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Title: A History of North American Birds - Land Birds - Volume 1
Author: Brewer, Thomas Mayo, Baird, Spencer Fullerton, Ridgway, Robert
Language: English
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  [Illustration: CAT BIRD.
        (Galeoscoptes carolinensis.)









  [Illustration: sketch of nest with eggs]


  Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1874,
  in the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.



The present work is designed to meet the want, which has long been
felt, of a descriptive account of the Birds of North America, with
notices of their geographical distribution, habits, methods of
nesting, character of eggs, their popular nomenclature, and other
points connected with their life history.

For many years past the only systematic treatises bearing upon this
subject have been “The American Ornithology” of Alexander Wilson,
finished by that author in 1814, and brought down to the date of 1827
by George Ord; the “Ornithological Biography” of Audubon, bearing date
of 1838, with a second edition, “Birds of America,” embracing a little
more of detail, and completed in 1844; and “A Manual of the
Ornithology of the United States and Canada,” by Nuttall, of which a
first edition was published in 1832 and a second in 1840. Since then
no work relating to American Ornithology, of a biographical nature,
has been presented to the public, with the exception of some of
limited extent, such as those of Giraud, on the “Birds of Long
Island,” in 1844; De Kay’s “Birds of New York,” 1844; Samuels’s
“Ornithology and Oölogy of New England,” 1868, and a few others;
together with quite a number of minor papers on the birds of
particular localities, of greater or less moment, chiefly published in
periodicals and the Proceedings of Societies. The reports of many of
the government exploring parties also contain valuable data,
especially those of Dr. Newberry, Dr. Heermann, Dr. J. G. Cooper, Dr.
Suckley, Dr. Kennerly, and others.

More recently (in 1870) Professor Whitney, Chief of the Geological
Survey of California, has published a very important volume on the
ornithology of the entire west coast of North America, written by Dr.
J. G. Cooper, and containing much original detail in reference to the
habits of the western species. This is by far the most valuable
contribution to the biography of American birds that has appeared
since the time of Audubon, and, with its typographical beauty and
numerous and excellent illustrations, all on wood and many of them
colored, constitutes one of the most noteworthy publications in
American Zoölogy.

Up to the time of the appearance of the work of Audubon, nearly all
that was known of the great region of the United States west of the
Missouri River was the result of the journey of Lewis and Clark up the
Missouri and across to the Pacific Coast, and that of John K. Townsend
and Mr. Nuttall, both of whom made some collections and brought back
notices of the country, which, however, they were unable to explore to
any great extent. The entire region of Texas, New Mexico, Colorado,
Arizona, Nevada, and California was unvisited, as also a great portion
of territory north of the United States boundary, including British
Columbia and Alaska.

A work by Sir John Richardson, forming a volume in his series of
“Fauna Boreali-Americana,” in reference to the ornithology of the
region covered by the Hudson Bay Company’s operations, was published
in 1831, and has been much used by Mr. Audubon, but embraces little or
nothing of the great breeding-grounds of the water birds in the
neighborhood of the Great Slave and Bear Lakes, the Upper Yukon, and
the shores of the Arctic coast.

It will thus be seen that a third of a century has elapsed since any
attempt has been made to present a systematic history of the birds of
North America.

The object of the present work is to give, in as concise a form as
possible, an account of what is known of the birds, not only of the
United States, but of the whole region of North America north of the
boundary-line of Mexico, including Greenland, on the one side, and
Alaska with its islands on the other. The published materials for such
a history are so copious that it is a matter of surprise that they
have not been sooner utilized, consisting, as they do, of numerous
scattered biographies and reports of many government expeditions and
private explorations. But the most productive source has been the
great amount of manuscript contained in the archives of the
Smithsonian Institution in the form of correspondence, elaborate
reports, and the fieldnotes of collectors and travellers, the use of
which, for the present work, has been liberally allowed by Professor
Henry. By far the most important of these consist of notes made by the
late Robert Kennicott in British America, and received from him and
other gentlemen in the Hudson Bay Territory, who were brought into
intimate relationship with the Smithsonian Institution through Mr.
Kennicott’s efforts. Among them may be mentioned more especially Mr.
R. MacFarlane, Mr. B. R. Ross, Mr. James Lockhart, Mr. Lawrence Clark,
Mr. Strachan Jones, and others, whose names will appear in the course
of the work. The especial value of the communications received from
these gentlemen lies in the fact that they resided for a long time in
a region to which a large proportion of the rapacious and water birds
of North America resort during the summer for incubation, and which
until recently has been sealed to explorers.

Equally serviceable has been the information received from the region
of the Yukon River and Alaska generally, including the Aleutian
Islands, as supplied by Messrs. Robert Kennicott, William H. Dall,
Henry M. Bannister, Henry W. Elliott, and others.

It should be understood that the remarks as to the absence of general
works on American Ornithology, since the time of Audubon, apply only
to the life history of the species, as, in 1858, one of the authors of
the present work published a systematic account of the birds of North
America, constituting Vol. IX. of the series of Pacific Railroad
Reports; while from the pen of Dr. Elliott Coues, a well-known and
eminent ornithologist, appeared in 1872 a comprehensive volume,
entitled “A Key to North American Birds,” containing descriptions of
the species and higher groups.

The technical, or descriptive, matter of the present work has been
prepared by Messrs. Baird and Ridgway, that relating to the _Raptores_
entirely by Mr. Ridgway; and all the accounts of the habits of the
species are from the pen of Dr. Brewer. In addition to the matter
supplied by these gentlemen, Professor Theodore N. Gill has furnished
that portion of the Introduction defining the class of birds as
compared with the other vertebrates; while to Dr. Coues is to be given
the entire credit for the pages embracing the tables of the Orders and
Families, as well as for the Glossary beginning on page 535 of Vol.

Nearly all the drawings of the full-length figures of birds contained
in the work were made directly on the wood, by Mr. Edwin L. Sheppard,
of Philadelphia, from original sketches taken from nature; while the
heads were executed for the most part by Mr. Henry W. Elliott and Mr.
Ridgway. Both series have been engraved by Mr. Hobart H. Nichols of
Washington. The generic outlines were drawn by Anton L. Schönborn, and
engraved by the peculiar process of Jewett, Chandler, & Co., of
Buffalo. All of these, it is believed, speak for themselves, and
require no other commendation.

A considerable portion of the illustrations were prepared, by the
persons mentioned above, for the Reports of the Geological Survey of
California, and published in the volume on Ornithology. To Professor
Whitney, Chief of the Survey, acknowledgments are due for the
privilege of including many of them in the present History of North
American Birds, and also for the Explanation of Terms, page 526 of
Vol. III.

A few cuts, drawn by Wolf and engraved by Whymper, first published in
“British Birds in their Haunts,” and credited in their proper places,
were kindly furnished by the London Society for the Diffusion of
Christian Knowledge; and some others prepared for an unpublished
volume by Dr. Blasius, on the Birds of Germany, were obtained from
Messrs. Vieweg and Son, of Braunschweig.

The volume on the Water Birds is in an advanced state of preparation,
and will be published with the least possible delay.


  January 8, 1874.



  PREFACE                                              v

  INTRODUCTION                                        xi

  Family TURDIDÆ. The Thrushes                         1
    Subfamily TURDINÆ                                  3
    Subfamily MIMINÆ                                  31
  Family CINCLIDÆ. The Dippers                        55
  Family SAXICOLIDÆ. The Saxicolas                    59
  Family SYLVIIDÆ. The Sylvias                        69
    Subfamily SYLVIINÆ                                69
    Subfamily REGULINÆ                                72
    Subfamily POLIOPTILINÆ                            77
  Family CHAMÆADÆ. The Ground-Tits                    83
  Family PARIDÆ. The Titmice                          86
    Subfamily PARINÆ                                  86
    Subfamily SITTINÆ                                113
  Family CERTHIADÆ. The Creepers                     124
  Family TROGLODYTIDÆ. The Wrens                     130
  Family MOTACILLIDÆ. The Wagtails                   164
    Subfamily MOTACILLINÆ                            165
    Subfamily ANTHINÆ                                169
  Family SYLVICOLIDÆ. The Warblers                   177
    Subfamily SYLVICOLINÆ                            179
    Subfamily GEOTHLYPINÆ                            279
    Subfamily ICTERIANÆ                              306
    Subfamily SETOPHAGINÆ                            311
  Family HIRUNDINIDÆ. The Swallows                   326
  Family VIREONIDÆ. The Vireos                       357
  Family AMPELIDÆ. The Chatterers                    395
    Subfamily AMPELINÆ                               395
    Subfamily PTILOGONATINÆ                          404
  Family LANIIDÆ. The Shrikes                        412
  Family CÆREBIDÆ. The Guits                         425
  Family TANAGRIDÆ. The Tanagers                     431
  Family FRINGILLIDÆ. The Finches                    446
    Subfamily COCCOTHRAUSTINÆ                        446
    Subfamily PYRGITINÆ                              524
    Subfamily SPIZELLINÆ                             528


  PLATES 1-26.


The class of Birds (_Aves_), as represented in the present age of the
world, is composed of very many species, closely related among
themselves and distinguished by numerous characters common to all. For
the purposes of the present work it is hardly necessary to attempt the
definition of what constitutes a bird, the veriest tyro being able to
decide as to the fact in regard to any North American animal.
Nevertheless, for the sake of greater completeness, we may say that,
compared with other classes,[1] Birds are abranchiate vertebrates,
with a brain filling the cranial cavity, the cerebral portion of which
is moderately well developed, the corpora striata connected by a small
anterior commissure (no corpus callosum developed), prosencephalic
hemispheres large, the optic lobes lateral, the cerebellum
transversely multifissured; the lungs and heart not separated by a
diaphragm from the abdominal viscera; aortic arch single (the right
only being developed); blood, with nucleated red corpuscles,
undergoing a complete circulation, being received and transmitted by
the right half of the quadrilocular heart to the lungs for aeration
(and thus warmed), and afterwards returned by the other half through
the system (there being no communication between the arterial and
venous portions); skull with a single median convex condyle, chiefly
on the basi-occipital (with the sutures for the most part early
obliterated); the lower jaw with its rami ossifying from several
points, connected with the skull by the intervention of a quadrate
bone (homologous with the malleus); pelvis with ilia prolonged in
front of the acetabulum, ischia and pubes nearly parallel with each
other, and the ischia usually separated: anterior and posterior
members much differentiated; the former modified for flight, with the
humerus nearly parallel with the axis of the body and concealed in the
muscles, the radius and ulna distinct, with two persistent carpal
bones, and two to four digits; the legs with the bones peculiarly
combined, (1) the proximal tarsal bones coalescing with the adjoining
tibia, and (2) the distal tarsal coalescing with three (second, third,
and fourth) metatarsals (the first metatarsal being free), and forming
the so-called tarsometatarsus; dermal appendages developed as
feathers: oviparous, the eggs being fertilized within the body,
excluded with an oval, calcareous shell, and hatched at a temperature
of about 104° F. (generally by the incubation upon them of the

Such are some of the features common to all the existing species of
birds.[3] Many others might be enumerated, but only those are given
which contrast with the characteristics of the mammals on the one hand
and those of the reptiles on the other. The inferior vertebrates are
distinguished by so many salient characters and are so widely
separated from the higher that they need not be compared with the
present class.

Although birds are of course readily recognizable by the observer, and
are definable at once, existing under present conditions, as
warm-blooded vertebrates, with the anterior members primitively
adapted for flight,—they are sometimes abortive,—and covered with
feathers, such characteristics do not suffice to enable us to
appreciate the relations of the class. The characteristics have been
given more fully in order to permit a comparison between the members
of the class and those of the mammals and reptiles. The class is
without exception the most homogeneous in the animal kingdom; and
among the living forms less differences are observable than between
the representatives of many natural orders among other classes. But
still the differences between them and the other existing forms are
sufficient, perhaps, to authorize the distinction of the group as a
class, and such rank has always been allowed excepting by one recent

But if we further compare the characters of the class, it becomes
evident that those shared in common with the reptiles are much more
numerous than those shared with the mammals. In this respect the views
of naturalists have changed within recent years. Formerly the two
characteristics shared with the mammals—the quadrilocular heart and
warm blood—were deemed evidences of the close affinity of the two
groups, and they were consequently combined as a section of the
vertebrates, under the name of Warm-blooded Vertebrates. But recently
the tendency has been, and very justly, to consider the birds and
reptiles as members of a common group, separated on the one hand from
the mammals and on the other from the batrachians; and to this
combination of birds and reptiles has been given the name _Sauropsida_.

As already indicated, the range of variation within this class is
extremely limited; and if our views respecting the taxonomic value of
the subdivisions are influenced by this condition of things, we are
obliged to deny to the groups of living birds the right which has
generally been conceded of ranking as orders.

The greatest distinctions existing among the living members of the
class are exhibited on the one hand by the Ostriches and Kiwis and the
related forms, and on the other by all the remaining birds.

These contrasted groups have been regarded by Professor Huxley as of
ordinal value; but the differences are so slight, in comparison with
those which have received ordinal distinction in other classes, that
the expediency of giving them that value is extremely doubtful; and
they can be combined into one order, which may appropriately bear the
name of _Eurhipidura_.

An objection has been urged to this depreciation of the value of the
subdivisions of the class, on the ground that the peculiar adaptation
for flight, which is the prominent characteristic of birds, is
incapable of being combined with a wider range of form. This is, at
most, an explanation of the cause of the slight range of variation,
and should not therefore affect the exposition of the _fact_ (thereby
admitted) in a classification based on morphological characteristics.
But it must also be borne in mind that flight is by no means
incompatible with extreme modifications, not only of the organs of
flight, but of other parts, as is well exemplified in the case of bats
and the extinct pterodactyls.

Nor is the class of birds as now limited confined to the single order
of which only we have living representatives. In fossil forms we have,
if the differences assumed be confirmed, types of two distinct orders,
one being represented by the genus _Archæopteryx_ and another by the
genera _Ichthyornis_ and _Apatornis_ of Marsh. The first has been
named _Saururæ_ by Hæckel; the second _Ichthyornithides_ by Marsh.

Compelled thus to question the existence of any groups of ordinal
value among recent birds, we proceed now to examine the grounds upon
which natural subdivisions should be based. The prominent features in
the classification of the class until recently have been the divisions
into groups distinguished by their adaptation for different modes of
life; that is, whether aerial or for progression on land, for wading
or for swimming; or, again, into Land and Water Birds. Such groups
have a certain value as simply artificial combinations, but we must
not be considered as thereby committing ourselves to such a system as
a natural one.

The time has scarcely arrived to justify any system of classification
hitherto proposed, and we can only have a sure foundation after an
exhaustive study of the osteology, as well as the neurology and
splanchnology, of the various members. Enough, however, has already
been done to convince us that the subdivision of the class into Land
and Water Birds does not express the true relations of the members
embraced under those heads. Enough has also been adduced to enable us
to group many forms into families and somewhat more comprehensive
groups, definable by osteological and other characters. Such are the
Charadrimorphæ, Cecomorphæ, Alectoromorphæ, Pteroclomorphæ,
Peristeromorphæ, Coracomorphæ, Cypselomorphæ, Celeomorphæ, Aëtomorphæ,
and several others. But it is very doubtful whether the true clew to
the affinities of the groups thus determined has been found in the
relations of the vomer and contiguous bones. The families, too, have
been probably, in a number of cases, especially for the passerine
birds, too much circumscribed. The progress of systematic ornithology,
however, has been so rapid within the last few years, that we may be
allowed to hope that in a second edition of this work the means may be
furnished for a strictly scientific classification and sequence of the
families. (T. N. G.)

A primary division of recent birds may be made by separation of the
(_a_) _Ratitæ_, or struthious birds and their allies,—in which the
sternum has no keel, is developed from lateral paired centres of
ossification, and in which there are numerous other structural
peculiarities of high taxonomic import,—from the (_b_) _Carinatæ_,
including all remaining birds of the present geologic epoch. Other
primary divisions, such as that into _Altrices_ and _Præcoces_ of
Bonaparte, or the corresponding yet somewhat modified and improved
_Psilopaedes_ and _Ptilopaedes_ of Sundevall, are open to the serious
objections that they ignore the profound distinctions between
struthious and other birds, require too numerous exceptions, cannot be
primarily determined by examination of adult specimens, and are based
upon physiological considerations not necessarily co-ordinate with
actual physical structure.

In the following scheme, without attempting to indicate positive
taxonomic rank, and without committing myself finally, I present a
number of higher groups into which Carinate birds may be divided,
capable of approximately exact definition, and apparently of
approximately equivalent taxonomic value. Points of the arrangement
are freely drawn from the writings of various authors, as will be
perceived by those competent to judge without special references. I am
particularly indebted, however, to the late admirable and highly
important work of Professor Sundevall,[4] from which very many
characters are directly borrowed. The arrangement, in effect, is a
modification of that adopted by me in the “Key to North American
Birds,” upon considerations similar to those herewith implied. The
main points of difference are non-recognition of three leading groups
of aerial, terrestrial, and natatorial birds,—groups without
morphological basis, resting simply upon teleological modification; a
general depreciation of the taxonomic value of the several groups,
conformably with the considerations presented in the preceding pages
of this work; abolishing of the group _Grallatores_; and recognition
of a primary group _Sphenisci_.[5]

  A. PASSERES.[6] Hallux invariably present, completely
  incumbent, separately movable by specialization of the _flexor
  hallucis longus_, with enlarged base and its claw larger than
  that of the middle digit. Neither second nor fourth toe
  versatile; joints of toes always 2, 3, 4, 5, from first to
  fourth. Wing-coverts comparatively short and few; with the
  exception of the least coverts upon the _plica alaris_,
  arranged in only two series, the greater of which does not
  reach beyond the middle of the secondary remiges.[7] Rectrices
  twelve (with rare anomalous exceptions). Musical apparatus
  present in greater or less development and complexity. Palate
  ægithognathous. Sternum of one particular mould,
  single-notched. Carotid single (sinistra). Nature highly
  altricial and psilopædic.

    a. Oscines.[8] Sides of the tarsus covered in most or all of
    their extent with two undivided horny plates meeting behind
    in a sharp ridge (except in _Alaudidæ_; one of the plates
    imperfectly divided in a few other forms). Musical apparatus
    highly developed, consisting of several distinct pairs of
    syringeal muscles. Primaries nine only, or ten with the first
    frequently spurious, rarely over two thirds the length of the
    longest, never equalling the longest.

    b. Clamatores.[9] Sides of the tarsus covered with divided
    plates or scales variously arranged, its hinder edge blunt.
    Musical apparatus weak and imperfect, of few or incompletely
    distinguished syringeal muscles (as far as known). Primaries
    ten with rare exceptions, the first usually equalling or
    exceeding the rest.

  B. PICARIÆ.[10] Hallux inconsiderable, weak or wanting, not
  always incumbent, not separately movable by distinction of a
  special muscle, its claw not longer than that of the middle toe
  unless of exceptional shape (e. g. _Centropus_). Second or
  fourth toe frequently versatile; third and fourth frequently
  with decreased number of joints. Wing-coverts for the most part
  larger and in more numerous series than in _Passeres_, the
  greater series reaching beyond the middle of the secondary
  quills (except in many _Pici_ and some others). Rectrices
  commonly ten (eight to twelve). Primaries always ten, the first
  only exceptionally short (as in _Pici_). Musical apparatus
  wanting, or consisting of a muscular mass, or of not more than
  three pairs of syringeal muscles. Palate desmognathous or
  ægithognathous. Sternum of non-passerine character, its
  posterior border entire or doubly notched or fenestrate.
  Carotid single or double. Nature completely altricial, but
  young sometimes hatched with down[11] (e. g. _Caprimulgidæ_).

    a. Cypseli. Palate ægithognathous. Wings lengthened in their
    terminal portions, abbreviated basally, with the first
    primary not reduced. Tail of ten rectrices. Bill fissirostral
    or tenuirostral. Feet never zygodactyle nor syndactyle,
    small, weak, scarcely fitted for locomotion; hallux often
    elevated or lateral or reversed; front toes usually webbed at
    base, or with abnormal ratio of phalanges in length and
    number, or both. Sternum deep-keeled, usually entire or else
    doubly notched or perforate. Syringeal muscles not more than
    one pair.

    b. Cuculi. Palate desmognathous. Wings not peculiar in
    brevity of proximal or length of distal portions, and with
    first primary not reduced. Tail of eight to twelve rectrices.
    Bill of indeterminate form, never cered; tongue not
    extensile. Feet variously modified by versatility or
    reversion of either first, second, or fourth toes, or by
    cohesion for a great distance of third and fourth, or by
    absence or rudimentary condition of first or second; often
    highly scansorial, rarely ambulatorial. Syringeal muscles two
    pairs at most.

    c. Pici. Palate “exhibiting a simplification and degradation
    of the ægithognathous structure” (Huxley); wings bearing out
    this passerine affinity in the common reduction of the first
    primary and the restriction of the greater coverts. Tail of
    ten perfect rectrices and usually a supplementary pair.
    Rostrum hard, straight, narrow, subequal to head, with
    commonly extensile and vermiform but not furcate tongue. Feet
    highly scansorial. Fourth toe permanently reversed; basal
    phalanges of toes abbreviated. Sternum doubly notched.
    Salivary glands highly developed. Hyoidean apparatus peculiar.

  C. PSITTACI. Bill enormously thick, short, high, much arched
  from the base, the upper mandible strongly hooked at the end,
  cered at base, and freely movable by complete articulation with
  the forehead, the under mandible with short, broad, truncate
  symphysis. Feet permanently zygodactyle by reversion of the
  fourth toe, which articulates by a double facet. Tarsi
  reticulate. Syrinx peculiarly constructed of three pairs of
  intrinsic muscles. Tongue short, thick, fleshy. Sternum entire
  or fenestrate. Clavicles weak, defective, or wanting. Orbit
  more or less completed by approach or union of postorbital
  process and lachrymal. Altricial; psilopædic.

  D. RAPTORES. Bill usually powerful, adapted for tearing flesh,
  strongly decurved and hooked at the end, furnished with a cere
  in which the nostrils open. Feet strongly flexible, with large,
  sharp, much curved claws gradually narrowed from base to tip,
  convex on the sides, that of the second toe larger than that of
  the fourth toe, and the hinder not smaller than the second one.
  Feet never permanently zygodactyle, though fourth toe often
  versatile; anterior toes commonly with one basal web; hallux
  considerable and completely incumbent (except _Cathartidæ_).
  Legs feathered to the suffrago or beyond. Rectrices twelve
  (with rare exceptions); primaries sinuate or emarginate (with
  rare exceptions). Sternum singly or doubly notched or
  fenestrate. Palate desmognathous. Carotids double. Syrinx
  wanting or developed with only one pair of muscles. Altricial;
  the young being weak and helpless, yet ptilopædic, being downy
  at birth.

  E. COLUMBÆ. Bill straight, compressed, horny at the vaulted
  tip, which is separated by a constriction from the soft
  membranous basal portion. Nostrils beneath a soft, tumid valve.
  Tomia of the mandibles mutually apposed. Frontal feathers
  sweeping in strongly convex outline across base of upper
  mandible. Legs feathered to the tarsus or beyond. Hallux
  incumbent (with few exceptions), and front toes rarely webbed
  at base. Tarsus with small scutella in front, or oftener
  reticulate, the envelope rather membranous than corneous. Head
  very small. Plumage without after-shafts. One pair of syringeal
  muscles. Sternum doubly notched, or notched and fenestrate on
  each side. Carotids double. Palate schizognathous. Monogamous,
  and highly altricial and psilopædic.

  F. GALLINÆ. Bill generally short, stout, convex, with an obtuse
  vaulted tip, corneous except in the nasal fossa, and without
  constriction in its continuity. Nostrils scaled or feathered.
  Tomia of upper mandible overlapping. Frontal feathers forming
  re-entrant outline at the base of upper mandible. Legs usually
  feathered to the tarsus or beyond. Hallux elevated, with few
  exceptions (e. g. _Cracidæ_ and _Megapodidæ_), smaller than the
  anterior toes, occasionally wanting (as in the Hemipods).
  Tarsus, when not feathered, generally broadly scutellate. Front
  toes commonly webbed at base. Claws blunt, little curved. Wings
  strong, short, and concavo-convex. Rectrices commonly more than
  twelve. Head small. Plumage usually after-shafted. Carotids
  double (except _Turnicidæ_ and _Megapodidæ_). No intrinsic
  syringeal muscles. Sternum very deeply, generally doubly,
  notched. Palate schizognathous. Chiefly polygamous. Præcocial
  and ptilopædic.

  G. LIMICOLÆ. Tibiæ bare of feathers for a variable (sometimes
  very slight) distance above the suffrago. Legs commonly
  lengthened, sometimes excessively so, and neck usually produced
  in corresponding ratio. Tarsi scutellate or reticulate. Toes
  never coherent at base; cleft, or united for a short distance
  by one or two small movable basal webs (palmate only in
  _Recurvirostra_, lobate only in _Phalaropodidæ_). Hallux always
  reduced, obviously elevated and free, or wanting; giving a foot
  of cursorial character. Wings, with few exceptions, lengthened,
  pointed, and flat; the inner primaries and outer secondaries
  very short, forming a strong re-entrance on the posterior
  border of the wing. Tail shorter than the wing, of simple form,
  and of few feathers, except in certain Snipes. Head globose,
  sloping rapidly down to the contracted base of the bill,
  completely feathered (except _Philomachus_ ♂). Gape of bill
  short and constricted; tip usually obtuse; bill weak and
  flexible. Rostrum commonly lengthened, and more or less terete
  and slender; membranous wholly or in great part, without hard
  cutting edges. Nostrils narrow, placed low down, entirely
  surrounded with soft skin; nasal fossæ extensive. Palate
  schizognathous. Sternum usually doubly, sometimes singly,
  notched. Carotids double. Pterylosis of a particular pattern.
  Nature præcocial and ptilopædic. Comprising the “Plover-Snipe”
  group; species of medium and small size, with never extremely
  compressed or depressed body; more or less aquatic, living on
  plains and in open places, usually near water, nesting on the
  ground, where the young run freely at birth.

  H. HERODIONES. Tibiæ naked below. Legs and neck much lengthened
  in corresponding ratio. Toes long, slender, never coherent at
  base, where cleft, or with movable basal webbing. Hallux (as
  compared with that of the preceding and following group)
  lengthened, free, and either perfectly incumbent or but little
  elevated, with a large claw, giving a foot of insessorial
  character. Wings commonly obtuse, but broad and ample, without
  marked re-entrance on posterior border, the intermediate
  remiges not being much abbreviated. Tail short and
  few-feathered. Head narrow, conico-elongated, gradually
  contracting to the large, stout base of the bill; the loral and
  orbital region, or the whole head, naked. Gape of the bill
  deeply fissured; tip usually acute; tomia hard and cutting.
  Bill conico-elongate, always longer than the head, stout and
  firm. Nostrils small, placed high up, with entirely bony and
  horny, or only slightly membranous, surroundings. Pterylosis
  nearly peculiar in the presence, almost throughout the group,
  of powder-down tracts, rarely found elsewhere; pterylæ very
  narrow. Palate desmognathous. Carotids double. Altricial.
  Comprising the Herons, Storks, Ibises, etc. (not Cranes).
  Species usually of large stature, with compressed body and very
  long S-bent neck; perching and nesting usually in trees,
  bushes, or other high places near water; young hatching weak,
  scarcely feathered, and reared in the nest.

  I. ALECTORIDES.[12] Tibiæ naked below. Neck, legs, and feet
  much as in the last group, but hallux reduced and obviously
  elevated, with small claw, the resulting foot cursorial
  (natatorial and lobate in _Fulica_). Wings and tail commonly as
  in _Herodiones_. Head less narrowed and conic than in the last,
  fully feathered or with extensive baldness (not with definite
  nakedness of loral and orbital regions). Bill of various shape,
  usually lengthened and obtuse, never extensively membranous.
  Rictus moderate. Nostrils lower than in _Herodiones_.
  Pterylosis not peculiar. Palate schizognathous. Carotids
  double. Nature præcocial and ptilopædic. Comprising the Cranes
  and Rails and their allies; the former agreeing with the
  _Herodiones_ superficially in stature, etc., but highly diverse
  in the schizognathous palate, præcocial nature, etc.

  J. LAMELLIROSTRES. Feet palmate; tibiæ feathered (except
  _Phœnicopterus_). Legs near centre of equilibrium of the body,
  its axis horizontal in walking; not lengthened except in
  _Phœnicopterus_. Knee-joint rarely exserted beyond general skin
  of the body. Wings moderate, reaching when folded to, but not
  beyond, the usually short and rounded (exceptionally long and
  cuneate) tail. Feet tetradactyle (except sometimes in
  _Phœnicopterus_); hallux reduced, elevated and free, often
  independently lobate. Bill lamellate, i. e., furnished along
  each commissural edge with a regular series of mutually adapted
  laminæ or tooth-like processes, with which correspond certain
  laciniate processes of the fleshy tongue, which ends in a horny
  tip. Bill large, thick, high at base, depressed towards the
  end, membranous to the broad obtuse tip, which is occupied by a
  horny “nail” of various shape. Nostrils patent, never tubular;
  nasal fossæ slight. No gular pouch. Plumage dense, to resist
  water. Eyes very small. Head high, compressed, with lengthened,
  sloping frontal region. Palate desmognathous. Reproduction
  præcocial; young ptilopædic. Eggs numerous. Carotids double.
  Sternum single-notched. Comprising Flamingoes and all the
  Anserine birds.

  K. STEGANOPODES. Feet totipalmate; hallux lengthened, nearly
  incumbent, semilateral, completely united with the second toe
  by a full web. Tibiæ feathered; position of legs with reference
  to axis of body variable, but generally far posterior;
  knee-joint not free. Wings and tail variable. Bill of very
  variable shape, never lamellate, wholly corneous; its tomia
  often serrate; external nares very small or finally abortive. A
  prominent naked gular pouch. Tarsi reticulate. Sternum entire
  or nearly so; furculum confluent with its keel. Carotids
  double. Palate highly desmognathous. Reproduction altricial;
  young psilopædic or ptilopædic. Eggs three or fewer.

  L. LONGIPENNES. (To most of the characters of the group here
  given the genus _Halodroma_ is a signal exception, though
  unquestionably belonging here.) Feet palmate. Tibiæ feathered.
  Legs at or near centre of equilibrium, affording horizontal
  position of axis of body in walking. Knee scarcely buried in
  common integument; tibia sometimes with a long apophysis.
  Hallux elevated, free, functionless; very small, rudimentary,
  or wanting. Rostrum of variable shape, usually compressed and
  straight to the hooked end, sometimes entirely straight and
  acute, commonly lengthened, always corneous, without serration
  or true lamellæ. Nostrils of various forms, tubular or simply
  fissured, never abortive. No gular pouch. Wings very long and
  pointed, surpassing the base and often the end of the large,
  well-formed, few-feathered tail. Carotids double. Palate
  schizognathous. Reproduction altricial; young ptilopædic. Eggs
  three or fewer. Habit highly volucral.

  M. PYGOPODES. Feet palmate or lobate. Tibiæ feathered, often
  with a long apophysis, always buried in common integument
  nearly to the heel-joint, necessitating a more or less erect
  posture of the body on land, where progression is difficult.
  Hallux small, elevated or wanting; feet lobate or palmate. Bill
  of indeterminate shape, wholly corneous, never lamellate or
  serrate, nor with gular pouch. Nostrils not abortive. Wings
  very short, reaching scarcely or not to the base, never to the
  tip, of the short, sometimes rudimentary, tail. Palate
  schizognathous. Carotid usually double, sometimes single (in
  _Podiceps_ and _Mergulus_). Nature altricial or præcocial;
  young ptilopædic. Highly natatorial.

  N. SPHENISCI. With general characters of the last group, but
  distinguished by unique ptilosis and wing-structure, etc.
  Plumage without apteria, of singularly modified scale-like
  feathers on most parts; no developed remiges. Wings unfit for
  flight, insusceptible of perfect flexion or extension, very
  short, with peculiarly flattened bones and stable
  articulations. Skeleton non-pneumatic. Many bones, terete in
  ordinary birds, here flattened. Metatarsal bone flattened
  transversely, doubly fenestrate. Hallux elevated, lateral,
  minute, free. No free pollex. Two anconal sesamoids; patella
  from double centres; tibia without apophysis; a free tarsal
  ossicle. Sternum with long lateral apophyses. Pelvic
  connections unstable. Carotids double. Comprising only the
  Penguins. Confined to the Southern Hemisphere.

Having thus presented and defined an arrangement of the higher groups
into which recent Carinate birds are susceptible of division, I next
proceed to the consideration of the North American Families of birds
which the authors of the present work have provisionally adopted as
suitable to the end they had in view. Professor Baird urges the
caution that the scheme is intended merely for the convenient
determination of the North American species, aware that in many
instances diagnoses or antitheses of entire pertinence in such
application would fail or be negatived by consideration of the exotic
forms. The arrangement of the families here adopted is essentially
that presented in 1858 in Professor Baird’s “Birds of North America,”
modified somewhat in accordance with more recent views of Professor
Sundevall and others. But before proceeding to the analysis of the
families, I will introduce an artificial clew to the preceding higher
groups as adopted, so far as they are represented by North American


_By means of which any North American bird may be readily referred to
that group to which it is held to belong._

    I. Toes 3; 2 in front, 1 behind                       (_Pici_) PICARIÆ.

   II. Toes 3; all in front. Toes cleft or semipalmate            LIMICOLÆ.
                             Toes palmate. Nostrils tubular    LONGIPENNES.
                                           Nostrils not tubular  PYGOPODES.

  III. Toes 4; 2 in front, 2 behind. Bill cered and hooked          ITTACI.
              Bill neither cered nor hooked. (_Cuculi_ or _Pici_)  PICARIÆ.

   IV. Toes 4; 3 in front, 1 behind.
        1. Toes syndactyle                              (_Cuculi_) PICARIÆ.
        2. Toes totipalmate (all four full-webbed)            STEGANOPODES.
        3. Toes palmate. Bill curved up                           LIMICOLÆ.
                         Bill not curved up; lamellate      LAMELLIROSTRES.
                            not lamellate; hallux lobate         PYGOPODES.
                                           hallux not lobate   LONGIPENNES.
        4. Toes lobate. Tail rudimentary                         PYGOPODES.
                        Tail perfect. A horny frontal shield   ALECTORIDES.
                                      No horny frontal shield     LIMICOLÆ.
        5. Toes semipalmate; joined by evident movable basal web (A).
        6. Toes cleft to the base, or there immovably coherent (B).

  A. Hind toe elevated above the level of the rest.
      Tibiæ naked below. Nostrils perforate                    ALECTORIDES.
                         Nostrils imperforate.
                           Tarsi reticulate. Head bald          HERODIONES.
                                             Head feathered       LIMICOLÆ.
                           Tarsi scutellate in front              LIMICOLÆ.
      Tibiæ feathered below. Nostrils perforate                   RAPTORES.
                             Nostrils imperforate.
                              Gape reaching below eye. (_Cypseli_) PICARIÆ.
                              Gape not reaching below eye          GALLINÆ.

  AA. Hind toe inserted on the level of the rest.
      Tibiæ naked below                                         HERODIONES.
      Tibiæ feathered below. Bill cered and hooked                RAPTORES.
                             Bill not cered.
                               Nasal membrane soft and tumid       COLUMBÆ.
                               Nasal scale hard and flat           GALLINÆ.

  B. Hind toe elevated above the level of the rest.
      Gape reaching below eye                          (_Cypseli_) PICARIÆ.
      Gape not below eye.
        First primary emarginate or about equal to 2d             LIMICOLÆ.
        First primary not emarginate and much shorter than 2d  ALECTORIDES.

  BB. Hind toe inserted on the level of the rest.
      Nostrils opening beneath soft swollen membrane               COLUMBÆ.
      Nostrils otherwise. Bill cered and hooked                   RAPTORES.
                          Bill otherwise.
                            Secondaries only six       (_Cypseli_) PICARIÆ.
                            Secondaries more than six (_a_)       PASSERES.
        (_a_) Primaries 10; the 1st more than 2/3 as long as the longest.
                                                   (_Clamatores_) PASSERES.
              Primaries 10; the 1st not 2/3 as long as the longest.
                                                      (_Oscines_) PASSERES.
              Primaries 9.                            (_Oscines_) PASSERES.

Recurring now to consideration of the North American _Families_ of the
foregoing higher groups, I take up the latter in the natural order in
which they have been presented, giving under head of each such group
an analysis of the North American families by which it is represented,
reiterating the caution that the characters are drawn up only with
reference to the North American genera, and are, consequently, not
necessarily or always applicable upon wider considerations. These
analyses are made as nearly natural as the state of the case permits,
but I seize upon any obvious external characters which may be
afforded, without regard to their morphological significance or
taxonomic value.


A. Oscines. Musical apparatus highly developed. Back of tarsus
undivided, or formed of a few scutella distinct from those
lapping over the front. First primary wanting, spurious, or at
most not over two thirds the length of the longest.

  _a._ Each side of tarsus covered with a plate undivided in
  most or all of its length, and meeting its fellow in a
  sharp ridge behind.

    _b._ Primaries only nine.

      _c._ Bill triangular, depressed, about as wide at base as
      long; the gape twice as long as the culmen, reaching to
      about opposite the eyes; tomia straight or gently curved.
      No obvious rictal bristles. Tarsi not longer than the
      lateral toe and claw. Wings long and pointed, the first
      primary equal to or longer than the second. Central
      tail-feathers not half as long as the wing …     _Hirundinidæ_.

      _cc._ Bill variously conico-elongate or slender, or, if
      depressed, with long rictal bristles; gape not nearly twice
      as long as culmen; tomia straight or gently curved.
      Nostrils not obviously nearer culmen than tomia. Tarsus
      longer than lateral toe and claw.

        Bill very slender, acute; culmen rather concave at base.
        Longest secondary acuminate, nearly or quite equal to the
        primaries in the closed wing. Hind claw little curved,
        about twice as long as the middle claw. Hind toe and claw
        longer than middle toe and claw …              _Motacillidæ_.

        Bill variously conico-elongate and acute; culmen not
        concave at base. Longest secondary not acuminate, falling
        far short of primaries in the closed wing. Hind claw well
        curved, not nearly twice as long as middle claw; hind toe
        and claw not longer than middle toe and claw. Gape ample;
        tongue slightly bifid or brushy, if at all …   _Sylvicolidæ_.

        Bill lengthened, very acute, even decurved. Wings and
        feet as in the last. Gape constricted; tongue generally
        deeply bifid or brushy …                          _Cærebidæ_.

      _ccc._ Bill more or less truly conic, usually short, thick;
      commissure usually more or less evidently abruptly
      angulated near the base, or with lobe or tooth further
      forward. Nostrils obviously nearer culmen than tomia.
      Tarsus longer than lateral toe and claw.[13]

        Bill stout, tumid, convex in nearly all its outlines;
        tomia not angulated, but with one or more lobes or nicks
        in advance of the base. Nostrils placed very high. Other
        characters much as in _Sylvicolidæ_. Colors chiefly red
        and yellow. One genus of …                       _Tanagridæ_.

        Bill truly conic, much shorter than head, usually with
        the angulation evident; no lobe along middle of tomia,
        but usually a notch at end. Nostrils placed very high.
        Rictal bristles usually obvious …              _Fringillidæ_.

        Bill conic, but lengthened, little if any shorter than
        head; the angulation of the tomia evident; no notch at
        end. Nostrils high. No rictal bristles …          _Icteridæ_.

    _bb._ Primaries ten.

      Otherwise with characters much as in _Icteridæ_ …   _Sturnidæ_.

      _d._ Nostrils concealed with antrorse bristly feathers
      (except in _Psilorhinus_ and _Gymnokitta_).[14]

        Base of bill sheathed with antrorse bristly feathers,
        having lateral branches to their very ends; its tip
        mostly notched. Basal joint of middle toe united only
        half-way to the lateral. Sides of tarsus occupied by a
        lateral groove, mostly filled in with small plates. First
        primary more than half as long as second. Large,—over
        seven inches …                                     _Corvidæ_.

        Base of bill with two tufts of bristly feathers, ending
        in simple filaments without lateral branches, its tip
        mostly unnotched. Basal joint of middle toe united nearly
        all its length with the lateral. Sides of tarsus
        ungrooved. First primary less than half as long as
        second. Small,—under seven inches …            _Paridæ_.[15]

      _dd._ Nostrils exposed.

          _e._ Tail scansorial, with rigid acute feathers. Whole
          bill slender, compressed, acute, decurved, unnotched,
          unbristled. Outer toe much longer than inner … _Certhiidæ_.

          _ee._ Tail not scansorial, graduated. First primary not
          less (generally more) than half as long as the second,
          and inner toe united to the middle by at least one half
          (usually more) of the length of its basal joint.

            Tarsus with few obscure scutella. Rictal bristles
            present. Bill stout, but not toothed nor hooked. Wing
            excessively rounded (fifth, sixth, and seventh
            primaries longest), much shorter than the long
            graduated tail. Size small. Plumage brown, unbanded …

            Tarsus distinctly scutellate. Nostrils wholly
            exposed, scaled. No rictal bristles, but loral
            feathers with bristly points. Bill slender, not
            notched nor hooked. Wings and tail moderately
            rounded; neither very much shorter than the other.
            Size small. Color brown, etc., the wings and tail
            barred or undulated …                     _Troglodytidæ_.

            Tarsus distinctly scutellate. Nostrils overhung (not
            concealed) with bristly feathers. Rictal bristles
            present, strong. Bill powerful, compressed, strongly
            notched, toothed, and hooked. Wings and tail
            moderate. Large. Colors black, white, and gray …

          _eee._ Tail not scansorial. First primary less than
          half as long as the second,[16] or about half as long,
          in which case the inner toe is cleft nearly to its base
          (_f_ and _ff_).

            _f._ Basal joint of middle toe united some distance
            with the inner, and for half or more of its length
            with the outer toe.

              Basal joint of middle toe shorter than that of
              inner toe, and wholly adherent to both inner and
              outer toes. Tarsus longer than middle toe and claw.
              Gonys more than half the length of the lower jaw.
              Bill stout, high, compressed; notched and abruptly
              hooked at tip …                            _Vireonidæ_.

              Basal joint of middle toe not shorter than that of
              inner toe; united to the outer for about two
              thirds, to the inner for about one half, its
              length. Tarsus not longer than the middle toe and
              claw. Gonys less than half the length of the under
              jaw. Bill triangular, much depressed at base,
              moderately notched, and hooked at tip[17] … _Ampelidæ_.

              Basal joint of middle toe shorter than that of the
              inner toe, united to the outer for about two
              thirds, to the inner for about one half, its
              length. Tarsus longer than middle toe and claw.
              Gonys more than half the length of the under jaw.
              Bill very weak and slender, little decurved or
              notched at tip. Very small,—under six inches long.
              (Tarsi booted in _Regulus_, distinctly scutellate
              in _Polioptila_.) …                         _Sylviidæ_.

            _ff._ Basal joint of middle toe quite free from the
            inner, and not united with the outer more than

              Nostrils linear, low. No bristles or bristly points
              whatever about the mouth. Wings short, rounded,
              concavo-convex. Tail very short, nearly concealed
              by its coverts. Tarsi booted …              _Cinclidæ_.

              Nostrils oval. Bristles or bristly points about the
              mouth. Wings very long and pointed, reaching, when
              folded, beyond the middle of the short, square, or
              emarginate tail, and one and a half times or more
              the length of the latter; tip formed by second,
              third, and fourth quills; outer secondary reaching
              only about two thirds way to end of longest
              primary; spurious quill very short. Tarsi booted …

              Nostrils oval. Bristles or bristly points about the
              mouth. Wings moderate, not reaching, when folded,
              beyond the middle of the tail, and not over one and
              a third times as long as the latter; tip formed by
              third to sixth quill; outer secondary reaching in
              closed wing three fourths or more the length of the
              longest primary. Spurious quill longer, sometimes
              one half the second. Tarsi scutellate in _Miminæ_,
              booted in _Turdinæ_ …                        _Turdidæ_.

