hodgskin had lived in Montevideo for many years before returning to Britain.
Señor Rodó has not been identified. CD had visited Montevideo on the Beagle voyage (see Journal of researches (1860), pp. 39–63).
The bird was probably Cacicus solitarius (boyero negro or solitary cacique), a member of the family Icteridae (American blackbirds, orioles, caciques, and oropendolas).
The railway station closest to CD’s home was Orpington, on the South East Railway line.


Journal of researches (1860): Journal of researches into the natural history and geology of the countries visited during the voyage of HMS Beagle around the world, under the command of Capt. FitzRoy RN. By Charles Darwin. Reprint edition. London: John Murray. 1860.


Sends nest of a Uruguayan bird.

Letter details

Letter no.
George Hodgskin
Charles Robert Darwin
Sent from
London, Linden Gardens, 20
Source of text
DAR 166: 225
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 10773,” accessed on 6 December 2021,