  _aa._ Outside of tarsus covered with two series of
  scutella,—one lapping entirely around in front, the other
  entirely around behind, and meeting at a groove on the inside;
  hind edge blunt. First primary spurious or apparently wanting.
  Hind claw much lengthened, scarcely curved. Nostrils with
  antrorse bristly feathers. Bill conico-elongate …       _Alaudidæ_.

B. Clamatores. Outside of tarsus covered with a series of plates
variously arranged, lapping entirely around in front and behind,
to meet at a groove on the inner side.

First primary lengthened, often longest, at least over two thirds
as long as the longest. Bill broad at the base, much depressed,
tapering to a fine point, which is abruptly decurved; culmen
rounded or flattened; gonys flattened; commissure straight, or
nearly so, to the tip. Nostrils small, circular, basal; overhung,
but not concealed by bristles. Mouth capacious, with broad and
deeply fissured rictus, beset with numerous long strong bristles.
Feet small, weak. Tail of twelve feathers …              _Tyrannidæ_.


Secondaries only six.

  Bill tenuirostral, longer than head, nearly cylindrical. Gape
  constricted. Tongue filiform, extensile, bi-tubular. Wings long
  in terminal portion, abbreviated proximally, acute. Plumage
  compact, of metallic sheen. Size smallest of all birds.
  (Humming-Birds.) …                                    _Trochilidæ._

Secondaries more than six.

  Feet syndactyle by connation of outer and middle toes.

    Outer toe much longer than the inner, united for half its
    length with the middle, forming a broad sole. Tibiæ naked
    below. Bill longer than head, straight, acute, with hard
    cutting edges and ample rictus. Tongue rudimentary, fixed.
    Wings pointed, much longer than the short square tail.
    Tail-feathers twelve. Plumage compact, oily. (Kingfishers.) …

  Feet zygodactyle[18] by reversion of outer or fourth toe.

    Not scansorial; tail of eight or ten long soft feathers. Bill
    with decurved tip, not fitted for hammering; rictus ample.
    Tongue not extensile nor vermiform nor barbed. Salivary
    glands and hyoidean apparatus not peculiar. No nasal tufts of
    feathers. Arboreal and terrestrial. (Cuckoos.) …      _Cuculidæ._

    Highly scansorial; tail of twelve rigid acuminate feathers,
    whereof the outer pair are short and spurious, concealed
    between bases of next two pairs. Bill stout, straight, with
    the tip truncate or acute, not decurved,—an efficient chisel
    for hammering and boring wood. Tongue vermiform,
    extensile,[19] and barbed. Salivary glands large; hyoidean
    apparatus peculiar. Nasal tufts usually present. Arboreal.
    (Woodpeckers.) …                                        _Picidæ._

  Feet neither syndactyle nor zygodactyle.

    Feet semipalmate, of normal ratio of phalanges. Anterior toes
    connected at base by movable webbing. Hind toe very small,
    elevated, semilateral. Middle toe produced, its large claw
    pectinate. Bill fissirostral, with very small, triangular,
    depressed horny part and immense rictus, reaching below the
    eyes, furnished with bristles. Rather large. Plumage soft and
    lax, much variegated …                            _Caprimulgidæ_.

    Feet scarcely or not semipalmate, of frequently abnormal
    ratio of phalanges (middle or outer toe, or both, with fewer
    joints than usual among birds). Hallux very small, elevated,
    frequently lateral or versatile. Middle toe not produced nor
    its claw pectinate. Bill much as in the last, but rictus
    unbristled. Small. Plumage compact, of few simple subdued
    colors …                                             _Cypselidæ_.


To characters of _Psittaci_ add: Cere feathered, concealing the
nostrils. Feet granular, rugose. Wings pointed. Tail cuneate.
Plumage coarse and dry. Head feathered. Colors green, with yellow
and blue …                                          _Psittacidæ_.[20]


Feet highly raptorial, with large, strong, sharp, curved,
contractile claws, adapted for grasping. Hallux perfectly
incumbent, lengthened (more than half as long as the fourth toe),
with large claw. Front toes with slight basal webbing between
outer or middle ones, or none; outer toe often reversible.
Nostrils imperforate. Bill short, stout, not notably contracted
in its continuity, with strongly hooked tip; tomia often
once-twice toothed or lobed. Head feathered wholly or in greatest
part. Lower larynx developed with one pair of muscles. Plumage
with or without after-shafts. Cœca present, as a rule, if not

  Physiognomy peculiar by reason of great lateral expansion and
  lengthwise shortening of the cranium, causing the eyes to be
  directed forward. Eyes surrounded by a disc of radiating
  bristly feathers, in front closely appressed to and hiding the
  base of the bill, elsewhere bounded by a rim of differently
  formed feathers. Tomia never toothed or lobed. Nostrils usually
  at the edge of the cere. Outer toe completely versatile,
  shorter than the inner toe. Basal phalanx of middle toe not
  longer than the second, and much shorter than the next. Legs
  commonly feathered or bristly to or on the toes. Plumage
  peculiarly soft and lax, without after-shafts; flight perfectly
  noiseless. Cranial walls widely separated by intervention of
  spongy diploë. Sternum commonly doubly notched. Chiefly
  nocturnal …                                             _Strigidæ_.

  Physiognomy not peculiar in any lateral expansion of the
  cranium; the eyes lateral in direction. No complete facial
  disc; base of bill not hidden by appressed bristles. Nostrils
  wholly in the cere. Outer toe rarely versatile, except
  _Pandion_, etc.; not shorter than the inner. Basal phalanx of
  middle toe longer than the second. Legs commonly naked and
  scutellate or reticulate in some portion of their length; toes
  always bare and scaly. Plumage compact, usually with
  after-shafts; flight audible. Cranial walls with little diploë.
  Sternum commonly single-notched or fenestrate, sometimes
  entire. Diurnal …                                      _Falconidæ_.

Feet scarcely raptorial, with lengthened, little curved or
contractile, weak, short claws. Hallux elevated, shortened, not
more than half as long as the fourth toe, with small claw. Front
toes all webbed at base; middle toe lengthened; outer not
reversible. Basal phalanx of middle toe longer than either of the
succeeding. Nostrils perforate. Bill lengthened and comparatively
weak, little hooked, contracted in its continuity; tomia not
toothed or lobed. Head naked of feathers in greatest part;
sparsely bristly. No lower larnyx developed. No cœca. After-shafts
absent …                                                _Cathartidæ_.


With characters essentially as in _Columbæ_ (exclusive of those
peculiar to _Diduncudidæ_ and _Dididæ_). Plumage without
after-shafts; the feathers with thickened, spongy rhachis loosely
inserted in the skin. Head small, completely feathered, excepting
sometimes a circumorbital space. Tarsi naked or only feathered a
little way above. Tail of twelve feathers, or lengthened,
cuneate, and of fourteen. (Hallux not perfectly incumbent in
_Starnænas_.) …                                          _Columbidæ_.


Hind toe lengthened, insistent. Tail-feathers twelve. Sides of
head and throat with naked spaces. Color greenish …        _Cracidæ_.

Hind toe shortened, elevated. Tail-feathers usually fourteen
or more. No green.

  Large. Tarsi, toes, and nasal fossæ naked. Head bare of
  feathers, sparsely bristly, with wattles and caruncles. A
  pectoral tuft of bristly feathers. Tarsi usually spurred in
  the male. Plumage iridescent …                      _Meleagrididæ_.

  Medium. Tarsi wholly or in great part, sometimes also the toes,
  and always the nasal fossæ, feathered. Head completely
  feathered, excepting a definite papillate strip over the eye.
  Tail-feathers sixteen or more. Sides of neck usually with
  lengthened feathers, or a naked distensible area, or both. No
  spurs. Plumage without iridescence …                  _Tetraonidæ_.

  Small. Tarsi, toes, and nasal fossæ naked. Head completely
  feathered. No peculiar feathers or tympanum on sides of neck.
  No spurs. Plumage not iridescent …                     _Perdicidæ_.


Toes not lobate. Tarsi not notably compressed.

  Legs extremely long; the tarsus equalling or exceeding the
  tail, and feet either four-toed and palmate (_Recurvirostra_),
  or three-toed and semipalmate (_Himantopus_); with the bill
  much longer than the head, very slender, acute, and curved
  upward …                                         _Recurvirostridæ_.

  Legs moderate, stout. Tarsus shorter than tail. Bill hard, more
  or less contracted at base, with short nasal fossa, gonydeal
  angle, and ascending gonys, the tip either compressed and
  truncate or depressed and acute. Feet three-toed and with basal
  webbing (_Hæmatopus_), or four-toed and cleft (_Strepsilas_) …

  Legs moderate. Tarsus shorter than tail, reticulate. Hind toe
  wanting (except in _Squatarola_, where very small, and in
  _Aphriza_). Bill short, straight,—not exceeding the head
  (generally shorter),—shaped like a pigeon’s, with short,
  broad, soft nasal fossæ separated by a constriction from the
  enlarged, obtuse, horny terminal part. Head large, globose,
  contracting suddenly to the bill. Neck short …       _Charadriidæ_.

  Legs moderate. Tarsus shorter than tail, scutellate. Hind toe
  present. Bill long,—equalling, or oftener exceeding,
  frequently several times longer than, the head; softish and
  membranous to the very tip, without constriction in its
  continuity; straight or variously curved …           _Scolopacidæ_.

Toes lobate. Tarsi notably compressed.

  General characters of _Scolopacidæ_. Body depressed; the under
  plumage thickened, duck-like. Habits natatorial …  _Phalaropodidæ_.


Hallux lengthened, perfectly incumbent, with large claw. Tarsi
scutellate. Middle claw pectinate. Bill perfectly straight,
tapering, acute. Loral region definitely naked, continuous with
covering of the bill. Head narrow, elongate, tapering …    _Ardeidæ_.

Hallux somewhat reduced, less perfectly incumbent. Tarsi commonly
reticulate. Middle claw not pectinate. Lores, gular space and
usually more of the head, naked. Bill variously curved or with
expanded tip. (Genera _Tantalus_, _Ibis_, _Mycteria_, and
_Platalea_.) …                                           _Tantalidæ._


Of great stature, with extremely long neck and legs. Part or all
of the head bare. Toes much shorter than the tarsi; with basal
webbing, but without lobation; hallux very short, highly
elevated. Bill equalling or exceeding the head, compressed,
perfectly straight, contracted about the middle, with enlarged
acute terminal portion; nasal fossæ wide and deep, with large
perforate nostrils …                                        _Gruidæ_.

Size moderate and small; neck and legs comparatively short. Head
completely feathered, excepting, in the Coots and Gallinules, a
broad horny frontal plate. Toes equalling or exceeding the tarsi,
simple or lobate. Bill not constricted in the middle, rather
shorter than the head, straight and quite stout; or much longer,
regularly slender and decurved, with long nasal fossæ. Nostrils
incompletely or not perforate …                            _Rallidæ_.


Of great stature, with extraordinarily lengthened neck and legs.
Bill of unique shape, bent abruptly down from the middle. Tibiæ
naked below. Hind toe minute or absent. Wings rounded. Red the
chief color …                                       _Phœnicopteridæ_.

Of moderate size; the neck short, or, when lengthened, not
accompanied by co-ordinately lengthened legs, these being always
shorter than the wing. Bill straight. Tibiæ feathered below. Hind
toe present; well developed and functional, though short … _Anatidæ_.


Bill rather longer than head, cleft to eyes, very stout at base,
tapering to the decurved, but not hooked, tip. Nostrils abortive.
Gular sac moderate, naked. Wings rather long, pointed. Tail long,
stiff, cuneate, twelve to fourteen feathered. Feet nearly beneath
centre of equilibrium. General configuration goose-like …   _Sulidæ_.

Bill several times longer than head, slender but strong,
depressed, perfectly straight, with small distinct hooked nail at
end. Nostrils very small. Gular sac enormous. Mandibular rami
meeting only at tip. Wings extremely long, with upward of forty
remiges. Tail short, rounded, of twenty or more feathers. Legs
beneath centre of equilibrium, extremely short and stout …

Bill about as long as head, stout, straight, scarcely tapering,
strongly hooked. Nostrils abortive. Gular sac moderate, but
evident; mostly naked. Wings short. Tail large, fan-shaped,
scansorial, of twelve to fourteen broad stiff feathers, exposed
to the base. Legs inserted far behind centre of equilibrium …

Bill rather longer than head, slender, perfectly straight,
tapering to an acute tip. Gular sac small. Nostrils minute. Wings
and tail, and general configuration, as in the last …      _Plotidæ_.

Bill much longer than head, straight, stout, strongly hooked.
Nostrils very small. Gular sac well developed. Wings exceedingly
long, strong, and pointed. Tail exceedingly long, deeply forked.
Feet extraordinarily short; tarsi partly feathered …   _Tachypetidæ_.

Bill about as long as head, straight, stout, tapering to an acute
tip. Nostrils small. Gular sac rudimentary, feathered. Wings
moderate, pointed. Tail short, but with two central feathers
extraordinarily prolonged and filamentous. Feet small, beneath
centre of equilibrium …                                _Phæthontidæ_.


Nostrils not tubular, lateral, perforate. Bill with continuous
covering, or only broken by a sort of cere, hooked or straight to
the end. Hallux small and elevated, but always present …    _Laridæ_.

Nostrils tubular, disjoined and lateral, or oftenest superior and
united in one double-barrelled tube. Covering of bill in several
pieces; bill always hooked. Hallux minute, rudimentary, or absent …


Feet four-toed, palmate. Hallux lobate, connected at base with
base of inner toe. Tail perfect. Head closely and completely
feathered. Nostrils with a depending lobe or flap. Bill straight,
compressed, acute …                                      _Colymbidæ_.

Feet four-toed, lobate. Hallux lobate, free. Tail rudimentary.
Head with a naked loral strip and bristly or variously lengthened
feathers. Nostrils simple. Bill straight or decurved at end,
compressed, acute …                                      _Podicipidæ_.

Feet three-toed, palmate. Hallux absent. Tail perfect. Head
closely feathered or variously crested. Nostrils simple. Bill of
indeterminate shape …                                       _Alcidæ_.



The _Turdidæ_, with the _Saxicolidæ_ and _Cinclidæ_, form a group
closely related, by common characters, and appreciably different from
the other _Oscines_ with slender bills and specially insectivorous
habits, having, like them, ten primaries (the first much shorter than
the second, but nearly always appreciable), and the nostrils
uncovered. The great family of _Sylvicolidæ_, with similar characters
of the bill, never present more than nine primaries. The most striking
of these common characters is seen in the deeply cleft toes, of which
the outer is united by the basal joint alone to the middle toe, while
the inner is separated almost to the very base of its first joint.[21]
The frontal feathers extend, with rare exceptions, to the very
nostrils. The bill is elongated and subulate, moderately slender, and
usually notched at tip; the culmen moderately curved from the base,
and the mouth well provided with bristles, except in a few cases.
Usually the scutellæ covering the front and sides of the tarsus are
fused into one continuous plate, or else scarcely appreciable, except
on the inner edge only; in the Mocking Thrushes they are, however,
distinctly marked. The lateral toes are nearly equal, the outer rather
the longer. With these as some of the principal characteristics, they
may be distinguished from each other as follows:—

NOTE.—In the present work the length of the tail is measured from the
coccyx, inside of the skin, and not, as usually the case, from the
base of the quills at their insertion. The wings are measured from the
carpal joint, with dividers.

A. Nostrils oval. Loral and frontal feathers with bristly points, or
interspersed with bristles; rictus with longer or shorter bristles.

  Saxicolidæ. Wings very long and much pointed, reaching beyond the
  middle of the short square or emarginated tail, and one and a half
  times or more the length of the latter. The spurious primary very
  short, the second quill longer than the fourth. In the closed wing
  the outer secondary reaches only about two thirds the length of
  longest primary.

  Turdidæ. Wings moderate, more rounded, not reaching beyond middle of
  the often rounded tail, and not more than one and a third the
  latter, usually more nearly equal. Spurious primary sometimes half
  the length of second quill; the second quill shorter than the
  fourth. In the closed wing the outer secondary reaches three fourths
  or more the length of longest primary.

B. Nostrils linear, in lower edge of nasal membrane. Loral and frontal
feathers soft and downy, and no bristles or bristly points whatever
about the mouth.

  Cinclidæ. Body very short and broad. Wings short, rounded, and

The American _Sylviidæ_ are in some respects very closely related to
the _Saxicolidæ_, but may be distinguished by their much smaller size,
more slender and depressed bill, more strongly bristled rictus, etc.;
on which account they are more strictly “fly-catchers,” taking their
prey in great part on the wing.

Of the three families, the _Turdidæ_ contain a great variety of forms,
and exhibit widely different characters, rendering it exceedingly
difficult to arrange them in any systematic or regular sequence, or to
accurately define their boundaries. In the _Birds of North America_,
the Mocking Thrushes were placed among the Wrens, on account of the
distinct tarsal scutellæ, and other characters. We are now, however,
inclined to believe, with Dr. Sclater, that their place is with the
recognized _Turdidæ_; and, among other reasons, on the ground of their
more deeply cleft toes, and greater extension forward of frontal
feathers. The following synopsis of the North American forms will
serve the purpose of determining the genera, even if these are not
arranged or combined in a strictly natural manner.

A. Turdinæ.—Tarsus covered anteriorly with a continuous plate
without scales.

  Wings decidedly longer than the tail, which is nearly even.
  Bill considerably shorter than the head.

    First quill usually not one fourth the second. Wings pointed.
    Tarsus hardly the length of head, but yet longer than middle
    toe; outstretched toes falling short of tip of tail …   _Turdus_.

B. Miminæ.—Tarsi scutellate anteriorly; scales seven.

  Wings decidedly longer than the tail, which is nearly even.
  Tarsus as long as the head.

    Bill decidedly shorter than the head, scarcely notched; wings
    pointed; first quill less than half the second, third and
    fourth longest. Claws not peculiar. Bristles prominent.
    Tarsus considerably longer than middle toe and claw …

  Wings decidedly shorter than the tail, which is considerably
  graduated; first quill half or more than half the second.

    Bill notched at tip, shorter than head; straight.

      Scutellæ very distinct; gonys straight, or even declining
      at tip.…                                              _Mimus._

      Scutellæ more or less obsolete; gonys convex, ascending at
      tip.…                                           _Galeoscoptes._

     Bill not notched at tip, lengthened; sometimes much decurved.…

NOTE.—In the Review of American Birds, I., May, 1866, 409, I have
advanced the suggestion that the N. American genus _Myiadestes_,
usually placed under the _Ampelidæ_, really belongs under _Turdidæ_ in
a group _Myiadestinæ_. The relationships are certainly very close, as
is shown by the characters given below.

COMMON CHARACTERS.—Tarsi without regular transverse scutellæ, except
at lower end. Wings acute, pointed, as long as or longer than tail,
which is but slightly graduated. First primary rarely half second,
which exceeds the secondaries. Base of quills buffy yellow, as are
inner edges. Tail spotted or varied at the end. Young birds with many
light spots. Very melodious singers.

Myiadestinæ. Bill short, much depressed; mouth deeply cleft; width at
base about equal to the distance from nostril to tip, or greater;
commissure more than twice distance from nostrils to tip of bill, and
nearly two and a half times length of gonys. Legs weak; tarsi rather
longer than middle toe and claw. Tail feathers tapering slightly from
base to near tip, giving a slightly cuneate appearance to the tail.

Turdinæ. Bill stouter, more lengthened; narrow at base and more
compressed; width at base less than distance from nostril to tip;
commissure not more than twice distance from nostrils to tip of bill,
and about twice length of gonys. Tarsi stouter, longer than middle toe
and claw. Tail feathers widening slightly from base to near tip,
giving a parallel-sided or slightly fan-shaped appearance to the tail.

The _Miminæ_ differ, as already mentioned, in the scutellate tarsi:
more rounded wings, etc.—S. F. B.


There are several American genera of _Turdinæ_ not found north of
Mexico as yet, although it is not impossible that one of these
(_Catharus_) may hereafter be detected within the limits of the United
States. The species of _Catharus_ resemble the North American
wood-thrushes (_Hylocichla_); but the spurious or first primary quill
is longer (from one half to one third the second quill), the wings are
rounded, not pointed, the tarsus is longer than the head, and the
outstretched toes extend beyond the tail. The species to be looked for
are _C. melpomene_ and _occidentalis_.[22]

The North American species of _Turdinæ_, while retained under the
single genus _Turdus_, yet constitute several distinct groups, which
we may call subgenera.


  _Turdus_, LINNÆUS, Syst. Nat., ed. 10, 1758, 168. (Type, _Turdus
    viscivorus_ of Europe.)—BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds.

GEN. CHAR. Bill conical, subulate, shorter than the head; the tip
gently decurved and notched (except in _Hesperocichla_); the rictus
with moderate bristles; the wings rather long and pointed, with small
first primary (less than one fourth the second); wings considerably
longer than the tail, which is firm, nearly even, with broad feathers.
Tarsi variable, seldom as long as the skull, the scutellæ fused into a
continuous plate, only in rare individual instances showing
indications of the lines of separation.

The genus _Turdus_ is very cosmopolitan, occurring nearly throughout
the globe, excepting in _Australia_, and embraces species of highest
perfection as singers. In the large number of species known there are
many variations in external form, but the transition from one to the
other is so gradual as to render it very difficult to separate them
into different genera. The sections of the group we adopt are the

_Sexes similar._

Hylocichla. Smallest species. Bill short, broad at base; much
depressed. Tarsi long and slender, longer than middle toe and claw, by
the additional length of the claw; outstretched legs reaching nearly
to tip of tail. Body slender. Color: above olivaceous or reddish,
beneath whitish; breast spotted; throat without spots.

Turdus. Bill stouter and higher. Tarsi stout and short, scarcely
longer than middle toe and claw. Body stout, generally whitish beneath
and spotted. (Second quill longer than fifth?)

Planesticus. Similar to preceding. (Second quill shorter than fifth?)
Beneath mostly uni-colored; unstreaked except the throat, which is
whitish with dark streaks.

_Sexes dissimilar._

Merula. Similar to _Turdus_. Male usually more or less black,
especially on the head; females brownish, often with streaked throats.
Bill distinctly notched.

Hesperocichla. Similar to _Turdus_. Male reddish beneath, with a black
collar. Bill without notch.


  _Hylocichla_, BAIRD (s. g.), Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 12. (Type, _Turdus

  [Line drawing: _Turdus mustelinus._

The essential characters of _Hylocichla_ have already been given. The
subgenus includes the small North American species, with _Turdus
mustelinus_, Gm., at the head as type, which are closely connected on
the one side with _Catharus_, by their lengthened tarsi, and with
_Turdus_ by the shape of the wing. The bills are shorter, more
depressed, and broader at base than in typical _Turdus_, so much so
that the species have frequently been described under _Muscicapa_.

It is not at all improbable that naturalists may ultimately conclude
to consider the group as of generic rank.

In this group there appears to be five well-marked forms or “species.”
They are, _mustelinus_, Gm., _pallasi_, Caban., _fuscescens_, Steph.,
_swainsoni_, Caban., and _aliciæ_, Baird. The first-named is totally
unlike the rest, which are more closely related in appearance.

In studying carefully a very large series of specimens of all the
species, the following facts become evident:—

1. In autumn and winter the “olive” color of the plumage assumes a
browner cast than at other seasons; this variation, however, is the
same in all the species (and varieties), so that in autumn and winter
the several species differ from each other as much as they do in
spring and summer.

  [Illustration: _Turdus ustulatus._]

Of these five species, two only (_pallasi_ and _swainsoni_) inhabit
the whole breadth of the continent; and they, in the three Faunal
Provinces over which they extend, are modified into “races” or
“varieties” characteristic of each region. The first of these species,
as the _pallasi_ var. _pallasi_, extends westward to the Rocky
Mountains, and migrates in winter into the South; specimens are very
much browner in the winter than in spring; but in the Rocky Mountain
region is a larger, grayer race, the var. _auduboni_. This, in its
migrations, extends along the central mountain region through Mexico
to Guatemala; specimens from the northern and southern extremes of
this range are identical in all the specific characters; but the
southern specimens, being in the fall and winter dress, are browner in
color than northern ones (spring birds); an autumnal example from
Cantonment Burgwyn, N. M., is as brown as any Central American
specimen. Along the Pacific Province, from Kodiak to Western Mexico,
and occasionally straggling eastward toward the Rocky Mountain system,
there is the var. _nanus_, a race _smaller_ than the var. _pallasi_,
and with much the same colors as var. _auduboni_, though the rufous of
the tail is deeper than in either of the other forms. In this race, as
in the others, there is no difference in size between specimens from
north and south extremes of its distribution, because the
breeding-place is in the North, all Southern specimens being winter
sojourners from their Northern birthplace.

The _T. swainsoni_ is found in abundance westward to the western limit
of the Rocky Mountain system; in the latter region specimens at all
seasons have the olive of a clearer, more greenish shade than in any
Eastern examples; this clearer tint is analogous with that of the
Rocky Mountain form of _pallasi_ (_auduboni_). In precisely the same
region inhabited by the _pallasi_ var. _nanus_ the _swainsoni_ also
has a representative form,—the var. _ustulatus_. This resembles in
pattern the var. _swainsoni_, but the olive above is decidedly more
rufescent,—much as in Rocky Mountain specimens of _T. fuscescens_;
the spots on jugulum and breast are also narrower, as well as hardly
darker in color than the back; and the tail is longer than in Rocky
Mountain _swainsoni_, in which latter it is longer than in Eastern
examples. The remaining species—_mustelinus_, _fuscescens_, and
_aliciæ_—extend no farther west than the Rocky Mountains; the first
and last only toward their eastern base, while the second breeds
abundantly as far as the eastern limit of the Great Basin.

The _T. fuscescens_, from the Rocky Mountains, is considerably darker
in color above, while the specks on the throat and jugular are sparser
or more obsolete than in Eastern birds.

In _T. mustelinus_, the only two Western specimens in the collection
(Mount Carroll, Ills., and Fort Pierre) have the rump of a clearer
grayish than specimens from the Atlantic Coast; in all other respects,
however, they appear to be identical. Some Mexican specimens, being in
winter plumage, have the breast more buffy than Northern (spring or
summer) examples, and the rufous of the head, etc. is somewhat

In _aliciæ_, no difference is observed between Eastern and Western
birds; the reason is, probably, that the breeding-ground of all is in
one province, though their migrations may extend over two. There is,
however, a marked difference between the spring and autumn plumage;
the clear grayish of the former being replaced, in the latter, by a
snuffy brown, or sepia tint,—this especially noticeable on wings and

  [Illustration: PLATE I.

  1. Turdus mustelinus, _Gm._ Penn., 1570.
  2.   “    ustulatus, _Nutt._ Oregon, 2040.
  3.   “    aliciæ, _Baird_. Illinois, 10084.
  4.   “    swainsoni, _Cab._ Penn., 981.
  5.   “    fuscescens, _Steph._ D. C., 28231.
  6.   “    pallasii, _Cab._ Penn., 2146.
  7.   “    nanus, _Aud._ Cala., 17997.
  8.   “    auduboni, _Baird_. Rocky Mts., 10886.]

The following synopsis is intended to show the characters of the
different species and varieties.

1. _Spots beneath rounded, covering breast and sides._

A. Rufous brown above, becoming much brighter toward the bill,
and more olivaceous on the tail. Beneath white; whole breast with
rounded spots. Nest on tree; eggs pale blue.

    1. T. mustelinus. Beneath nearly pure white, with rounded
    blackish spots over the whole breast, sides, and upper part
    of abdomen; wing, 4.25; tail, 3.05; culmen, .80; tarsus,
    1.26. _Hab._ Eastern Province United States, south to
    Guatemala and Honduras. Cuba and Bermuda of West Indies.

2. _Spots beneath triangular, on breast only._

B. Entirely uniform in color above,—olivaceous, varying to
reddish or greenish with the species. Beneath whitish, with a
wash of brownish across the breast and along sides. Spots
triangular, and confined to the breast. Nest on trees or bushes;
eggs blue spotted with brownish; except in _T. fuscescens_, which
nests on the ground, and lays plain blue eggs.

  _a. No conspicuous light orbital ring._

    2. T. fuscescens. Yellowish-rufous or olive-fulvous above; a
    strong wash of pale fulvous across the throat and jugulum,
    where are very indistinct cuneate spots of same shade as the
    back. Wing, 4.10; tail, 3.00; culmen, .70; tarsus, 1.15.
    _Hab._ Eastern Province of North America. North to Nova
    Scotia and Fort Garry. West to Great Salt Lake. South (in
    winter) to Panama and Brazil. Cuba.

    3. T. aliciæ. Grayish clove-brown above; breast almost white,
    with broad, blackish spots; whole side of head uniform
    grayish. Wing, 4.20; tail, 3.20; culmen, .77; tarsus, 1.15.
    _Hab._ Eastern Province North America from shore of Arctic
    Ocean, Fort Yukon, and Kodiak to Costa Rica. West to Missouri
    River. Cuba.

  _b. A conspicuous orbital ring of buff._

    4. T. swainsoni.

      Greenish-olive above, breast and sides of head strongly
      tinged with buff. Spots on breast broad, distinct, nearly
      black. Length, 7.00; wing, 3.90; tail, 2.90; culmen, .65;
      tarsus, 1.10. _Hab._ Eastern and Middle Provinces of North
      America. North to Slave Lake, south to Ecuador, west to
      East Humboldt Mountains …                    var. _swainsoni_.

      Brownish-olive above, somewhat more rufescent on wing;
      breast and head strongly washed with dilute rufous. Spots
      on breast narrow, scarcely darker than back. Wing, 3.85;
      tail, 3.00; culmen, .70; tarsus, 1.10. _Hab._ Pacific
      Province of United States. Guatemala …        var. _ustulatus_.

C. Above olivaceous, becoming abruptly more reddish on upper
tail-coverts and tail. Spots as in _swainsoni_, but larger and
less transverse,—more sharply defined. An orbital ring of pale
buff. Nest on ground; eggs blue, probably unspotted.

    5. T. pallasi.

      Olivaceous of upper parts like _ustulatus_. Reddish of
      upper tail-coverts invading lower part of rump; no marked
      difference in tint between the tail and its upper coverts.
      Flanks and tibiæ yellowish olive-brown; a faint tinge of
      buff across the breast. Eggs plain. Wing, 3.80; tail, 3.00;
      culmen, .70; tarsus, 1.20. _Hab._ Eastern Province of
      United States (only?) …                         var. _pallasi_.

      Olivaceous of upper parts like _swainsoni_. Reddish of tail
      not invading the rump, and the tail decidedly more
      castaneous than the upper coverts. Beneath almost pure
      white; scarcely any buff tinge on breast; flanks and tibiæ
      grayish or plumbeous olive. Size smaller than _swainsoni_;
      bill depressed. Wing, 3.50; tail, 2.60; culmen, .60;
      tarsus, 1.15. _Hab._ Western Province of North America,
      from Kodiak to Cape St. Lucas. East to East Humboldt
      Mountains …                                       var. _nanus_.

      Olivaceous above, like preceding; the upper tail-coverts
      scarcely different from the back. Tail yellowish-rufous.
      Beneath like _nanus_. Size larger than _swainsoni_. Wing,
      4.20; tail, 3.35; culmen, .80; tarsus, 1.30. _Hab._ Rocky
      Mountains. From Fort Bridger, south (in winter) to Southern
      Mexico …                                       var. _auduboni_.

Turdus mustelinus, GMELIN.


  _Turdus mustelinus_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 817.—AUDUBON, Orn.
    Biog. I, 1832, 372, pl. 73.—IB. Birds Am. III, 1841, 24, pl.
    144.—D’ORB. La Sagra’s Cuba Ois. 1840, 49.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 212.—IB. Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 13.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856,
    294, and 1859, 325.—JONES, Nat. in Bermuda, 26.—GUNDLACH,
    Repertorio, 1865, 228.—MAYNARD.—SAMUELS, 146. _Turdus melodus_,
    WILS. Am. Orn. I, 1808, 35, pl. ii. _Turdus densus_, BONAP.
    Comptes Rendus, XXVIII, 1853, 2.—IB. Notes Delattre, 1854, 26
  Additional figures: VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lxii.—WILSON,
    Am. Orn. I, pl. ii.

SP. CHAR. Above clear cinnamon-brown, on the top of the head becoming
more rufous, on the rump and tail olivaceous. The under parts are
clear white, sometimes tinged with buff on the breast or anteriorly,
and thickly marked beneath, except on the chin and throat and about
the vent and tail-coverts, with sub-triangular, sharply defined spots
of blackish. The sides of the head are dark brown, streaked with
white, and there is also a maxillary series of streaks on each side of
the throat, the central portion of which sometimes has indications of
small spots. Length, 8.10 inches; wing, 4.25; tail, 3.05; tarsus,
1.26. Young bird similar to adult, but with rusty yellow triangular
spots in the ends of the wing coverts.

HAB. U. S. east of Missouri plains, south to Guatemala. Bermuda (not
rare). Cuba, LA SAGRA; GUNDLACH. Honduras, MOORE. Cordova, SCL.
Orizaba (winter), SUMICHR.

HABITS. The Wood Thrush, without being anywhere a very abundant
species, is common throughout nearly every portion of the United
States between the Mississippi River and the Atlantic. It breeds in
every portion of the same extended area, at least as far as Georgia on
the south and Massachusetts on the north. Beyond the last-named State,
it rarely, if ever, breeds on the coast. In the interior it has a
higher range, nesting around Hamilton, C. W. So far as I am aware it
is unknown, or very rare, in the States of Vermont, New Hampshire, and

It makes its appearance early in April in the Middle States, but in
New England not until four or five weeks later, appearing about the
10th of May. Their migrations in fall are more irregular, being
apparently determined by the abundance of their food. At times they
depart as early as the first of September, but sometimes not until the
last of October. It winters in Central America, where it is quite
abundant at that season.

The favorite localities of the Wood Thrush are the borders of dense
thickets, or low damp hollows shaded by large trees. Yet its habits
are by no means so retiring, or its nature so timid, as these places
of resort would lead us to infer. A small grove in Roxbury, now a part
of Boston, in close proximity to a dwelling-house, was for many years
the favorite resort of these birds, where several pairs nested and
reared their young, rarely even leaving their nests, which were mostly
in low bushes, wholly unmindful of the curious children who were their
frequent visitors. The same fearless familiarity was observed at Mount
Auburn, then first used as a public cemetery. But in the latter
instance the nest was always placed high up on a branch of some
spreading tree, often in conspicuous places, but out of reach. Mr. J.
A. Allen refers to several similar instances where the Wood Thrush did
not show itself to be such a recluse as many describe it. In one case
a pair built their nest within the limits of a thickly peopled
village, where there were but few trees, and a scanty undergrowth. In
another a Wood Thrush lived for several successive summers among the
elms and maples of Court Square in the city of Springfield, Mass.,
undisturbed by the passers by or the walkers beneath, or the noise and
rattle of the vehicles on the contiguous streets.

The song of this thrush is one of its most remarkable and pleasing
characteristics. No lover of sweet sounds can have failed to notice
it, and, having once known its source, no one can fail to recognize it
when heard again. The melody is one of great sweetness and power, and
consists of several parts, the last note of which resembles the
tinkling of a small bell, and seems to leave the conclusion suspended.
Each part of its song seems sweeter and richer than the preceding.

The nest is usually built on the horizontal branch of a small
forest-tree, six or eight feet from the ground, and, less frequently,
in the fork of a bush. The diameter is about 5 inches, and the depth
3¾, with a cavity averaging 3 inches across by 2¼ in depth. They are
firm, compact structures, chiefly composed of decayed deciduous
leaves, closely impacted together, and apparently thus combined when
in a moistened condition, and afterward dried into a firmness and
strength like that of parchment. These are intermingled with, and
strengthened by, a few dry twigs, and the whole is lined with fine
roots and a few fine dry grasses. Occasionally, instead of the solid
frame of impacted leaves, we find one of solidified mud.

The eggs of the Wood Thrush, usually four in number, sometimes five,
are of a uniform deep-blue tint, with but a slight admixture of
yellow, which imparts a greenish tinge. Their average measurements are
1.00 by .75 inch.

Turdus fuscescens, STEPHENS.


  _Turdus mustelinus_, WILSON, Amer. Ornithology, V, 1812, 98, pl. 43
    (not of GMELIN).
  _Turdus fuscescens_, STEPHENS, Shaw’s Gen. Zoöl. Birds, X, I, 1817,
    182. CAB. Jour. 1855, 470 (Cuba).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    214.—IB. Rev. Am. B. 1864, 17.—GUNDI. Repertorio, 1865, 228
    (Cuba, not rare). PELZELN, Orn. Bras. II, 1868, 92. (San Vicente,
    Brazil, December.)—SAMUELS, 150.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859,
    326.—IB. Catal. Am. Birds, 1861, 2, No. 10. _Turdus silens_,
    VIEILL. Encyclop. Méth. II, 1823, 647 (based on _T. mustelinus_,
    WILS.). _Turdus wilsonii_, BON. Obs. Wils. 1825, No. 73. _Turdus
    minor_, D’ORB. La Sagra’s Cuba, Ois. 1840, 47, pl. v (Cuba).

SP. CHAR. Above, and on sides of head and neck, nearly uniform light
reddish-brown, with a faint tendency to orange on the crown and tail.
Beneath, white; the fore part of the breast and throat (paler on the
chin) tinged with pale brownish-yellow, in decided contrast to the
white of the belly. The sides of the throat and the fore part of the
breast, as colored, are marked with small triangular spots of light
brownish, nearly like the back, but not well defined. There are a few
obsolete blotches on the sides of the breast (in the white) of pale
olivaceous; the sides of the body tinged with the same. Tibiæ white.
The lower mandible is brownish only at the tip. The lores are
ash-colored, the orbital region grayish. Length, 7.50; wing, 4.25;
tail, 3.20; tarsus; 1.20.

HAB. Eastern North America, Halifax to Fort Bridger, and north to Fort
Garry. Cuba, Panama, and Brazil (winter). Orizaba (winter), SUMICHRAST.

HABITS. This species is one of the common birds of New England, and is
probably abundant in certain localities throughout all the country
east of the Rocky Mountains, as far to the north as the 50th parallel,
and possibly as far as the wooded country extends. Mr. Maynard did not
meet with it in Northern New Hampshire. Mr. Wm. G. Winton obtained its
nest and eggs at Halifax, N. S.; Mr. Boardman found them also on the
Gulf of St. Lawrence, and at St. Stephen’s, N. B.; Mr. Couper at
Quebec; Mr. Krieghoff at Three Rivers, Canada; Donald Gunn at Selkirk
and Red River; and Mr. Kumlien and Dr. Hoy in Wisconsin. Mr.
McIlwraith also gives it as common at Hamilton, West Canada. It breeds
as far south as Pennsylvania, and as far to the west as Utah, and
occurs, in the breeding season, throughout Maine, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, and Canada.

Mr. Ridgway found this thrush very abundant among the thickets in the
valleys of the Provo, Weber, and Bear rivers, in Utah, and very
characteristic of those portions of the country.

It arrives in Massachusetts early in May, usually with the first
blossoms of the pear, ranging from the 5th to the 20th. It is strictly
of woodland habits, found almost entirely among clumps of trees, and
obtaining its food from among their branches, or on the ground among
the fallen leaves. It moves south from the 10th to the 25th of
September, rarely remaining till the first week in October.

It is timid, distrustful, and retiring; delighting in shady ravines,
the edges of thick close woods, and occasionally the more retired
parts of gardens; where, if unmolested, it will frequent the same
locality year after year.

The song of this thrush is quaint, but not unmusical; variable in its
character, changing from a prolonged and monotonous whistle to quick
and almost shrill notes at the close. Their melody is not unfrequently
prolonged until quite late in the evening, and, in consequence, in
some portions of Massachusetts these birds are distinguished with the
name of Nightingale,—a distinction due rather to the season than to
the high quality of their song. Yet Mr. Ridgway regards it, as heard
by himself in Utah, as superior in some respects to that of all others
of the genus, though far surpassed in mellow richness of voice and
depth of metallic tone by that of the Wood Thrush (_T. mustelinus_).
To his ear there was a solemn harmony and a beautiful expression which
combined to make the song of this surpass that of all the other
American Wood Thrushes. The beauty of their notes appeared in his ears
“really inspiring; their song consisting of an inexpressibly delicate
metallic utterance of the syllables _ta-weel´ ah, ta-weel´ ah, twil´
ah, twil´ ah_, accompanied by a fine trill which renders it truly
seductive.” The last two notes are said to be uttered in a soft and
subdued undertone, producing thereby, in effect, an echo of the

The nest is always placed near the ground, generally raised from it by
a thick bed of dry leaves or sticks; sometimes among bushes, but never
in the fork of a bush or tree, or if so, in very rare and exceptional
cases. When incubation has commenced, the female is reluctant to leave
her nest. If driven off she utters no complaint, but remains close at
hand and returns at the first opportunity.

They construct their nest early in May, and the young are hatched in
the latter part of that month, or the first of June. They raise two
broods in the season. The nest, even more loosely put together than
that of the Ground Swamp Robin (_T. pallasi_), is often with
difficulty kept complete. It is about 3 inches in height, 4½ in
diameter, with a cavity 1½ inches deep and 3 in width, and composed of
dry bark, dead leaves, stems, and woody fibres, intermingled with
grasses, caricas, sedges, etc., and lined with soft skeleton leaves. A
nest from Wisconsin was composed entirely of a coarse species of
_Sparganeum_; the dead stalks and leaves of which were interwoven with
a very striking effect.

The eggs, usually four, sometimes five in number, are of a uniform
green color, with a slight tinge of blue, and average .94 by .66 of an
inch in diameter.

Turdus aliciæ, BAIRD.


  _Turdus aliciæ_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 217, plate 81, f. 2.—IB.
    Review Am. Birds, I, 1864, 21.—COUES, Pr. Ac. N. Sc. Aug. 1861,
    217 (Labrador).—IB. Catal. Birds of Washington.—GUNDLACH,
    Repertorio, 1865, 229 (Cuba).—LAWR. Ann. N. Y. Lyc. IX, 91 (Costa
    Rica).—DALL and BANNISTER, Birds Alaska.—RIDGWAY, Report.

SP. CHAR. Above nearly pure dark olive-green; sides of the head
ash-gray; the chin, throat, and under parts white; purest behind.
Sides of throat and across the breast with arrow-shaped spots of dark
plumbeous-brown. Sides of body and axillaries dull grayish-olivaceous.
Tibiæ plumbeous; legs brown. Length, nearly 8 inches; wing, 4.20;
tail, 3.20; tarsus, 1.15.

HAB. Eastern North America to shores of Arctic Ocean, and along
northern coast from Labrador to Kodiak, breeding in immense numbers
between the mouths of Mackenzie and Coppermine. West to Fort Yukon and
Missouri River States. Winters south to Costa Rica. Chiriqui, SALVIN;

As originally described, this species differs from _swainsoni_ in
larger size, longer bill, feet, and wings especially, straighter and
narrower bill. The back is of a greener olive. The breast and sides of
the head are entirely destitute of the buff tinge, or at best this is
very faintly indicated on the upper part of the breast. The most
characteristic features are seen on the side of the head. Here there
is no indication whatever of the light line from nostril to eye, and
scarcely any of a light ring round the eye,—the whole region being
grayish-olive, relieved slightly by whitish shaft-streaks on the
ear-coverts. The sides of body, axillars, and tibiæ are
olivaceous-gray, without any of the fulvous tinge seen in _swainsoni_.
The bill measures .40 from tip to nostril, sometimes more; tarsi, 1.21;
wing, 4.20; tail, 3.10,—total, about 7.50. Some specimens slightly
exceed these dimensions; few, if any, fall short of them.

In autumn the upper surface is somewhat different from that in spring,
being less grayish, and with a tinge of rich sepia or snuff-brown,
this becoming gradually more appreciable on the tail.

A specimen from Costa Rica is undistinguishable from typical examples
from the Eastern United States.

HABITS. This species, first described in the ninth volume of the
Pacific Railroad Surveys, bears so strong a resemblance to the
Olive-backed Thrush (_T. swainsoni_), that its value as a species has
often been disputed. It was first met with in Illinois. Since then
numerous specimens have been obtained from the District of Columbia,
from Labrador, and the lower Mackenzie River. In the latter regions it
was found breeding abundantly. It was also found in large numbers on
the Anderson River, but was rare on the Yukon, as well as at Great
Slave Lake, occurring there only as a bird of passage to or from more
northern breeding-grounds.

In regard to its general habits but little is known. Dr. Coues, who
found it in Labrador, breeding abundantly, speaks of meeting with a
family of these birds in a deep and thickly wooded ravine. The young
were just about to fly. The parents evinced the greatest anxiety for
the safety of their brood, endeavoring to lead him from their vicinity
by fluttering from bush to bush, constantly uttering a melancholy
_pheugh_, in low whistling tone. He mentions that all he saw uttered
precisely the same note, and were very timid, darting into the most
impenetrable thickets.

This thrush is a regular visitant to Massachusetts, both in its spring
and in its fall migration. It arrives from about the first to the
middle of May, and apparently remains about a week. It passes south
about the first of October. Occasionally it appears and is present in
Massachusetts at the same time with the _Turdus swainsoni_. From this
species I hold it to be unquestionably distinct, and in this opinion I
am confirmed by the observations of two very careful and reliable
ornithologists, Mr. William Brewster of Cambridge, one of our most
promising young naturalists, and Mr. George O. Welch of Lynn, whose
experience and observations in the field are unsurpassed. They inform
me that there are observable between these two forms certain
well-marked and constant differences, that never fail to indicate
their distinctness with even greater precision than the constant
though less marked differences in their plumage.

The _Turdus aliciæ_ comes a few days the earlier, and is often in full
song when the _T. swainsoni_ is silent. The song of the former is not
only totally different from that of the latter, but also from that of
all our other Wood Thrushes. It most resembles the song of _T.
pallasi_, but differs in being its exact inverse, for whereas the
latter begins with its lowest notes and proceeds on an ascending
scale, the former begins with its highest, and concludes with its
lowest note. The song of the _T. swainsoni_, on the other hand,
exhibits much less variation in the scale, all the notes being of
nearly the same altitude.

I am also informed that while the _T. swainsoni_ is far from being a
timid species, but may be easily approached, and while it seems almost
invariably to prefer the edges of the pine woods, and is rarely
observed in open grounds or among the bare deciduous trees, the habits
of the _T. aliciæ_ are the exact reverse in these respects. It is not
to be found in similar situations, but almost always frequents copses
of hard wood, searching for its food among their fallen leaves. It is
extremely timid and difficult to approach. As it stands or as it moves
upon the ground, it has a peculiar erectness of bearing which at once
indicates its true specific character so unmistakably that any one
once familiar with its appearance can never mistake it for _T.
swainsoni_ nor for any other bird.

The nests measure about 4 inches in diameter and 2¾ in height. The
cavity is 2 inches deep, and its diameter 2½ inches. They are
unusually compact for the nest of a thrush, and are composed chiefly
of an elaborate interweaving of fine sedges, leaves, stems of the more
delicate _Equisetaceæ_, dry grasses, strips of fine bark, and decayed
leaves, the whole intermingled with the paniculated inflorescence of
grasses. There is little or no lining other than these materials.
These nests were all found, with but few exceptions, on the branches
of low trees, from two to seven feet from the ground. In a few
exceptional cases the nests were built on the ground.

Occasionally nests of this species are found constructed with the base
and sides of solid mud, as with the common Robin (_Turdus
migratorius_). In these, as also in some other cases, their nests are
usually found on or near the ground. So far as I am aware neither its
occasional position on the ground, nor its mud frames, are
peculiarities ever noticeable in nests of _T. swainsoni_.

The eggs were usually four in number. Their color is either a deep
green tint, or green slightly tinged with blue; and they are marked
with spots of russet and yellowish-brown, varying both in size and
frequency. Their mean length is .92 of an inch, and their mean breadth
.64. The maximum length is .94 and the minimum .88 of an inch. There
is apparently a constant variation from the eggs of the _T.
swainsoni_; those of the _aliciæ_ having a more distinctly blue ground
color. The nests are also quite different in their appearance and
style of structure. The _Hypnum_ mosses, so marked a feature in the
nests of _T. swainsoni_, as also in those of _T. ustulatus_, are
wholly wanting in those of _T. aliciæ_.

This bird and the robin are the only species of our thrushes that
cross the Arctic Circle to any distance, or reach the shore of the
Arctic Ocean. It occurs from Labrador, all round the American coast,
to the Aleutian Islands, everywhere bearing its specific character as
indicated above. It is extremely abundant on and near the Arctic
coast, between the mouth of the Mackenzie River and the Coppermine,
more than 200 specimens (mostly with their eggs) having been sent
thence to the Smithsonian Institution by Mr. MacFarlane. In all this
number there was not a single bird that had any approach to the
characters of _T. swainsoni_, as just given. From the Slave Lake
region, on the other hand, _T. swainsoni_ was received in nearly the
same abundance, and unmixed during the breeding season with _T.

Turdus swainsoni, CABANIS.


  _Turdus swainsoni_, CAB. Tschudi, Fauna Peruana, 1844-46,
    188.—? SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 6 (Guatemala).—SCLATER, P.
    Z. S. 1858, 451 (Ecuador); 1859, 326.—IB. Catal. 1861, 2, no.
    11.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 216; Rev. Am. B., 1864,
    19.—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 324 (Cuba).—IB. Repert. 1865,
    229.—PELZELN, Orn. Brazil. II. 1868, 92 (Marambitanas, Feb. and
    March).—LAWR. N. Y. Lyc. IX, 91 (Costa Rica).—RIDGWAY.—
    _Turdus minor_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 809 (in part). _Turdus
    olivaceus_, GIRAUD, Birds L. Island, 1843-44, 92 (not of LINN.).
    _(?) Turdus minimus_, LAFRESNAYE, Rev. Zoöl. 1848, 5.—SCLATER, P.
    Z. S. 1854, 111.—BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1860, 226
    (Bogota).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. 1863. (Birds Panama, IV, no.

SP. CHAR. Upper parts uniform olivaceous, with a decided shade of
green. The fore part of breast, the throat and chin, pale
brownish-yellow; rest of lower parts white; the sides washed with
brownish-olive. Sides of the throat and fore part of the breast with
sub-rounded spots of well-defined brown, darker than the back; the
rest of the breast (except medially) with rather less distinct spots
that are more olivaceous. Tibiæ yellowish-brown. Broad ring round the
eye, loral region, and a general tinge on the side of the head, clear
reddish buff. Length, 7.00; wing, 4.15; tail, 3.10; tarsus, 1.10.

HAB. Eastern North America; westward to Humboldt Mountain and Upper
Columbia; perhaps occasionally straggling as far as California; north
to Slave Lake and Fort Yukon; south to Ecuador and Brazil. Cuba,

Specimens examined from the northern regions (Great Slave Lake,
Mackenzie River, and Yukon) to Guatemala; from Atlantic States to East
Humboldt Mountains, Nevada, and from intervening localities. The
extremes of variation are the _brownish_-olive of eastern and the
clear _dark_ greenish-olive of remote western specimens. There is no
observable difference between a Guatemalan skin and one from Fort
Bridger, Utah.

HABITS. The Olive-backed Thrush, or “Swamp Robin,” has very nearly the
same habitat during the breeding season as that of the kindred species
with which it was so long confounded. Although Wilson seems to have
found the nest and eggs among the high lands of Northern Georgia, it
is yet a somewhat more northern species. It does not breed so far
south as Massachusetts, or if so, the cases must be exceptional and
very rare, nor even in Western Maine, where the “Ground Swamp Robin”
(_T. pallasi_) is quite abundant. It only becomes common in the
neighborhood of Calais. It is, however, most widely distributed over
nearly the entire continent, breeding from latitude 44° to high Arctic
regions. It winters in Guatemala and southward as far as Ecuador and

In its habits this thrush is noticeably different from the _T.
pallasi_, being much more arboreal, frequenting thick woods; rarely
seen, except during its migrations, in open ground, and seeking its
food more among the branches of the trees.

Mr. Ridgway found this species very abundant among the Wahsatch
Mountains, where it was one of the most characteristic summer birds of
that region. It was breeding plentifully in the cañons, where its song
could be heard almost continually. It inhabited an intermediate
position between _T. auduboni_ and _T. fuscescens_, delighting most in
the shrubbery along the streams of the cañons and passes, leaving to
the _T. auduboni_ the secluded ravines of the pine regions higher up,
and to the _T. fuscescens_ the willow thickets of the river valleys.
He did not meet with it farther west than the East Humboldt Mountains.
The song, in his opinion, resembles that of the Wood Thrush (_T.
mustelinus_) in modulations; but the notes want the power, while they
possess a finer and more silvery tone.

The song of this species has a certain resemblance to that of _T.
pallasi_, being yet quite distinct, and the differences readily
recognized by a familiar ear. It is more prolonged; the notes are more
equal and rise with more regularity and more gradually, are richer,
and each note is more complete in itself. Its song of lamentation when
robbed of its young is full of indescribable pathos and beauty,
haunting one who has once heard it long after.

When driven from the nest, the female always flies to a short distance
and conceals herself; making no complaints, and offering no

These birds, in a single instance, have been known to reach Eastern
Massachusetts early in April, in an unusually early season, but they
generally pass north a few weeks later. They make no prolonged stay,
and are with us rarely more than three or four days. Their return in
the fall appears to be, at times, by a more inland route. They are
then not so numerous near the coast, but occasionally are abundant.

Their nests in Nova Scotia, wherever observed, were among the thick
woods, on horizontal branches of a forest-tree, usually about five
feet from the ground. Those observed in the Arctic regions by Mr.
Kennicott were frequently not more than two feet from the ground.

The nests average about four inches in diameter and two in height, the
cavity being three inches wide by about one and a half deep. They are
more elaborately and neatly constructed than those of any other of our
thrushes, except perhaps of _T. ustulatus_. Conspicuous among the
materials are the _Hypnum_ mosses, which by their dark fibrous masses
give a very distinctive character to these nests, and distinguish them
from all except those of the _T. ustulatus_, which they resemble.
Besides these materials are found fine sedges, leaves, stems of
equisetaceous plants, red glossy vegetable fibres, the flowering
steins of the _Cladonia_ mosses, lichens, fine strips of bark, etc.

The eggs, which are four or five in number, exhibit noticeable
variations in size, shape, and shades of coloring, bearing some
resemblance to those of _T. ustulatus_ and to the eggs asserted to be
those of _T. nanus_, but are sufficiently distinct, and are still more
so from those of _T. aliciæ_. They range in length from .83 to .94,
with a mean of .88, their mean breadth is .66, the maximum .69, and
the minimum .63. Their ground color is usually bluish-green, sometimes
light blue with hardly a tinge of green, and the spots are of a
yellowish-brown, or russet-brown, or a mixture of both colors, more or
less confluent, with marked variations in this respect.

Turdus swainsoni, var. ustulatus, NUTTALL.


  _Turdus ustulatus_, NUTTALL, Man. I, 1840, 400 (Columbia
    River).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 215, pl. lxxxi, fig. 1.—IB.
    Rev. Am. B. 1864, 18.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. Rep. XII, II,
    1860, 171.—RIDGWAY, Pr. A. N. S. Philad. 1869, 127.—DALL &
    BANNISTER, Tr. Chic. Acad.—COOPER, Birds Cal., 5.

SP. CHAR. General appearance of _fuscescens_, but with pattern of
_swainsoni_; the buff orbital ring as conspicuous as in latter. The
olive above is more _brown_ than in this, and less yellowish than in
_fuscescens_, becoming decidedly more rufescent on wings and less
observably so on tail. Pectoral aspect different from _fuscescens_,
the spots narrower and cuneate, sharply defined, and arranged in
longitudinal series; in color they are a little _darker_ than the
crown. Length, 7.50; wing, 3.75; tail, 3.00; tarsus, 1.12.

HAB. Pacific Province of United States. Tres Marias Isl., Guatemala
(winter), Mus. S. I.

This well-marked race is to be compared with _swainsoni_, not with
_fuscescens_, as has generally been done; the latter, except in shade
of colors, it scarcely resembles at all; still greater evidence that
such is its affinity is that the _T. ustulatus_ builds its nest on a
tree, and lays a spotted egg, like _swainsoni_, while _fuscescens_
nests on or near the ground, perhaps never in a tree, and lays a plain
blue egg. The song of the present bird is also scarcely
distinguishable from that of _swainsoni_. Upon the whole, we see no
reason why this should not be considered as a Pacific Province form of
the _Turdus swainsoni_; at least it becomes necessary to do so, after
referring to _T. pallasi_ as geographical races, the _T. auduboni_ and
_T. nanus_.

HABITS. So far as we are aware, this thrush has a very limited
distribution, being mainly restricted to the Pacific coast region from
California to Alaska in the breeding season, though migrating
southward in winter to Guatemala. Dr. Kennerly found it in great
abundance breeding at Chiloweyuck Depot, July 3, 1859. Dr. Cooper also
found it one of the most abundant of the summer residents in
Washington Territory, arriving there in May and remaining until the
beginning of September. Three specimens of this thrush were obtained
at Sitka, by Mr. Bischoff. Mr. Ridgway met with only a single specimen
east of the Sierra Nevada, though on that range he found it an
abundant summer bird.

In its general appearance it has a marked resemblance to Wilson’s
Thrush (_T. fuscescens_), but its habits and notes, as well as its
nest and eggs, clearly point its nearer affinity to Swainson’s Thrush
(_T. swainsoni_), its song being scarcely different from that of the
latter species. Like this species, it frequents the thickets or
brushwood along the mountain streams, and, except just after its
arrival, it is not at all shy. In crossing the Sierra Nevada in July,
1867, Mr. Ridgway first met with this species. He describes it as an
exquisite songster. At one of the camps, at an altitude of about 5,000
feet, they were found unusually plentiful. He speaks of their song as
consisting of “ethereal warblings,—outbursts of wild melody.”
“Although its carols were heard everywhere in the depth of the ravine,
scarcely one of the little musicians could be seen.” “The song of this
thrush,” he adds, “though possessing all the wild, solemn melody of
that of the Wood Thrush (_T. mustelinus_) is weaker, but of a much
finer or more silvery tone, and more methodical delivery. It is much
like that of the _T. swainsoni_, but in the qualities mentioned is
even superior.”

Dr. Cooper found its nests with eggs about the middle of June. These
were most usually built on a small horizontal branch, and were very
strongly constructed of twigs, grasses, roots, and leaves, usually
covered on the outside entirely with the bright green _Hypnum_ mosses
peculiar to that region, which in the damp climate near the coast
continue to grow in that position, and form large masses. The number
of eggs is usually five.

Dr. Cooper states that these thrushes sing most in the early morning
and in the evening, when numbers may be heard answering one another on
all sides. They do not affect the darkest thickets so much as the
Hermit Thrush, but are often seen feeding in the gardens in the open

Dr. Suckley, who found them quite abundant in the neighborhood of Fort
Steilacoom, on the edge of the forest, and in swampy land, describes
the song as a low, soft, sad, and lively whistle, confined to one
note, and repeated at regular intervals. Mr. Nuttall, the first to
describe this form, speaks of it as shy and retiring, and as in the
habit of gathering insects from the ground. His ear, so quick to
appreciate the characteristics of the songs of birds, which showed a
close resemblance between the notes of this bird and that of Wilson’s
Thrush (_T. fuscescens_), enabled him to detect very distinct and
easily recognizable differences. It is much more interrupted and is
not so prolonged. The warble of this bird he describes as resembling
_wit-wit t´villia_, and _wit-wit, t´villia-t´villia_. His call when
surprised was _wit-wit_.

All the nests of this species that have fallen under my observation
are large, compact, strongly constructed, and neat. They measure about
5 inches in their external diameter, with a depth externally of 3; the
cavity is comparatively shallow, being rarely 2 inches in depth. The
external portions are constructed almost entirely of _Hypnum_ mosses,
matted together and sparingly interwoven with dry leaves and fine
fibrous roots, and are lined with finer materials of the same kind.
These nests most nearly resemble in their material and in their
position those of Swainson’s Thrush.

Mr. Hepburn found these birds very abundant about Victoria. It does
not usually breed there before the last of May, though in one
exceptional instance he found a nest with young birds on the 24th of
that month.

The eggs vary in size and shape, ranging from .77 to .94 in length,
and from .65 to .69 in breadth. They also vary in their ground color
and in the tints of the spots and markings. The ground color is light
green or light blue, and the markings are variously yellowish-brown
and lilac, or dark brown and slate.

Mr. Grayson found this thrush very abundant in the month of January,
in the thickest of the woods, in the islands of the Three Marias, on
the Pacific coast of Mexico. They were very timid and shy, more so
than any bird that he saw on those islands. It frequently uttered a
low plaintive whistle, and seemed solitary in its habits.

Turdus pallasi, CABANIS.


  _Turdus pallasii_, CABANIS, Wiegmann’s Archiv, 1847 (I),
    205.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 212.—IB. Rev. Am. B. 1864,
    14.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 325 ??.—IB. Catal. 1861, 2, No.
    7.—RIDGWAY.—MAYNARD.—SAMUELS, 148. _Turdus solitarius_, WILSON,
    Amer. Orn. V, 1812, 95 (not of LINNÆUS).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857,
    212. _Turdus minor_, BON. Obs. Wilson, 1825, No. 72. _Turdus
    guttatus_, CABANIS, Tschudi, Fauna Peruana, 1844, 187 (not
    _Muscicapa guttata_ of PALLAS).
  Additional figures: AUD. Birds Am. III, pl. cxlvi.—IB. Orn. Biog.
    I, pl. lviii.

SP. CHAR. Tail slightly emarginate. Above light olive-brown, with a
scarcely perceptible shade of reddish, passing, however, into decided
rufous on the rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail, and to a less degree
on the outer surface of the wings. Beneath white, with a scarcely
appreciable shade of pale buff across the fore part of the breast, and
sometimes on the throat; the sides of the throat and the fore part of
the breast with rather sharply defined subtriangular spots of dark
olive-brown; the sides of the breast with paler and less distinct
spots of the same. Sides of the body under the wings of a paler shade
than the back. A whitish ring round the eye; ear-coverts very
obscurely streaked with paler. Length, 7.50 inches; wing, 3.84; tail,
3.25; tarsus, 1.16; No. 2,092.

HAB. Eastern North America. Mexico? Not found in Cuba, _fide_ GUNDLACH.

In spring the olive above is very much that of eastern specimens of
_swainsoni_; in winter specimens it is much browner, and almost as
much so as in _fuscescens_. Young birds have the feathers of the head,
back, and wing coverts streaked centrally with drop-shaped spots of
rusty yellowish.

HABITS. Until quite recently the “Ground Swamp Robin,” or Hermit
Thrush, has not been distinguished from the closely allied species _T.
swainsoni_, and all accounts of writers have blended both in singular
confusion. My colleague, Professor Baird, in the summer of 1844, was
the first to suggest the distinctness of the two species. By the
common people of Maine and the British Provinces this difference has
long been generally recognized, this species being known as the
“Ground Swamp Robin,” and the other as the “Swamp Robin.”

The present species is found throughout Eastern North America to the
Mississippi, and breeds from Massachusetts to high arctic regions. It
is only occasionally found breeding so far south as Massachusetts;
through which State it passes in its spring migrations, sometimes as
early as the 10th of April; usually reaching Calais, Maine, by the
15th of the same month.

It is a very abundant bird throughout Maine, where it begins to breed
during the last week of May, and where it also probably has two broods
in a season.

The greater number appear to pass the winter in the Southern States;
it being common in Florida, and even occasionally seen during that
season as far north as latitude 38° in Southern Illinois, according to
Mr. Ridgway.

It rarely, if ever, sings during its migrations; appears in small
straggling companies, frequents both thickets and open fields, and is
unsuspicious and easily approached.

The song of this species is very fine, having many of the
characteristics of that of the Wood Thrush (_T. mustelinus_). It is as
sweet, has the same tinkling sounds, as of a bell, but is neither so
powerful nor so prolonged, and rises more rapidly in its intonations.
It begins with low, sweet notes, and ends abruptly with its highest,
sharp ringing notes.

Taken from the nest they are easily tamed, and are quite lively and
playful; but their want of cleanliness renders them very undesirable
pets. When their nest is visited they make no complaints, but retire
to a distance. Not so, however, when their natural enemy, the hawk,
appears; these they at once assail and seek to drive away, uttering
loud and clear chirps, and peculiar twittering sounds.

The nest of this thrush is always built on the ground, most generally
either under low bushes or in the open ground, rarely, if ever, among
thick trees, and for the most part in low swampy places. Both nest and
eggs closely resemble those of Wilson’s Thrush (_T. fuscescens_). In
Parsboro, Nova Scotia, I found one of the nests built in the very
midst of the village, close to a dwelling, though on a spot so marshy
as to be almost unapproachable. The nests are 3 inches in height and 5
in diameter, with a cavity 3¼ inches wide by 1¾ deep. They are
composed of decayed deciduous leaves, remnants of dried plants, sedges
and grasses, intermingled with twigs, and lined with finer grasses,
sedges, and strips of bark.

The eggs are of a uniform bluish-green color, and range in length from
.88 to .94, with an average of .63 of an inch.

Turdus pallasi, var. nanus, AUDUBON.


  _Turdus nanus_, AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, 201, pl. cci.—BAIRD, Birds
    N. A. 1858, 213; Rev. Am. B. 1864, 15.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1859.—IB. Catal. 1861.—DALL & BANNISTER.—COOPER, Birds Cal., p.
    4. _Turdus pallasi_, var. _nanus_, RIDGWAY, Rep. Kings Exped. V,
    1872. _? Turdus aonalaschkæ_, GMELIN, S. N. I, 1788, 808. _??
    Muscicapa guttata_, PALLAS, Zoög. Rosso-Asiat. II, 1811, 465.

SP. CHAR. Above with the clear dark olive of _swainsoni_, but this
even purer and more plumbeous. Upper tail-coverts (but not lower part
of rump) becoming more rufous, the tail abruptly darker, richer, and
more _purplish_-rufous, approaching to chestnut. The clear olive of
the neck passes into brownish-_plumbeous_ along sides; pectoral spots
more sparse and less pure black than in _T. pallasi_. The white
beneath is of an almost snowy purity, appreciably different from the
cottony-white of _T. pallasi_. Wing, 3.30; tail, 3.00; bill, .36;
tarsus, 1.07.

A very tangible and constant character possessed by this bird is the
more slender and depressed bill, as compared with that of _T.
pallasi_. Specimens vary only in intensity of colors; these variations
very limited, and corresponding with those of _T. pallasi_. In all
cases, however, their precise pattern and peculiar distribution is

HAB. Western Province of North America, eastward from Kodiak to Cape
St. Lucas. Arizona, COUES.

HABITS. This small race of the Hermit Thrush was first noticed by Dr.
Pickering, and described by Mr. Audubon from an imperfect skin. It has
since been obtained abundantly on the Pacific slope, and Mr. Ridgway
procured a specimen as far east as the East Humboldt Mountains, which
he considers its eastern limit.

In its habits it is said to be, like _T. pallasi_, almost exclusively
terrestrial. Dr. Heermann mentions finding it abundant in California,
and breeding among the stunted oaks covering the sand-hills of San
Francisco. Dr. Coues found it in Arizona, but speaks of it as rare and
migratory, occurring chiefly in spring and autumn, and as a shy and
retiring species. Dr. Cooper, in his Report on the Birds of
California, describes it as shy and timid, preferring dark and shady
thickets, feeding chiefly on the ground, running rapidly, and
searching for insects among the leaves.

Near San Diego they began to sing about the 25th of April. The song,
consisting of a few low ringing notes, resembles that of Wilson’s
Thrush (_T. fuscescens_), and also that of _T. ustulatus_, but is not
so loud. Their note of alarm is a loud and ringing chirp, repeated and
answered by others at a long distance.

At Santa Cruz, on the first of June, Dr. Cooper met with several of
their nests, which, though probably erroneously, he supposed to belong
to the Dwarf Hermit Thrush. They were all built in thickets under the
shade of cottonwood-trees. Each nest was about five feet from the
ground, and all contained eggs, from two to four in number, in
differing stages of incubation. The nests were built of dry leaves,
roots, fibres, grasses, and bark, without any mud, and were lined with
decayed leaves. Their height and external diameter measured 4 inches.
The diameter of the cavity was 2½ inches and the depth 2¼. The eggs
measured .90 by .70 of an inch. They are of a pale bluish-green,
speckled with cinnamon-brown, chiefly at the larger end.

The nest, supposed to be of this species, supplied by Dr. Cooper, is
large for the bird; constructed of a base loosely made up of mosses,
lichens, and coarse fibres of plants. It is a strong and compact
structure of matted leaves, put together when in a moist and decaying
condition; with these there are interwoven roots, twigs, and strong
fibres, surrounding the nest with a stout band and strengthening the
rim. In fact, it corresponds so well—as do the eggs also—with those
of _T. ustulatus_, that it is extremely probable that they really
belong to that species. The only observable difference is the absence
of the _Hypnum_ mosses characteristic of northern _ustulatus_.

Dall and Bannister mention in their list of Alaska birds that the
species is not common there. It was also taken at Sitka and Kodiak by

The fact that this thrush builds its nest above the ground, and lays
spotted eggs, if verified, would at once warrant our giving it
independent rank as a species, instead of considering it as a local
race of _pallasi_.

Turdus pallasi, var. auduboni, BAIRD.


  _Turdus auduboni_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 16.—RIDGWAY, P. A.
    N. S. 1869, 129.—ELLIOT, Illust. (fig.). _Merula silens_,
    SWAINSON, Philos. Mag. I, 1827, 369 (not _Turdus silens_ of
    VIEILLOT, Encycl. Méth. II, 1823, 647, based on _T. mustelinus_,
    WILS. = _T. fuscescens_).—IB. Fauna Bor.-Amer. II, 1831,
    186.—BAIRD, Birds N. Amer. 1858, 213, and 922.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1858, 325 (La Parada), and 1859, 325 (Oaxaca).—IB. Catal. Am.
    Birds, 1861, 2, no. 9.

SP. CHAR. Colors much as in _Turdus nanus_, but the upper tail-coverts
scarcely different from the back. Tail yellowish-rufous. Length of
wing, 4.18; tail, 3.60; bill from nostril, .45; tarsus, 1.26.

HAB. Rocky Mountains, from Fort Bridger south into Mexico. Orizaba
(Alpine regions), SUMICHRAST.

This is a very distinct race of thrushes, although it may be
questioned whether it be truly a species. It is, however, sufficiently
distinct from the eastern and western Hermit Thrushes to warrant our
giving it a place of some kind in the systems.

The young plumage differs from that of _pallasi_ as do the adults of
the two, and in about the same way. The olive is very much purer, with
a greenish instead of a brownish cast, and the tail is very much
lighter, inclining to dull ochraceous instead of rufous; this
yellowish instead of rufous cast is apparent on the wings also. The
yellowish “drops” on head, back, etc., are very much narrower than in
_pallasi_, while the greater coverts, instead of being distinctly
tipped with yellowish, merely just perceptibly fade in color at tips.

HABITS. At present we have but little knowledge of the habits of this
form of _T. pallasi_, and no information whatever regarding its
nesting or eggs.

In its distribution it is confined to the central range of mountains
from Fort Bridger to Southern Mexico. This species, there known as
“Solitario,” is common in the Alpine region of Vera Cruz (as well as
in all the elevated regions of Central Mexico), frequenting the pine
woods in the district of Orizaba. Mr. Sumichrast obtained it at all
seasons of the year at Moyoapam, in that vicinity; a locality the
height of which approximates 2,500 metres. It is also found at a
height of 1,200 metres, near the city of Orizaba.

Mr. Ridgway calls this bird the “Rocky Mountain Hermit Thrush.” He
states that he found it common in the Wahsatch Mountains, but that, on
account of its retiring habits, it was seldom seen. It there lives
chiefly in the deep ravines in the pine region, exhibiting an
attachment to these solitudes rather than to the thickets along the
watercourses lower down; the latter it leaves to the _T. swainsoni_.
Owing to the reserved manners of this bird, as well as to the great
difficulty of reaching its abode, there were few opportunities
presented for learning much concerning its habits, nor did he hear its
song. In its flight the pale ochraceous band across the bases of its
quills was a very conspicuous feature in the appearance of its
species, leading Mr. Ridgway to mistake it at first for the
_Myiadestes townsendii_,—also an inhabitant of the same
localities,—so much did it look like that bird, which it further
resembled in its noiseless, gliding flight.


  [Line drawing: _Turdus iliacus._

Of _Turdus_, in its most restricted sense, we have no purely American
representatives, although it belongs to the fauna of the New World in
consequence of one species occurring in Greenland, that meeting-ground
of the birds of America and Europe; which, however, we include in the
present work, as related much more closely to the former.

This Greenland species, _Turdus iliacus_, is closely related to _T.
viscivorus_, the type of the genus, and comes much closer to the
American Robins (_Planesticus_) than to the Wood Thrushes

Turdus iliacus, LINN.


  _Turdus iliacus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. 1758, 168, and of
    European authors.—REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 6 (Greenland). BAIRD,
    Rev. Am. B. 1864, 23 (Greenland).

SP. CHAR. This species is smaller than our Robin (_T. migratorius_),
but of a similar grayish-olive above, including the head. The under
parts are white; the feathers of the lower throat and breast streaked
with brown. The sides, axillars, and inner wing-covert are
reddish-cinnamon. A conspicuous white streak over the eye and
extending as far back as the nape. Bill black, yellow at base of lower
jaw. Legs pale-colored. Second quill longer than fifth. Length, about
8.25; wing, 4.64; tail, 3.45; bill, from gape, 1.07; from nostril,
.44; tarsus, 1.16; middle toe and claw, 1.15. Specimen described:
18,718, ♂, a British specimen received from the Royal Artillery
Institution, Woolwich.

HAB. Greenland, in the New World.

The occurrence of this well-known European species in Greenland brings
it within the limits of the American Fauna. Two Greenland specimens
are recorded by Dr. Reinhardt: one of them shot at Frederickshaab,
October 20, 1845.

HABITS. The Redwing can probably only claim a place in the fauna of
North America as an occasional visitant. Of the two specimens observed
in Greenland, one was shot late in October. It is not known to breed

This species, during its breeding season, is found only in the more
northern portions of Europe; only occasionally, and very rarely,
breeding so far south as England. It makes its appearance in that
kingdom on its southern migrations, coming in large flocks from
Northern and Northeastern Europe, and arriving usually before the end
of October. During their stay in England they frequent parks and
pleasure-grounds that are ornamented with clumps of trees. During mild
and open weather they seek their subsistence in pasture lands and
moist meadows, feeding principally on worms and snails. In severe
winters, when the ground is closed by frost or covered by snow, the
Redwings are among the first birds to suffer, and often perish in
large numbers.

During the winter they extend their migrations to the more southern
portions of Europe, to Sicily, Malta, and even to Smyrna. In early
spring they return to the more central portions of the continent, and
leave in May for their more northern places of resort.

They nest in trees in the moist woods of Norway and Sweden. Their
nests resemble those of the common Fieldfare, _T. pilaris_. The
outside is composed of sticks, weeds, and coarse grass, gathered wet,
and matted with a small quantity of moist clay. They are lined with a
thick bed of fine grass.

The Redwing is said to possess a delightful note, and is called the
Nightingale of Norway. Linnæus, speaking of this bird, claims that its
high and varied notes rival even those of that far-famed vocalist.

During the summer the Redwing advances to the extreme north, visiting
the Faroe Islands, Iceland, and Northern Russia. The general character
of its food, its inability to feed exclusively on berries, and the
fact that it perishes from starvation in severe winters, would seem to
prove that its occurrence in Greenland so late as October must have
been purely accidental. It is not probable that its presence in North
America will be found to be a common event.

The eggs measure 1.06 inches in length by .81 in breadth. The ground
color is a light green with a bluish tinge thickly covered with russet
or reddish-brown spots, confluent at the larger end.


  _Planesticus_, BONAP. Comptes Rendus, 1854. (Type _Turdus
    jamaicensis_, GMELIN.)

  [Line drawing: _Turdus migratorius._

This section of the Thrushes is well represented in America,
especially in its middle and southern portions, and its members have a
close resemblance to the typical European species in the full form,
stout legs, etc., as already stated. The spots on the throat, and
their absence elsewhere on the under part of the body, are sufficient
to distinguish them.

Of the two North American species one is the well-known Robin, the
other a closely related form from Cape St. Lucas; which indeed is
probably only a local race or variety, although nothing exactly like
it has yet been found away from Lower California. The following
diagnosis may serve to distinguish the two birds:—

COMMON CHARACTERS. Throat white with dark streaks. Rest of under
parts, including lining of wing, reddish or ochraceous; the anal
region whitish; lower eyelid white. Nest on trees. Eggs plain

  Above slaty-olive, approaching to black on the head. Beneath
  rufous-chestnut. Spot in lore and on upper eyelid of white.
  Tail, 4.25. _Hab._ Whole of North America; Mexico, south to
  Oaxaca and Cordova; Cuba (very rare) and Tobago, of West Indies …
                                                  var. _migratorius_.

  Above dull grayish-ash, not darker on the head. Beneath pale
  yellowish-buff; tinged with ashy across breast; a continuous
  white stripe from the lores over and a quarter of an inch
  behind the eye. More white on belly and flanks than in _T.
  migratorius_. Bill stouter; tail only 3.75, while the wing is
  the same. _Hab._ Cape St. Lucas, Lower California …
                                                     var. _confinis_.

Turdus migratorius, var. migratorius, LINN.


  _Turdus migratorius_, LINN. S. N. 12th ed. 1766, 292.—SCLATER, P.
    Z. S. 1856, 294; 1859, 331; 1864, 172.—IB. Catal. Am. Birds,
    1861, 4.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 396 (Coban).—BAIRD, Birds
    N. Am. 1858, 218; Rev. Am. B. 1864, 28.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R.
    R. R. XII, II, 1859, 172.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 475. (Texas,
    winter).—COUES, Pr. A. N. S. 1866, 64 (Arizona).—DALL &
    BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER, Birds Cal.—SAMUELS, 154.
  Figures: VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lx, lxi.—WILSON, Am. Orn.
    I, 1808, pl. ii.—DOUGHTY, Cab. N. H. I, 1830, pl. xii.—AUDUBON,
    Birds Am. III, pl. cxlii; Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxxi.

SP. CHAR. Tail slightly rounded. Above olive-gray; top and sides of
the head black. Chin and throat white, streaked with black. Eyelids,
and a spot above the eye anteriorly, white. Under parts and inside of
the wings, chestnut-brown. The under tail-coverts and anal region,
with tibiæ, white, showing the plumbeous inner portions of the
feathers. Wings dark brown, the feathers all edged more or less with
pale ash. Tail still darker, the extreme feathers tipped with white.
Bill yellow, dusky along the ridge and at the tip. Length, 9.75; wing,
5.43; tail, 4.75; tarsus, 1.25.

HAB. The whole of North America; Mexico, Oaxaca, and Cordova;
Guatemala; Cuba, very rare, GUNDLACH; Tobago, KIRK; Bermuda, JONES;
Orizaba (Alpine regions, breeding abundantly), SUMICHRAST.

Young birds have transverse blackish bars on the back, and blackish
spots beneath. The shafts of the lesser coverts are streaked with
brownish-yellow; the back feathers with white.

  [Illustration: _Turdus migratorius._]

There are some variations, both of color and proportions, between
eastern and western specimens of the Robin. In the latter there is a
tendency to a longer tail, though the difference is not marked; and,
as a rule, they slightly exceed eastern specimens in size. The broad
white tip to the lateral tail-feather—so conspicuous a mark of
eastern birds—is scarcely to be found at all in any western ones; and
in the latter the black of the head is very sharply defined against
the lighter, clearer ash of the back, there hardly ever being a
tendency in it to continue backward in the form of central spots to
the feathers, as is almost constantly seen in eastern examples; of
western specimens, the rufous, too, is appreciably lighter than in
eastern. As regards the streaks on the throat, the black or the white
may either largely predominate in specimens from one locality.

In autumn and winter each rufous feather beneath is bordered by a more
or less conspicuous crescent of white; in addition to this, most of
the lighter individuals (♀?), at this season, have an ashy suffusion
over the breast and flanks; and this, we have observed, is more
general and more noticeable in western than in eastern specimens. In
fall and winter the color of the bill, too, changes, becoming at this
season either partially or wholly dusky, instead of almost entirely
yellow, as seen in spring and summer examples.

Mexican specimens, found breeding in the Alpine regions as far south
as Orizaba and Mirador, most resemble the western series; one, however
(No. 38,120 ♂, Orizaba), but in the autumnal plumage, and therefore
very possibly a migrant from the North, is hardly distinguishable from
No. 32,206, Georgia; it is about identical in proportions, and the
rufous is of a castaneous shade, like the deepest colored eastern
examples; the white tip to the outer tail-feather is as broad and
conspicuous as is ever seen in the latter.

HABITS. Scarcely any American bird has a wider range of geographical
distribution, or is more numerous wherever found, than this thrush.
From Greenland on the extreme northeast to the plateau of Mexico, and
from the Atlantic to the Pacific, the Robin is everywhere a very
abundant species. Single specimens have been obtained as far south as
Coban, Guatemala. Its distribution in the breeding season is hardly
less restricted, occurring alike on the shores of the Arctic Seas and
on the high lands of Vera Cruz. In the winter months it is most
abundant in the Southern States, while in the Middle and even the
Northern States, in favorable localities, it may be found throughout
the year; its migrations being influenced more by the question of food
than of climate. In the valleys among the White Mountains, where snow
covers the ground from October to June, and where the cold reaches the
freezing-point of mercury, flocks of the Robin remain during the
entire winter, attracted by the abundance of berries.

On the Pacific Coast the Robin is only a winter visitant in
California; a very few remaining to breed, and those only among the
hills. They reach Vancouver Island early in March, and are very

In New England, where the Robins are held in great esteem, and where
they exist under very favorable circumstances, their numbers have very
largely increased, especially in the villages. They cause not a little
annoyance to fruit cultivators by their depredations upon the
productions of the garden, especially cherries and strawberries. They
are a voracious bird, and no doubt destroy a large quantity of small
fruit, but there is abundant evidence that this is more than
compensated by their destruction of the most injurious insects, upon
which they wage an incessant war. The investigations of Mr. J. W. P.
Jenks and Professor Treadwell establish conclusively their great
services in this direction.

The experiments of the latter gentleman show that the nestlings of the
Robin require a vast amount of animal food, forty per cent more than
their own weight being consumed by the young bird within twenty-four
hours, and, what is more, demonstrated to be necessary to its

  [Illustration: PLATE II.

  1. Turdus confinis, _Baird_. Cape St. Lucas, 23789.
  2.   “    nævius, _Gm._ Cala., 21363.
  3.   “    migratorius, _Linn._ Penn., 1851.
  4.   “    iliacus, _Linn._ Europe.]

In Massachusetts a few Robins remain throughout the year, but the
greater proportion leave early in November, returning late in February
or early in March.

The song of the Robin is deservedly popular. While many of our birds
possess far superior powers of melody, and exhibit a much greater
variety in their song, there are none that exceed it in its duration
or extent. It is the first bird in spring to open and one of the last
to close the great concert of Nature. Their song is earnest, simple,
and thrilling, and is said by Audubon to resemble that of the European
Blackbird, _Turdus merula_.

The Robin, when taken young, may be readily tamed, and soon becomes
contented and accustomed to confinement. They are devoted to their
young, watchful, attentive, and provident. They begin to construct
their nest in early spring before the trees put forth their leaves,
and often in very exposed positions. The size of the nest, in fact,
makes concealment impossible. These nests are sometimes placed in
quite remarkable positions, such as the beams of a ship partly
finished, and where the carpenters were every day at work, and similar
situations indicating a great familiarity. Their favorite place is the
horizontal branch of an apple-tree, about ten feet from the ground.

The nest of the Robin is a large and coarsely constructed combination
of rude materials. It is composed of a base of straw, leaves, mosses,
stems, and dry grasses, upon which a cup-shaped fabric of clay or mud
is built. The whole is lined with finer dry grasses and vegetable
fibres. They average 5 inches in height and the same in diameter.
Their cavity is 2¾ inches deep, with a diameter of 2½ inches.

The eggs of the Robin, which are usually five and sometimes six in
number, are of a uniform bright greenish-blue color, liable to fade
when exposed to light, but when fresh exhibiting a very distinct and
bright tint. They vary in size from 1.25 to 1.12 inches in length, and
in breadth from .88 to .75 of an inch. Their mean measurement is 1.18
by .81.

Turdus migratorius, var. confinis, BAIRD.


  _Turdus confinis_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864, 29.—ELLIOT, Birds
    America.—COOPER, Birds Cal., 9.

SP. CHAR. No. 23,789. Entire upper parts and sides of head and neck
uniform grayish-ash, with perhaps a faint tinge of olivaceous, less
than in eastern specimens of _T. migratorius_. The central portions of
the feathers of the top of head are rather darker than the edges,
though almost inappreciably so, and not imparting a general dusky
appearance. The chin and throat are white, streaked with ashy-brown.
The jugulum and breast are pale yellowish-buff; the axillars, inner
wing-coverts, and sides of the breast similarly, but rather more
decidedly colored. The belly and edges of the crissal feathers are
white, the hinder parts of the flanks ashy. There is a distinct
whitish stripe from the lores over and a quarter of an inch behind the
eye; the lower eyelid is also white. The tail-feathers are worn, but
there is an indication of a narrow white tip. The feathers of the
jugulum, especially of the sides, are tipped with ashy like the back,
as in immature specimens of _T. migratorius_. The greater wing-coverts
are tipped with dull white. The bill is yellowish; the upper mandible
and the tip of lower tinged with dusky. The feet are pale brown.

The length cannot be given accurately, as the skin is much drawn up.
The wing, however, measures 5.10 inches, its tip reaching 1.40 beyond
the longest secondary; tail, 4.10; tarsus, 1.20; middle toe and claw,
1.07; exposed portion of culmen, .92; from tip to open portion of
nostrils, .60.

HAB. Todos Santos, Cape St. Lucas.

The specimen with a general resemblance to an immature _T.
migratorius_ (especially the western variety) in the white
superciliary streak and general markings, is much lighter beneath than
in any of the many skins of _T. migratorius_ examined; there being
none of the dark chestnut or cinnamon shade, but rather a light buff;
the belly and flanks are much more purely white. The superciliary
stripe extends farther behind the eye; indeed, in most specimens of
_migratorius_ the white is nearly confined to the eyelids. The bill
and wings are rather longer than usual in _migratorius_; the middle
toe, on the other hand, appears shorter. Nothing is on record in
regard to the habits of this bird.


  _Hesperocichla_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, I, 1864, 12. (Type _Turdus
    nævius_, GM.)

  [Line drawing: _Turdus nævius._

The single species of this subgenus differs in form from the Robins
(_Planesticus_), in the more awl-shaped bill, the curved commissure,
and the absence of a notch at the end; the longer, slenderer, and
straighter claws; and in the dissimilarity in color of the sexes. In
the latter respects it agrees with _Merula_ of Europe and Middle
America; in which, however, the bill is distinctly notched, and less
attenuated. The tail is shorter and broader than in _Planesticus_,
more as in true _Turdus_ or _Hylocichla_.

Turdus nævius, GMEL.


  _Turdus nævius_, GM. S. N. I, 1788, 817.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 4;
    1859, 331.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 219; Rev. Am. B. 1864,
    32.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. R. XII, II, 1859, 172.—COUES, Pr.
    A. N. S. 1866, 65. (Quotes occurrence on Colorado River, above
    Fort Mohave, as exceptional.)—MAYNARD (Massachusetts!).—TURNBULL
    (N. Jersey!).—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER, Birds Cal. 10.
    _Orpheus meruloides_, RICH. F. B. A. II, 1831, 187, pl. xxxviii.
  Other figures: VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, pl. lxvi.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. IV, 1838, pl. ccclxix, and ccccxxxiii.—IB. Birds Am.
    III, pl. cxliii.

SP. CHAR. Tail nearly even; the lateral feather shorter. Above, rather
dark bluish slate; under parts generally, a patch on the upper eyelids
continuous with a stripe behind it along the side of the head and
neck, the lower eyelids, two bands across the wing coverts and the
edges of the quills, in part, rufous orange-brown; middle of belly
white. Sides of the head and neck, continuous with a broad pectoral
transverse band, black. Most of tail feathers with a terminal patch of
brownish white. Bill black. Feet yellow. Female more olivaceous above;
the white of the abdomen more extended; the brown beneath paler; the
pectoral band obsolete. Length, 9.75 inches; wing, 5.00; tail, 3.90;
tarsus, 1.25.

_Young_ (45,897, Sitka, Aug. 1866; F. Bischoff). Exactly resembling
the adult female, _having no spots_ other than seen in the adult
plumage; but the pectoral collar is composed only of badly defined
blackish transverse crescents, and the upper parts anterior to the
rump are of an umber brown tint. The markings about the head and on
the wings are precisely as in the adult.

This species does not appear to be liable to any noticeable variation.

HAB. West coast of North America, from Behring Straits to California;
straggling to Great Bear Lake. Accidental on Long Island (Cab. G. N.
Lawrence), New Jersey (Cab. Dr. Samuel Cabot), and Ipswich, Mass.
(Cab. Boston Society Natural History); Iowa (ALLEN).

  [Illustration: _Turdus nævius._]

HABITS. The accidental occurrence of a few specimens of this
well-marked bird in the Eastern States is its only claim to a place in
that fauna, it being strictly a western species, belonging to the
Pacific Coast. It was first discovered by the naturalists of Captain
Cook’s expedition, who met with it as far to the north as Nootka
Sound. It is only very recently that we have become possessed of
reliable information in regard to its breeding and its nest and eggs.
Sir John Richardson was informed that it nested in bushes in a manner
similar to that of the common robin.

Nuttall and Townsend found it abundant among the western slopes of the
Rocky Mountains, near the Columbia River, in October. In the winter it
became still more numerous, passing the season in that region as well
as in more southern localities, associating with the robin. From this
bird it may be readily distinguished by the difference of its notes,
which are louder, sharper, and delivered with greater rapidity. In the
spring, before leaving for their breeding-places, they are described
as having a very sweet warble.

On the Columbia River they were not resident, arriving there in
October, continuing throughout the winter, and leaving early in May.
During their stay they moved through the forest in small flocks,
frequenting low trees, and for the most part keeping perfect silence.
They were timorous and difficult of approach.

Its habits are said to resemble those of the robin, but in some of
them the descriptions given appear to correspond more with those of
the Fieldfares and Redwings of Europe. Like those species it is a
summer resident of high northern latitudes, affects secluded forests
and thickets bordering upon streams, and is found only in unfrequented

Dr. Cooper was of the opinion that a few of these thrushes remained in
Washington Territory throughout the summer, as he frequently met with
them in the dark spruce forests of that region as late as June and
July. He describes the song as consisting of five or six notes in a
minor key, and in a scale regularly descending. It was heard
continually throughout the summer, among the tops of the trees, but
only in the densest forests. Dr. Suckley states that after a fall of
snow they would be found along the sandy beaches near the salt water,
where they were both abundant and tame. We are indebted to Mr. W. H.
Dall for our first authentic knowledge of its nest and eggs. The
former measures 6 inches in diameter with a depth of 2½ inches. It has
but a very slight depression, apparently not more than half an inch in
depth. The original shape of the nest had, however, been somewhat
flattened in transportation. The materials of which it was composed
were fine dry mosses and lichens impacted together, intermingled with
fragments of dry stems of grasses.

A nest of this thrush obtained by Dr. Minor, in Alaska, is a much more
finished structure. Its base and periphery are composed of an
elaborate basket-work of slender twigs. Within these is an inner nest
consisting of an interweaving of fine dry grasses and long gray

The eggs in size, shape, ground color, and markings are not
distinguishable from those of the _Turdus musicus_ of Europe. They
measure 1.13 inches in length by .80 in breadth, are of a light blue
with a greenish shading, almost exactly similar to the ground color of
the _T. migratorius_. They are very distinctly marked and spotted with
a dark umber-brown approaching almost to blackness.

Mr. Dall informs us that the nest found by him was built in a willow
bush, about two feet from the ground, and on the top of a large mass
of rubbish lodged there by some previous inundation. Other nests of
the same species were met with in several places between Fort Yukon
and Nulato, always on or near a river-bank and in low and secluded

They arrive at Nulato about May 15, and prefer the vicinity of water,
frequenting the banks of small streams in retired places. Mr. Dall
states that he has seen the male bird on a prostrate log near the
nest, singing with all his might, suddenly cease and run up and down
the log for a few minutes, strutting in a singular manner, then
stopping and singing again; and keeping up this curious performance.
Specimens were received from Sitka, Kodiak, Cook’s Inlet and Admiralty


Birds of this section have a somewhat thrush-like appearance, but
(except in _Oreoscoptes_) with longer, much more graduated, and
broader tail; short concave wings, about equal to or shorter than the
tail, usually lengthened, sometimes decurved bill without notch, and
strongly marked scutellæ on the anterior face of the tarsus. The loral
feathers are soft, and not ending in bristly points. The colors are
dull shades of brown, gray, or plumbeous. Most of the species, in
addition to a melodious native song, possess the power of imitating
the notes of other birds; sometimes, as in the American Mocking Bird,
to an eminent degree. All are peculiar to the New World, and the
species are much less vagrant than those of the _Turdinæ_,—those of
the United States scarcely going beyond its northern boundary; others,
again, restricted to small islands in the West Indies or in the
Pacific Ocean.


  _Oreoscoptes_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 346. (Type _Orpheus
    montanus_, TOWNS.)
  _Oreoscoptes_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 42.

  [Line drawing: _Oreoscoptes montanus._

SP. CHAR. Bill shorter than the head, without distinct notch. Bristles
prominent, their tips reaching beyond the nostrils. Wings pointed,
equal to, or a little longer than the tail. First quill not half the
second, about two fifths the longest; third, fourth, and fifth quills
equal and longest; second between sixth and seventh. Tail but slightly
graduated; the feathers narrow. Tarsus longer than middle toe and claw
by an additional claw; scutellæ distinct anteriorly.

Of this genus only one species is at present known. This belongs to
the Middle and Western provinces of the United States and extends from
the Pacific coast eastward to Fort Laramie and the Black Hills (in
winter to San Antonio, Texas); south to Fort Yuma and Cape St. Lucas.

Oreoscoptes montanus, BAIRD.


  _Orpheus montanus_, TOWNSEND, Jour. Acad. Nat. Sci. Phila. VII, II,
    1837, 192.—AUD. Birds Amer. II, 1841, 194, pl. cxxxix. _Turdus
    montanus_, AUD. Orn. Biog. IV, 1838, 437, pl. ccclxix, fig. 1.
    _Mimus montanus_, BONAP. Consp. 1850, 276. _Oreoscoptes montanus_,
    BAIRD, Birds N. Amer. 1858, 347; Rev. Am. B. 1864, 42.—SCLATER,
    P. Z. S. 1859, 340.—IB. Catal. 1861, 8, no. 30.—COOPER, Birds
    Cal. 1, 12.

SP. CHAR. First quill rather shorter than the sixth. Tail slightly
graduated. Above brownish-ash; each feather obsoletely darker in the
centre. Beneath dull white, thickly marked with triangular spots,
except on the under tail-coverts and around the anus, which regions
are tinged with yellowish-brown. Wing-coverts and quills edged with
dull white. Tail feathers brown; the outer edged, and all (except,
perhaps, the middle) tipped with white. Length, 8 inches; wing, 4.85;
tail, 4.00; tarsus, 1.21.

_Young._ Similar, but spots beneath less sharply defined, and the
upper parts quite conspicuously streaked with dusky.

HAB. Rocky Mountains of United States, west to Pacific, south to Cape
St. Lucas.

  [Illustration: _Oreoscoptes montanus._]

The careful observations of Mr. Robert Ridgway have led him to the
conviction that the name bestowed upon this species of “Mountain
Mocking-Bird” is doubly a misnomer. It is not at all imitative in its
notes, and it is almost exclusively a resident of the artemisia
plains. It seems to be chiefly confined to the great central plateau
of North America, from Mexico almost to Washington Territory.
Specimens have been procured from Cape St. Lucas, the Lower Colorado,
Mexico, and Texas, on the south, and Nuttall met with it nearly as far
north as Walla-Walla. It probably occupies the whole extent of the
Great Basin.

Dr. Kennerly, who met with it while crossing the arid _mesas_ west of
the Rio Grande, says that while singing it was usually perched upon
some bush or low tree. It was frequently seen seeking its food upon
the ground, and when approached, instead of flying away, it ran very
rapidly, and disappeared among the low bushes.

During the winter months it was observed near San Antonio, Texas, by
Mr. Dresser; and was also found by him to be common about Eagle Pass.
He noticed the same peculiarity of their running instead of their
flying away when disturbed. They preferred the flat, bush-covered
plains. A few remained to breed, as he obtained the eggs there,
although he did not himself meet with one of the birds in summer.

It is generally represented as keeping chiefly on the ground, and
obtaining its food in this position. General Couch speaks of it as
Sparrow-like in its habits.

Mr. Nuttall describes its song as cheering, and the notes of which it
is composed as decidedly resembling those of the Brown Thrush
(_Harporhynchus rufus_). He claims for it some of the imitative powers
of the Mocking-Bird (_Mimus polyglottus_), but in this he is not
supported by the observations of others. He met with its nest in a
wormwood (_Artemisia_) bush on the border of a ravine; it contained
four eggs of emerald green, spotted with dark olive, the spots being
large, roundish, and more numerous at the larger end. The nest was
composed of small twigs and rough stalks, and lined with strips of
bark and bison-wool. The female flew off to a short distance, and
looked at her unwelcome visitors without uttering any complaint.

The nests of this bird, so far as I have seen them, are all flat,
shallow structures, with very slight depression, and loosely and
rudely constructed of an intermingling of strips of bark with rootlets
and the finer stems of herbaceous plants. Their eggs, usually four in
number, do not vary essentially in size, shape, or marking. They
measure 1 inch in length, and from .73 to .75 in breadth. Their ground
color is a bright greenish-blue, marked with deep olive-brown spots,
intermingled with blotches of a light lilac. There are slight
variations in the proportion of green in the shade of the ground
color, and also in the number and size of the spots, but these
variations are unimportant.

The following are Mr. Ridgway’s observations upon the habits of this
species. They are full, valuable, and very carefully made:—

The _Oreoscoptes montanus_ is a bird peculiar to the artemisia wastes
of the Great Basin, being a characteristic species of the region
between the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. It is exclusively
an inhabitant of the “sage brush,” and is partial to the lower
portions of the country, though it is not unfrequent on the open slope
of the mountains. A more unappropriate term than “Mountain
Mocking-Bird” could hardly have been chosen for this species, as its
predilection for the valleys, and the fact that its song is _entirely_
its own, will show. In my opinion, the term “Sage Thrasher” would be
more appropriate.

In the neighborhood of Carson City, Nevada, these birds arrived about
the 24th of March, and immediately upon their arrival began singing.
At this time, with the _Sturnella neglecta_ and _Poospiza belli_, they
made sweet music in the afternoon and early morning, in the open
wastes of “sage brush,” around the city. The birds when singing were
generally seen sitting upon the summit of a “sage” bush, faintly
warbling, in the course of the song turning the head from side to side
in a watchful manner. Upon being approached, they would dart downward,
seemingly diving into the bush upon which they had perched, but upon a
close search the bird could not be found, until it was heard again
singing a hundred yards or more in the direction from which I had
approached. This peculiar, circuitous, concealed flight is a very
characteristic trait of this bird, and one sure to excite attention.

As the season advanced, or about the 10th of April, when the pairing
season was at hand, the songs of the males became greatly improved,
increasing in sweetness and vivacity, and full of rapturous emotion;
their manners, also, became changed, for they had lost all their
wariness. In paying their attentions to their mates, the males would
fly from bush to bush, with a peculiar, tremulous fluttering of the
wings, which, when the bird alighted, were raised above the back
apparently touching each other; all the while vibrating with the
emotion and ecstasy that agitated the singer.

The song of this bird, though very deficient in power,—in this
respect equalling no other species of _Miminæ_ with which I am
acquainted,—is nevertheless superior to most of them in sweetness,
vivacity, and variety. It has a wonderful resemblance to the beautiful
subtle warbling of the _Regulus calendula_, having in fact very much
the same style, with much of the tone, and about the power of the song
of the _Pyranga rubra_.

When the birds are engaged in incubation, the males become very
silent, and one not familiar with their habits earlier in the season
would think they never had a voice; in fact, they make no
protestations even when the nest is disturbed, for, while blowing the
eggs, I have had the parent birds running around me, in the manner of
a robin, now and then halting, stretching forward their heads, and
eying me in the most anxious manner, but remaining perfectly silent.
When the young are hatched the parents become more solicitous,
signifying their concern by a low, subdued _chuck_. At all times when
the nest is approached, the bird generally leaves it slyly before one
approaches very near it.

The nest is very bulky, composed externally of rough sticks,
principally the thorny twigs of the various “sage bush” plants. Nearer
the centre the principal material is fine strips of inner bark of
these plants; and the lining consists of finer strips of bark, mingled
with fine roots, and bits of rabbit fur. The situation of the nest
varies but little, being generally placed near the middle of a bush,
that is, about eighteen inches from the ground. It is generally
supported against the main trunk, upon a horizontal branch. Several
were found upon the ground beneath the bush, one, in fact, embedded in
the soil, like that of a _Pipilo_; or as sometimes the case with the
_Harporhynchus rufus_, others, again, were found in brush-heaps. In
all cases, the nest was very artfully concealed, the situation being
so well selected.

This bird is almost equally common in all parts of its habitat, within
the limits indicated. In June, we found it abundant on the large
islands in the Great Salt Lake, where many nests were found.

In autumn, it feeds, in company with many other birds, upon berries,
“service berries” being its especial favorite.


  _Toxostoma_, WAGLER, Isis, 1831, 528. (Type _T. vetula_, WAGL., not
    _Toxostoma_, RAF. 1816.)
  _Harpes_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. S. Phila. II. 1845, 264. (Type _Harpes
    redivivus_, GAMB., not of GOLDFUSS, 1839.)
  _Harporhynchus_, CABANIS, Archiv f. Naturg. 1848, I. 98. (Type
    _Harpes redivivus_, GAMB.)
  _Methriopterus_, REICH. Av. Syst. Nat. 1850, pl. iv. (Type said by
    Gray to be _H. rufus_.)

  [Line drawing: _Harporhynchus rufus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill from forehead as long as, or much longer than the
head; becoming more and more decurved in both jaws as lengthened. No
indication of a notch. Rictus with the bristles extending beyond the
nostrils. Tarsus long and stout, appreciably exceeding the middle toe
and claw, strongly scutellate anteriorly. Wings considerably shorter
than tail, much rounded; the first quill more than half the second;
fourth or fifth longest. Tail large, much graduated; the feathers

The species of this genus are all of large size, in fact, embracing
the largest of the American slender-billed oscine birds. All the
species differ in structure, varying especially in the length of the
bill, as above stated.

  [Illustration: _Harporhynchus rufus._]

It is useless to attempt a division of this genus, for there is such a
gradual chain of characters between the two extremes of form (_rufus_
and _crissalis_), that they even seem almost one species, when the
numerous intermediate forms, shading so insensibly into each other,
are considered. However, as this view would be rather extreme, in view
of the really great difference of form between the species mentioned,
we may consider the following as good species, several of them with
one or more varieties: _rufus_, with _longicauda_ and _longirostris_
as varieties, the former scarcely appreciably different, the latter
ranking as a permanent race; _ocellatus_, _cinereus_, _curvirostris_,
the latter with one well-marked variety, _palmeri_; _redivivus_, with
most probably _lecontei_ as a well-marked variety, and _crissalis_.

The seasonal differences in the plumage often make it difficult to
determine these several forms; but if the following facts are borne in
mind, the trouble will be greatly lessened. In every species there is
a more or less decided ochraceous tinge to the crissal region
(sometimes extending forward over the flanks); except in _crissalis_,
in which the lower tail-coverts and anal region are deep chestnut. In
autumn and winter this ochraceous tint becomes very much deeper, as
well as more prevalent, than in spring and summer; the whole plumage
becomes softer, the colors more pronounced, and the markings more
distinct, than when faded and worn in summer.

Synopsis of Species of Harporhynchus.

A. Spots beneath sharply defined and conspicuous,—much darker in
color than the upper parts.

  1. H. rufus. The markings lineo-cuneate; wing bands sharply

    Above rufous; markings below dark brown; outer tail-feathers
    diluted at tip; wing, 4.00; tail, 5.20; bill from nostril,
    .79, nearly straight; tarsus, 1.30; middle toe, .90 (1,377 ♂
    Carlisle, Penn.). _Hab._ Eastern Province United States …
                                                        var. _rufus_.

    Wing, 4.40; tail, 5.70; bill, .79; tarsus, 1.35; middle toe,
    .90 (5,652 ♂ Republican River). _Hab._ Plains between
    Missouri River to Rocky Mountains …            var. _longicauda_.

    Above umber brown; markings beneath black; tail-feathers not
    paler at tip; wing, 3.90; tail, 4.90; bill, .85, slightly
    curved; tarsus, 1.40; middle toe, .94 (4,016 ♂ Brownsville,
    Tex.) _Hab._ Eastern Mexico, north to Rio Grande of Texas …
                                                 var. _longirostris_.

  2. H. ocellatus.[23] The markings circular; wing bands conspicuous.

    Above grayish-brown; markings beneath black; tail-feathers
    broadly tipped with white; wing, 4.10; tail, 5.60; bill, from
    rictus, 1.50, moderately curved; tarsus, 1.50. _Hab._ Oaxaca,

  3. H. cinereus. The markings deltoid; wing bands narrow, but
  sharply defined.

    Above brownish-cinereous; markings beneath blackish-brown;
    tail-feathers broadly tipped with white; wing, 4.00; tail,
    4.60; bill, .88, much curved; tarsus, 1.30; middle toe, .85
    (12,960 “♀”—♂? Cape St. Lucas). _Hab._ Cape St. Lucas, Lower

B. Spots beneath obsolete, not darker than the plumage above;
roundish in form.

  4. H. curvirostris.

    Above cinereous; wing bands distinct; spots below distinct,
    upon a white ground; femoral region and crissum very pale
    ochraceous; tail-feathers broadly and sharply tipped with
    pure white; wing, 4.30; tail, 4.50; bill, 1.00, stout,
    moderately curved; tarsus, 1.40; middle toe, 1.12 (7,200 ♂
    Ringgold Barracks, Texas). _Hab._ from Rio Grande valley in
    Texas to Cordova, Orizaba, Oaxaca, Colima, and Mazatlan …
                                                 var. _curvirostris_.

    Wing bands obsolete, and tail spots very narrow and obsolete;
    spots below just discernible upon a grayish ground; femoral
    region and crissum dilute ochraceous-brown; wing, 4.30; tail,
    5.20; bill, 1.00, slender, moderately curved; tarsus, 1.30;
    middle toe, 1.00 (8,128 ♂ “New Mexico”—probably Eastern
    Arizona). _Hab._ Arizona (Camp Grant) …           var. _palmeri_.

C. Entirely unspotted beneath.

  5. H. redivivus. Anal region and lower tail-coverts light

    Above soft brownish-cinereous, tail considerably darker; wing
    bands almost obsolete, and tail-feathers merely diluted at
    tips. Beneath paler than above,—almost white on throat and
    abdomen; anal region and lower tail-coverts
    yellowish-ochraceous. A distinct “bridle” formed by the
    hair-like tips of the feathers, bordering the throat;
    maxillary stripe white with transverse bars of dusky; wing,
    3.90; tail, 5.25; bill, 1.05, slender, moderately curved;
    tarsus, 1.25; middle toe, .86 (40,718 ♂ 20 miles from
    Colorado River, near Fort Mojave). _Hab._ Arizona (Gila
    River, Fort Yuma, and Fort Mojave) …              var. _lecontei_.

    Above ashy drab, tail darker and more brownish; wing bands
    inconspicuous, and tail-feathers hardly diluted at tips.
    Beneath, the ochraceous covers the abdomen, and the throat
    inclines to the same. No “bridle.” Cheeks and ear-coverts
    blackish, with conspicuous shaft-streaks of white; wing,
    4.30; tail, 5.60; bill, 1.40, stout, very much bowed,—the
    arch regular; tarsus, 1.55; middle toe, 1.00 (3,932 ♂,
    California). _Hab._ Coast region of California  var. …

  6. H. crissalis. Anal region and lower tail-coverts deep chestnut.

    Above, brownish-ashy with a slight purplish cast, tail not
    darker; no trace of wing bands; tail-feathers diluted, and
    tinged with rusty at tips. Beneath, of a uniform, paler tint
    than the upper plumage, not lighter medially; throat white,
    with a conspicuous “bridle”; from this up to the eye whitish,
    with transversely angular bars of dusky; wing, 4.00; tail,
    6.50; bill, 1.25, very slender, bowed from the middle;
    tarsus, 1.30; middle toe, .90 (11,533 ♂ Fort Yuma). _Hab._
    Region of Gila River to Rocky Mountains; north to Southern
    Utah (St. George, breeding; Dr. Palmer).

  [Illustration: PLATE III.

  1. Harporhynchus rufus, _Caban._ Penn., 2261.
  2.       “       longirostris, _Caban._ Texas, 4016.
  3.       “       curvirostris, _Caban._ Texas, 7200.
  4. Mimus polyglottus, _Boie_. Penn., 12445.
  5. Galeoscoptes carolinensis, _Caban._ Rocky Mts., 38425.
  6. Oreoscoptes montanus, _Baird_. Nevada, 53424.]

Harporhynchus rufus, CABANIS.


  _Turdus rufus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. 1758, 169, based on
    CATESBY, tab. 19.—IB. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 293.—GÄTKE, Naumannia,
    1858, 424 (Heligoland, Oct. 1837). _Harporhynchus rufus_, CAB.
    Mus. Hein. 1850, 82.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 353.—IB. Rev. Am.
    Birds, 44.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 340.—IB. Catal. 1861, 8, no.
    48.—SAMUELS, 163. _Mimus rufus_, PR. MAX. Cab. Jour. 1858, 180.
  Figures: VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lix.—WILSON, Am. Orn. II,
    pl. xiv.—AUD. Orn. Biog. pl. cxvi.

SP. CHAR. Exposed portion of the bill shorter than the head. Outline
of lower mandible straight. Above light cinnamon-red; beneath pale
rufous-white with longitudinal streaks of dark brown, excepting on the
chin, throat, middle of the belly, and under tail-coverts. These spots
anteriorly are reddish-brown in their terminal portion. The inner
surface of the wing and the inner edges of the primaries are cinnamon;
the concealed portion of the quills otherwise is dark brown. The
median and greater wing-coverts become blackish-brown towards the end,
followed by white, producing two conspicuous bands. The tail-feathers
are all rufous, the external ones obscurely tipped with whitish; the
shafts of the same color with the vanes. Length, 11.15; wing, 4.15;
tail, 5.20; tarsus, 1.30.

HAB. Eastern North America to Missouri River, and perhaps to high
central plains United States, east of Rocky Mountains, north to Lake

As stated in “Birds of North America” some specimens (var.
_longicauda_) from beyond the Missouri River are larger than eastern
birds, with longer tails, more rufous beneath; the breast spots
darker. But, in passing from east to west, the change is so insensible
that it is impossible to divide the series.

HABITS. This Thrush is a common species throughout a widely extended
area, from the Rocky Mountains to the Atlantic, and from the Red River
country, in British America, to the Rio Grande. And nearly throughout
this entire territory it also resides and breeds, from Texas to the
54th parallel of latitude.

It reaches New England early in May and leaves it in the latter part
of September or the first week of October, its stay varying with the
season and the supply of its food. It is somewhat irregularly
distributed, common in some portions of this section, and rare or even
unknown in others. It is not found near the sea-coast beyond
Massachusetts. It passes the winter in the Southern States, even as
far to the north as Virginia, and is in full song in the neighborhood
of Savannah as early as the first of March.

The song of this Thrush is one of great beauty, and is much admired by
all who appreciate woodland melody of the sweetest and liveliest type.
It is loud, clear, emphatic, full of variety and charm. Its notes are
never imitative and cannot be mistaken by any one who is familiar with
them, for those of any other bird, unless it may be some one of its
western congeners. It is a very steady performer, singing for hours at
a time. Its notes are given in a loud tone, and its song may often be
heard to quite a distance.

In obtaining its food the Brown Thrush is at times almost rasorial in
its habits. In the early spring it scratches among the leaves of the
forest for worms, coleopterous grubs, and other forms of insect food.
By some it is charged with scratching up the hills of early corn, but
this is not a well-founded accusation. Berries of various kinds also
form a large part of its food, and among these the small fruit of our
gardens must be included.

This Thrush is a very affectionate and devoted bird, especially to its
young. It is also prompt in going to the assistance of others of its
species when in trouble. Whenever intruders approach their nests,
especially if their young are far advanced, they manifest the deepest
anxiety, sometimes even making a vigorous defence. The writer has a
very distinct recollection of having encountered, together with a
younger brother, an ignominious defeat, when making his first attempt
to inspect the nest of one of these birds.

The Brown Thrush is jealous of the intrusion of other birds of its own
species to a too close proximity to its nesting-place, and will assert
its love of seclusion by stout battles. In Louisiana the construction
of the nest is commenced quite early in March; in Pennsylvania, not
until May; and in the New England States in the latter part of that
month. The nest is usually not more than two or three feet from the
ground. It is built in a low bush, on a cluster of briers or among
vines. I have known it to be placed in the interior of a heap of
brushwood loosely thrown together. I have never met with the nest
built upon the ground, but in Springfield, and in other dry and sandy
localities, this is by no means an uncommon occurrence. These nests
are frequently placed in close proximity to houses, and sometimes in
the very midst of villages.

The nest of the Thrasher is large, and roughly but strongly built. The
base is usually made of coarse twigs, sticks, and ends of branches,
firmly interwoven. Within this is constructed an inner nest, composed
of dried leaves, strips of bark, and strong black fibrous roots. These
are lined with finer roots, horse-hair, an occasional feather, etc.

The eggs are usually four, sometimes five, and rarely six, in number.
They vary both in the tints of the ground color, in those of their
markings, and slightly in their shape. Their length varies from .99 to
1.12 inches, with a mean of 1.05. Their breadth ranges from .76 to .87
of an inch; mean breadth, .81. The ground color is sometimes white,
marked with fine reddish-brown dots, confluent at the larger end, or
forming a broad ring around the crown. In others the markings have a
yellowish-brown tint. Sometimes the ground color is a light green.

Harporhynchus rufus, var. longirostris, CABAN.


  _Orpheus longirostris_, LAFR. R. Z. 1838, 55.—IB. Mag. de Zool.
    1839, Ois. pl. i. _Toxostoma longirostre_, CAB. Wiegm. Arch. 1847,
    I. 207. _Mimus longirostris_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 294
    (Cordova). _Harporhynchus longirostris_, CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850,
    81.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 352, pl. lii.—IB. Rev.
    44.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 339; IB. 1864, 172 (City of Mex.);
    IB. Catal. 1861, 8, no. 47.

SP. CHAR. Similar to _H. rufus_, the rufous of back much darker. Wings
much rounded; second quill shorter than the secondaries. Exposed
portion of the bill as long as the head; the lower edge decidedly
decurved or concave. Above rather dark brownish-rufous; beneath pale
rufous-white; streaked on the sides of the neck and body, and across
the breast, with very dark brownish-black, nearly uniform throughout,
much darker than in _rufus_. Two rather narrow white bands on the
wings. The concealed portion of the quills dark brown. Length, 10.50;
wing, 4.00; tail, 5.00; tarsus, 1.40.

HAB. Eastern Mexico; north to Rio Grande, Texas. Cordova, SCL. Orizaba
(temperate region), SUMICHRAST.

Specimens from the Rio Grande to Mirador and Orizaba are quite
identical, with, of course, differences among individuals. This
“species” is not, in our opinion, separable from the _H. rufus_
specifically; but is a race, representing the latter in the region
given above, where the _rufus_ itself is never found. The relations of
these two forms are exactly paralleled in the _Thryothorus
ludovicianus_ and _T. berlandieri_, the latter being nothing more than
the darker Southern representation of the former.

The Texas Thrasher appears to belong only to the Avifauna of the
Southwest. It first appears as a bird of the valley of the Rio Grande,
and extends from thence southward through Eastern Mexico to Cordova
and Orizaba. In Arizona it is replaced by _H. palmeri_, _H. lecontei_,
and _H. crissalis_, in California by _H. redivivus_, and at Cape St.
Lucas by _H. cinereus_, while in the United States east of the Rocky
Mountains it is represented by its nearer ally _H. rufus_.

HABITS. The eggs of this species are hardly distinguishable from those
of the common Brown Thrasher (_H. rufus_), of the Atlantic States. The
color of their ground is a greenish-white, which is thickly, and
usually completely, covered with fine markings of a yellowish-brown.
They have an average length of 1.13 inches, by .79 in breadth. So far
as I have had an opportunity of observing, they do not vary from these
measurements more than two per cent in length or one per cent in
breadth. Their nests are usually a mere platform of small sticks or
coarse stems, with little or no depression or rim, and are placed in
low bushes, usually above the upper branches.

In regard to the distinctive habits of this species I have no

Harporhynchus cinereus, XANTUS.


  _Harporhynchus cinereus_, XANTUS, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1859, 298.—BAIRD,
    IB., 303; Review, 46.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 8, no. 49.—ELLIOT,
    Illust., I. pl. i.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 19.

SP. CHAR. Bill as long as the head; all the lateral outlines gently
decurved from the base. Bristles not very conspicuous, but reaching to
the nostrils. Wings considerably shorter than the tail, much rounded.
First primary broad, nearly half the length of the second; the third
to the seventh quills nearly equal, their tips forming the outline of
a gentle curve; the second quill shorter than the ninth. Tail
considerably graduated, the lateral feathers more than an inch the
shorter. Legs stout; tarsi longer than middle toe, distinctly
scutellate, with seven scales.

Above ashy brown, with perhaps a tinge of rusty on the rump; beneath
fulvous-white, more fulvous on the flanks, inside of wing, and
crissum. Beneath, except chin, throat, and from middle of abdomen to
crissum, with well-defined V-shaped spots of dark brown at the ends of
the feathers, largest across the breast. Loral region hoary. Wings
with two narrow whitish bands across the tips of greater and middle
coverts; the quills edged externally with paler. Outer three
tail-feathers with a rather obsolete white patch in the end of inner
web, and across the tips of the outer.

Spring specimens are of rather purer white beneath, with the spots
more distinct than as described.

Length of 12,960 (skin), 10.00; wing, 4.10; tail, 4.65; first primary,
1.60; second, 2.50; bill from gape, 1.40, from above, 1.15, from
nostril, .90; tarsus, 1.26; middle toe and claw, 1.12; claw alone, .30.

HAB. Cape St. Lucas, Lower California.

This species is curiously similar in coloration to _Oreoscoptes
montanus_, from which its much larger size, much longer and decurved
bill, and the graduated tail, of course readily distinguish it. It
agrees in some respects with _H. rufus_ and _H. longirostris_, but is
smaller, the bill longer and more curved; the upper parts are ashy
olivaceous-brown instead of rufous, etc.

HABITS. So far as is at present known in regard to this species it
appears to be confined exclusively to the peninsula of Lower
California. It has, at least, been met with nowhere else. Mr. Xantus
found it quite numerous in the vicinity of Cape St. Lucas, in a region
which, as he describes it, was singularly unpropitious. This was a
sandy shore, extending about a quarter of a mile inland, whence a
cactus desert stretched about six miles up to a high range of
mountains. Throughout this tract the ground is covered with a saline
efflorescence. There is no fresh water within twenty-eight miles.

Mr. Xantus speaks of the habits of this bird as being similar to those
of the _Oreoscoptes montanus_. It was a very abundant species at this
cape, where he found it breeding among the cactus plants in large
numbers. He mentions that as early as the date of his arrival at the
place, April 4, he found them already with full-fledged young, and
states that they continued to breed until the middle of July.

He was of the impression that the eggs of this species more nearly
resemble those of the common Mocking-Bird than any others of this
genus. The aggravatingly brief notes that accompanied his collections
show that the general position of the nest of this species was on low
trees, shrubs, and most usually, cactus plants, and in no instance at
a greater elevation from the ground than four feet. Their nests were
flat structures, having only a very slight depression in or near their
centre. They were about 5 inches in diameter, and were very little
more than a mere platform.

The eggs vary somewhat in their ground color, but exhibit only slight
variations in size or shape. Their greatest length is 1.13 inches, and
their average 1.12 inches. Their mean breadth is .77 inch, and their
maximum .79 inch. The ground color is a greenish-white, profusely
marked with spots of mingled purple and brown. In others the ground
color is a bluish-green. In some specimens the spots are of a
yellowish-brown, and in some the markings are much lighter.

Harporhynchus curvirostris, CABAN.


  _Orpheus curvirostris_, SWAINSON, Philos. Mag. 1827, 369 (Eastern
    Mexico).—M’CALL, Pr. A. N. Sc. May, 1848, 63. _Mimus
    curvirostris_, GRAY, Genera, 1844-49. _Toxostoma curvirostris_,
    BONAP. Conspectus, 1850, 277.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 212.
    _Harporhynchus curvirostris_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I. 1850, 81.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 351, pl. li.; IB. Rev. 45.—HEERMANN, P. R. R.
    Rep. X, Parke’s Rep. 1859, 11.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 339; IB.
    Catal. 1861, 7, no. 46.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 483. _Pomatorhinus
    turdinus_, TEMM. Pl. Col. 441. _? Toxostoma vetula_, WAGLER, Isis,
    1831, 528.

SP. CHAR. Exposed portion of the bill about as long as the head;
considerably decurved. Above uniform grayish-brown, or light ash;
beneath dull white; the anal region and under tail-coverts tinged with
brownish-yellow. The under parts generally, except the chin, throat,
middle of the belly, and under coverts, with rounded sub-triangular,
quite well-defined spots, much like the back. These are quite
confluent on the breast. Two narrow bands on the wing-coverts, and the
edges of primaries and alulæ, are white. The tail-feathers, except the
middle, are conspicuously tipped with white. Length of female, 10
inches; wing, 4.00; tail, 4.55; tarsus, 1.20.

HAB. Adjacent regions of United States and Mexico, southward. Cordova,
Orizaba, Mirador; Mazatlan, Colima, Oaxaca.

Specimens from the Rio Grande across to Mazatlan represent one
species; but those from the latter locality are somewhat darker in
colors, though this may be owing, in part, to the fact that they are
winter birds. Considerable differences in proportions may often be
noticed between individuals, but nothing strikingly characteristic of
any particular region.

The specimens of the Mazatlan series (37,326 ♂, 51,523, and 51,525 ♂)
have tails considerably longer than any of those from the Rio Grande,
the excess amounting in the longest to nearly an inch; but one from
the same locality has it _shorter_ than any of the Texas specimens.

In its perfect plumage, this species has both rows of coverts
distinctly tipped with white; but in the faded condition of midsummer,
the bands thus produced are hardly discernible, and the spots below
become very obsolete.

HABITS. This interesting species appears to be common in Western
Texas, the valley of the Rio Grande, and Western Mexico. It was met
with in these regions on the several railroad surveys, and is
described by Dr. Heermann as possessing musical powers surpassed by
few other birds. When alarmed it immediately hides itself in a thick
covert of underbrush, whence it is almost impossible to dislodge it.
Its food consists of fruit and berries when in their season, of
insects and their larvæ, and of worms. These it collects both among
the trees and from the ground, on the latter of which it spends much
of its time. Mr. J. H. Clark states that the nest of this bird is very
similar to that of the Mocking-Bird, but is finer and much more
compact. He adds that it is oftener found among the _Opuntia_ than
elsewhere. It is a quiet bird, rather shy, and keeps closely within
the clumps of the chaparral. For a bird of its size it makes an
unusual noise in flying. At Ringgold Barracks Mr. Clark’s tent was
pitched under a como-tree in which there was a nest of these birds.
They were at first shy and seemed quite disposed to abandon their
nest, but, however, soon became accustomed to their new neighbor, and
went on with their parental duties. The position of their nest had
been very judiciously selected, for it was during the season of the
black fruit of the como, which is somewhat in the shape and size of a
thimble, with a pleasant milky pulp. These constituted their principal
food. The eggs in this nest were five in number. Lieutenant Couch met
with it from Brownsville to Durango, where it had already paired as
early as February. He describes it as exceedingly tame and gentle in
its habits, and with a song remarkably melodious and attractive.
Perched on the topmost bough of a flowering mimosa, in the presence of
his consort, the male will pour forth a volume of most enchanting
music. Their nest is generally very nearly flat, measuring nearly six
inches in circumference, and scarcely more than an inch in its
greatest thickness. It has hardly any distinct cavity, and hollows but
very slightly from the rim to the centre, its greatest depression
having barely the depth of half an inch. The nests are composed of
long coarse fibrous roots, rudely, but somewhat compactly interwoven.
The inner framework is constructed of the same materials intermixed
with the finer stems of grasses.

Mr. H. E. Dresser states that in the vicinity of Matamoras these birds
are fond of frequenting small villages, and that he frequently found
their nests within the gardens and court-yards of the houses, and near
the road.

The eggs of this Thrush vary considerably in size, ranging from 1.20
to 1.03 inches in length, and from .84 to .77 of an inch in breadth.
Their mean length is 1.12 inches, and their average breadth .80. They
have a light green ground-color, generally, though not thickly,
covered with fine brown spots.

Harporhynchus curvirostris, var. palmeri, RIDGWAY.


  _Harporhynchus curvirostris_, var. _palmeri_, RIDGWAY, Report King’s
    Expedition, V, 1872.

SP. CHAR. Bill slender, moderately curved; fifth quill longest; fourth
and sixth just perceptibly shorter, and equal; second equal to ninth;
first 1.55 shorter than longest. General plumage uniform
grayish-umber, paler below, becoming almost dirty whitish on the
throat and abdomen; lower part of the breast and abdomen with a very
few just discernible irregular specks of a darker tint; lower
tail-coverts dilute isabella-brown, more ochraceous at their margins;
anal region and lower part of abdomen light ochraceous. No bands on
wings, and tail-feathers only diluted at the tips. Maxillary stripe
whitish with transverse bars of dusky. “Iris orange.”

♂ (No. 8,128, “New Mexico” = Arizona, Dr. Heermann): wing, 4.30; tail,
5.00; bill (from nostril), 1.00; tarsus, 1.30; middle toe (without
claw), 1.00. ♀(49,723, Camp Grant, Tucson, Arizona, March 12, 1867;
Dr. E. Palmer; with eggs): wing, 4.15; tail, 4.85; bill, .95; tarsus,
1.25; middle toe, .90.

HAB. Eastern Arizona (Tucson).

This very curious race seems to unite the characters of _curvirostris_
and _lecontei_; in fact, it is so exactly intermediate between the
two, that we are almost in doubt as to which it is most nearly
related. Having the stout form and larger size, as well as the spots
on the abdomen, of the former, it has also the uniform colors and
general appearance of _lecontei_. Were it not that the nest and eggs,
with the parent accompanying, had been received from Dr. Palmer, we
might be tempted to consider it a hybrid between these two species,
its habitat being exactly between them, too. We have great pleasure in
dedicating this curious form to Dr. Edward Palmer, who has added very
much to our knowledge of the Natural History of the interesting region
where the present bird is found.

     _Description of nest and eggs._—(13,311, Camp Grant, Arizona; Dr.
     E. Palmer). Nest very bulky,—9 inches in height by 6 in width.
     Very elaborately constructed. The true nest, of symmetrical form,
     and composed of thin grass-stalks and flax-like fibres, is
     enclosed in an outer case of thorny sticks, thinly but strongly
     put together. This inner nest has a deep cavity measuring 4
     inches in diameter by 3 in depth.

     Eggs (two in number) measure 1.16 by .85; in shape exactly like
     those of _C. curvirostris_; pale blue (deeper than in
     _curvirostris_), rather thinly sprinkled with minute, but
     distinct dots of pale sepia-brown. Markings more distinct than
     those of _curvirostris_. R. R.

The nest was situated in a cactus-bush, four and a half feet above the

Dr. Palmer remembers nothing special concerning its habits, except
that the bird was very shy, and kept much on the ground, where it was
seen running beneath the bushes.

Harporhynchus redivivus, var. lecontei, BONAP.


  _Toxostoma lecontei_, LAWR. Ann. N. Y. Lyc. V, Sept. 1851, 109 (Fort
    Yuma). _Harporhynchus lecontei_, BONAP. C. R. XXVIII, 1854,
    57.—IB. Notes Delattre, 39.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 350, pl.
    1; IB. Review, 47.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 17.

SP. CHAR. Bill much curved. Second quill about equal to the tenth;
exposed portion of the first more than half the longest; outer
tail-feather an inch shortest. General color above light grayish-ash,
beneath much paler; the chin and throat above almost white; the sides
behind brownish-yellow or pale rusty-yellow ash, of which color is the
crissum and anal region. Tail-feathers rather dark brown on the under
surface, lighter above; the outer edges and tips of exterior ones
obscurely paler. Quills nearly like the back.

HAB. Gila River; Fort Yuma; Fort Mojave.

Since the description of the type, a second specimen (40,718 ♂, Fort
Mojave, 20 miles from Colorado River, Sept. 30, 1865) has been
obtained by Dr. Coues. This skin differs slightly from the type in
size, being somewhat larger, measuring, wing 3.90, tail 5.30, bill
(from nostril) 1.05; while the other measures, wing 3.70, tail 4.70,
bill .98. This difference in size very probably represents that
between the sexes, the type most likely being a female, though the sex
is not stated. Owing to the different seasons in which the two
specimens were obtained, they differ somewhat in plumage also. Dr.
Coues’s specimen is somewhat the darker, and the plumage has a softer,
more blended aspect, and a more ashy tinge of color; the ochraceous of
the crissal region is also slightly deeper. No other differences are

HABITS. Leconte’s Thrasher is a new and comparatively little known
species. A single specimen was obtained by Dr. Leconte near Fort Yuma,
and described by Mr. Lawrence in 1851, and remained unique for many
years. In 1861 Dr. Cooper presented a paper to the California Academy
of Sciences, in which this bird is given among a list of those new to
that State. He then mentions that he found it common about the Mojave
River, and that he procured two specimens.

Dr. Coues, in his valuable paper on the birds of Arizona, speaks of
obtaining, in 1865, a specimen of this rare species on a dry plain
covered thickly with mesquite and cactus, near Fort Mojave. This bird
was very shy and restless, fluttered hurriedly from one cactus to
another, until he at last shot it where it seemed to fancy itself
hidden among the thick fronds of a large yucca. Its large stout feet
admirably adapt it for its partially terrestrial life, and it
apparently spends much of its life upon the ground, where it runs
rapidly and easily. Its flight he describes as swift but desultory,
and accompanied by a constant flirting of the tail. He considers this
species as inhabiting the whole valley of the Colorado and Gila, and
thinks that it does not leave the vicinity of these streams for the

Dr. Cooper found a nest of this species, but without eggs, built in a
yucca, and similar to that of _H. redivivus_. In his Report on the
Birds of California, Dr. Cooper speaks of finding this bird common on
the deserts, along the route between the Colorado Valley, wherever
there was a thicket of low bushes surrounded by sand-hills. Its notes,
habits, and general appearance were like those of _H. redivivus_.

Harporhynchus redivivus, CABAN.


  _Harpes rediviva_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. S. II, Aug. 1845, 264.
    _Toxostoma rediviva_, GAMBEL, J. A. N. Sc. 2d ser. I, 1847,
    42.—CASSIN, Illust. I, 1855, 260, pl. xlii. _Harporhynchus
    redivivus_, CABANIS, Archiv Naturg. 1848, 98.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 349; Rev. 48.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 339.—COOPER, Birds
    Cal. 1, 15.

SP. CHAR. Wing much rounded; the second quill shorter than the
secondaries. Tail much graduated. Bill much decurved, longer than the
head. Above brownish-olive, without any shade of green; beneath pale
cinnamon, lightest on the throat, deepening gradually into a
brownish-rufous on the under tail-coverts. The fore part of the breast
and sides of the body brown-olive, lighter than the back. An obscure
ashy superciliary stripe, and another lighter beneath the eye.
Ear-coverts and an indistinct maxillary stripe dark brown; the shafts
of the former whitish. Ends and tips of tail-feathers obsoletely
paler. Length, 11.50 inches; wing, 4.20; tail, 5.75; tarsus, 1.55.

HAB. Coast region of California.

HABITS. The California Thrasher appears to have a somewhat restricted
distribution, being confined to the coast region of California, where,
however, it is quite abundant. It was first met with by Dr. Gambel,
near Monterey. The specimens were obtained on the ground where they
were searching for coleopterous insects. Dr. Heermann afterwards found
this bird abundant in the southern part of California. It was
difficult of approach, diving into the thick bushes, running some
distance on the ground, and becoming afterwards unapproachable. He
speaks of its song as a flood of melody equalled only by the song of
the Mocking-Bird (_Mimus polyglottus_). Colonel McCall also describes
its song as of exquisite sweetness, “placing it almost beyond rivalry
among the countless songsters that enliven the woods of America.” He
also states that it is as retiring and simple in its manners as it is
brilliant in song.

In the character of its flight it is said to strongly resemble the
Brown Thrasher (_H. rufus_) of the Eastern States. Their harsh,
scolding notes, when their nest is approached, their motions and
attitudes, are all very similar to those of _H. rufus_ under like
circumstances. Colonel McCall ranks the song of this species as far
superior to that of any other Thrush. Without possessing the powerful
voice or imitative faculties of the Mocking-Bird, its notes are
described as having a liquid mellowness of tone, with a clearness of
expression and volubility of utterance that cannot be surpassed.

A nest of this bird found by Dr. Heermann was composed of coarse
twigs, and lined with slender roots, and not very carefully
constructed. Mr. Hepburn writes that a nest found by him was in a
thick bush about five feet from the ground. It was a very untidy
affair, a mere platform of sticks, almost as carelessly put together
as that of a pigeon, in which, though not in the centre, was a shallow
depression about 4 inches in diameter, lined with fine roots and
grass. It contained two eggs with a blue ground thickly covered with
soot-colored spots confluent at the larger end, and in coloring not
unlike those of the _Turdus ustulatus_. The eggs measured 1.19 inches
by .81 of an inch. Dr. Cooper gives their measurement as 1.10 of an
inch by .85. Two eggs belonging to the Smithsonian Institution (2,040,
_a_ and _b_) measure, one 1.19 by .81, the other 1.14 by .93. The
former has a bluish-green ground sparsely spotted with olive-brown
markings; the other has a ground of a light yellowish-green, with
numerous spots of a russet brown.

The general character of their nest is, as described, a coarse, rudely
constructed platform of sticks and coarse grass and mosses, with but a
very slight depression. Occasionally, however, nests of this bird are
more carefully and elaborately made. One (13,072) obtained near
Monterey, by Dr. Canfield, has a diameter of 6 inches, a height of 3,
with an oblong-oval cavity 2 inches in depth. Its outside was an
interweaving of leaves, stems, and mosses, and its lining fine long
fibrous roots.

These birds are chiefly found frequenting the dense chaparral that
lines the hillsides of California valleys, forming thickets, composed
of an almost impenetrable growth of thorny shrubs, and affording an
inviting shelter. In such places they reside throughout the year,
feeding upon insects, for the procuring of which their long curved
bills are admirably adapted, as also upon the berries which generally
abound in these places. Their nests usually contain three eggs. Dr.
Cooper states that their loud and varied song is frequently
intermingled with imitations of other birds, though the general
impression appears to be that they are not imitative, and do not
deserve to be called, as they often are, a mocking-bird.

  [Illustration: PLATE IV.

  1. Harporhynchus crissalis, _Henry_. Cal., 11533.
  2.      “        cinereus, _Xantus_. C. St. L., 26343.
  3.      “        lecontei, _Bonap._ Ariz., 40718.
  4.      “        redivivus, _Caban._ Cal., 3732.]

Harporhynchus crissalis, HENRY.


  _Harporhynchus crissalis_, HENRY, Pr. A. N. Sc. May, 1858.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 350, pl. lxxxii; Review, 47.—COOPER, Birds
    Cal. 1, 18.

SP. CHAR. Second quill about as long as the secondaries. Bill much
curved; longer than the head. Above olive-brown, with a faint shade of
gray; beneath nearly uniform brownish-gray, much paler than the back,
passing insensibly into white on the chin; but the under tail-coverts
dark brownish-rufous, and abruptly defined. There is a black maxillary
stripe cutting off a white one above it. There do not appear to be any
other stripes about the head. There are no bands on the wings, and the
tips and outer edges of the tail-feathers are very inconspicuously
lighter than the remaining portion. Length, 11 inches; wing, 4.00;
tail, 5.80; tarsus, 1.25.

HAB. Region of the Gila River, to Rocky Mountains; Southern Utah (St.
George, Dr. Palmer).

A second specimen (11,533) of this rare species is larger than the type,
but otherwise agrees with it. Its dimensions are as follows:—

     Length before skinning, 12.50; of skin, 12.50; wing, 3.90;
     tail, 6.50; its graduation, 1.45; first quill, 1.50; second,
     .41; bill from forehead (chord of curve), 1.65, from gape,
     1.75, from nostril, 1.30; curve of culmen, 1.62; height of
     bill at nostril, .22; tarsus, 1.30; middle toe and claw,

The bill of this species, though not quite so long as in _redivivus_,
when most developed, is almost as much curved, and much more
slender,—the depth at nostrils being but .22 instead of .26. The size
of this specimen is equal to the largest of _redivivus_ (3,932); the
tail absolutely longer. The feet are, however, considerably smaller,
the claws especially so; the tarsus measures but 1.30, instead of
1.52; the middle claw .29, instead of .36. With these differences in
form, however, it would be impossible to separate the two generically.

A third specimen (No. 60,958 ♀, St. George, Utah, June 9, 1870), with
nest and eggs, has recently been obtained by Dr. Palmer. This
specimen, being a female, is considerably smaller than the type,
measuring only: wing, 3.90; tail, 6.00; bill, from nostril, 1.15. The
plumage is in the burnt summer condition, and has a peculiar reddish

HABITS. Of this rare Thrush little is known. So far as observed, its
habits appear to be nearly identical with those of the Californian
species (_H. redivivus_). It is found associated in the same
localities with _H. lecontei_, which also it appears to very closely
resemble in all respects, so far as observed. The first specimen was
obtained by Dr. T. C. Henry, near Mimbres, and described by him in
May, 1858, in the Proceedings of the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences.
A second specimen was obtained by H. B. Möllhausen, at Fort Yuma, in
1863. Dr. Coues did not observe it at Fort Whipple, but thinks its
range identical with that of _H. lecontei_.

Dr. Cooper found this species quite common at Fort Mojave, but so very
shy that he only succeeded in shooting one, after much watching for
it. Their song, general habits, and nest he speaks of as being in
every way similar to those of _H. redivivus_.

The eggs remained unknown until Dr. E. Palmer had the good fortune to
find them at St. George, Southern Utah, June 8, 1870. The nest was an
oblong flat structure, containing only a very slight depression. It
was very rudely constructed externally of coarse sticks quite loosely
put together; the inner nest is made of finer materials of the same.
The base of this nest was 12 inches long, and 7 in breadth; the inner
nest is circular, with a diameter of 4½ inches.

The eggs are of an oblong-oval shape, one end being a little less
obtuse than the other. In length they vary from 1.15 to 1.12 inches,
and in breadth from .84 to .82 of an inch. They are of a uniform blue
color, similar to the eggs of the common Robin (_Turdus migratorius_),
only a little paler or of a lighter tint. In the total absence of
markings they differ remarkably from those of all other species of the


  _Mimus_, BOIE, Isis, Oct. 1826, 972. (Type _Turdus polyglottus_,
  _Orpheus_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. III, 1827, 167. (Same type.)

  [Line drawing: _Mimus polyglottus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill not much more than half the length of the head; gently
decurved from the base, notched at tip; commissure curved. Gonys
straight, or slightly concave. Rictal bristles quite well developed.
Wings rather shorter than the tail. First primary about equal to, or
rather more than, half the second; third, fourth, and fifth quills
nearly equal, sixth scarcely shorter. Tail considerably graduated; the
feathers stiff, rather narrow, especially the outer webs, lateral
feathers about three quarters of an inch the shorter in the type.
Tarsi longer than middle toe and claw by rather less than an
additional claw; tarsi conspicuously and strongly scutellate; broad
plates seven.

Of this genus there are many species in America, although but one
occurs within the limits of the United States.

The single North American species _M. polyglottus_ is ashy brown
above, white beneath; wings and tail black, the former much varied
with white.

Mimus polyglottus, BOIE.


  _Turdus polyglottus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. 1758, 169; 12th ed.
    1766, 293.—_Mimus polyglottus_, BOIE, Isis, 1826, 972.—SCLATER,
    P. Z. S. 1856, 212.—IB. 1859, 340.—IB. Catal. 1861, 8, no.
    51.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 344.—IB. Rev. 48.—SAMUELS,
    167.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 21.—GUNDLACH, Repertorio, 1865, 230
    (Cuba).—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 230.—COUES, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1866, 65
    (Arizona).—_? Orpheus leucopterus_, VIGORS, Zoöl. Beechey, 1839.
  Figures: WILSON, Am. Orn. II, 1810, pl. x, fig. 1.—AUD. Orn. Biog.
    I, 1831, pl. xxi.—IB. Birds Amer. II, 1841, pl. 137.

SP. CHAR. Third and fourth quills longest; second about equal to
eighth; the first half or more than half the second. Tail considerably
graduated. Above ashy brown, the feathers very obsoletely darker
centrally, and towards the light plumbeous downy basal portion
(scarcely appreciable, except when the feathers are lifted). The under
parts are white, with a faint brownish tinge, except on the chin, and
with a shade of ash across the breast. There is a pale superciliary
stripe, but the lores are dusky. The wings and tail are dark brown,
nearly black, except the lesser wing-coverts, which are like the back;
the middle and greater tipped with white, forming two bands; the basal
portion of the primaries white; most extended on the inner primaries.
The outer tail-feather is white, sometimes a little mottled; the
second is mostly white, except on the outer web and towards the base;
the third with a white spot on the end; the rest, except the middle,
very slightly or not at all tipped with white. The bill and legs are
black. Length, 9.50; wing, 4.50; tail, 5.00.

  [Illustration: _Mimus polyglottus._]

_Young._ Similar, but distinctly spotted with dusky on the breast, and
obsoletely on the back.

HAB. North America, from about 40° (rare in Massachusetts, Samuels),
south to Mexico. Said to occur in Cuba.

The Mocking-Birds are closely allied, requiring careful comparison to
distinguish them. A near ally is _M. orpheus_, of Jamaica, but in this
the outer feather is white, and the 2d, 3d, and 4th tail-feathers are
marked like the 1st, 2d, and 3d of _polyglottus_, respectively.

We have examined one hundred and fourteen specimens, of the present
species, the series embracing large numbers from Florida, the Rio
Grande, Cape St. Lucas, and Mazatlan, and numerous specimens from
intermediate localities. The slight degree of variation manifested in
this immense series is really surprising; we can discover no
difference of color that does not depend on age, sex, season, or the
individual (though the variations of the latter kind are exceedingly
rare, and when noticed, very slight). Although the average of Western
specimens have slightly longer tails than Eastern, a Florida example
(No. 54,850, ♂, Enterprise, Feb. 19), has a tail as long as that of
the longest-tailed Western one (No. 8,165, Fort Yuma, Gila River,
Dec.). Specimens from Colima, Mirador, Orizaba, and Mazatlan are quite
identical with Northern ones.

HABITS. The Mocking-Bird is distributed on the Atlantic coast, from
Massachusetts to Florida, and is also found to the Pacific. On the
latter coast it exhibits certain variations in forms, but hardly
enough to separate it as a distinct species. It is by no means a
common bird in New England, but instances of its breeding as far north
as Springfield, Mass., are of constant occurrence, and a single
individual was seen by Mr. Boardman near Calais, Me. It is met with
every year, more or less frequently, on Long Island, and is more
common, but by no means abundant, in New Jersey. It is found
abundantly in every Southern State, and throughout Mexico. It has also
been taken near Grinnell, Iowa.

A warm climate, a low country, and the vicinity of the sea appear to
be most congenial to their nature. Wilson found them less numerous
west of the Alleghany than on the eastern side, in the same parallels.
Throughout the winter he met with them in the Southern States, feeding
on the berries of the red cedar, myrtle, holly, etc., with which the
swampy thickets abounded. They feed also upon winged insects, which
they are very expert in catching. In Louisiana they remain throughout
the entire year, approaching farmhouses and plantations in the winter,
and living about the gardens and outhouses. They may be frequently
seen perched upon the roofs of houses and on the chimney-tops, and are
always full of life and animation. When the weather is mild the old
males may be heard singing with as much spirit as in the spring or
summer. They are much more familiar than in the more northern States.
In Georgia they do not begin to sing until February.

The vocal powers of the Mocking-Bird exceed, both in their imitative
notes and in their natural song, those of any other species. Their
voice is full, strong, and musical, and capable of an almost endless
variation in modulation. The wild scream of the Eagle and the soft
notes of the Bluebird are repeated with exactness and with apparently
equal facility, while both in force and sweetness the Mocking-Bird
will often improve upon the original.

The song of the Mocking-Bird is not altogether imitative. His natural
notes are bold, rich, and full, and are varied almost without
limitation. They are frequently interspersed with imitations, and both
are uttered with a rapidity and emphasis that can hardly be equalled.

The Mocking-Bird readily becomes accustomed to confinement, and loses
little of the power, energy, or variety of its song, but often much of
its sweetness in a domesticated state. The mingling of unmusical
sounds, like the crowing of cocks, the cackling of hens, or the
creaking of a wheelbarrow, while they add to the variety, necessarily
detracts from the beauty of his song.

The food of the Mocking-Bird is chiefly insects, their larvæ, worms,
spiders, etc., and in the winter of berries, in great variety. They
are said to be very fond of the grape, and to be very destructive to
this fruit. Mr. G. C. Taylor (Ibis, 1862, p. 130) mentions an instance
that came to his knowledge, of a person living near St. Augustine,
Florida, who shot no less than eleven hundred Mocking-Birds in a
single season, and buried them at the roots of his grape-vines.

Several successful attempts have been made to induce the Mocking-Bird
to rear their young in a state of confinement, and it has been shown
to be, by proper management, perfectly practicable.

In Texas and Florida the Mocking-Bird nests early in March, young
birds appearing early in April. In Georgia and the Carolinas they are
two weeks later. In Pennsylvania they nest about the 10th of May, and
in New York and New England not until the second week of June. They
select various situations for the nest; solitary thorn-bushes, an
almost impenetrable thicket of brambles, an orange-tree, or a
holly-bush appear to be favorite localities. They often build near the
farm-houses, and the nest is rarely more than seven feet from the
ground. The base of the nest is usually a rudely constructed platform
of coarse sticks, often armed with formidable thorns surrounding the
nest with a barricade. The height is usually 5 inches, with a diameter
of 8. The cavity is 3 inches deep and 5 wide. Within the external
barricade is an inner nest constructed of soft fine roots.

The eggs, from four to six in number, vary in length from .94 to 1.06
inches, with a mean length of .99. Their breadth varies from .81 to
.69 of an inch, mean breadth .75. They also exhibit great variations
in the combinations of markings and tints. The ground color is usually
light greenish-blue, varying in the depth of its shade from a very
light tint to a distinct blue, with a slight greenish tinge. The
markings consist of yellowish-brown and purple, chocolate-brown,
russet, and a very dark brown.


  _Galeoscoptes_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. I, 1850, 82. (Type _Muscicapa
    carolinensis_, L.)

GEN. CHAR. Bill shorter than the head, rather broad at base. Rictal
bristles moderately developed, reaching to the nostrils. Wings a
little shorter than the tail, rounded; secondaries well developed;
fourth and fifth quills longest; third and sixth little shorter; first
and ninth about equal, and about the length of secondaries; first
quill more than half the second, about half the third. Tail graduated;
lateral feather about .70 shorter than the middle. Tarsi longer than
middle toe and claw by about an additional half-claw; scutellate
anteriorly, more or less distinctly in different specimens; scutellæ
about seven.

The conspicuous naked membranous border round the eye of some
Thrushes, with the bare space behind it, not appreciable.

  [Line drawing: _Galeoscoptes carolinensis._

There is little difference in form between the single species of
_Galeoscoptes_ and _Mimus polyglottus_, beyond the less degree of
definition of the tarsal plates; and but for the difference in
coloration (uniform plumbeous instead of gray above and white
beneath), we would hardly be inclined to distinguish the two

The single species known is lead-colored, with black cap, and
chestnut-red under tail-coverts.

Galeoscoptes carolinensis, CABAN.


  _Muscicapa carolinensis_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 328. _Turdus
    carolinensis_, LICHT. Verz. 1823, 38.—D’ORBIGNY, La Sagra’s Cuba,
    Ois. 1840, 51. _Orpheus carolinensis_, JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 1859,
    27 (breeds). _Mimus carolinensis_, GRAY, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1859,
    346.—BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. 1867, 69 (Inagua).—LORD, Pr. R. Art.
    Inst. (Woolwich), IV, 1864, 117 (east of Cascade Mts.).
    _Galeoscoptes carolinensis_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I, 1850, 82 (type of
    genus).—IB. Jour. Orn. 1855, 470 (Cuba).—GUNDLACH, Repert. 1865,
    230 (Cuba, very common).—SCLATER, Catal. Birds, 1861, 6, no.
    39.—SCL. & SALV. Pr. 1867, 278 (Mosquito Coast).—BAIRD, Rev.
    1864, 54.—SAMUELS, 172.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 23.
  Figures: AUD. B. A. II, pl. 140.—IB. Orn. Biog. II, pl. 28.—VIEILLOT,
    Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lxvii.—WILSON, Am. Orn. II, pl. xiv, f. 3.

SP. CHAR. Third quill longest; first shorter than sixth. Prevailing
color dark plumbeous, more ashy beneath. Crown and nape dark
sooty-brown. Wings dark brown, edged with plumbeous. Tail
greenish-black; the lateral feathers obscurely tipped with plumbeous.
The under tail-coverts dark brownish-chestnut. Female smaller. Length,
8.85; wing, 3.65; tail, 4.00; tarsus, 1.05.

  [Illustration: _Galeoscoptes carolinensis._]

HAB. United States, north to Lake Winnipeg, west to head of Columbia,
and Cascade Mountains (Lord); south to Panama R. R.; Cuba; Bahamas;
Bermuda (breeds). Accidental in Heligoland Island, Europe. Oaxaca,
Cordova, and Guatemala, SCLATER; Mosquito Coast, SCL. & SALV.; Orizaba
(winter), SUMICHRAST; Yucatan, LAWR.

Western specimens have not appreciably longer tails than Eastern.
Central American examples, as a rule, have the plumbeous of a more
bluish cast than is usually seen in North American skins.

HABITS. The Catbird has a very extended geographical range. It is
abundant throughout the Atlantic States, from Florida to Maine; in the
central portion of the continent it is found as far north as Lake

On the Pacific coast it has been met with at Panama, and also on the
Columbia River. It is occasional in Cuba and the Bahamas, and in the
Bermudas is a permanent resident. It is also found during the winter
months abundant in Central America, It breeds in all the Southern
States with possibly the exception of Florida. In Maine, according to
Professor Verrill, it is as common as in Massachusetts, arriving in
the former place about the 20th of May, about a week later than in the
vicinity of Boston, and beginning to deposit its eggs early in June.
Near Calais it is a less common visitant.

The Northern migrations of the Catbird commence early in February,
when they make their appearance in Florida, Georgia, and the
Carolinas. In April they reach Virginia and Pennsylvania, and New
England from the 1st to the 10th of May. Their first appearance is
usually coincident with the blossoming of the pear-trees. It is not
generally a popular or welcome visitant, a prejudice more or less wide
spread existing in regard to it. Yet few birds more deserve kindness
at our hands, or will better repay it. From its first appearance among
us, almost to the time of departure in early fall, the air is vocal
with the quaint but attractive melody, rendered all the more
interesting from the natural song being often blended with notes
imperfectly mimicked from the songs of other birds. The song, whether
natural or imitative, is always varied, attractive, and beautiful.

The Catbird, when once established as a welcome guest, soon makes
itself perfectly at home. He is to be seen at all times, and is almost
ever in motion. They become quite tame, and the male bird will
frequently apparently delight to sing in the immediate presence of
man. Occasionally they will build their nest in close proximity to a
house, and appear unmindful of the presence of the members of the

The Catbird’s power of mimicry, though limited and imperfectly
exercised, is frequently very amusing. The more difficult notes it
rarely attempts to copy, and signally fails whenever it does so. The
whistle of the Quail, the cluck of a hen calling her brood, the answer
of the young chicks, the note of the Pewit Flycatcher, and the refrain
of Towhee, the Catbird will imitate with so much exactness as not to
be distinguished from the original.

The Catbirds are devoted parents, sitting upon their eggs with great
closeness, feeding the young with assiduity, and accompanying them
with parental interest when they leave the nest, even long after they
are able to provide for themselves. Intruders from whom danger is
apprehended they will boldly attack, attempting to drive away snakes,
cats, dogs, and sometimes even man. If these fail they resort to
piteous cries and other manifestations of their great distress.

Towards each other they are affectionate and devoted, mutually
assisting in the construction of the nest; and as incubation
progresses the female, who rarely leaves the nest, is supplied with
food, and entertained from his exhaustless vocabulary of song, by her
mate. When annoyed by an intruder the cry of the Catbird is loud,
harsh, and unpleasant, and is supposed to resemble the outcry of a
cat, and to this it owes its name. This note it reiterates at the
approach of any object of its dislike or fear.

The food of the Catbird is almost exclusively the larvæ of the larger
insects. For these it searches both among the branches and the fallen
leaves, as well as the furrows of newly ploughed fields and cultivated
gardens. The benefit it thus confers upon the farmer and the
horticulturist is very great, and can hardly be overestimated.

The Catbird can with proper painstaking be raised from the nest, and
when this is successfully accomplished they become perfectly
domesticated, and are very amusing pets.

They construct their nests on clusters of vines or low bushes, on the
edges of small thickets, and in retired places, though almost always
near cultivated ground. The usual materials of their nests are dry
leaves for the base, slender strips of long dry bark, small twigs,
herbaceous plants, fine roots, and finer stems. They are lined with
fine dry grasses, and sedges. Their nests average 4 inches in height
by 5 in diameter. The diameter and depth of the cavity are 3½ inches.
The eggs are of a uniform deep bluish-green, and measure .97 in length
and .69 of an inch in breadth.


On page 2 will be found the characteristics of this family, which need
not be here repeated. There is only a single genus, _Cinclus_, with
four American species, and several from Europe and Asia.


  _Hydrobata_, VIEILLOT, Analyse, 1816 (Ag.).—BAIRD, B. N. A. 229.
  _Cinclus_, BECHSTEIN, Gemein. Naturg. 1802. (Not of Moehring, 1752.
    Type _Sturnus cinclus_, L.)—SALVIN, Ibis, 1867, 109. (Monograph.)

  [Line drawing: _Cinclus mexicanus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill without any bristles at the base; slender, subulate;
the mandible bent slightly upward; the culmen slightly concave to near
the tip, which is much curved and notched; the commissural edges of
the bill finely nicked towards end. Feet large and strong, the toes
projecting considerably beyond the tail; the claws large. Lateral toes
equal. Tail very short and even; not two thirds the wings, which are
concave and somewhat falcate. The first primary is more than one
fourth the longest. Eggs white.

  [Illustration: _Cinclus mexicanus._]

The slightly upward bend of the bill, somewhat as in _Anthus_, renders
the culmen concave, and the commissure slightly convex. The maxilla at
base is nearly as high as the mandible; the whole bill is much
compressed and attenuated. The lateral claws barely reach the base of
the middle one, which is broad; the inner face extended into a horny
lamina, with one or two notches or pectinations somewhat as in
_Caprimulgidæ_. The stiffened sub-falcate wings are quite remarkable.
The tail is so short that the upper coverts extend nearly to its tip.

The species are all dull-colored birds, usually brown, sometimes
varied with white on the head, back, or throat. They inhabit
mountainous subalpine regions abounding in rapid streams, and always
attract attention by their habit of feeding under water, searching
among the gravel and stones for their insect prey.

The only other species at all allied to the single North American one
are the _C. ardesiacus_ of Central America, and _C. pallasi_ of
Eastern Asia. They may be easily distinguished by the following

  Plumage beneath scarcely lighter than that above; head and neck
    brownish, darkest above. Wing, 4.00; tail, 2.15; bill, .50;
    tarsus, 1.20; middle toe, .85. Legs (in life), pinkish white
    (8,496 Fort Mass. N. M.). HAB. Mountains of Middle Province from
    Sitka, south to Guatemala …                     var. _mexicanus_.

  Plumage beneath much lighter than that above,—very light along
    the median line; head not brownish, the contrast in shade between
    upper and lower surfaces very marked. Wing, 3.50; tail, 2.05;
    bill, .45; tarsus, 1.30; middle toe, .90. Legs yellow. (42,788 ♂
    Costa Rica). HAB. Guatemala and Costa Rica. …
                                               var. _ardesiacus_.[24]

  Plumage uniform dusky-brown, middle of belly blackish; _back and
    rump squamated with black_; wings and tail blackish-brown. Total
    length, 8.00; wing, 4.00; tail, 2.50; tarsus, 1.25; bill (to
    rictus), 1.10 (Salvin). HAB. Lake Baikal to Kamtschatka;
    Amoorland; S. E. Siberia; Japan (Salvin) …     var._pallasi_.[25]

Cinclus mexicanus, SWAINS.


  _Cinclus pallasi_, BON. Zoöl. Jour. II, 1827, 52 (not the Asiatic
    species). _Cinclus mexicanus_, SW. Phil. Mag. 1827, 368.—SCLATER,
    Catal. 1861, 10.—SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 190; 1867, 120
    (Guatemala).—BAIRD, Review, 60.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER,
    Birds Cal. 1, 25. _Hydrobata mexicana_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 229.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, Rep. P. R. R, XII, II, 1859, 175
    (nest). _Cinclus americanus_, RICH. F. B. A. II, 1831, 273.
    _Cinclus unicolor_, BON.; _C. mortoni_, TOWNS.; _C. townsendi_,
    “AUD.” TOWNS.
  Figures: BONAPARTE, Am. Orn. II, 1828, pl. xvi, fig. 1.—AUD. Orn.
    Biog. pl. ccclxx, 435.—IB. Birds Amer. II, pl. cxxxvii.

SP. CH. Above dark plumbeous, beneath paler; head and neck all round a
shade of clove or perhaps a light sooty-brown; less conspicuous
beneath. A concealed spot of white above the anterior corner of the
eye and indications of the same sometimes on the lower eyelid.
Immature specimens usually with the feathers beneath edged with
grayish-white; the greater and middle wing-coverts and lesser quills
tipped with the same. The colors more uniform. Length, 7.50; wing,
4.00; tail, 2.55.

_Young._ Similar to the adult, but much mixed with whitish medially
beneath; this in form of longitudinal suffusions.

Autumnal and winter specimens have numerous transverse crescents of
whitish on lower parts and wings,—these very especially conspicuous
posteriorly; the secondaries are also conspicuously terminated with a
white crescent. Bill brown, paler toward base of lower mandible. In
spring and summer the bill entirely black, and the whitish markings
almost entirely disappear; the young bird has a greater amount of
white beneath than the adult in winter dress, and this white is
disposed in longitudinal, not transverse, suffusions. The color of the
legs appears to be the same at all seasons.

  [Illustration: PLATE V.

  1. Cinclus mexicanus, _Sw._ N. M., 8496.
  2. Sialia mexicana, _Sw._ Cal., 10623.
  3.   “    sialis, _Baird_. D. C., 28245.
  4.   “    arctica, _Sw._ Rocky Mts., 18319.
  5. Phyllopneuste borealis. Alaska, 45909.
  6. Saxicola œnanthe, _Bechst._ France, 18959.
  7. Regulus cuvieri, _Aud._ (From Aud.’s plate.)
  8.    “    satrapa, _Licht._ D. C., 1160.
  9.    “    calendula, _Licht._ Penn., 736.]

Specimens, of any age, from the coast of Oregon and the Cascade
Mountains, have the head more deeply brownish than those from other

HAB. Found through the mountainous region of the central and western
part of North America, from Fort Halkett south into Mexico and
Guatemala. Orizaba (Alpine region) SUMICH. None received from the
coast region of California. Abundant on the N. W. coast, Laramie Peak
and Deer Creek, Neb.

This species has a wide range along the mountainous region of North
and Middle America. Mexican specimens are darker.

HABITS. This interesting bird inhabits exclusively the mountainous
portions of North America west of the Mississippi from Alaska south to
Guatemala. It does not appear to have been obtained on the coast of
California, nor in the valley of the Mississippi. In the British
Possessions specimens have been procured on Fraser’s River, at Fort
Halkett, and at Colville. At the latter place Mr. J. K. Lord states
that a few remain and pass the winter. They are found among the
mountain streams of Vera Cruz, and probably throughout Mexico, and no
doubt may be met with in all the highlands between these extreme
points. Dr. Newberry met with it in the rapid streams of the Cascade
Mountains. He describes it as flitting along in the bed of the stream,
from time to time plunging into the water and disappearing, to appear
again at a distant point, up or down the stream, skipping about from
stone to stone, constantly in motion, jerking its tail and moving its
body somewhat in the manner of a wren.

Dr. Cooper observed this species both on the Columbia and its
tributaries, and also among the mountain streams of the Coast Range
west of Santa Clara. At the latter place he found a pair mated as
early as March 16th. At sunset he heard the male singing very
melodiously, as it sat on one of its favorite rocks in the middle of
the foaming rapids, making its delightful melody heard for quite a
long distance above the sound of the roaring waters.

“This bird,” adds Dr. Cooper, “combines the form of a sandpiper, the
song of a canary, and the aquatic habits of a duck. Its food consists
almost entirely of aquatic insects, and these it pursues under water,
walking and flying with perfect ease beneath a depth of several feet
of water.” He also states that they do not swim on the surface, but
dive, and sometimes fly across streams beneath the surface; that their
flight is rapid and direct, like that of a sandpiper; also that they
jerk their tails in a similar manner, and generally alight on a rock
or log.

Dr. Cooper on the 5th of July found a nest of this bird at a saw-mill
on the Chehalis River, built under the shelving roots of an enormous
arbor-vitæ that had floated over, and rested in a slanting position
against the dam. The floor was of small twigs, the sides and roof
arched over it like an oven, and formed of moss, projecting so as to
protect and shelter the opening, which was large enough to admit the
hand. Within this nest was a brood of half-fledged young. The parents
were familiar and fearless, and had become accustomed to the society
of the millers. They had previously raised another brood that season.

The same observant naturalist, some time afterwards, in May, found the
nest of another pair, a few miles north of Santa Clara. This was built
near the foot of a mill-dam, resting on a slight ledge under an
overhanging rock, from which water was continually dropping. It was,
in shape, like an oven, with a small doorway, and it was built
externally of green moss, which, being still living, prevented the
easy discovery of the nest. It was lined with soft grass, and
contained young.

These birds are found singly or in pairs, and never more than two
together. They are never found near still water, and frequent only
wild mountain-streams, cascades, eddies, and swift currents.

According to Mr. Dall’s observations in Alaska, the species is
essentially solitary. He obtained several specimens in January,
February, and March, always near some open, unfrozen spots in the
Nulato River. It was only found in the most retired spots, and almost
invariably alone. When disturbed, it would dive into the water, even
in midwinter.

Mr. Ridgway describes the Dipper as remarkably quick, as well as odd,
in its movements,—whether walking in the shallow bed of the stream,
or standing on a stone along the edge, continually tilting up and
down, now chattering as it flies rapidly along the stream, again
alighting into the water, in which it wades with the greatest
facility. Its flight is remarkably swift and well sustained, and in
manner is very unusual, the bird propelling itself by a rapid buzzing
of the wings, following in its flight every undulation in the course
of the stream into which it drops suddenly. Its song is described as
remarkably sweet and lively, in modulation resembling somewhat that of
the _Harporhynchus rufus_, but less powerful, though sweeter in

Dr. E. Baldamus, of Halle, who possesses specimens of the eggs of this
species, describes them as pure white in color, oval in shape, and
hardly distinguishable from those of the European _C. aquaticus_.

A nest of this bird obtained by Mr. J. Stevenson, of Hayden’s
Expedition, in Berthoud’s Pass, Colorado, is a hemisphere of very
uniform contour built on a rock, on the edge of a stream. Externally
it was composed of green moss, in a living state; within is a strong,
compactly built apartment, arched over, and supported by twigs, with a
cup-like depression at the bottom, hemispherical and composed of roots
and twigs firmly bound together. The structure is 7 inches in height
externally, and has a diameter of 10½ inches at the base. Within, the
cavity has a depth of 6 inches; the entrance, which is on one side, is
3½ in breadth by 2½ in height. The eggs were three in number, uniform,
dull white, and unspotted. They measure 1.04 inches by .70. They have
an elongated oval shape, and are much pointed at one end.


The general characters of this family have already been given on p. 2,
as distinguished from the _Turdidæ_. The relationships are very close,
however, and but little violence would be done by making it a
subfamily of _Turdidæ_ or even a group of _Turdinæ_, as was done in
the “Birds of North America.”

While the group is very well represented in the Old World, America has
but one peculiar genus _Sialia_, and another _Saxicola_, represented
by a single species, a straggler, perhaps, from Greenland on the one
side and Siberia on the other. The diagnostic characters of these are
as follows, including _Turdus_ to show the relationships of the three

  Turdus. Tarsi long, exceeding the middle toe; wings reaching to
     the middle of the tail, which is about four fifths the length of
     the wings. Bill stout; its upper outline convex toward the base.
     Second quill shorter than fifth.

  Saxicola. Tarsi considerably longer than the middle toe, which
     reaches nearly to the tip of the tail. Tail short, even; two
     thirds as long as the lengthened wings, which reach beyond the
     middle of the tail. Second quill longer than fifth. Bill
     attenuated; its upper outline concave towards the base.

  Sialia. Tarsi short; about equal to the middle toe. Wings
     reaching beyond the middle of the tail. Bill thickened.


  _Saxicola_, BECHSTEIN, Gemeinnützige Naturg. 1802. (Type, _S. œnanthe_.)

  [Line drawing: _Saxicola œnanthe_, Bechst.]

GEN. CHAR. Commissure slightly curved to the well-notched tip. Culmen
concave for the basal half, then gently decurving. Gonys straight.
Bill slender, attenuated; more than half the length of head. Tail
short, broad, even. Legs considerably longer than the head; when
outstretched reaching nearly to the tip of tail. Third quill longest;
second but little shorter. Claws long, slightly curved; hind toe
rather elongated.

As already stated, America possesses but a single member of this group
of birds, so well represented in the Old World. The color is
bluish-gray, with wings, a stripe through the eye, and the middle of
exposed tail-feathers black.

Saxicola œnanthe, BECHST.


  _Motacilla œnanthe_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1758, 186. _Saxicola
    œnanthe_, BECHST. “Gemein. Naturg. 1802,” and of European
    authors.—HOLBÖLL, Orn. Grœn. (Paulsen ed.), 1846, 23
    (Greenland).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 220 (Europe); Review,
    61.—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 1859, 28 (Bermuda).—COUES, Pr. A. N. S.
    1861, 218 (Labrador).—REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 5 (Greenland).—DALL
    & BANNISTER (Alaska). _Saxicola œnanthoides_, VIGORS, Zoöl.
    Blossom, 1839, 19 (N. W. America).—CASSIN, Ill. I, 1854, 208, pl.
    xxxiv (Nova Scotia).

SP. CHAR. (Description from European specimen.) Male in spring,
forehead, line over the eye, and under parts generally white; the
latter tinged with pale yellowish-brown, especially on the breast and
throat. A stripe from the bill through, below, and behind the eye,
with the wings, upper tail-coverts, bill and feet, black. Tail white,
with an abrupt band of black (about .60 of an inch long) at the end,
this color extending further up on the middle feather. Rest of upper
parts ash-gray; quills and greater coverts slightly edged with
whitish. Length, 6.00; wing, 3.45; tail, 2.50; tarsus, 1.05.

Autumnal males are tinged with rusty; the black markings brown. The
female in spring is reddish-gray; lores and cheeks brown; the black
markings generally brownish, and not well defined. Eggs pale light
blue. Nest on ground.

HAB. An Old World species (Europe, Northern Africa, and Asia),
abundant in Greenland, found probably as an autumnal migrant in
Labrador, Canada, Nova Scotia, Bermuda, etc. Occurs also on Norton
Sound, near Behring’s Straits. Very occasional in the Eastern States:
Long Island.

  [Illustration: _Saxicola œnanthe._

This bird appears to be abundant in Norton Sound, from which region
Mr. Dall has recently brought specimens in full spring plumage. These
are decidedly smaller than birds from Labrador and Greenland, but not
distinguishable, and seem to agree precisely with skins from Central

HABITS. The well-known Wheat-ear is entitled to a place in our fauna,
not only as an accidental visitor, but also as an occasional resident.
Dr. H. R. Storer, of Boston, found them breeding in Labrador in the
summer of 1848, and procured specimens of the young birds which were
fully identified by Dr. Samuel Cabot as belonging to this species. In
the following year Andrew Downs, of Halifax, gave me the specimen
described and figured by Mr. Cassin. This was secured late in the
summer near Cape Harrison, Labrador, where it had evidently just
reared its brood. In 1860 Mr. Elliott Coues obtained another specimen
on the 25th of August, at Henley Harbor. It was in company with two
others, and was in immature plumage. Its occurrence in considerable
numbers on the coast of Labrador is further confirmed by a writer (“W.
C.”) in “The Field,” for June 10, 1871, who states that when in that
region during the months of May and June he saw a number of “White
Ears,” the greater proportion of them being males. He inferred from
this that they breed in that country, the apparent scarcity of females
being due to their occupation in nesting. Mr. Lawrence has one in his
cabinet from Long Island, and the Smithsonian Institution one from
Quebec. Specimens have also been obtained in the Bermudas.

Holböll, in his paper on the fauna of Greenland, is of the opinion
that the individuals of this species that occur there come from
Europe, make their journey across the Atlantic without touching at
Iceland, and arrive in South Greenland as early in the season as it
does at the former place, the first of May. It reaches Godhaven a
month later, at times when all is snowbound and the warmth has not yet
released the insects on which it feeds. It is found as far north as
the 73d parallel, and even beyond. In September it puts on its winter
dress and departs.

Mr. Dall states that several large flocks of this species were seen at
Nulato, May 23 and 24, 1868, and a number of specimens obtained. They
were said to be abundant on the dry stony hill-tops, but were rare
along the river.

The Wheat-ear is one of the most common birds of Europe, and is found,
at different seasons, throughout that continent as well as in a large
portion of Western Asia. It breeds throughout the British Islands as
well as in the whole of Northern Europe and Asia.

Its food is principally worms and insects, the latter of which it
takes upon the wing, in the manner of a fly-catcher. The male bird is
said to sing prettily, but not loudly, warbling even when on the wing,
and hovering over its nest or over its partner. In confinement its
song is continued by night as well as by day.

The Wheat-ear begins to make its nest in April, usually concealing it
in some deep recess beneath a huge stone, and often far beyond the
reach of the arm. Sometimes it is placed in old walls, and is usually
large and rudely constructed, made of dried bents, scraps of shreds,
feathers, and rubbish collected about the huts, generally containing
four pale blue eggs, uniform in color, and without spots, which
measure .81 of an inch in length by .69 in breadth.


  _Sialia_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. III, Sept. 1827, 173. (Type _Motacilla
     sialis_, L.)

  [Line drawing: _Sialia sialis._

GEN. CHAR. Bill short, stout, broader than high at the base, then
compressed; slightly notched at tip. Rictus with short bristles. Tarsi
not longer than the middle toe. Claws considerably curved. Wings much
longer than the tail; the first primary spurious, not one fourth the
longest. Tail moderate; slightly forked. Eggs plain blue. Nest in

The species of this genus are all well marked, and adult males are
easily distinguishable. In all, blue forms a prominent feature. Three
well-marked species are known, with a fourth less distinct. The
females are duller in color than the males. The young are spotted and
streaked with white.

Synopsis of Species.

COMMON CHARACTERS. Rich blue above, duller in the female. Beneath
reddish or blue in the male, reddish or light drab in the female.
Young with wings and tails only blue, the head and anterior parts
of body with numerous whitish spots.

  A. _Breast reddish, or chestnut._

    1. S. sialis. No chestnut on the back; throat reddish;
    abdomen and crissum white.

      Blue of a rich dark purplish shade. Tail about 2.75. _Hab._
      Eastern Province United States, Cuba, and Bermudas …
                                                       var. _sialis_.

      Blue of a greenish shade. Tail about 3.20. _Hab._ East
      Mexico and Guatemala …                       var. _azurea_.[26]

    2. S. mexicana. Chestnut, in greater or less amount, on the
    back; throat blue; abdomen and crissum blue. _Hab._ West and
    South Middle Province United States, south to Jalapa,
    Cordova, and Colima.

  B. _Breast blue (light drab in ♀)._

    3. S. arctica. Entirely rich greenish-blue; abdomen white.
    _Hab._ Middle Province United States; Fort Franklin, British

Sialia sialis, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla sialis_, LINN. S. N. 1758, 187 (based on CATESBY, I, pl.
     xlvii). _Sialia sialis_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 222; Rev.
     62.—BOARDMAN, Pr. Bost. Soc. 1862, 124 (Calais, Me.; very
     rare).—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 465 (Texas, winter).—SAMUELS, B. N.
     Eng., 175. _Sialia wilsoni_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. III, 1827,
     173.—CAB. Jour. 1858, 120.—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 324;
     Repertorio, 1865, 230.—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 1859, 28, 66
     (resident in Bermuda). _Sylvia sialis_, LATH.; _Ampelis sialis_,
     NUTT.; _Erythraca wilsoni_, SW.
  Figures: VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. ci, cii, ciii.—WILS. I,
    pl. iii.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxiii.—IB. B. A. II, pl.
    cxxxiv.—DOUGHTY, Cab. I, pl. xii.

SP. CHAR. Entire upper parts, including wings and tail, continuous and
uniform azure-blue; the cheeks of a duller tint of the same. Beneath
reddish-brown; the abdomen, anal region, and under tail-coverts white.
Bill and feet black. Shafts of the quills and tail-feathers black.
Female with the blue lighter, and tinged with brown on the head and
back. Length, 6.75; wing, 4.00; tail, 2.90.

_Young._ Males of the year dull brown on head and back; and lesser
coverts streaked, except on head, with white. Throat and fore part of
breast streaked with white. Tertials edged with brown. Rest of
coloration somewhat like adult.

HAB. Eastern United States; west to Fort Laramie, Milk River; north to
Lake Winnipeg; resident in Bermuda; Cuba (rare), GUNDLACH.

A specimen from Guatemala (50,411 ♂, Van Patten) referrible to the
var. _azurea_ is undistinguishable in color from North American
examples; the wings and tail are longer, however, measuring
respectively 4.20 and 3.00.

  [Illustration: _Sialia sialis._]

HABITS. The Bluebird is abundant throughout the eastern portion of
North America, breeding in nearly every part, from Georgia and
Louisiana to the Arctic regions, with only this exception, that near
the seaboard its migrations do not extend so far to the north as in
the interior. It is very rarely to be met with beyond the Penobscot,
although Professor Verrill mentions it as very common in the western
part of Maine. It is found throughout the year in the Bermudas, and
occasionally in Cuba. The Selkirk Settlement is the most northern
locality to which it has been traced. It is not known to occur farther
west than the highlands west of the Mississippi.

Through all the Eastern States the Bluebird is one of the most
familiar and welcome of the earliest visitors of spring, usually
making its appearance as early as the first of March. In mild seasons
they come in the latter part of February, long before there is any
apparent relaxation of the severity of winter. In 1857, in consequence
of the unusual mildness of the season, Bluebirds appeared in large
numbers as early as the 15th of February, and remained apparently
without suffering any inconvenience, although the weather subsequently
became quite severe. In 1869 their first appearance was observed as
early as the 28th of January, the earliest period of which I can find
any record.

In the Middle States, with every mild winter’s day, the Bluebirds come
out from their retreats, and again disappear on the return of severer
weather. Later in the season, or early in March, they return and make
a permanent stay.

When well treated, as the Bluebirds almost universally are, they
return year after year to the same box, coming always in pairs. The
marked attentions of the male bird are very striking, and have been
noticed by all our writers. He is very jealous of a rival, driving off
every intruder of his own species who ventures upon the domain he
calls his own. Occasionally the pair suffer great annoyance from
vexatious interferences with their domestic arrangements by the house
wren, who unceremoniously enters their homestead, despoils it of its
carefully selected materials, and departs. At other times the wren
will take possession of the premises and barricade the entrance,
making the return of its rightful owners impossible.

The song of the Bluebirds is a low warble, soft and agreeable,
repeated with great constancy and earnestness, and prolonged until
quite late in the season. Just before their departure, late in
October, the sprightliness of their song nearly ceases, and only a few
plaintive notes are heard instead.

The food of the Bluebird consists principally of the smaller
coleopterous insects, also of the larvæ of the smaller lepidoptera. In
the early spring they are very busy turning over the dry leaves,
examining the trunks and branches of trees, or ransacking posts and
fences for the hiding-places of their prey. In the fall their food
partakes more of a vegetable character.

The Bluebird selects as a suitable place for its nest a hollow in the
decayed trunk of a tree, or boxes prepared for its use. Their early
arrival enables them to select their own site. The nest is loosely
constructed of soft materials, such as fine grasses, sedges, leaves,
hair, feathers, etc. These are rarely so well woven together as to
bear removal. The eggs are usually five and sometimes six in number.
There are usually three broods in a season. Before the first brood are
able to provide for themselves, the female repairs her nest and
commences incubation for a second family. The young birds are,
however, by no means left to shift for themselves. The male bird now
shows himself as devoted a parent as in the earlier spring he had
proved himself an attentive mate. He watches over the brood even after
the second family appears and claims his attention. We often find him
dividing his cares in the latter part of the season with two broods,
and at the same time supplying his mate with food, and occasionally
taking her place on the nest.

The eggs of the Bluebird are of a uniform pale blue, measuring about
.81 of an inch in length by .62 in breadth.

In Guatemala is found a local race differing in its lighter under
colors and in the greenish tinting of its blue (_S. azurea_). The _S.
sialis_ is also found in the more open districts of the elevated
regions where it is numerous. It is there known as “_El azulejo_.”

Sialia mexicana, SWAINS.


  _Sialia mexicana_, SW. F. B. Am. II, 1831, 202.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1856, 293 (Cordova): 1857, 126 (California); 1859, 362
    (Xalapa).—IB. Catal. 1861, 11, no. 66.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    223; Review, 63.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, II, 1859,
    173.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 28. _Sialia occidentalis_, TOWNS.,
    AUD.; _Sialia cæruleocollis_, VIGORS.
  Figures: AUD. B. A. II, pl. cxxxv.—IB. Orn. Biog. V, pl. cccxciii.—
    VIGORS, Zoöl. Beechey’s, Voy. 1839, pl. iii.

SP. CHAR. Bill slender. Head and neck all round, and upper parts
generally bright azure blue. Interscapular regions, sides and fore
part of the breast, and sides of the belly, dark reddish-brown. Rest
of under parts (with tail-coverts) pale bluish, tinged with gray about
the anal region. Female duller above; the back brownish; the blue of
the throat replaced by ashy-brown, with a shade of blue. Length, 6.50;
wing, 4.25; tail, 2.90.

_Young._ Tail and wing as in adult; head, neck, back, and breast, dull
brown; each feather, except on the crown, streaked centrally with

HAB. Western United States, from the Rocky Mountains to Pacific. Not
noticed on the Missouri plains, Central British America, or at Cape
St. Lucas. Found at Xalapa and Cordova, Mex., SCLATER. Popocatapetl
(Alpine region), SUMICHRAST.

As in the others, the colors of this species are much duller in fall
and winter. No. 53,319, ♂ (Carson City, Nevada, Feb. 21) differs from
others in the following respects: there is hardly any chestnut on the
back, there being only just a tinge along each side of the
interscapular region; that on the breast is interrupted in the middle,
and thrown into a patch on each side of the breast, thus connecting
the blue of the throat and abdomen; the blue of the throat is
unusually deep.

HABITS. This Bluebird belongs to western North America, its proper
domain being between the Rocky Mountains and Pacific, from Mexico to
Washington Territory. Mr. Nuttall first met with this species among
the small rocky prairies of the Columbia. He speaks of its habits as
exactly similar to those of the common Bluebird. The male is equally
tuneful throughout the breeding-season, and his song is also very
similar. Like the common species he is very devoted to his mate,
alternately feeding and caressing her and entertaining her with his
song. This is a little more varied, tender, and sweet than that of the
Eastern species, and differs in its expressions.

Nuttall describes this as an exceedingly shy bird, so much so that he
found it very difficult to obtain a sight of it. This he attributes to
the great abundance of birds of prey. Afterwards, in the vicinity of
the village of Santa Barbara, Mr. Nuttall again saw them in
considerable numbers, when they were tame and familiar.

Dr. Cooper states that these Bluebirds seem to prefer the knot-holes
of the oaks to the boxes provided for them. He does not confirm Mr.
Nuttall’s description of its song, which he regards as neither so loud
nor so sweet as that of the Eastern species. He describes it as a
curious performance, sounding as if two birds were singing at once and
in different keys.

Many of this species remain in Washington Territory during the winter,
where Dr. Cooper met with them in December. They associated in flocks,
frequented roadsides and fences, and fed upon insects and berries.

Dr. Gambel found this species throughout the Rocky Mountains, and
always in company with the _Sialia arctica_, being by far the more
abundant species.

Dr. Kennerly mentions finding this species very abundant during his
march up the Rio Grande. Through the months of November, December, and
January they were always to be seen in large flocks near small

The Western Bluebird constructs a nest usually of very loose
materials, consisting chiefly of fine dry grasses. These are not woven
into an elaborate nest, but are simply used to line the hollows in
which the eggs are deposited. Near San Francisco Mr. Hepburn found a
pair making use of the nest of the _Hirundo lunifrons_. On another
occasion the Bluebirds had not only taken possession of the nest of
this swallow, but actually covered up two fresh eggs with a lining of
dry grasses, and laid her own above them.

The eggs, usually four in number, are of uniform pale blue of a
slightly deeper shade than that of the _S. sialis_. They measure .87
of an inch in length by .69 in breadth.

Dr. Cooper’s subsequent observations of this species in California
enabled him to add to his account of it in his report on the birds of
that State. He found it abundant in all the wooded districts, except
high in the mountains, and thinks they reside through the summer even
in the hot valley of the Rio Grande, where he found them preparing a
nest in February. On the coast they are numerous as far north as the
49th parallel. He found a nest under the porch of a dwelling-house at
Santa Barbara, showing that, like our Eastern species, they only need
a little encouragement to become half domesticated. They raise two
broods in a season, the first being hatched early in April.

At Santa Cruz he found them even more confiding than the Eastern
species, building their nests even in the noisiest streets. One brood
came every day during the grape season, at about noon, to pick up
grape-skins thrown out by his door, and was delightfully tame, sitting
fearlessly within a few feet of the open window.

In regard to their song Mr. Ridgway states that he did not hear, even
during the pairing season, any note approaching in sweetness, or
indeed similar to, the joyous spring warble which justly renders our
Eastern Bluebird (_S. sialis_) so universal a favorite.

The two Western species of _Sialia_, though associating during the
winter in the region along the eastern base of the Sierra Nevada, are
seldom seen together during the breeding-season; the _S. arctica_
returning to the higher portions of the thinly wooded desert
mountains, while the _S. mexicana_ remains in the lower districts,
either among the cottonwoods of the river valleys or among the pines
around the foot-hills of the Sierra.

Sialia arctica, SWAINS.


  _Erythraca (Sialia) arctica_, SWAINS. F. B. A. II, 1831, 209,
    pl. xxxix. _Sialia arctica_, NUTTALL, Man. II, 1832, 573.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 224; Rev. 64.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 11, no.
    67.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 478. (Texas, winter, very
    abundant.)—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 29. _Sialia macroptera_, BAIRD,
    Stansbury’s Rept. 1852, 314 (larger race with longer wings).

SP. CHAR. Greenish azure-blue above and below, brightest above; the
belly and under tail-coverts white; the latter tinged with blue at the
ends. Female showing blue only on the rump, wings, and tail; a white
ring round the eye; the lores and sometimes a narrow front whitish;
elsewhere replaced by brown. Length, 6.25; wing, 4.36; tail, 3.00.

_Young._ Male birds are streaked with white, as in _S. sialis_, on the
characteristic ground of the adult.

HAB. Central table-lands of North America, east to mouth of
Yellowstone. One individual collected at Fort Franklin, Great Bear
Lake. Not common on the Pacific slope; the only specimens received
coming from Simiahmoo, Fort Crook, and San Diego. Not recorded as
found in Mexico. W. Arizona, COUES.

As already stated, the blue of this species is greener, more
smalt-like than in _sialis_. The females are distinguished from those
of the other species by the greener blue, entire absence of rufous,
and longer wings.

In autumn and winter the blue of the male is much soiled by
amber-brown edges to the feathers, this most conspicuous on the
breast, where the blue is sometimes almost concealed; the plumage of
the female, too, at this season is different from that of spring, the
anterior lower parts being soft isabella-color, much less grayish than
in spring.

HABITS. This Bluebird belongs chiefly to the Central fauna, and
occupies a place in the Eastern only by its appearance on its borders.
It was first procured by Sir John Richardson, at Fort Franklin, in
July, 1825. It is abundant throughout the central table-lands of North
America, between the Pacific and the mouth of the Yellowstone, from
Great Bear Lake to the lower portions of California. In the latter
State it is not common.

Mr. Nuttall met with this species in the early part of June, northwest
of Laramie Fork. The female uttered a low complaint when her nest was
approached. This was constructed in a hole in a clay cliff. Another
was found in the trunk of a decayed cedar. In one of these the young
were already hatched. The nest was composed of dried grasses, but in
very insignificant quantity. Mr. Nuttall found them much more shy than
the common species, and describes them as feeding in very nearly the
same manner. He afterwards found a nest of the same species in a cliff
of the Sandy River, a branch of the Colorado. Both parents were
feeding their brood. The female was very uneasy at his approach,
chirping, and at intervals uttering a plaintive cry. He states that
the male bird has a more plaintive and monotonous song than that of
the common Bluebird, and that it has the same warbling tone and
manner. He afterwards observed the same species in the winter, at Fort
Vancouver, associating with the Western Bluebird.

Dr. Woodhouse found the Arctic Bluebird quite common in the vicinity
of Santa Fé, in New Mexico, where they breed about the houses in boxes
put up for them by the inhabitants for the purpose.

Mr. Townsend found this species in the vicinity of the Platte River,
near the Black Hills, and also on the banks of the Columbia. They
confined themselves to the fences in the neighborhood of settlements,
occasionally lighting upon the ground and scratching for minute
insects. He describes their song as a delightful warble. Its notes
resemble those of the common Bluebird, but are so different as to be
easily recognized; they are equally sweet and clear, but have much
less power.

Neither Dr. Gambel nor Dr. Heermann found this species in California
excepting during the winter, and were of the opinion that none remain
there to breed.

Dr. Kennerly observed them at different points among the Rocky
Mountains, where they frequented the vicinity of his camp early in the
morning, at some times in pairs and at others in flocks of four or

Mr. J. K. Lord states that he found this Bluebird very abundant
between the Cascades and the Rocky Mountains, where they arrive in
June and leave in September. After nesting they assembled in large
flocks, and fed on the open plains.

The eggs are of a very light blue, paler than those of the other
species. They measure .89 of an inch in length by .66 in breadth.

Mr. Ridgway states that he found the Rocky Mountain Bluebird nesting
in Virginia City in June. Its nests were built about the old
buildings, and occasionally in the unused excavations about the mines.
At Austin he also found it common in July, in similar localities. On
the East Humboldt Mountains it was very numerous, especially on the
more elevated portions, where it nested among the rocks and, though
more rarely, in the deserted excavations of woodpeckers in the stunted
piñon and cedar trees. He describes it as generally very shy and
difficult to obtain, seldom permitting a very near approach. In its
habits it is much less arboreal than either _S. mexicana_ or _S.
sialis_, always preferring the open mountain portions in the higher
ranges of the Great Basin.

In regard to its notes Mr. Ridgway says: “The common note of this
species would, from its character, be at once recognized as that of a
Bluebird. Its autumnal note, however, lacks entirely the peculiar
plaintiveness so characteristic of that of our Eastern species, and is
much more feeble, consisting of a simple weak _chirp_. Like the _S.
mexicana_, the _S. arctica_ was also never heard to give utterance to
anything resembling the lovely spring warbling of the _S. sialis_.”


CHAR. Bill much shorter than head, slender, broad, and depressed at
the base, distinctly notched and decurved at the tip. Culmen
sharp-ridged at base. Frontal feathers reaching to the nostrils, which
are oval, with membrane above, and overhung—not concealed—by a few
bristles or by a feather. Rictal bristles extending beyond nostrils.
Tarsi booted or scutellate. Basal joint of middle toe attached its
whole length externally, half-way internally. Primaries ten; spurious
primary about half the second, which is shorter than the seventh.
Lateral toes equal.

The birds of this family are readily distinguished from the _Paridæ_
by the slender bill, notched and decurved at tip; much bristled gape,
sharp-ridged culmen, exposed oval nostrils, less adherent toes, etc.
They are much smaller than the _Turdidæ_ and _Saxicolidæ_, with much
more slender, depressed bill, longer rictal bristles, etc. The short
outer primary, with the primaries ten in number, distinguish them from
the _Sylvicolidæ_.

The following synopsis will serve to characterize the American forms
of their respective subfamilies. The species are all among the most
diminutive in size with the exception of the Humming-Birds:—

A. Wings longer than the nearly even and emarginate tail.
Scutellæ of tarsus scarcely or not at all appreciable. General
color olivaceous above. No white on tail.

  Nostrils naked. Scutellæ distinct on inner face of tarsus only.
  Head plain. …                                           _Sylviinæ._

  Nostrils overhung by bristly feathers. Scutellæ of tarsus not
  appreciable. Head with a colored central crest …        _Regulinæ._

B. Wings about equal to the graduated tail. Tarsal scutellæ
distinct. Above bluish; tail with white spots or patches.

  Nostrils uncovered. Head plain; either bluish or black above.…


CHAR. Size and form of _Sylvicolinæ_, but with a spurious first
primary about one third the second quill. Wings considerably longer
than the nearly even or emarginate tail. Feathers of frontal region
with bristly points; but not covering the nostrils. Tarsi scutellate
anteriorly, but indistinct externally. (Characters drawn with
reference to the American form.)

The introduction of this subfamily into the present work is required
to accommodate a species of _Phyllopneuste_ collected on the Yukon by
the Russian Telegraph Expedition, the first known instance of the
existence in North America of a group of birds characteristic of the
northern parts of the Old World. Among the smallest of the class, they
are eminently sociable, and feed entirely on insects, which they
capture mostly on the wing, like flycatchers. The nest is placed on
the ground, and is of an oval or spherical form with a round opening
on one side. The sexes are similar, and the young differ very little
from the parents.


  _Phyllopneuste_, MEYER & WOLF, Taschenbuch, 1822.—DEGLAND et GERBE,
    Ornith. Europ. I, 1867, 543.

  [Line drawing: _Phyllopneuste borealis._

GEN. CHAR. Bill shorter than the head; straight, slender, and
depressed, notched at tip. Nostrils open. Tarsi lengthened; exceeding
the middle toe; scutellate anteriorly, but with the plates indistinct,
claws short, much curved. Wings pointed, longer than tail, and
reaching at least to its middle; spurious quill extending farther than
the upper covert. Tail emarginate. Olivaceous above; yellowish or
whitish beneath.

  [Illustration: _Phyllopneuste borealis._]

For the purpose of distinguishing this genus from any other North
American, it is enough to say that, of the general appearance of the
warblers, it has a short spurious first primary, as in the Thrushes,
and some _Vireonidæ_. The single species found as yet within our
limits resembles at first sight an immature _Dendroica æstiva_, but is
easily distinguished by the wing formula, the yellowish stripe over
the eye, and the brown tail-feathers.

Phyllopneuste borealis, BLAS.


  _Phyllopneuste borealis_, BLAS. Ibis, 1862, 69. _Phyllopneuste_,
    KENN., BAIRD, Trans. Chicago Acad. Sci. I, ii, p. 313, pl. xxx,
    fig. 2, 1869.

SP. CHAR. (Description of specimen No. 45,909.) Plumage in August:
above olive-green, with a slight shade of brown on top of head, rather
lighter behind; beneath white, tinged with greenish-yellow; more olive
on the throat and breast; and more yellow behind, inside the wing and
on thighs; axillars purer yellow. A well-marked greenish-yellow line
from nostrils over the eye to the nape (extending behind the eye
nearly as far as from eye to tip of bill), beneath this an olivaceous
streak through the eye, running into the mixed olive and yellowish of
the cheeks. Quills and tail-feathers brown, edged with olivaceous; the
outer edges of primaries more yellowish than those of secondaries; the
greater coverts tipped externally with greenish-yellow, so as to form
a distinct band across the wing. Bill rather dark brown; paler
beneath. Legs dark olive; toes not sensibly different. Nest probably
on ground, and domed. Eggs white, spotted with pink.

Spurious quill in length about one fourth the second, which about
equals the sixth, or very slightly exceeds it; third and fourth
longest; fifth a little shorter.

Dimensions (fresh specimen before being skinned): total length, 4.75;
expanse of wings, 6.00; wing from carpal joint, 2.50.

Dimensions (prepared specimen): total length, 4.60; wing, 2.40; tail,
2.00. Exposed portion of first primary, 0.42; of second, 1.56; of
longest (measured from exposed base of first primary), 1.85. Bill:
length from above, 0.38; from nostril, 0.29; along gape, 1.55. Legs:
tarsus, 0.66; middle toe and claw, 0.55; claw alone, 0.16; hind toe
and claw, 0.36; claw alone, 0.20.

HAB. Northeast Asia (China, East Siberia); adjacent to Behring’s
Straits and Alaska.

This species, in general appearance, apparently comes nearer to _P.
trochilus_ than to any other of its congeners. It is, however, more
olivaceous-green above, and more yellow beneath, and has a distinct
band across the wing. The superciliary light stripe is more distinct
and longer; the bill and legs are darker, and the toes not sensibly
different in color from the tarsus. The proportion of the quills is
much the same, except that the interval between the tips of the fifth
and sixth quills is greater, and the second is almost inappreciably
longer than the latter, not reaching nearly midway between the two.
The first or spurious quill is rather shorter.

A single specimen of this species was obtained August 16, 1866, on St.
Michael’s Island, in Norton Sound, Alaska, by Mr. Charles Pease. Mr.
Bannister met with no other specimen in that locality, and from this
it is inferred that this is not an abundant species there. It was
described as a new species under the name of _P. kennicottii_ (Baird),
but has been ascertained by Mr. Tristram, to whom it was sent for
examination, (Ibis, 1871, p. 231,) to be identical with _P. borcalis_
of Blasius.

Dr. Blasius also states (Naumannia, 1858, p. 303) that a specimen of
this species has been obtained on the island of Heligoland, showing it
to be also an accidental visitant to Western Europe.

HABITS. Mr. R. Swinhoe, who describes this among the birds of Formosa
as _P. sylvicultrix_, states it to be a summer visitant to Southern
China, passing in large numbers through Amoy in its autumnal
migrations southeastward, probably to the Philippine Islands, touching
at Southwestern Formosa and Twaiwanfoo, where he found them abundant.
This was for a few days in October, but he neither saw any before nor
afterwards, nor did he meet with any at Tamsuy (Ibis, 1863, p. 307).
The same writer (Ibis, 1860, p. 53) speaks of this bird as very
abundant in Amoy during the months of April and May, but passing
farther north to breed.

We have no information in reference to its habits, and nothing farther
in regard to its distribution. As it bears a very close resemblance to
the Willow Wren of Europe, _P. trochilus_, it is quite probable that
its general habits, nest, and eggs will be found to correspond very
closely with those of that bird.

The European warblers of the genus _Phyllopneuste_ are all
insect-eating birds, capturing their prey while on the wing, and also
feeding on their larvæ. They frequent the woodlands during their
breeding-season, but at all other times are much more familiar,
keeping about dwellings and sheepfolds.

The _P. trochilus_ is a resident throughout the entire year in
Southern Europe and in Central Asia. That species builds at the foot
of a bush on the ground, and constructs a domed nest with the entrance
on one side. Their eggs are five in number, have a pinkish-white
ground, and are spotted with well-defined blotches of reddish-brown,
measuring 0.65 by 0.50 inch, and are of a rounded oval shape.


  CHAR. Wings longer than the emarginated tail. Tarsi booted, or without
    scutellar divisions.

This subfamily embraces but a single well-defined North American genus.


  _Regulus_, CUV. “Leçons d’Anat. Comp. 1799, 1800.” (Type _Motacilla
    regulus_, LINN.)
  _Reguloides_, BLYTH. 1847. (Type “_R. proregulus_, PALL.” GRAY.)
  _Phyllobasileus_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I, 1850, 33. (Type _Motacilla
    calendula_, LINN.)—_Corthylio_, CAB. Jour. Orn. I, 1853, 83.
    (Same type.)

  [Line drawing: _Regulus satrapa._
                  28784. ♂]

GEN. CHAR. Bill slender, much shorter than the head, depressed at
base, but becoming rapidly compressed; moderately notched at tip.
Culmen straight to near the tip, then gently curved. Commissure
straight; gonys convex. Rictus well provided with bristles; nostril
covered by a single bristly feather directed forwards (not distinct in
_calendula_). Tarsi elongated, exceeding considerably the middle toe,
and without scutellæ. Lateral toes about equal; hind toe with the
claw, longer than the middle one by about half the claw. Claws all
much curved. First primary about one third as long as the longest;
second equal to fifth or sixth. Tail shorter than the wings,
moderately forked, the feathers acuminate. Colors olive-green above,
whitish beneath. Size very small.

We are unable to appreciate any such difference between the common
North American _Reguli_ as to warrant Cabanis in establishing a
separate genus for the _calendula_. The bristly feather over the
nostril is perhaps less compact and close, but it exists in a
rudimentary condition.

The following synopsis will serve as diagnoses of the species:—

  Head with entire cap in adult plain olivaceous, with a
    concealed patch of crimson. _Hab._ Whole of North America;
    south to Guatemala; Greenland …                      _calendula._

  Head with forehead and line over the eye white, bordered inside
    by black, and within this again is yellow, embracing an orange
    patch in the centre of the crown. _Hab._ Whole of North America …

  Head with forehead and line through the eye black, bordered
    inside by whitish, and within this again by black, embracing
    an orange-red patch in the centre of the crown. _Hab._ Banks
    of Schuylkill River, Pennsylvania …                    _cuvieri._

Regulus satrapa, LICHT.


  _Regulus satrapa_, LICHT. Verz. 1823, no. 410.—DALL & BANNISTER
    (Alaska).—LORD (Vancouver Isl.).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1859, 227;
    Review, 65.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 212 (Orizaba).—BÆDEKER, Cab.
    Jour. IV, 33, pl. i, fig. 8 (eggs, from Labrador).—PR. MAX. Cab.
    Jour. 1858, 111.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. R. XII, II, 1859, 174
    (winters in W. Territory).—LORD, R. Art. Inst. Wool. 1864, 114
    (nest?).—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 476 (Texas, winter).—SAMUELS,
    179.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 32. _Sylvia regulus_, WILS.; _Regulus
    cristatus_, VIEILL.; _R. tricolor_, NUTT., AUD.
  Figures: AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. cxxxii.—IB. Orn. Biog. II, pl.
    clxxxiii.—VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. cvi.

SP. CHAR. Above olive-green, brightest on the outer edges of the wing;
tail-feathers tinged with brownish-gray towards the head. Forehead, a
line over the eye and a space beneath it, white. Exterior of the crown
before and laterally black, embracing a central patch of orange-red,
encircled by gamboge-yellow. A dusky space around the eye.
Wing-coverts with two yellowish-white bands, the posterior covering a
similar band on the quills, succeeded by a broad dusky one. Under
parts dull whitish. Length under 4 inches; wing, 2.25; tail, 1.80.
_Female_ without the orange-red central patch. Young birds without the
colored crown.

HAB. North America generally. On the west coast, not recorded south of
Fort Crook. Orizaba, SCLATER; W. Arizona, COUES.

  [Illustration: _Regulus satrapa._]

Specimens of this bird from the far West are much brighter and more
olivaceous above; the markings of the face are also somewhat different
in showing less dusky about the eye. These may form a variety

The _Regulus cristatus_ of Europe, a close ally of our bird, is
distinguished by having shorter wings and longer bill; the flame-color
of the head is more extended, the black border is almost wanting
anteriorly. The back and rump, too, are more yellow.

HABITS. The Golden-crested Kinglet, or Wren, as it is often called,
occurs over nearly the whole of the North American continent. It is
abundant from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and throughout the British
Provinces, where it chiefly occurs in its breeding-season. In
Massachusetts it is a winter resident from October until May. In Maine
it is met with in spring and fall, chiefly as a migratory visitor; a
few also remain, and probably breed, in the dense _Thuja_ swamps of
that State. They are most abundant in April, and again in October. In
the vicinity of Calais the Golden-crest is a common summer resident,
and, without doubt, breeds there.

Dr. Woodhouse mentions finding this species in abundance in New Mexico
and Texas, associated with Nuthatches and Titmice. Dr. Cooper found it
abundant in Washington Territory, particularly in the winter, and
ascertained positively that they breed there, by seeing them feeding
their young near Puget Sound, in the month of August. According to Mr.
Ridgway it is much less numerous in the Great Basin than the _R.

The food of this lively and attractive little bird during the summer
months is almost exclusively the smaller winged insects, which it
industriously pursues amid the highest tree-tops of the forest. At
other seasons its habits are more those of the titmice, necessity
leading it to ransack the crevices of the bark on the trunks and
larger limbs of the forest-trees. It is an expert fly-catcher, taking
insects readily upon the wing.

But little is known with certainty regarding its breeding-habits, and
its nest and eggs have not yet been described. The presumption,
however, is that it builds a pensile nest, not unlike the European
congener, and lays small eggs finely sprinkled with buff-colored dots
on a white ground, and in size nearly corresponding with those of our
common Humming-Bird. We must infer that it raises two broods in a
season, from the fact that it spends so long a period, from April to
October, in its summer abode, and still more because while Mr. Nuttall
found them feeding their full-fledged young in May, on the Columbia,
Dr. Cooper, in the same locality, and Mr. Audubon, in Labrador,
observed them doing the same thing in the month of August.

According to the observations of Mr. J. K. Lord, this species is very
common on Vancouver’s Island and along the entire boundary line
separating Washington Territory from British Columbia, where he met
with them at an altitude of six thousand feet. He states that they
build a pensile nest suspended from the extreme end of a pine branch,
and that they lay from five to seven eggs. These he does not describe.

Most writers speak of this Kinglet as having no song, its only note
being a single chirp. But in this they are certainly greatly in error.
Without having so loud or so powerful a note as the Ruby-crown (_R.
calendula_), for its song will admit of no comparison with the
wonderful vocal powers of that species, it yet has a quite distinctive
and prolonged succession of pleasing notes, which I have heard it pour
forth in the midst of the most inclement weather in February almost
uninterruptedly, and for quite an interval.

Bischoff obtained a large number of this species at Kodiak, and also
at Sitka, where it seemed to replace the Ruby-crown.

Regulus cuvieri, AUD.


  _Regulus cuvieri_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1832, 288, pl. lv, etc.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1859, 228; Rev. Am. Birds, 66.

SP. CHAR. Size and general appearance probably that of _R. satrapa_. A
black band on the forehead passing back, through and behind the eye,
separated by a grayish band from another black band on the crown,
which embraces in the centre of the crown an orange patch. Length,
4.25 inches; extent of wings, 6.

HAB. “Banks of Schuylkill River, Penn. June, 1812.” AUD.

This species continues to be unknown, except from the description of
Mr. Audubon, as quoted above. It appears to differ mainly from _R.
satrapa_ in having two black bands (not one) on the crown anteriorly,
separated by a whitish one; the extreme forehead being black instead
of white, as in _satrapa_. The specimen was killed in June, 1812, on
the banks of the Schuylkill River, in Pennsylvania.

Regulus calendula, LICHT.


  _Motacilla calendula_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 337. _Regulus
    calendula_, LICHT. Verz. 1823, no. 408.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    226; Rev. 66.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 202.—IB. 1858, 300
    (mountains of Oaxaca).—IB. 1859, 362 (Xalapa).—IB. 1864, 172
    (City of Mex.).—SAMUELS, 178.—DALL & BANNISTER
    (Alaska).—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 33.—IB. Ibis, I, 1859, 8
    (Guatemala).—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, II, 1859,
    174.—REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 5 (Greenland).—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865,
    475 (Texas, winter). _Corthylio calendula_, CAB. Jour. Orn. I,
    1853, 83 (type of genus). _Regulus rubineus_, VIEILL. Ois. Am.
    Sept. II, 1807, 49, pl. civ, cv.
  Other figures: WILS. Am. Orn. I, 1808, pl. v, fig. 3.—DOUGHTY,
    Cab. II, pl. vi.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxcv.—IB. Birds Am. II,
    pl. cxxxiii.

SP. CHAR. Above dark greenish-olive, passing into bright olive-green
on the rump and outer edges of the wings and tail. The under parts are
grayish-white tinged with pale olive-yellow, especially behind. A ring
round the eye, two bands on the wing-coverts, and the exterior of the
inner tertials white. _Male._ Crown with a large concealed patch of
scarlet feathers, which are white at the base. Female and young
without the red on the crown. Length, 4.50; wing, 2.33; tail, 1.85.

HAB. Greenland; whole of North America, and south to Guatemala. Oaxaca
(high region, November), SCLATER. Xalapa and Guatemala, SCLATER.

This species of _Regulus_ appears to lack the small feather which, in
_satrapa_, overlies and conceals the nostrils, which was probably the
reason with Cabanis and Blyth for placing it in a different genus.
There is no other very apparent difference of form, however, although
this furnishes a good character for distinguishing between young
specimens of the two species.

HABITS. Much yet remains to be learned as to the general habits, the
nesting, and distribution during the breeding-season of the
Ruby-crowned Kinglet. It is found, at varying periods, in all parts of
North America, from Mexico to the shores of the Arctic seas, and from
the Atlantic to the Pacific; and, although its breeding-places are not
known, its occurrence in the more northern latitudes, from Maine to
the extreme portions of the continent, during the season of
reproduction, indicate pretty certainly its extended distribution
throughout all the forests from the 44th parallel northward. None of
our American ornithologists are known to have met with either its eggs
or its nest, but we may reasonably infer that its nest is pensile,
like that of its European kindred, and from being suspended from the
higher branches, from its peculiar structure and position has thus far
escaped observation.

In the New England States they are most abundant in the months of
October and April. A few probably remain in the thick evergreen woods
throughout the winter, and in the northern parts of Maine they are
occasionally found in the summer, and, without doubt, breed there. In
the damp swampy woods of the islands in the Bay of Fundy, the writer
heard their remarkable song resounding in all directions throughout
the month of June.

The song of this bird is by far the most remarkable of its specific
peculiarities. Its notes are clear, resonant, and high, and constitute
a prolonged series, varying from the lowest tones to the highest,
terminating with the latter. It may be heard at quite a distance, and
in some respects bears more resemblance to the song of the English
Skylark than to that of the Canary, to which Mr. Audubon compares it.

Their food appears to be chiefly the smaller insects, in pursuit of
which they are very active, and at times appear to be so absorbed in
their avocation as to be unmindful of the near presence of the
sportsman or collector, and unwarned by the sound of the deadly gun.
They are also said by Wilson to feed upon the stamens of the blossoms
of the maple, the apple, peach, and other trees. Like the other
species, they are expert insect-takers, catching them readily on the
wing. They are chiefly to be met with in the spring among the
tree-tops, where the insects they prefer abound among the expanding
buds. In the fall of the year, on their return, they are more commonly
met with among lower branches, and among bushes near the ground.

Although presumed to be chiefly resident, during the summer months, of
high northern regions, Wilson met with specimens in Pennsylvania
during the breeding-season; and it is quite probable that they may
occur, here and there, among the high valleys in the midst of mountain
ranges, in different parts of the country.

In the winter it is most abundant in the Gulf States, and especially
in that of Louisiana. Dr. Woodhouse found it quite abundant throughout
Texas, New Mexico, and the Indian Territory. Dr. Cooper found it in
Washington Territory, but did not there meet with it in summer. Dr.
Suckley, however, regarded it as a transient visitor, rather than a
winter resident of that region, and far more abundant from about the
8th of April to the 20th of May, when it seemed to be migrating, than
at any other time.

Dr. Kennerly found these birds in abundance near Espia, Mexico, and
afterwards, during January, among the Aztec Mountains, and again, in
February, along the Bill Williams Fork. He describes them as lively,
active, and busy in the pursuit of their insect food. They seem to be
equally abundant at this season in California, Arizona, and Colorado.

Mr. Ridgway found them common in June and July among the coniferous
woods high upon the Wahsatch Mountains in Utah, and has no doubt that
they breed there.

Mr. Dall found this species abundant at Nulato, Alaska, in the spring
of 1868, preferring the thickets and alder-bushes away from the
river-bank. They appeared very courageous. A pair that seemed about to
commence building a nest in a small clump of bushes tore to pieces one
half finished, belonging to a pair of _Scolecophagus ferrugineus_,
and, on the blackbirds’ return, attacked the female and drove her
away. This was early in June, and Mr. Dall was compelled to leave
without being able to witness the sequel of the contest.

A straggling specimen of this bird was taken in 1860 at Nenortatik, in
Greenland, and sent in the flesh to Copenhagen.


The characters of this subfamily will be found on page 69.


  _Polioptila_, SCLATER, Pr. Zoöl. Soc. 1855, 11. (Type, _Motacilla

  [Line drawing: _Polioptila cærulea._

CHAR. Bill slender, attenuated, but depressed at the base; nearly as
long as the head, distinctly notched at the tip, and provided with
moderate rictal bristles. Nostrils rather elongated, not concealed,
but anterior to the frontal feathers. Tarsi longer than the middle
toe, distinctly scutellate; the toes small; the hinder one scarcely
longer than the lateral; its claw scarcely longer than the middle.
Outer lateral toe longer than the inner. First primary about one third
the longest; second equal to the seventh. Tail a little longer than
the wings, moderately graduated; the feathers rounded. Nest felted and
covered with moss or lichens. Eggs greenish-white, spotted with

The species all lead-color above; white beneath, and to a greater or
less extent on the exterior of the tail, the rest of which is black.
Very diminutive in size (but little over four inches long).

Synopsis of Species.

_Top of head plumbeous._

Two outer tail-feathers entirely white. A narrow frontal line,
extending back over the eye, black. _Hab._ North America …
                                                        _P. cærulea._

Outer tail-feather, with the whole of the outer web (only),
white. No black on the forehead, but a stripe over the eye above
one of whitish. _Hab._ Arizona …                        _P. plumbea._

_Top of head black._

Edge only of outer web of outer tail-feather white. Entire top of
head from the bill black. _Hab._ Rio Grande and Gila … _P. melanura._

Species occur over the whole of America. One, _P. lembeyi_, is
peculiar to Cuba, and a close ally of _P. cærulea_.

Polioptila cærulea, SCLAT.


  _Motacilla cærulea_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 337 (based on
    _Motacilla parva cærulea_, EDW. tab. 302). _Culicivora cærulea_,
    CAB. Jour. 1855, 471 (Cuba).—GUNDLACH, Repert. 1865, 231.
    _Polioptila cærulea_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1855, 11.—BAIRD, Birds N.
    Am. 1858, 380.—IB. Rev. 74.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 231.—COOPER,
    Birds Cal. 1, 35. _Motacilla cana_, GM. S. N. I, 1788, 973. _?
    Culicivora mexicana_, BON. Consp. 1850, 316 (not of CASSIN),
    female. _Polioptila mexicana_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 363, 373.
  Figures: VIEILL. Ois. II, pl. lxxxviii.—WILSON, Am. Orn. II, pl.
    xviii, fig. 3.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. lxxxiv; IB. Birds Am. I,
    pl. lxx.

SP. CHAR. Above grayish-blue, gradually becoming bright blue on the
crown. A narrow frontal band of black extending backwards over the
eye. Under parts and lores bluish-white tinged with lead-color on the
sides. First and second tail-feathers white except at the extreme
base, which is black, the color extending obliquely forward on the
inner web; third and fourth black, with white tip, very slight on the
latter; fifth and sixth entirely black. Upper tail-coverts
blackish-plumbeous. Quills edged externally with pale bluish-gray,
which is much broader and nearly white on the tertials. Female without
any black on the head. Length, 4.30; wing, 2.15; tail, 2.25. (Skin.)

HAB. Middle region of United States, from Atlantic to Pacific, and
south to Guatemala; Cape St. Lucas. Cuba, GUNDLACH and BRYANT.
Bahamas, BRYANT.

HABITS. The Blue-gray Flycatcher is a common species from the Atlantic
to the Pacific coast, although not met with in the New England States.
It is less abundant on the coast than at a distance from it, and has a
more northern range in the interior, being met with in Northern Ohio,
Michigan, and the British Provinces. Specimens occur in the
Smithsonian Institution collection from New York to Mexico and
Guatemala, and from Washington Territory to California.

They appear in Pennsylvania early in May, and remain there until the
last of September. They are observed in Florida and Georgia early in
March, but are not known to winter in that latitude. All the specimens
in the Smithsonian collection were obtained between April and October,
except one from Southern California, which was taken in December.

  [Illustration: _Polioptila cærulea._]

Near Washington, Dr. Coues states the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher to be a
summer resident, arriving during the first week of April, and
remaining until the latter part of September, during which time they
are very abundant. They are said to breed in high open woods, and, on
their first arrival, to frequent tall trees on the sides of streams
and in orchards.

In California and Arizona this species occurs, but is, to some extent,
replaced by a smaller species, peculiarly western, _P. melanura_.
There they seem to keep more about low bushes, hunting minute insects
in small companies or in pairs, and their habits are hardly
distinguishable from those of Warblers in most respects.

The food of this species is chiefly small winged insects and their
larvæ. It is an expert insect-catcher, taking its prey on the wing
with great celerity. All its movements are very rapid, the bird
seeming to be constantly in motion as if ever in quest of insects,
moving from one part of the tree to the other, but generally
preferring the upper branches.

Nuttall and Audubon, copying Wilson, speak of the nest of this
Gnatcatcher as a very frail receptacle for its eggs, and as hardly
strong enough to bear the weight of the parent bird. This, however,
all my observations attest to be not the fact. The nest is, on the
contrary, very elaborately and carefully constructed; large for the
size of the bird, remarkably deep, and with thick, warm walls composed
of soft and downy materials, but abundantly strong for its builder,
who is one of our smallest birds both in size and in weight. Like the
nests of the Wood Pewee and the Humming-Bird, they are models of
architectural beauty and ingenious design. With walls made of a soft
felted material, they are deep and purse-like. They are not pensile,
but are woven to small upright twigs, usually near the tree-top, and
sway with each breeze, but the depth of the cavity and its small
diameter prevent the eggs from rolling out. Externally the nest is
covered with a beautiful periphery of gray lichens, assimilating it to
the bark of the deciduous trees in which it is constructed.

Occasionally these nests have been found at the height of ten feet
from the ground, but they are more frequently built at a much greater
elevation, even to the height of fifty feet or more. They are made in
the shape of a truncated cone, three inches in diameter at the base
and but two at the top, and three and a half inches in height. The
diameter of the opening is an inch and a half. In Northern Georgia
they nest about the middle of May, and are so abundant that the late
Dr. Gerhardt would often find not less than five in a single day, and
very rarely were any of them less than sixty feet from the ground. Dr.
Gerhardt, who was an accurate and careful observer, speaks of these as
the best built nests he had met with in this country, both in regard
to strength and its ingeniously contrived aperture, so narrowed at the
top that it is impossible for the eggs to roll out even in the
severest wind. They have two broods in the season in the Southern
States, one in April and again in July.

This Flycatcher lays usually five eggs. These are of a short oval
form, somewhat pointed at one end and rounded at the other, and
measure .56 of an inch in length by .44 in breadth. Their ground-color
is a greenish-white, marked and dotted with small blotches and spots
of varying and blending shades of reddish-brown, lilac, and slate.

Polioptila plumbea, BAIRD.


  _Polioptila plumbea_, BAIRD, Pr. A. N. Sc. VII, June, 1854, 118.—IB.
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 382, pl. xxxiii, fig. 1; Review, 74.—COOPER,
    Birds Cal. 1, 37.

SP. CHAR. Above bluish-gray; the forehead uniform with the crown.
Eyelids white. A pale grayish-white line over the eye, above which is
another of black, much concealed by the feathers, and which does not
reach to the bill. Lower parts dull white, tinged with bluish on the
sides and with brownish behind. Tail-feathers black; the first and
second edged and tipped with white, involving the entire outer web of
the first, and most of that of the second; the third with only a very
faint edging of the same. Female duller, without the black
superciliary line. Length, 4.40; wing, 1.80; tail, 2.30 (7,189).

HAB. Arizona.

This species differs from _P. cærulea_, in having the ash above less
bluish, especially on the forehead; the black superciliary streak is
only a horizontal bar, not reaching the bill, whereas in _cærulea_ it
not only reaches the bill, but also extends across the forehead; the
light superciliary stripe is more distinct. The tail is entirely
different, the lateral feathers being almost entirely black, instead
of the reverse.

From immature specimens of _P. melanura_ it may be distinguished by
larger size and purer white lower parts, and greater amount of white
on outer webs of lateral tail-feathers.

HABITS. But little is known in regard to the distribution or history
of this species. It appears to be peculiar to Arizona and Mexico.
There is no good reason to suppose that it differs materially in any
of its habits from the other species of this genus. Dr. Cooper, who
observed this species at Fort Mojave, states that it is a winter
resident of that region in small numbers; and, so far as he observed,
is undistinguishable either in habit or general appearance from either
of the other species which at that season are also found there. Its
cry of alarm resembles that of the common wren.

Polioptila melanura, LAWR.


  _Culicivora atricapilla_, LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. V, Sept. 1851,
    124 (not of SWAINSON). _Culicivora mexicana_, CASSIN, Illust. I,
    1854, 164, pl. xxvii (not of BON.). _Polioptila melanura_,
    LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. VI, Dec. 1856, 168.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 382; Review, 68.—HEERMANN, P. R. R. R. vol. X (Williamson),
    1859, 39.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 37.

SP. CHAR. Above plumbeous-blue. Whole crown, to bill and eyes, with
tail, lustrous blue-black. Beneath pale bluish-gray, almost white on
chin and anal region; the flanks and crissum tinged with brown. Edge
of eyelids, and margin and tip of outer web of first and second
lateral tail-feathers, white. Female and young without the black of
the crown. Length, 4.15; wing, 1.85; tail, 2.10.

HAB. San Diego to Fort Yuma and Cape St. Lucas. Arizona, COUES.

Specimens of this species from Cape St. Lucas differ from those of San
Diego described in the P. R. R. Report (7,191) in having the whole of
the outer web of the outer tail-feather white, and in a rather larger
white tip. The colors beneath are a little less ashy, though not of a
pure white. The ash of the back is rather lighter and purer. The lores
are rather lighter. The first primary is a little larger and broader.

It is possible that the restriction of the white of the outer web of
the exterior tail-feather to the outer half only is an unusual
circumstance, as both Mr. Cassin and Mr. Lawrence, in their
descriptions, speak of the entire outer web being white,—the second
feather being of the former character. Under these circumstances there
will be little specific difference between the tails of _P. melanura_
and _plumbea_. The female birds will then be separated by the light
superciliary line and much shorter tarsi of _P. plumbea_,—the latter
measuring .63 instead of nearly .70 of an inch.

HABITS. This species was first noticed as belonging to the North
American fauna by Captain McCown, who obtained it near Ringgold
Barracks in 1850. It has since been noticed at Fort Yuma and at San
Diego, and obtained in greater abundance at Cape St. Lucas. It is also
found in Mexico. Dr. Cooper says that it is common all winter both at
San Diego and at Fort Mohave. It has been traced as far north as
latitude 30° in the Sierra Nevada. Its song he describes as a harsh
ditty of five parts, something like a wren’s song, with notes like
those of a swallow, and also closely resembling the song of _Vireo
belli_. Their scolding note is a faint mew, like that of a cat.

The habits of this species appear to be not unlike those of the
peculiar family to which it belongs. All its members are among our
smallest birds, are almost exclusively inhabitants of woods, and
resemble the _Reguli_ in their restless activity in pursuit of the
smallest insects on which they feed. This bird is described as
particularly active, quick in its movements, searching with great
activity for its food, and preferring low trees and bushes. At times
it will dart about in the air in pursuit of small insects.

Mr. John Xantus found these birds to be quite abundant at Cape St.
Lucas, and obtained several of their nests. They were generally built
among the interlacing tendrils of a wild vine (_Antigonon leptopus_),
and so closely interwoven with the smaller branches as to be
inseparable. The nests, like those of all this family, are structures
of great beauty and delicacy. They have a height and an external
diameter of about 2¼ inches. The cavity is 1½ inches wide at the rim,
and fully two inches deep. This great proportionate depth of the nest
seems to be characteristic of this genus. The external portion of this
nest is composed of a composite blending of various vegetable
materials, fine hempen fibres of plants, strips of delicate bark from
smaller shrubs, silken fragments of cocoons and downy cotton-like
substance, all very closely impacted and felted together, somewhat
after the manner of the Humming-Bird. The whole is very softly and
warmly lined with a beautifully interwoven and silky fabric composed
of the soft down of various plants.

The walls of the nest, though of the softest materials, are so thick
and so firmly impacted as to make it a structure remarkably firm and
secure against accidents.

The eggs, four in number, measure .55 of an inch in length by .45 in
breadth. They are of an oblong-oval shape, their ground-color is a
pale greenish-white sprinkled over the entire surface with fine
dottings of purple, reddish-brown, and black.


CHAR. Bill compressed, short, rather conical, not notched nor
decurved. Culmen sharp-ridged. Nostrils linear, with an incumbent
scale. Rictal bristles reaching beyond nostrils, which are scantily
overhung by bristly feathers. Loral feathers bristly and directed
forwards. Tarsi booted, or covered with a continuous plate anteriorly,
with faint indications of scutellæ on the inner side. Basal joint of
middle toe attached for about half its length on either side.
Primaries ten; sixth quill longest. Plumage very lax.

  [Line drawing: _Chamæa fasciata._

We have found it impossible to assign the genus _Chamæa_ to any
recognized family of American birds, and have accordingly been obliged
to give it independent rank in this respect, although it may properly
belong to some Old World group with which we are not acquainted. In
its general appearance it approaches the _Paridæ_ in loose plumage,
bristly lores, want of notch to bill, etc.; but differs in the very
much bristled rictus, sharp-ridged culmen, linear nostrils, booted
tarsi, less amount of adhesion of the toes, etc. It approaches the
_Sylviidæ_ in the sharp-ridged culmen and bristly gape, but is
otherwise very different. The excessively rounded wing is a peculiar
feature, the sixth primary being the longest.

  [Illustration: _Chamæa fasciata._]

The family may, perhaps, be best placed between the _Sylviidæ_ and

This family has but one representative (_Chamæa fasciata_), and this
confined to the coast region of California. The characters of the
genus are those of the family.


  _Chamæa_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. Sc. Phil. III, 1847, 154. (Type, _Parus

But one species of this genus has as yet been described.

Chamæa fasciata, GAMB.


  _Parus fasciatus_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. Sc. Aug. 1845, 265 (California).
    _Chamæa fasciata_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. Sc. III, 1847, 154.—IB. J.
    A. N. Sc. 2d series, I, 1847, 34, pl. viii, fig. 3.—CABANIS,
    Wiegmann’s Archiv, 1848, I, 102.—CASSIN, Illust. I, 1853, 39, pl.
    vii.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 370.—IB. Review, 76.—COOPER,
    Birds Cal. 1, 39.

SP. CHAR. Wings scarcely two thirds the length of the tail; both very
much graduated. Upper and outer parts generally (including the whole
tail) olivaceous-brown, tinged with gray on the head; beneath pale
brownish-cinnamon, with obsolete streaks of dusky on the throat and
breast. Sides and under tail-coverts tinged with olive-brown. Lores
and a spot above the eye obscurely whitish. Tail-feathers with
obsolete transverse bars. Total length, 6.20; wing, 2.30; tail, 3.50,
graduation, 1.20; exposed portion of first primary, .85, of second,
1.30, of longest, sixth (measured from exposed base of first primary),
1.80; length of bill from forehead, .52, from nostril, .30; along
gape, .60; tarsus, 1.05; middle toe and claw, .78; claw alone, .23;
hind toe and claw, .55; claw alone, .30. Eggs light blue, unspotted;
nest on low bushes.

HAB. Coast region of California.

HABITS. This very interesting species, which seems to combine within
itself the principal characteristics of the Wren and the Titmouse, was
first described by the late Dr. Gambel of Philadelphia. So far as is
now known, it is confined to the coast country of California, from
Fort Tejon to the shore and from San Diego to the Sacramento. Dr.
Gambel’s attention was first directed to it by the continued sound of
a loud, crepitant, grating scold which he was constantly hearing in
fields of dead mustard-stalks and other similar places. He at last
discovered it to be this species, which from its peculiar habits he
called a Wren-tit. It kept close to the ground, was difficult to be
seen, and eluded pursuit by diving into the thickest bunches of weeds,
uttering, when approached, its peculiar grating wren-like notes. When
quietly watched it could be seen to search for insects, climbing twigs
and dry stalks sideways, jerking its long tail, or holding it erect in
the manner of a wren, which, in this position, it very much resembles.
He describes it as at times uttering a slow, monotonous singing note
like a chick-a-dee, represented by _pee-pee-pee-peep_. At other times
its song is a varied succession of whistling. In spring it was heard,
in pairs, calling and answering, in a less solemn strain, and in a
manner not unlike a sparrow, with a brief _pit-pit-pit_, ending with a
prolonged trill. If disturbed, they at once resumed their usual
scolding cries.

Mr. Bell found this species chiefly frequenting damp places, and
speaks of it as of pert habit, and not easily frightened. Its white
iris, when observed in its native retreats, makes it easily
recognized. This feature is as conspicuous in this bird as it is in
the White-eyed Vireo. Its skin is remarkably strong, the muscles of
the thighs powerful and well developed, and its whole muscular system
exhibits an unusual strength and firmness.

Dr. Cooper’s observations in regard to this bird are a little
different in some respects. He found it common everywhere west of the
Sierra Nevada on dry plains and hillsides, among the shrubby
undergrowth, but not in the forests. Instead of preferring damp
places, he found it living where there is no water, except occasional
fogs, for six or eight months at a time. Their movements can be
observed by patient watching and keeping perfectly quiet, when they
seem attracted by curiosity to such a degree as to approach one within
a few feet, and fearlessly hop round him as if fascinated.

Dr. Cooper found their nests near San Diego built about three feet
from the ground in low shrubs. They were composed of straw and twigs
mixed with feathers and firmly interwoven. The cavity, about two
inches wide and an inch and three fourths deep, is lined with grass
and hair. The eggs, three or four in number, are of a pale
greenish-blue, and measure .70 by .52 of an inch.


CHAR. Bill generally short, conical, not notched nor decurved at tip.
Culmen broad and rounded, not sharp-ridged at base. Nostrils rounded,
basal, and concealed by dense bristles or bristly feathers. Loral
feathers rough and bristly, directed forwards. Tarsi distinctly
scutellate; basal joints of anterior toes abbreviated, that of middle
toe united about equally for three fourths its length to the lateral:
in _Parinæ_ forming a kind of palm for grasping; outer lateral toe
decidedly longer than the inner. Primaries ten, the first much shorter
than the second. Tail-feathers with soft tips. Nest in holes of trees;
eggs white, spotted with reddish.

With Cabanis we include the Nuthatches in the same family with the
Titmice, and have prepared the above diagnosis to embrace both groups.
They agree in having a conical bill, not notched nor decurved, with
much rounded culmen, and nearly straight commissure, and rounded
nostrils covered with dense bristles. These characters will readily
distinguish them, in connection with the ten primaries, and tarsi with
scutellæ on the anterior half only (as compared with _Alaudidæ_), from
any other American _Oscines_.

The two subfamilies may be thus distinguished:—

  Parinæ. Body compressed. Bill shorter than the head. Wings rounded,
    equal to or shorter than the rounded tail. Second quill as short
    as the tenth. Tarsus longer than the middle toe and claw, which
    are about equal to the hinder; soles of toes widened into a palm.
    Plumage rather soft and lax.

  Sittinæ. Body depressed. Bill about equal to or longer than the head.
    Wings much pointed, much longer than the nearly even tail. Tarsus
    shorter than the middle toe and claw, which are about equal to the
    hinder. Plumage more compact.


The characters of the subfamily will be found sufficiently detailed
above. The genera are as follows:—

  _Bill with curved outlines._

Head with a long pointed crest. Wings and tail rounded.

     Body full and large. Tail about equal to wings …  _Lophophanes._

Head with feathers full, but not crested. Wings and tail rounded.

     Body full. Tail about equal to wings; rounded …         _Parus._

     Body slender. Tail much longer than wings; much graduated …

  _Bill with outlines nearly straight._

Head with compact feathers. Wings pointed.

     Body slender. Tail rather shorter than the wings; nearly even …

  [Illustration: PLATE VI.

  1. Lophophanes bicolor, _Bon._ Ill., 29679.
  2.      “      atricristatus, _Cass._ Tex., 12107.
  3.      “      inornatus, _Cass._ Cal., 37051.
  4.      “      wollweberi, _Bon._ Ariz., 40742.
  5. Polioptila cærulea, _Scl._ Ill., 10213.
  6.     “      plumbea, _Baird_. Ariz., 11541.
  7.     “      melanura, _Lawr._ Cal., 7191.
  8. Chamæa fasciata, _Gamb._ Cal., 5924.]


  _Lophophanes_, KAUP, Entw. Gesch. Europ. Thierwelt, 1829. (Type,
    _Parus cristatus_.)
  _Bæolophus_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 91. (Type, _Parus
    bicolor_, L.)

GEN. CHAR. Crown with a conspicuous crest. Bill conical; both upper
and lower outlines convex. Wings graduated; first quill very short.
Tail moderately long and rounded. Nests in hollow trees; eggs white
with fine red dottings.

  [Line drawing: _Lophophanes bicolor._
                  823 ♂]

Of this genus there are several North American species, all agreeing
in general characters. One of these, the _L. wollweberi_, is given by
Cabanis as typical, while he separates the _L. bicolor_ generically
under the name of _Bæolophus_, as having a rather different form of
crest, stouter bill and feet, and longer wings. All of our species,
however, vary in these characters, each one showing a different
combination, so that we prefer to consider all as belonging to the
same genus with _P. cristatus_.

The species, all of which have the under parts uniform whitish, may be
arranged as follows:—

L. bicolor. Above plumbeous; forehead black; crown much like the back.
_Hab._ Eastern Province United States.

L. atricristatus. Above plumbeous; forehead whitish; crown black.
_Hab._ East Mexico, north to Rio Grande.

L. inornatus. Above olivaceous; forehead and crown like the back.
_Hab._ South of Middle and Western Provinces of United States.

L. wollweberi. Sides of head banded black and white; crown ash; throat
black. _Hab._ S. Rocky Mountains of United States; Mexico to Oaxaca.

Lophophanes bicolor, BONAP.


  _Parus bicolor_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 12th ed. I, 1766, 340 (based on
    _Parus cristatus_, CATESBY, I, pl. lvii).—PR. MAX. Cab. Jour. VI,
    1858, 118. _Lophophanes bicolor_, BON. List Birds Europe,
    1842.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 384; Review, 78.—SCLATER, Catal.
    1861, 14, no. 87. _Bæolophus bicolor_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I, 1850, 91
    (type of genus). _Lophophanes missouriensis_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 384 (var. from Missouri River).
  Figures: WILSON, Am. Orn. I, pl. viii, fig. 5.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I,
    pl. ccci; IB. Birds Am. II, pl. cxxv.

SP. CHAR. Above ashy; a black frontal band. Beneath dull whitish;
sides brownish-chestnut, of more or less intensity. Length, 6.25
inches; wing, 3.17.

HAB. United States, from Missouri Valley eastward.

  [Illustration: _Lophophanes inornatus._]

Feathers of the crown elongated into a flattened crest, which extends
back as far as the occiput. Bill conical; lower edge of upper mandible
nearly straight at the base. Fourth and fifth quills equal; third a
little shorter than seventh; second rather shorter than the
secondaries. Tail nearly even, the outer about .20 of an inch shorter
than the longest. Upper parts ash-color, with a tinge of olivaceous.
Forehead dark sooty-brown. The feathers of the upper part of the head
and crest obscurely streaked with lighter brown. Under parts of head
and body, sides of head, including auriculars, and a narrow space
above the eye, dirty yellowish-white, tinged with brown; purest on the
side of head, the white very distinct in the loral region, and
including the tuft of bristly feathers over the nostrils, excepting
the tips of those in contact with the bill, which are blackish. The
sides of the body and the under tail-coverts are tinged with
yellowish-brown. The quills and tail-feathers are edged with the color
of the back, without any whitish. Bill black. Feet lead-color.

Specimens from the West are larger, the colors all more strongly

HABITS. The Tufted Titmouse is a common and well-known species in the
Southern States, from the seaboard to the Rocky Mountains. Its
northern limits are in Pennsylvania, Missouri, and Kansas. Farther
north than this its occurrence appears to be only occasional and
accidental. The statement of Mr. Audubon that they are found in the
Northern States, even to Nova Scotia, was evidently a mistake. They do
not occur in Massachusetts, nor, so far as I am aware, have they been
met with in any part of New England.

They are abundant in Northern Georgia, where, according to the
observations of Dr. Gerhardt, they are among the first birds to breed,
having fledglings fully grown as early as the first of May. Dr.
Woodhouse found them very common in the Indian Territory, but none of
the other exploring parties met with it farther west, where it is
replaced by its kindred species.

It is perhaps the most abundant bird in Southern Illinois, where it is
resident, being excessively numerous in winter, and in that season
often a positive nuisance from their impertinent vehement scolding as
they appear to follow the hunter in troops through the woods. In
winter it is a constant inhabitant of the door-yards and shrubbery,
particularly fruit-trees in the towns, where it is associated with the
Carolina Chickadee (_Parus carolinensis_) and other winter birds, but
exceeding them all in familiarity and boldness. (Ridgway.)

Mr. Nuttall, who never met with this bird north of Pennsylvania, found
it very common in the winter and spring in the Southern States, where
it displayed all the habits and uttered the usual notes of the family.
In the dreariest solitudes of the Southern States these birds were his
constant and amusing companions. Their sprightly movements and their
varied musical talents made it even more peculiarly interesting at a
time when all the other tenants of the forest were silent. The notes
of this bird, which, when expressed by this writer on paper, seem only
quaint and eccentric articulations, were characterized by him as
lively, cheering, and varied, delivered with a delicacy, energy,
pathos, and variety of expression to which it was far beyond the power
of description to do justice.

These notes, at times, even partook of the high-echoing and
clear tones of the Oriole. The usual song of this Titmouse is
presented by Mr. Nuttall by the following characteristics:
“_Whip-tom-killy-killy-dāy-dāy-dā-it-tshica-dēē-dee_,” varied with
“_Kāī-tee-did-did-did_,” etc., etc. Later in the season, under the
milder influences of spring, these Titmice pursued the insects from
branch to branch, calling restlessly and with loud and echoing voices,
_peto-peto-peto_, with frequent quaint variations too numerous to be
repeated. Their song even consisted of successions of playful,
pathetic, or querulous calls, never exhibiting any trills after the
manner of the Warblers, yet the compass and tones of their voice,
their capricious variety, and their general effect are described as
quite as pleasing as the more exquisite notes of our summer songsters.

When wounded this Titmouse resists with great spirit any attempt to
take him alive, but soon becomes tame and familiar in confinement,
subsisting on seeds, broken nuts, etc. Impatient of restraint, it
incessantly attempts to work its way out of its cage.

The general habits of these birds correspond closely with those of the
large family to which they belong. They move usually in small flocks
of from five to ten through the branches of trees and bushes in quest
of insects, examine the cracks and crevices of the bark, hang on the
under side of small branches, move sideways around the trunks of
trees, probe the openings in acorns, pine-cones, nuts, etc., for its
food, and retain apparently the family group until the spring, when
they separate into pairs.

One of these birds kept in confinement by Dr. Bachman of Charleston
was in the habit of hiding its food in the corner of its cage, in a
small crevice, and of creeping at night into a small box, where it lay
doubled up like a ball till the first light of the morning, when it
resumed its restless habits.

The Tufted Titmouse passes its nights and days, when the weather is
inclement, in the hollows of decayed trees or the deserted holes of
the woodpeckers. In such places it also builds its nests. It has been
known to excavate a hole for itself even in hard sound wood. Its nest
is simply a rude lining of the selected cavity, composed of various
soft and warm materials. In this are deposited from six to eight eggs.
But a single brood is raised in a season. The young birds, as soon as
they are fledged, hunt in company with their parents, and remain
associated with them until the following spring. The eggs of this bird
have a length of .75 of an inch and a breadth of .56. They are of a
rounded oval in shape, and are thickly sprinkled with fine
rust-colored dots, intermingled with a few larger markings of lilac,
on a white ground.

Lophophanes atricristatus, CASSIN.


  _Parus atricristatus_, CASSIN, Pr. A. N. Sc. Phil. V, 1850, 103,
    pl. ii (Texas). _Lophophanes atricristatus_, CASSIN, Ill. Birds
    Texas, etc. I, 1853, 13, pl. iii.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 385;
    Review, 78.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 43.

SP. CHAR. Crest very long and pointed (1.25 inches). Above
ash-colored. A broad band on the forehead dirty white, rest of head
above, with crest, black, tinged with ash on the sides. Color of the
back shading insensibly into the dull ashy-white of the under parts.
Sides of body pale brownish-chestnut. Female with the crest duller
black. Iris dark brown. Length, about 5.25 inches; wing, 3.00.

HAB. Valley of Rio Grande, south, into Mexico. San Antonio. Texas.
Vera Cruz, SCLATER.

This species is not rare in Texas, where it has been noticed as far
east as San Antonio.

HABITS. So far as known, the Black-crested Titmouse is restricted in
its distribution to the valley of the Rio Grande, including portions
of Mexico and Western Texas. It was first met with in the latter State
by John W. Audubon, and described by Mr. Cassin in the Proceedings of
the Philadelphia Academy.

In its general appearance and in all its habits it is mentioned as
having so close a resemblance to the common Tufted Titmouse as to be
hardly distinguishable from that bird. Dr. Woodhouse met with this
species near San Antonio, Texas, in March, 1851. While his party was
encamped on the Rio Salado he observed these birds busily engaged in
capturing insects among the trees on the banks of the stream. Like all
the members of this family, it was incessantly in motion and very
noisy. Later in the season, on the 8th of May, the same party, when
encamped on the Quihi, again found this species very abundant among
the oaks. The young males, then fully grown, closely resembled the
adult females, both wanting the black crest that distinguishes the
mature male. He afterward noticed this species occurring at intervals
along his route as far as the head waters of the Rio San Francisco in
New Mexico. He observed it almost exclusively among the trees that
bordered streams of water. The females and the young males invariably
had crests of the same cinereous color as their general plumage, but
in the latter slightly tinged with brown. They occurred in small
parties, were very lively and sociable in their habits, and in their
general appearance and even in their notes so very closely resembled
the Eastern species as, at a short distance, to be hardly
distinguishable from it.

Dr. Heermann, in his report on the birds of Lieutenant Parke’s survey,
mentions having first observed this species near Fort Clarke, in
Texas, where it was very abundant. He describes it as sprightly and
active in its movements, searching with great assiduity for insects in
the crevices of the bark and among the branches of trees. While thus
engaged it keeps up a chattering note, varied with an occasional low
and plaintive whistle. Its habits appeared to him to resemble most
those of the common _Parus atricapillus_. Dr. Heermann states that it
builds its nest in the hollow of trees, and that it lays from twelve
to sixteen eggs. He does not, however, say that he ever met with its
eggs, nor does he give any description of them. The nest, he states,
is composed of fine dry grasses, feathers, wool, mosses, etc.

General Couch’s description of this species and its habits is very
similar. He observed it in the province of New Leon, in Mexico, where
he found it very abundant along the San Juan into the Sierra Madre. He
describes it as a very lively bird, with a very perfect whistle of a
single note.

Mr. Henry A. Dresser sought very diligently for its nest and eggs near
San Antonio and Houston, in Texas, where he found the bird very
common, and where he was sure many pairs remained to breed, but its
nest was very hard to find, and the birds very wary. He succeeded in
finding one nest, in a hollow tree, near the head springs of the San
Antonio River, but it contained young. The nest he does not describe,
nor does he mention the number of young it contained.

Lophophanes inornatus, CASSIN.


  _Parus inornatus_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. Sc. Phil. Aug. 1845, 265 (Upper
    California).—IB. J. A. N. Sc. new ser. I, 1847, 35, pl. vii.
    _Lophophanes inornatus_, CASSIN, Ill. 1853, 19.—BAIRD, Birds N.
    Am. 1858, 386; Review, 78.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 14, no.
    88.—ELLIOT, Illust. I, pl. iii.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 42.

SP. CHAR. Crest elongated. Color above olivaceous-ashy, beneath
whitish. Sides of body and under tail-coverts very faintly tinged with
brownish, scarcely appreciable. Sides of head scarcely different from
the crown. Forehead obscurely whitish. Length, 5 inches; wing, 2.55.

HAB. Southern United States, from Rocky Mountains to Pacific; Western
Nevada (RIDGWAY). W. Arizona (COUES).

The bill and feet of this species are lead-color. The third, fourth,
and fifth quills are longest; the third and eighth about equal; the
second is shorter than the shortest primaries. The lateral
tail-feathers are a little shorter than the others.

A specimen from Fort Thorn has the crest longer than in other
specimens before me, measuring 1.35 inches from base of bill to its
tip. This may be a characteristic of the male, the sexes being
otherwise alike.

HABITS. The Gray Titmouse belongs essentially to the Pacific coast,
coming eastward only as far as the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas.
It was first discovered and described by Dr. Gambel, in his Birds of
California. It has since been met with not only throughout California,
but also in all the southern portions of the Rocky Mountains, in New
Mexico, and from Mimbres to the Rio Grande.

Dr. Woodhouse met with this species in the San Francisco Mountains,
near the Little Colorado River, New Mexico. He found it very abundant,
feeding among the tall pines in company with the _Sitta pygmæa_, _S.
aculeata_, and _Parus montanus_.

Dr. Gambel first noticed this species near Monterey on the 20th of
November. It was flitting actively about among the evergreen oaks of
that vicinity in company with large flocks of several kindred species.
They were all in restless activity, searching every branch for
insects. As well as he could distinguish its notes among those of the
busy throng in the midst of which he observed it, they appeared to
resemble very closely those of the common _P. atricapillus_. Upon his
following it up, it would utter a loud scolding outcry, erect its high
and pointed crest, and appear as angry as possible at the intrusion.
He found it very common, frequenting tall bushes in small flocks,
searching branches of low trees, uttering weak and slender cries,
resembling the syllables _tsēē dāy-dāy_.

Dr. Heermann found it one of the most common of the birds of
California, where it is resident throughout the year. He describes
their notes as possessing an almost endless variety, so much so that
he was repeatedly prompted to follow it as a new species. He met with
a nest of this bird in a deserted woodpecker’s hole, which contained

Dr. Cooper has met with this species in February near San Diego, but
not on the Colorado. They seem to prefer the evergreen-oak groves
toward the middle of the State, but are not found in the higher Sierra
Nevada. They are residents throughout the year in the evergreen oaks
near San Francisco. He adds that they are seen in small parties,
scattered about the trees, and calling to each other with a variety of
sweet and loud notes, some of which are said to equal those of our
best singers. It also has certain powers of imitation like the Eastern
crested species and the same cry of _pēto-pēto_.

It feeds on acorns as well as insects, and often goes to the ground in
search of them. It cracks the acorns with its bill, and hammers at
bark and decayed wood with the industry of a woodpecker.

Mr. Ridgway met with this species among the pines of the eastern slope
of the Sierra Nevada, but nowhere in abundance. Among the cedars it
was almost the only bird seen. He describes its manners as greatly
resembling those of the other species. Its notes, though differing
from those of the Eastern _L. bicolor_, being weaker and less
distinct, retain its vehement and characteristic manner of utterance.

Lophophanes wollweberi, BONAP.


  _Lophophanes wollweberi_, BON. C. R. XXXI, Sept. 1850, 478.—
    WESTERMANN, Bijdr. Dierkunde, III, 1851, 15, plate.—BAIRD, Birds
    N. Am. 1858, 386, pl. liii, fig. 1; Review, 79.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1858, 299 (Oaxaca, high lands).—IB. Catal. 1861, 14, no.
    89.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 43. _Parus annexus_, CASSIN, Pr. A. N.
    Sc. V, Oct. 1850, 103, pl. i. _Lophophanes galeatus_, CABANIS,
    Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 90.

SP. CHAR. Central portion of crest ash, encircled by black, commencing
as a frontal band, and passing over the eye. Chin, throat, and a line
from behind the eye and curving round the auriculars to the throat
(bordered behind by white), as also some occipital feathers, black. A
white line from above the eye margining the crest, with the cheeks
below the eye and under parts generally white. A black half-collar on
the nape. Upper parts of body ashy. Length, about 4.50; wing, 2.50.

HAB. Southern Rocky Mountains of United States, and along table-lands
through Mexico, to Oaxaca (high regions, SCLATER). Orizaba (Alpine
regions, SUM.).

HABITS. Wollweber’s Titmouse, so far as its distribution is known, is
a bird of Western Texas, the high table-lands of Mexico, and of the
whole of New Mexico. It was described by Bonaparte and by Cassin
nearly simultaneously, in 1850. It bears a very close resemblance to
the _Lophophanes cristatus_ of Europe.

Although comparatively nothing is known in reference to the specific
habits of this species, they may be very readily inferred from those
of the other members of this genus, whose characteristics are all so
well marked and so uniform. Dr. Kennerly is the only one of our
naturalists who has mentioned meeting the species in its living form.
In his Report upon the Birds of Lieutenant Whipple’s Survey he states
that he found it in the thick bushes along the Pueblo Creek. Wherever
noticed it was constantly in motion, hopping from twig to twig in
search of its food. He also found it among the pines of the Aztec
Mountains. No mention is made of its nest or eggs, and its
nidification remains to be ascertained.


  _Parus_, LINNÆUS, Syst. Nat. 1735. (Type, _P. major_.)

GEN. CHAR. Head not crested. Body and head full. Tail moderately long,
and slightly rounded. Bill conical, not very stout; the upper and
under outlines very gently and slightly convex. Tarsus but little
longer than middle toe. Head and neck generally black or brown, with
sides white. Nest in holes. Eggs white, sprinkled with red.

In the group, as defined above, are embraced several genera of modern
systematists. The true black-capped American Titmice belong to the
section _Pœcile_ of Kaup, and exhibit but three well-marked forms;
one, _P. montanus_, with a white stripe over the eye; one,
_atricapillus_, without it, with black head; and one, _hudsonicus_,
also without it, and with brown head. The species may be arranged as

  1. _Head and neck, above and beneath, black; their sides white._

A. A broad white stripe above the eye, meeting across forehead.

    1. P. montanus. Edges of wing-coverts, secondaries, and tail
    scarcely paler than general tint above. Beneath ashy-whitish,
    medially. Wing, 2.85; tail, 2.50; bill (along culmen), .50;
    tarsus, .69; middle toe, .43; wing-formula, 45, 36, 7, 2;
    graduation of tail, .18. _Hab._ Mountain regions of Middle
    and Western United States.

B. No white stripe above the eye.

  _a._ Tail as long as, or longer than, wing. Conspicuous white
  edgings to wing-coverts, secondaries, and tail-feathers.

    2. P. atricapillus.

    Dorsal region yellowish-cinereous, wings and tail purer ash;
    sides light ochraceous. White edgings of tail-feathers _not_
    margining their ends. Wing, 2.60; tail, 2.60; bill, .40;
    tarsus, .62; middle toe, .36; wing-formula, 4, 5, 6, 3, 7, 8,
    29; graduation of tail, .30. (12,851 ♂: Brooklyn, N. Y.)
    _Hab._ Eastern Province of North America, north of about 39° …
                                                 var. _atricapillus_.

    Dorsal region and sides with scarcely a perceptible yellowish
    tinge; white edgings of tail-feathers passing around their
    ends. Beneath whitish. Wing, 2.75; tail, 2.80; culmen, .35;
    tarsus, .65; middle toe, .40; wing-formula, 5, 4 = 6, 3 = 7, 8,
    2 = 9; graduation of tail, .50. (3704 ♂? Salt Lake City, Utah.)
    _Hab._ Region of Missouri River and Rocky Mountains …
                                              var. _septentrionalis_.

    Colors as in _atricapillus_, but much darker. Beneath more
    ochraceous. Wing, 2.40; tail, 2.50; culmen, .40; tarsus, .60;
    middle toe, .40; wing-formula, 4th, 5th, and 6th equal, 3 = 7,
    2 = 10; graduation of tail, .25. (6762 ♂? Fort Vancouver,
    Washington Territory.) _Hab._ Pacific Province of North
    America …                                    var. _occidentalis_.

  _b._ Tail shorter than wing; no conspicuous white edgings to
  wings and tail.

    3. P. meridionalis.[27] Beneath ashy (nearly dark as upper
    surface), whitish medially. Wing, 2.60; tail, 2.20; culmen,
    .40; tarsus, .63; middle toe, .40; wing-formula, 4, 5, 6,
    3 = 7, 2 = 10; graduation of tail, .10. (10,203, Mexico.) _Hab._
    Eastern Mexico.

    4. P. carolinensis. Beneath pale soiled ochraceous-whitish,
    scarcely lighter medially. Wing, 2.55; tail, 2.30; culmen,
    .35; tarsus, .53; middle toe, .38; wing-formula, 5, 4, 6, 7,
    3, 8, 2 = 9; graduation of tail, .10. (706 ♂, Washington, D.
    C.) _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States, south of about

  2. _Head and neck, above and beneath, brown, the throat darkest;
  their sides white._

C. Back, scapulars, rump, and sides rusty-chestnut.

    5. P. rufescens. Side of neck pure white. Wing, 2.35; tail,
    2.00; tarsus, .61; middle toe, .40. Tail scarcely graduated.
    _Hab._ Pacific coast of North America.

D. Back, etc., grayish or ochraceous brown.

    6. P. hudsonicus. Side of neck grayish. Back, etc.,
    smoky-gray. Sides dark rusty-brown. Wing, 2.45; tail, 2.45;
    tarsus, .62; middle toe, .35; graduation of tail, .30.
    (17,101, Halifax, N. S.) _Hab._ Arctic America; south to
    northern boundary of the United States (except to westward).

    7. P. sibiricus.[28] Side of neck white. Back, etc., rusty
    ochraceous-gray. Sides rusty ochraceous. Wing, 2.70; tail,
    2.80; tarsus, .66; middle toe, .36; graduation of tail, .30.
    _Hab._ Europe.

Parus montanus, GAMBEL.


  _Parus montanus_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N. S. Phila. April, 1843, 259;
     Journ. A. N. Sc. 2d Series, I, 1847, 35, pl. viii, f.
     1.—BAIRD, B. N. A. 1858, 394; Review Am. B. I, 1864,
     82.—ELLIOT, Illust.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 46.

SP. CHAR. Head and neck above, with under part of head and throat,
glossy black; forehead, stripe above the eye and band below it,
involving the auriculars, white. These stripes embracing between them
a black band through the eye and confluent with the black of the head.
Above ashy; beneath similar, but paler; the upper part of breast and
middle line of belly white. Length about 5 inches; wing, 2.60; tail,

HAB. Mountain region of Middle and Western United States.

  [Line drawing: _Parus atricapillus._

HABITS. The Mountain Chickadee was first met with by Dr. Gambel in
journeying westward from Santa Fé, in New Mexico, and from thence was
found in all the ranges of the Rocky Mountains nearly to California.
Its notes and habits are said to closely resemble those of the common
Chickadee, but weaker and more varied. It keeps more in low bushes,
where it moves from branch to branch with untiring activity, searching
each minutely for small insects. It also frequently descends to the
ground to pick up small seeds. While thus occupied it will
occasionally stop, look round, and, uttering a slender _te-de-de_, and
then its usual note, _to-de-de-dait_, will fly to another bush.

On the Rio Colorado they kept chiefly among the cotton-wood trees that
grew along its banks, and its familiar notes were almost the only
sounds heard. They were observed in large and busy flocks along the
smaller streams in company with the Least Tit and the _Reguli_. Dr.
Gambel did not find them, however, so abundant on the California sides
of the ridge, where other species took their place.

Dr. Heermann found this Titmouse abundant among the mountains
surrounding the Volcano in the southern mines, and subsequently met
with them on the summit of the Tejon Pass. He thinks their notes and
habits very similar to those of the _atricapillus_. Dr. Suckley
obtained a single specimen at Fort Dalles, but regarded it as
extremely rare in that locality. Dr. Woodhouse found it quite abundant
in the San Francisco Mountains of New Mexico, where it was feeding
among the tall pines in company with kindred species.

  [Illustration: _Parus montanus._]

Mr. Ridgway found this species in great abundance among the pines on
the eastern slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, as well as in all
the extensive cedar-groves on the mountains to the eastward. Around
Carson City this species was found throughout the winter. In its
manners and notes, particularly the latter, it was hardly
distinguishable from _P. carolinensis_. The notes are described as
louder and more distinct, though their calls in spring are rather less
clearly articulated.

Parus atricapillus, LINN.


  _Parus atricapillus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 341 (based on _Parus
    atricapillus canadensis_, BRISSON, III, 553, tab. xxix, fig.
    1).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 390; Review, 80.—SCLATER, Catal.
    1861, 13, no. 80.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—SAMUELS, 182.
    _Pœcile atricapilla_, BON. Consp. 1850, 230. _Parus palustris_,
    NUTT. Man. I, 1832, 79.
  Figured by AUDUBON, WILSON, etc.

SP. CHAR. Second quill as long as the secondaries. Tail very slightly
rounded; lateral feathers about .10 shorter than middle. Back
brownish-ashy. Top of head and throat black, sides of head between
them white. Beneath whitish; brownish-white on the sides. Sides of
outer tail-feathers, some of primaries, and secondaries conspicuously
margined with white. Length, 5.00; wing, 2.50; tail, 2.50.

HAB. Eastern North America, north of 39th parallel.

In this species the first quill is spurious; the fourth quill is
longest; the fifth and sixth successively a little shorter; the third
is about equal to, or a little shorter than, the eighth; the second is
a very little longer than the secondaries. The tail is a little
rounded, the innermost feather longest, the rest successively a little
shorter. The greatest difference in length of tail-feathers amounts to
.30 of an inch.

  [Illustration: PLATE VII.

   1. Parus atricapillus, _Linn._ ♂ N. York, 12851.
   2.   “   _var._ septentrionalis, _Harris_. Mission Valley.
   3.   “   _var._ occidentalis, _Baird_. Washington Territory.
   4.   “   carolinensis, _Aud._ ♂ D. C., 706.
   5.   “   montanus, _Gambel_. Nevada, 53456.
   6.   “   rufescens, _Towns._ Pacific coast, 45946.
   7.   “   hudsonicus, _Forst._ N. Scotia.
   8. Psaltriparus melanotis, _Bon._ Mexico.
   9.      “       minimus, _Towns._ Cal., 22417.
  10.      “       _var._ plumbeus, _Baird_. Arizona.
  11. Auriparus flaviceps, _Sund._ 42210.]

The entire crown, from the bill to the upper part of the back, coming
down on the sides to the lower level of the eye, is pure black,
although the edge alone of the lower eyelid is of this color. A second
black patch begins at the lower mandible and occupies the entire under
surface of the head and throat, but not extending as far back within a
quarter of an inch as that on the upper part of the neck. The space
between these two patches, on the sides of the head and neck, is
white, this color extending along the black of the back of the neck as
far as its truncated extremity, but not bordering it behind. The
middle of the breast and belly, as far as the vent, is dull white,
that immediately behind the black of the throat a little clearer. The
sides of the breast and body under the wings, with the under
tail-coverts, are pale, dull brownish-white. The back, rump, and upper
tail-coverts are of a dirty bluish-ash, washed with yellowish-brown,
especially on the rump. The wings are brown; the outer edges of the
third to the seventh primaries narrowly edged with whitish; the
innermost secondaries more broadly and conspicuously edged with the
same; larger coverts edged with dirty whitish. Outer webs of
tail-feathers edged with white, purest and occupying half the web in
the external one, narrowing and less clear to the central feathers,
the basal portions, especially, assuming more the color of the back.

HABITS. The common Chickadee or Black-capped Titmouse is so well known
throughout the greater portion of the United States as to be generally
accepted, by common consent, as the typical representative of its
numerous family. Until recently it has been supposed to be universally
distributed over the continent, and while this is now questioned, it
is not quite clear where its limits occur. In Eastern Maine the _Parus
hudsonicus_ and this species meet. In the District of Columbia it
crosses the northern limits of _P. carolinensis_, and in the northern
Mississippi Valley it mingles with the var. _septentrionalis_. It
remains to be ascertained how far the species exceeds these bounds.

A few individuals of this species were observed by Mr. Dall, December
12, at Nulato, where, however, it was not common. They were also
obtained by Bischoff at Sitka and Kodiak.

As in very many essential respects the whole family of _Paridæ_ are
alike in their characteristics of habits, their manner of collecting
food, their restless, uneasy movements, the similarity of their cries,
their residence in hollow trees or branches, and their nesting in
similar places, with the exception only of a few species that
construct their own pouch-like nests, we have taken the best known as
the common point of comparison. Except in the variations in plumage,
the points of difference are never great or very noticeable.

In New England the Black-Cap is one of our most common and familiar
birds. In the vicinity of Calais, Mr. Boardman speaks of it as
resident and abundant. The writer did not meet with it in Nova Scotia,
nor even in the islands of the Bay of Fundy, where the _hudsonicus_ is
a common bird.

It is a resident species, nesting early in May, and having
full-fledged nestlings early in June. While it seems to prefer the
edges of woods as best affording the means of food and shelter, it by
no means confines itself to these localities, not only appearing
familiarly around the dwellings in the winter season, but also
occasionally breeding in open and exposed places. A hollow post of a
fence in the midst of open cultivated fields, a decayed stump near the
side of a public highway, a hollow log in a frequented farmyard, and
even the side of an inhabited dwelling, are localities these birds
have been known to select in which to rear their young. In the winter
they not unfrequently extend their visits, in search of food, into the
very heart of large and crowded cities, where they seem as much at
home and as free from alarm as in the seclusion of the forest,
searching every crack where insect larvæ or eggs can be hid. On one
occasion a pair had built its nest over a covered well which connects
with the dwelling by a side door, through which water was drawn at all
hours of the day by means of buckets and a rope, the wheel for which
was in close proximity to their nest. They manifested, however, no
uneasiness, and even after the young were ready to fly, the whole
family would return to the place for shelter at night and during
inclement weather.

Their courage and devotion to their young is a remarkable trait with
the whole race, and with none more than with the present species. On
one occasion a Black-Cap was seen to fly into a rotten stump near the
roadside in Brookline. The stump was so much decayed that its top was
readily broken off and the nest exposed. The mother refused to leave
until forcibly taken off by the hand, and twice returned to the nest
when thus removed, and it was only by holding her in the hand that an
opportunity was given to ascertain there were seven young birds in her
nest. She made no complaints, uttered no outcries, but resolutely and
devotedly thrust herself between her nestlings and the seeming danger.
When released she immediately flew back to them, covered them under
her sheltering wings, and looked up in the face of her tormentors with
a quiet and resolute courage that could not be surpassed.

The nest of the Chickadee is usually a warm and soft felted mass of
the hair and fur of the smaller quadrupeds, downy feathers, fine dry
grasses and mosses, lining the cavity in which it is placed and
contracting it into a deep and purse-like opening if the cavity be
larger than is necessary. Usually the site selected is already in
existence, and only enlarged or altered to suit the wishes of the
pair. But not unfrequently, at some pains, they will excavate an
opening for themselves, not only in decaying wood, but even into limbs
or trunks that are entirely sound.

These birds in winter collect around the camps of the log-cutters,
become very tame, and seek on all occasions to share with their
occupants their food, often soliciting their portion with plaintive
tones. Though nearly omnivorous in the matter of food, they prefer
insects to everything else, and the amount of good conferred by them
on the farmers and the owners of woodlands in the destruction of
insects in all their forms—egg, caterpillar, larva, or imago—must be
very great. No chrysalis is too large to resist their penetrating
bill, and no eggs so well hidden that they cannot find them out. I
have known one to attack and fly off with the chrysalis of a
“Woolly-bear” or salt-marsh caterpillar (_Leucarctia acræa_). When
thus foraging for their food they seem totally unconscious of the near
presence of man, and unmindful of what is passing around them, so
intent are they upon the object of their pursuit.

The notes of the Chickadee exhibit a great variety of sounds and
combinations. As they roam through the country in small flocks in
quest of food, their refrain is a continued and lively succession of
varying notes sounding like a quaint chant. When annoyed by any
intrusion, their cry is louder and harsher. They are rarely thus
disturbed by the presence of man, and even when their nest is
approached by him they present only a passive and silent resistance.
Not so when a cat or a squirrel is observed in unwelcome vicinity.
These are pursued with great and noisy pertinacity and hoarse cries of
_dāy, dāy, dāy_, in which they are often joined by others of the same

So far as we have observed them, they are apparently affectionate,
gentle, and loving to each other. We utterly discredit the accusation
that they will treacherously beat out the brains of feeble birds of
their own race. It is unsupported by testimony, and in the instance
cited by Wilson he gives no evidence that this injury may not have
been done by some other species, and not by one of its own kindred.

Their nest is usually near the ground, and the number of eggs rarely
if ever exceeds eight. They are said to have two broods in the season,
but this statement seems to be contradicted by their continued
presence after June in small flocks, evidently the parents and their
first and only brood, who apparently remain together nine or ten

The eggs of this species vary somewhat in regard to the distribution
and number of the reddish-brown markings with which their white ground
is more or less sprinkled. In some they are chiefly gathered in a ring
about the larger end; in others they are distributed over the entire
egg. Their eggs are smaller and a little less spherical in shape than
those of the _septentrionalis_, averaging .58 by .47 of an inch.

Parus atricapillus, var. septentrionalis, HARRIS.


  _Parus septentrionalis_, HARRIS, Pr. A. N. Sc. II, 1845, 300.—CASSIN,
    Illust. I, 1853, 17, 80, pl. xiv.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 389;
    Review, 79.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 14, no. 82. _Parus
    septentrionalis_, var. _albescens_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    xxxvii. _? Parus atricapillus_, PR. MAX. Cab. Jour. VI, 1858, 119.

SP. CHAR. Length about 5.50 inches; wing, 2.70; tail about 3 inches.
Head above and below black, separated by white on the sides of the
head; back brownish-ash. Beneath white, tinged with pale
brownish-white on the sides. Outer tail-feathers, primaries, and
secondaries broadly edged with white, involving nearly the whole outer
web of outer tail-feather. Tail much graduated; the outer feather
about .50 of an inch shorter than the middle. Second quill about as
long as the secondaries.

HAB. Region of Missouri River to Rocky Mountains.

This race is very similar to the _P. atricapillus_, but differs from
it somewhat as _atricapillus_ does from _carolinensis_. Its size is
much greater; the tail proportionally longer, and much more graduated;
the white of wing and tail purer and more extended. The bill appears
to be stouter and more conical. The back has, perhaps, a little more
yellowish. The spurious or first primary is larger.

It will be a difficult matter to retain this as a species distinct
from _atricapillus_, in view of the insensible gradation from one form
to the other; and it may be looked upon, with scarcely a doubt, as
simply a long-tailed Western variety of the common species. _P.
occidentalis_, and, probably, even _P. carolinensis_, may even fall
under the same category, their peculiarities of color and size being
precisely such as would _a priori_ be expected from their geographical

HABITS. The Long-tailed Titmouse appears to have an extended
distribution between the Mississippi Valley and the Rocky Mountains,
from Texas into the British Possessions, specimens having been
received from Fort Simpson and Lake Winnipeg. Among the notes of the
late Robert Kennicott is one dated Lake Winnipeg, June 6, mentioning
the dissection of a female of this species found to contain a
full-sized egg. A memorandum made by Mr. Ross, dated at Fort William,
May 15, speaks of this bird as abundant at Fort Simpson, from August
until November, the last having been seen November 10. One was shot,
June 2, on Winnipeg River, “a female, who was about to lay her egg.”

In regard to its distinct individual history but little is as yet
known. It was discovered and first described by the late Edward
Harris, of New Jersey, who accompanied Mr. Audubon in his expedition
to the upper branches of the Missouri River, and who obtained this
bird on the Yellowstone, about thirty miles above its junction with
the Missouri, on the 26th of July. He describes its notes as similar
to those of the common _atricapillus_, but less harsh and querulous,
and more liquid in their utterance. Subsequently specimens were
obtained by Mr. Kern, artist to the exploring expedition under Fremont
in 1846.

It is the largest species of this genus in America. In its
breeding-habits it is not different from the Eastern representatives.
Mr. B. F. Goss found this species breeding abundantly at Neosho Falls,
in Kansas. They nest in decayed stumps, hollow trees, branches, logs,
etc., after the manner of the _atricapillus_. The excavation is
usually ten or twelve inches, and even more, in depth. The nest is
warmly made of a loose soft felt composed of the fur and fine hair of
small quadrupeds, feathers, and the finer mosses.

The eggs, usually five, occasionally eight, in number, are of a
rounded oval shape, measuring .60 by .50 of an inch. They have a pure
dull-white ground, and the entire egg is very uniformly and pretty
thickly covered with fine markings and small blotches of red and
reddish-brown intermingled with a few dots of purplish.

Parus atricapillus, var. occidentalis, BAIRD.


  _Parus occidentalis_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 391 (W. Territory);
    Review, 81.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 14, no. 82.—ELLIOT, Illust. 1,
    pl. viii.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 45.

SP. CHAR. Tarsi lengthened. Tail graduated; outer feather about .25 of
an inch shorter than the middle. Above dark brownish-ash; head and
neck above and below black, separated on the sides by white; beneath
light, dirty, rusty yellowish-brown, scarcely whiter along the middle
of body. Tail and wings not quite so much edged with whitish as in _P.
atricapillus_. Length about 4.75; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.40.

HAB. Northwest coast region of the United States.

This race is of the same size as _P. atricapillus_, and resembles it
in its markings; the ashy of the back is, however, washed with a
darker shade of yellowish-brown. The brown of the under parts is so
much darker as to cause the predominant color there to be a pale
yellowish-brown, instead of brownish-white. The fourth quill is
longest; the fifth and sixth a little shorter than the third; the
second is about as long as the secondaries. The tail is rounded,
rather more so than in most _atricapillus_, the difference in the
lengths of the feathers amounting to about .25 of an inch. The amount
of light margining to the quills and tail-feathers is much as in
_atricapillus_, but rather less, perhaps, on the tail.

This seems to be the Pacific coast representative of the _P.
atricapillus_, as _septentrionalis_ belongs to the middle region,
corresponding in its differences with other Western representatives of
Eastern species.

HABITS. Dr. Cooper, in his Birds of Washington Territory, says of this
variety: “The common Black-capped Chickadee, so abundant in the
Eastern States, is, in Washington Territory, represented by the
Western Titmouse, frequenting the low thickets and trees, where it is
always busily employed seeking food.” He observed its nest near Puget
Sound, burrowed in soft rotten wood. Dr. Suckley found it quite
abundant in the valley of the Willamette, and also at Fort Vancouver
during winter. In habits it closely resembles the Black-Cap of the
Eastern States.

It is chiefly found in Oregon and Washington Territory, visiting the
northern part of California in winter, when it is also abundant near
the Columbia River. At this season it is generally found among the
deciduous trees along streams and oak groves, seeking its food among
the branches. It feeds on seeds and insects, and is very fond of fresh
meat, fat, and crumbs of bread. They migrate but little, remaining at
the Columbia River even when the ground is covered with snow. The eggs
are as yet unknown, but without doubt they closely resemble those of
the Eastern species.

Parus carolinensis, AUDUBON.


  _Parus carolinensis_, AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 474, pl. clx.—IB.
    Birds Am. II, 1841, 152, pl. cxxvii.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    392; Review, 81.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 13, no. 81. _Pœcile
    carolinensis_, BON. Consp. 1850, 230.

SP. CHAR. Second quill appreciably longer than secondaries. Tail very
little rounded. Length about 4.50 inches; wing less than 2.50; tail,
2.40. Back brownish-ash. Head above, and throat, black, separated on
sides of head by white. Beneath white; brownish-white on sides. Outer
tail-feathers, primaries, and secondaries, not edged with white.

HAB. South Atlantic and gulf region of United States, north to
Washington, D. C., Texas and the Mississippi Valley; north to Central
Illinois; the only species in the southern portion of the latter State.

This species is, in general, rather smaller than _P. atricapillus_,
although the tail and wing appear to be of much the same size. The
body and feet are, however, smaller, and the extent of wing is three
quarters of an inch less. The bill is apparently shorter and stouter.

The primaries are proportionally and absolutely considerably longer
than the secondaries in the present species, the difference being .55
of an inch, instead of .45. The tail is rather more rounded, the
feathers narrower.

The tail is considerably shorter than the wing, instead of longer; the
black of the throat extends much farther back, is more dense and more
sharply defined behind, than in _atricapillus_. Taking into view these
differences, and others of color, we feel justified in retaining this
as a species distinct from _atricapillus_, and, in fact, having
_meridionalis_ as its nearest relative (see Synoptical Table). Both
this species and _atricapillus_ are found together in the Middle
States, each preserving its characteristics.

HABITS. South of the once famous line of Mason and Dixon this smaller
counterpart of the Chickadee seems to entirely replace it, although in
New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and occasionally even as far to the north
as New York City, the two occur together. Its range is presumed to be
all the States south of the Potomac and the Ohio, as far to the west
as the Rio Grande. It was probably this species, and not the
_atricapillus_, which was met with by Dr. Woodhouse in the Indian
Territory. Without much doubt it breeds in all the States south of

In Southern Illinois, as far north in the Wabash Valley as the mouth
of White River, this is the only species, unless the _P. atricapillus_
occasionally occurs in winter. Specimens from this region are
undistinguishable from those taken in Georgia and the extreme Southern
States, and do not present the peculiar features of _P. atricapillus_.
It is a very abundant species, and resident, being in winter one of
the most common, as well as one of the most familiar birds, inhabiting
_all_ localities, giving preference neither to swampy woods nor to
door-yards, for it is as often seen in one place as another. It is
never gregarious, though many may often be seen or heard at the same
moment. It begins incubation early in April, generally selecting the
wild plum and red-bud trees in the woods. This species very often
constructs its own nesting-places, and the soft wood of these trees is
very easily excavated. The excavation is generally made in a
horizontal dead limb, with the opening on the under side; this is neat
and regular, and as elaborate as those of any of the woodpeckers.
Sometimes, however, a natural cavity is selected, frequently in a
prostrate stump or “snag.” The nest is almost always a very elaborate
structure, being a strong compact cup or bed of “felt,” whose main
material is rabbit-fur and cow-hair.

In its habits it seems to resemble more closely the _P. palustris_ of
Europe than the _atricapillus_, being generally found only in the
immediate vicinity of ponds and deep, marshy, moist woods. It is also
rarely found other than singly or in pairs, the parent birds, unlike
most of this family, separating from their young soon after the latter
are able to provide for themselves. It rarely or never moves in

Their notes are said to be less sonorous and less frequent than those
of our Black-capped Titmouse. In the winter a portion retire from the
coast in South Carolina into the interior of the State and into
Florida, where Mr. Audubon found them, in the winter of 1831 and 1832,
much more abundant than he had ever seen them elsewhere. He found them
breeding as early as February, occasionally in the nests deserted by
the Brown-headed Nuthatch. A nest obtained by Dr. Bachman from a
hollow stump, about four feet from the ground, was in form cup-shaped,
measuring two inches internally in diameter at the mouth, and three
externally, with a depth of two inches. It was constructed of cotton,
fine wool, a few fibres of plants, and so elaborately felted together
as to be of uniform thickness throughout.

Mr. Audubon was in error in regard to the eggs, which he describes as
pure white. Their ground-color is of pure crystalline whiteness, but
they are freely and boldly marked all over with deep reddish-brown and
red spots. These, so far as we have compared the eggs, are larger,
more numerous, and more deeply marked than are any eggs of the
_atricapillus_ we have ever met with.

According to the observations of the late Dr. Alexander Gerhardt of
Whitfield County, Georgia, these birds usually breed in holes that
have been previously dug out by the _Picus pubescens_, or in decaying
stumps not more than five or six feet from the ground. He never met
with its nest in living trees. The eggs are from five to seven in
number, and are usually deposited in Georgia from the 10th to the last
of April.

The eggs of this species are slightly larger than those of the
_atricapillus_, and the reddish-brown blotches with which they are
profusely covered are much more distinctly marked. They are of a
spheroidal oval in shape, have a pure white ground, very uniformly and
generally sprinkled with blotches of a reddish-brown. They measure .60
by .50 of an inch.

Parus rufescens, TOWNS.


  _Parus rufescens_, TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. Phil. VII, II, 1837,
    190.—AUD. Orn. Biog. IV, 1838, 371, pl. cccliii.—IB. Birds Am.
    1841, 158, pl. cxxix.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 394; Review,
    83.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII, II, 1859, 194
    (nesting).—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 14, no. 86.—DALL & BANNISTER
    (Alaska).—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 47. _Pœcile rufescens_, BONAP.
    Consp. 1850, 230.

SP. CHAR. Whole head and neck above, and throat from bill to upper
part of breast, sooty blackish-brown. Sides of head and neck, upper
part of breast, and middle of body, white; back and sides dark
brownish-chestnut. Length, 4.75 inches; wing, 2.36; tail, 2.16.

HAB. Western United States, near Pacific coast.

HABITS. The Chestnut-backed Titmouse was first obtained by Townsend on
the banks of the Columbia River, and described in the Journal of the
Philadelphia Academy. It is a resident, throughout the year, of the
forests of the Columbia, and is found throughout California. Like all
of this familiar family, they may be seen in small flocks, of all
ages, in the autumn and winter, moving briskly about, uttering a
number of feeble querulous notes, after the manner of the
_atricapillus_, but never joining in anything like the quaint and
jingling song of that bird. They occasionally have a confused warbling
chatter. These busy little groups may be often seen in company with
the _Parus occidentalis_ and the _Regulus satrapa_, moving through the
bushes and thickets, carefully collecting insects, their larvæ and
eggs, for a few moments, and then flying off for some other place.
They are supposed to rear their young in the midst of the densest

Mr. Nuttall states that when the gun thins their ranks the survivors
display surprising courage and solicitude, following their destroyer
with wailing cries, entreating for their companions.

Dr. Gambel found the young of this species in great abundance around
Monterey in the fall and winter months. Dr. Heermann saw them in June,
1852, feeding their young in the vicinity of San Francisco, where,
however, they are rare.

In Washington Territory, Dr. Cooper found this the most abundant
species. It preferred the dense evergreens, where large parties could
be found at all seasons busily seeking food among the leaves and
branches, ascending even to the highest tops. They were usually in
company with the _Reguli_ and the other Titmice. Mr. Bischoff found
them abundant at Sitka.

They nest, like all the others of this genus, in holes in soft decayed
trunks and large limbs of trees a few feet from the ground. Their eggs
are not as yet known.

Parus hudsonicus, FORST.


  _Parus hudsonicus_, FORSTER, Philos. Trans. LXII, 1772, 383, 430.—
    AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 543, pl. cxciv.—IB. Birds Am. II, 1841,
    155, pl. cxxviii.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 395; Review,
    82.—SAMUELS, 185.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska). _Parus hudsonicus_
    var. _littoralis_, BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. N. H. IX. 1863, 368.

SP. CHAR. Above yellowish olivaceous-brown; top of head purer brown,
not very different in tint. Chin and throat dark sooty-brown. Sides of
head white. Beneath white; sides and anal region light brownish-chestnut.
No whitish on wings or tail. Tail nearly even, or slightly emarginate
and rounded. Lateral feathers about .20 shortest. Length about 5
inches; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.66.

HAB. Northern portions of North America, from Atlantic to Pacific.

Specimens from the most northern localities appear larger than those
from Maine and Nova Scotia (_P. littoralis_, BRYANT), with
proportionally longer tails (3.00 inches, instead of 2.40). We can,
however, detect no other difference.

The _Parus sibiricus_ of Europe is very similar in coloration and
characters to the _P. hudsonicus_. The principal difference is seen in
the cheeks, which in _sibiricus_ are pure white, this color extending
along the entire side of the neck, widening behind, and extending
round towards the back. In _hudsonicus_ the cheeks behind the eyes and
sides of the neck are ash-gray, the white being confined to the region
below or near the eye. The smoky-gray of the upper part of head and
neck in _sibiricus_ is in a stronger contrast with the brighter
rufescent-gray of the back, and is separated from it by an obscure,
concealed, whitish dorsal half-collar, represented in _hudsonicus_
only by a dull grayish shade in the plumage.

HABITS. This interesting species, one of the liveliest and most
animated of its family, belongs to the northern and eastern sections
of North America. It is found in the eastern and northern portions of
Maine, and probably also in the northern parts of New York, Vermont,
and New Hampshire. In the heavily wooded mountain-valley of Errol, in
the latter State, Mr. Maynard met with this bird in the latter part of
October, in company with the common _atricapillus_. In the same month
he also obtained two birds in Albany, in the northwestern corner of
Maine. A single specimen was taken at Concord, Massachusetts, October
29, by Mr. William Brewster.

Near Calais it is resident, but not common. It is more abundant in the
islands of the Bay of Fundy, where it takes the place, almost
exclusively, of the _atricapillus_. The writer first met with these
lively little wood-sprites in 1850, in the thick swampy woods which
cover one of the small islands near Grand Menan. Their general
appearance as they flitted through the woods, or rustled restlessly
among the tangled débris of decaying trees and underbrush with which
the forest was choked, was not unlike that of our common Black-Cap.
Yet there was an indescribable something both in their cries and in
their manners that at once suggested a difference of species. To my
ear their cries were sharper, clearer, and a trifle harsher. There was
none of that resonant jingle so full of charm in the Chickadee. Their
notes, too, were more articulate, more like distinct words, and were
brought out at certain times with an emphasis the effect of which was
very striking. Beginning with _tschā-dēē_, the _dēē-dēē-dēē_ was
reiterated with an almost incessant volubility.

It seemed to be a more retiring bird, never frequenting the houses,
but keeping closely to thick and retired woods. Yet it is not a timid
species, but seemed entirely unmindful of our presence, or, when
mindful of it, to resent it as an impropriety, rather than to fear it
as a danger. They apparently had nests or young at the time of my
visit, though I could not detect their locality. One pair became at
last so annoyed at my prolonged presence as to manifest their
uneasiness by keeping within a few feet of my head, following me
wherever I went, and without ceasing from their close surveillance
until I finally left their grove and emerged into the open country.
All the time they brought out the cry of _dēē-dēē_ with a clear,
ringing emphasis that was almost startling.

A few days later, being at Halifax, Mr. Andrew Downes, the naturalist,
took me to the nest of these birds in a small grove in the vicinity of
that city. The nest was in a small beech-tree, and had been cut
through the living wood. The excavation, which was not more than two
feet from the ground, was about ten inches in depth, was in a
horizontal position only about two inches, where it turned abruptly
downward, and from a width of an inch and a half assumed a width of
three, and a depth of seven or eight inches. This was warmly lined
with feathers and soft fur. The nest contained young birds. These
particulars we only ascertained when we had laid bare the excavation
by a sharp hatchet. Though disappointed in our search for eggs, yet we
witnessed a very touching manifestation of devotion on the part of the
parents, and of neighborly solicitude in various other inmates of the
grove, which was at once most interesting and a scene long to be

With all the self-sacrificing devotion of the Black-Cap, these birds
displayed a boldness and an aggressive intrepidity that at once
commanded our respect and admiration. I never witnessed anything quite
equal to it. They flew at our faces, assailed our arms as we wielded
the invading hatchet, and it was difficult not to do them even
unintentional injury without abandoning our purpose. Before we could
examine the nest they had entered, and had to be again and again
removed. As soon as we were satisfied that the nest of this heroic
pair did not contain what we sought, we left them, and turned to look
with equal admiration upon the indignant assembly of feathered
remonstrants by which we were surrounded. The neighboring trees
swarmed with a variety of birds, several of which we had never before
seen in their summer homes. There were the Red-Poll Warbler, the Black
and Yellow Warbler, and many others, all earnestly and eloquently
crying out shame upon our proceedings.

Dr. Bryant, in his Notes on the Birds of Yarmouth, N. S., etc.,
mentions finding quite a number of this species on Big Mud Island,
near that place. A pair of these birds with their young were seen by
him near Yarmouth on the 3d of July. Their habits seemed to him
identical with those of the Black-Cap. The young were fully grown and
could fly with ease, yet their parents were so solicitous about their
safety that he could almost catch them with his hand. Their notes
appeared to him similar to those of our common species, but sharper
and more filing, and can be readily imitated by repeating, with one’s
front teeth shut together, the syllables _tzēē-dēē-dēē-dēē_.

Mr. Audubon found a nest of this Titmouse in Labrador. It was built in
a decayed stump about three feet from the ground, was purse-shaped,
eight inches in depth, two in diameter, and its sides an inch thick.
It was entirely composed of the finest fur of various quadrupeds,
chiefly of the northern hare, and all so thickly and ingeniously
matted throughout as to seem as if felted by the hand of man. It was
wider at the bottom than at the top. The birds vehemently assailed the

Mr. Ross, in notes communicated to the late Mr. Kennicott, mentions
that specimens of this species were shot at Fort Simpson, October 13,
in company with _P. septentrionalis_, and others were afterwards seen
towards the mountains. The notes he describes as harsher than those of
the _septentrionalis_. The Smithsonian museum contains specimens from
Fort Yukon and Great Slave Lake, besides the localities already
referred to. Mr. Dall found it the commonest Titmouse at Nulato,
abundant in the winter, but not present in the spring.

The eggs of this species measure .56 by .47 of an inch, are of a
rounded oval shape, and with a white ground are somewhat sparingly
marked with a few reddish-brown spots. These are usually grouped in a
ring around the larger end.


  _Psaltriparus_, BONAP. Comptes Rendus, XXXI, 1850, 478. (Type, _P.
  _Ægithaliscus_, CABANIS, Museum Heineanum, 1851, 90. (Type, _Parus
  _Psaltria_, CASSIN, Ill. N. Am. Birds, 1853, 19.

GEN. CHAR. Size very small and slender. Bill very small, short,
compressed, and with its upper outline much curved for the terminal
half. Upper mandible much deeper than under. Tail long, slender, much
graduated; much longer than the wings; the feathers very narrow. Tarsi
considerably longer than the middle toe. No black on the crown or
throat. Eyes white in some specimens, brown in others. Nest
purse-shaped; eggs unspotted, white.

No bird of this genus belongs to the eastern portion of the United
States. The three species may be defined as follows:—

A. Head striped with black on the sides.

  P. melanotis. The stripes passing under the eye and uniting on
  the occiput. _Hab._ Eastern Mexico

B. No stripes on the head.

  P. minimus. Back ashy; crown light brown. _Hab._ Pacific
  Province of United States …                         var. _minimus._

  Back and crown uniform ashy. _Hab._ Middle Province and
  southern Rocky Mountains of United States …         var. _plumbeus._

Psaltriparus melanotis, BONAP.


  _Parus melanotis_, HARTLAUB, Rev. Zoöl. 1844, 216. _Pœcile melanotis_,
    BP. Consp. 1850, 230. _Ægithaliscus melanotis_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I,
    1850, 1851, 90. _Psaltria melanotis_, WESTERMANN, Bijd. Dierk.
    1851, 16, plate. _Psaltriparus melanotis_, BONAP. C. R. XXXVIII,
    1854.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 299.—IB. 1864, 172 (City
    Mex.).—SALVIN, Ibis, 1866, 190 (Guatemala).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 386, pl. liii, fig. 3; Review, 84. _Psaltriparus
    personatus_, BONAP. C. R. XXXI, Sept. 1850, 478.

SP. CHAR. A black patch on each cheek, nearly meeting behind. Crown
and edges of the wing and tail ash-gray; rest of upper parts
yellowish-brown, lighter on the rump. Beneath whitish; anal region
tinged with yellowish-brown. Length about 4 inches; wing, 1.90; tail,

HAB. Eastern Mexico; south to Guatemala; Oaxaca (high region),
SCLATER. East Humboldt Mountains, Nevada? RIDGWAY.

  [Line drawing: _Psaltriparus minimus._
                  29711 ♂]

HABITS. In regard to the specific peculiarities and the distinct
individual habits of the members of this pretty little species, little
is at present known. Its mode of nesting has not been observed, and no
mention is made, by those who have met with it, of its peculiarities
of song, nor have we any information in regard to any of its habits.
Its geographical distribution, so far as ascertained, is from the
south side of the valley of the Rio Grande of Mexico to Guatemala, and
there is no reliable evidence of its crossing the United States
boundary line, unless Mr. Ridgway is correct in his assurance that he
saw it in the East Humboldt Mountains of Nevada, near Fort Ruby. It
was first described from Guatemalan specimens. Mr. O. Salvin (Ibis,
1866, p. 190) states that on more than one occasion he observed what
he believed to be this species, in the pine-woods of the mountains
near Solola, and above the lake of Atitlan.

Psaltriparus minimus, var. minimus, BONAP.


  _Parus minimus_, TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. VII, ii, 1837, 190.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. IV, 1838, 382, pl. ccclxxxii, figs. 5, 6.—IB. Birds
    Am. II, 1841, 160, pl. cxxx. _Pœcile minima_, BON. Consp. 1850,
    230. _Psaltria minima_, CASSIN, Illust. 1853, 20. _Psaltriparus
    minimus_, BON. C. R. XXXVIII, 1854, 62.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    397; Review, 84.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII, ii, 1859,
    195.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 48.

SP. CHAR. Tail long, feathers graduated. Above rather dark
olivaceous-cinereous; top and sides of head smoky-brown. Beneath pale
whitish-brown, darker on the sides. Length about 4 inches; wing, 1.90;
tail, 2.25.

HAB. Pacific coast of United States.

There is quite an appreciable difference between specimens of this
species from Washington Territory and California; the latter are
smaller, the under parts paler. In the series before us, however, we
see no grounds for specific distinction.

  [Illustration: _Psaltriparus minimus._]

HABITS. This interesting little species was first added to our fauna
by the indefatigable Mr. Townsend in 1837. It is abundant throughout
the Pacific coast from Fort Steilacoom to Fort Tejon. Dr. Gambel found
it exceedingly abundant both in the Rocky Mountains and throughout
California. During the winter the otherwise cheerless woods were alive
with the busy and noisy troops of these restless and industrious
birds, gleaning their scanty fare in company with the _Reguli_, in
every possible position and manner, from bush and tree. He describes
their anxious solicitous search for food as quite curious. They kept
up a continual twittering, and so intent were they in their employment
that they appeared to lose sight of all danger, and it was by no means
unusual to be so surrounded by a flock as almost to render it possible
to catch them in the hand.

Dr. Cooper found this species abundant in Washington Territory, but
never met with it north of the Columbia River. Dr. Suckley says it is
quite common at Fort Steilacoom. He could not, however, detect any
difference in its habits from those of other species of this family.
He saw none in Washington Territory during the winter, and presumes
they all migrate to the South, though the _rufescens_ and the
_occidentalis_ are found there throughout the winter. Townsend,
however, speaks of it as a constant resident about the Columbia River,
hopping around among the bushes, hanging from the twigs in the manner
of other Titmice, twittering all the while with a rapid enunciation
resembling the words _thshish tshist-tsee-twee_.

Mr. Nuttall first observed their arrival on the banks of the Wahlamet
River about the middle of May. They were very industriously engaged in
quest of insects, and were by no means shy, but kept always in the low
bushes in the skirts of the woods. On one occasion the male bird was
so solicitous in regard to the safety of the nest as to attract him to
the place where, suspended from a low bush, about four feet from the
ground, hung their curious home. It was formed like a long purse, with
a round hole for entrance near the top, and made of moss, down, lint
of plants, and lined with feathers. The eggs were six in number, pure
white, and already far gone toward hatching. In the following June, in
a dark wood near Fort Vancouver, he saw a flock of about twelve,
which, by imitating their chirping, he was able to call around him,
and which kept up an incessant and querulous chirping.

A nest of this bird presented by Mr. Nuttall to Audubon was
cylindrical in form, nine inches in length and three and a half in
diameter. It was suspended from the fork of a small twig, and was
composed externally of hypnum, lichens, and fibrous roots so
interwoven as to present a smooth surface, with a few stems of grasses
and feathers intermingled. The aperture was at the top, and did not
exceed seven eighths of an inch in diameter. The diameter of the
internal passage for two thirds of its length was two inches. This was
lined with the cottony down of willows and a vast quantity of soft
feathers. The eggs were nine in number, pure white, .56 of an inch by
.44 in their measurement.

Dr. Cooper found them throughout the year near San Francisco. He found
one of their nests at San Diego as early as the first of March. The
nest is so large, compared with the size of the birds, as to suggest
the idea that the flock unite to build it. He gives the measurements
as eight inches in length and three in diameter, outside; the cavity
five inches long, one and a half in diameter. It was cylindrical, and
suspended by one end from a low branch.

When one of these birds is killed, Dr. Cooper says that the others
come round it with great show of anxiety, and call plaintively until
they find it will not follow them, becoming so fearless as almost to
allow of their being taken by the hand.

Psaltriparus minimus, var. plumbeus, BAIRD.


  _Psaltria plumbea_, BAIRD, Pr. A. N. S. VII, June, 1854, 118 (Little
    Colorado). _Psaltriparus plumbeus_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 398,
    pl. xxxiii, fig. 2; Review, 84.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 398, no.
    77.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 49.

SP. CHAR. Tail long, feathers graduated. Above rather light
olivaceous-cinereous. Top of head rather clearer; forehead, chin, and
sides of head, pale smoky-brown. Beneath brownish-white, scarcely
darker on the sides. Length about 4.20 inches; wing, 2.15; tail, 2.50.

HAB. Southern Rocky Mountain region of United States, from mountains
of West Arizona to Green River, Wyoming; west to Carson City, Nevada

This variety is very similar to the _Psaltriparus minimus_ of the west
coast, which it represents in the Rocky Mountain region. It is,
however, appreciably larger, the wings and tail proportionally longer.
The top of the head is plumbeous, uniform with the back, instead of
smoky-brown. The back is a paler ash, the under parts darker.

HABITS. Of the history of this variety but little is known. It is
found in the southern portion of the Rocky Mountain regions, within
the United States, in Arizona and New Mexico. The extent of its area
of distribution remains to be ascertained. Dr. Kennerly met with it on
Little Colorado River, where he observed it among the scattered bushes
along the banks of the river, occurring in large flocks. These passed
rapidly from place to place, uttering their short, quick notes. He
afterward met with them along the head waters of Bill Williams Fork,
inhabiting the tops of the cotton-wood trees. When attracted to them
by their notes, they could only be seen after a very careful search.
He obtained no knowledge as to their mode of nesting, and no
information, so far as we are aware, has been obtained in regard to
their eggs. It may, however, be safely conjectured that they are
white, and hardly distinguishable from those of the _minimus_. Dr.
Coues found them common near Fort Whipple, Arizona.

Mr. Ridgway met with this bird in especial abundance among the cañons
of West Humboldt Mountains in September. He found it also in all
suitable places westward to the very base of the Sierra Nevada
Mountains. It was met with principally in the thick brushwood
bordering the streams, in ever-restless companies, continually
twittering as they flew from bush to bush, in single rows. Mr. Ridgway
describes these birds as remarkably active in their movements. If
unmolested, they were exceedingly unsuspicious and familiar. During
November he found them inhabiting the cedars, always associating in
scattered flocks.


  _Auriparus_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 85. (Type, _Ægithalus
    flaviceps_, SUND.)

GEN. CHAR. Form sylvicoline. Bill conical, nearly straight, and very
acute; the commissure very slightly and gently curved. Nostrils
concealed by decumbent bristles. Wings long, little rounded; the first
quill half the second; third, fourth, and fifth quills nearly equal,
and longest. Tail slightly graduated. Lateral toes equal, the anterior
united at the extreme base. Hind toe small, about equal to the
lateral. Tarsus but little longer than the middle toe.

This genus is closely allied to _Paroides_ of Europe, as shown in
Birds of North America (p. 399), though sufficiently different. It is
much more sylvicoline in appearance than the other American _Paridæ_.

Auriparus flaviceps, BAIRD.


  _Ægithalus flaviceps_, SUNDEVALL, Ofversigt af Vet. Ak. Förh. VII,
    v, 1850, 129. _Psaltria flaviceps_, SCL. P. Z. S. XXIV, March,
    1856, 37. _Psaltriparus flaviceps_, SCL. Catal. Am. Birds, 1861,
    13, no. 79. _Paroides flaviceps_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 400,
    pl. liii, fig. 2. _Auriparus flaviceps_, BAIRD, Review, 1864,
    85.—COOPER, Birds Cal. 1, 51. _Conirostrum ornatum_, LAWRENCE,
    Ann. N. Y. Lyc. May, 1851, 113, pl. v, fig. 1 (Texas).

SP. CHAR. Above cinereous; head, all round, yellow; lesser
wing-coverts chestnut; beneath brownish-white. Length, 4.50 inches;
wing, 2.16; tail, 2.35.

HAB. Valleys of the Rio Grande and Colorado; Cape St. Lucas.

  [Line drawing: _Auriparus flaviceps._

HABITS. This new and interesting little species was first added to our
fauna by Mr. Lawrence in 1851, only a year after its first description
as a bird of Mexico. Notwithstanding the abundance in which it has
been in certain localities, less has been developed in regard to its
habits and specific characteristics than we seem to have had a right
to anticipate.

It was found in Western Texas, in Mexico, in the lower valleys of New
Mexico and Arizona, and is very abundant at Cape St. Lucas. Of the
eighteen species of birds found by Mr. John Xantus breeding in the
last-named locality, this one was regarded as the most abundant. In a
letter from that gentleman, written in August, 1859, he mentioned that
he had collected over one hundred eggs of this species, during that
season, in the immediate vicinity of Cape St. Lucas.

  [Illustration: _Auriparus flaviceps._]

Dr. Heermann, in his report on the birds observed in Lieutenant
Williamson’s explorations, states that he first discovered this
species in Southern California, at the terminus of the Mohave River.
Owing to their extreme wildness, he was not able to obtain any
specimens. In searching for their food, he states that they often
remained suspended with their backs downward, after the manner of the
Titmice. He found their nests quite abundant, though from the lateness
of the season few of the birds were remaining, in the neighborhood of
Fort Yuma. Dr. Heermann describes their nests as spherical, formed of
twigs, and having the entrance on one side. The interior was lined
with down and feathers, and contained usually from four to six eggs.
These he describes as having, when fresh, a ground-color of pale blue,
dashed all over with small black spots.

Dr. Kennerly, in his Report on the Birds of the Mexican Boundary
Survey, states that he met with this species in the vicinity of the
Rio Grande. They were very wild, flew rapidly, and to quite a distance
before they alighted. They seemed to frequent the low mezquite-bushes
on the hillsides.

Mr. Xantus found this species, when he first arrived at San Lucas, on
the 4th of April, with young birds already fully fledged, although
others were still breeding and continued to breed until the middle of
July. Two fifths of all the eggs he collected that season, he writes,
were of this species. This may, however, have been in part owing to
the conspicuous prominence of their nests, as well as to their
abundance. Xantus found the nest in various positions. In one instance
it was suspended from a leafless branch not three feet from the
ground, with its entrance nearly to the ground. In another instance it
was on an acacia twenty feet from the ground. For the most part they
are hung from low acacia-trees, on the extreme outer branches. In all
cases the entrance to the nest was from the lower end, or towards the

Dr. J. G. Cooper, in his History of the Birds of California, speaks of
finding a large number of this beautiful little bird during the whole
winter frequenting the thickets of algarobia and other shrubs, and
with habits intermediate between those of Titmice and Warblers,
corresponding with their intermediate form. Their song resembles that
of the Chickadee, and they also uttered a loud cry, as they sat on
high twigs, with a triple lisping note resembling _tzee-tee-tee_. Dr.
Cooper found a pair building on the 10th of March. They first formed a
wall, nearly spherical in outline, of the thorny twigs of the
algarobia, in which tree the nest was usually built. They then lined
it with softer twigs, leaves, the down of plants, and feathers. They
covered the outside with thorns, until it became a mass as large as a
man’s head, or nine inches by five and a half on the outside. The
cavity is four and a half inches by two, with an opening on one side
just large enough for the bird to enter. On the 27th of March, Dr.
Cooper found the first nest containing eggs. These were in all
instances four in number, pale blue, with numerous small brown spots,
chiefly near the larger end, though some had very few spots and were
paler. Their size he gives as .60 by .44 of an inch. In one nest,
which he closely observed, the eggs were hatched after about ten days’
incubation, and in two weeks more the young were ready to leave their


The characters of the _Sittinæ_ are expressed with sufficient detail
on page 86. The section is represented in America by a single genus,
confined mainly to the northern portion.


  _Sitta_, LINNÆUS, Syst. Nat. 1735. (Agassiz.)

  [Line drawing: _Sitta carolinensis._
                  1761 ♀]

GEN. CHAR. Bill subulate, acutely pointed, compressed, about as long
as the head; culmen and commissure nearly straight; gonys convex and
ascending; nostrils covered by a tuft of bristles directed forward.
Tarsi stout, scutellate, about equal to the middle toe, much shorter
than the hinder, the claw of which is half the total length. Outer
lateral toe much longer than inner, and nearly equal to the middle.
Tail very short, broad, and nearly even; the feathers soft and
truncate. Wings reaching nearly to the end of the tail, long and
acute, the first primary one third of (or less) the third, or longest.
Iris brown. Nest in holes of trees. Eggs white, spotted with reddish.

The North American species may be arranged as follows:—

A. Crown black.

  S. carolinensis. Belly white; no black stripe through eye.

    Bill, .70 long, .17 deep. Black spots on tertials sharply
    defined. _Hab._ Eastern Province North America …
                                                 var. _carolinensis_.

    Bill, .80 long, .14 deep. Black spots on tertials obsolete.
    _Hab._ Middle and Western Province United States, south to
    Cordova, Mexico …                                var. _aculeata_.

  S. canadensis. Belly brownish-rusty. A black stripe through
  eye. _Hab._ Whole of North America.

B. Crown not black.

  S. pusilla. Crown light hair-brown; hind toe much longer than
  the middle one. _Hab._ South Atlantic and Gulf States.

  S. pygmæa. Crown greenish-plumbeous; hind toe about equal to
  middle one. _Hab._ Western and Middle Province United States,
  south to Xalapa.

Sitta carolinensis, var. carolinensis, LATH.


  _Sitta europæa_, var. γ, _carolinensis_, GM. S. N. I, 1788, 440.
    _Sitta carolinensis_, LATH. Ind. Orn. I, 1790, 262; also of
    all other American writers.—REICHENBACH, Handbuch, Abh. II,
    1853, 153, tab. dxiii, figs. 3563, 3564.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 374, pl. xxxiii, fig. 4; Review, 86.—MAX. Cab. Jour.
    VI, 1858, 106. _Sitta melanocephala_, VIEILL. Gal. I, 1834,
    171, pl. clxxi.
  Other figures: WILSON, Am. Orn. I, pl. ii, fig. 3.—AUD. Orn. Biog.
    II, pl. clii.—IB. B. A. IV, pl. ccxlvii.

  [Illustration: PLATE VIII.

   1. Sitta carolinensis, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 59324.
   2.   “        “          “   ♀
   3. Salpinctes obsoletus, _Say._ Cal., 7157.
   4. Catherpes mexicanus, _Sw._, _var._ Mex., 53425.
   5. Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus, _Lafr._ ♂ Cal., 7149.
   6.       “         affinis, _Xantus._ ♂ Cape St. Lucas, 12965.
   7. Sitta canadensis, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 818.
   8.   “       “          “    ♀ Pa., 2073.
   9.   “   pusilla, _Lath._ Ga., 1925.
  10.   “   pygmæa, _Vig._ Cal., 3342.
  11. Certhia americana, _Bon._ ♂ Pa., 827.]

SP. CHAR. Above ashy-blue. Top of head and neck black. Under parts and
sides of head to a short distance above the eye white. Under
tail-coverts and tibial feathers brown; concealed primaries white.
Bill stout. Female with black of head glossed with ashy. Length about
6 inches; wing about 3.75.

HAB. United States and British Provinces; west to the Valley of the

  [Illustration: _Sitta aculeata._]

HABITS. The common White-bellied Nuthatch has an extended distribution
throughout nearly the whole of Eastern North America, from the
Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains. West of the great central plains it
is replaced by the var. _aculeata_. It has not been met with, so far
as I am aware, farther north than Nova Scotia. It is a resident of
Eastern Maine, and is quite common in the southern and western
portions of the same State. In Massachusetts it is rather common than
abundant, and more plentiful in the western than in the eastern
portions of that State.

The habits of this and the other species of Nuthatches partake
somewhat of those of the smaller Woodpeckers and of the Titmice.
Without the noisy and restless activity of the latter, they seek their
food in a similar manner, and not unfrequently do so in their company,
moving up or down the trunks and over or under the branches of trees,
searching every crack and crevice of the bark for insects, larvæ, or
eggs. Like the Woodpeckers, they dig industriously into decayed
branches for the hidden grub, and like both Woodpeckers and Chickadees
they industriously excavate for themselves a place for their nests in
the decayed trunks of forest trees. Their nest, however, is usually at
a greater elevation, often some twenty or thirty feet from the ground.
The European Nuthatch is said to plaster up the entrance to its nest,
to contract its opening and lessen the dangers of unfriendly
intrusion. This habit has never been observed in any of the American

All our ornithological writers have noticed the assiduities of the
male bird to his sitting mate, and the attention with which he
supplies her with food. He keeps ever in the vicinity of the nest,
calls her from time to time to come to the mouth of the hole to take
her food, or else to receive his endearments and caresses, and at the
approach of danger fearlessly intervenes to warn her of it. When
feeding together, the male bird keeps up his peculiar nasal cry of
_hŏnk-hŏnk_, repeating it from time to time, as he moves around the
trunk or over the branches.

Their favorite food is insects, in every condition. With this, when
abundant, they seem content, and rarely wander from their accustomed
woods in summer. In winter, when snow or ice covers the branches or
closes against them the trunks of trees, they seek the dwellings and
out-houses for their necessary food, and will even alight on the
ground in quest of seeds. In searching for food among the trees, they
move as readily with their heads downward as in any other position.
Their motion is a uniform and steady progression, somewhat in the
manner of a mouse, but never, like the Woodpecker, by occasional hops.

The European species collect and store away the fruit of the hazel and
other nut-bearing trees. Our bird has been supposed to do the same
thing, but this is by no means an indisputable fact.

In some parts of the country absurd prejudices prevail against these
interesting little birds. They are indiscriminately confounded with
the smaller Woodpeckers, called, with them, Sap-Suckers, and because
in the spring and fall they frequent old orchards are most unwisely,
as well as unjustly, persecuted. They are among the most active and
serviceable of the fruit-grower’s benefactors. His worst enemies are
their favorite food. It is to be hoped that soon a better-informed
public opinion will prevail, cherishing and protecting, rather than
seeking to destroy, this useful, affectionate, and attractive species.

Interesting accounts are given in English works of the confiding
tameness of the European species. When kindly treated, it will come
regularly for its food, approaching within a foot or two of the hand
of its benefactor, and catching with its bill the food thrown to it
before it can reach the ground.

The pair work together in constructing the perforation in which they
make their nest. When the excavation has been well begun, they relieve
each other at the task. The one not engaged in cutting attends upon
its mate, and carries out the chips as they are made. These
nesting-places are often quite deep, not unfrequently from fifteen to
twenty inches. Audubon states that they build no nest, but this does
not correspond with my observations. In all the instances that have
come to my knowledge, warm and soft nests were found, composed of
down, fur, hair, or feathers loosely thrown together, and, though not
large in bulk, yet sufficient for a lining for the enlarged cavity
that completes their excavation. Soon after they are hatched, the
young climb to the opening of the nest to receive their food, and,
before they are ready to fly, venture out upon the trunk to try their
legs and claws before their wings are prepared for use, retiring at
night to their nest. In the Southern States they are said to have two
broods in a season.

The eggs of this Nuthatch measure .80 by .62 of an inch. Their
ground-color is white, but when the egg is fresh it has a beautiful
roseate tinge, and generally receives an apparently reddish hue from
the very general distribution of the spots and blotches of rusty-brown
and purplish with which the eggs are so closely covered. These
markings vary greatly in size, from fine dots to well-marked blotches.
Their color is usually a reddish-brown; occasionally the markings are
largely intermixed with purple.

Sitta carolinensis, var. aculeata, CASS.


  _Sitta aculeata_, CASSIN, Pr. A. N. Sc. VIII, Oct. 1856, 254.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 375, pl. xxxiii, fig. 3; Review, 86.—COOPER,
    Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 54. _? Sitta carolinensis_, SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1856, 293 (Cordova); 1858, 300 (Oaxaca); 1859, 363 (Xalapa), 373

SP. CHAR. Very similar to _carolinensis_; but upper secondaries with
only obscure blackish blotches, instead of sharply defined
longitudinal spots of clear black. Bill slenderer and more attenuated.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of the United States, south to
Cordova, Mex. Orizaba (Alpine regions), SUMICH.

The characters given above express the essential differences between
this and the Eastern race of _S. carolinensis_. In the present form,
the depth of the bill opposite its base is .14, the width .17, and .80
or more in length from the forehead; while these same measurements in
var. _carolinensis_ are .17, .22, and .70. The obsolete character of
the black spots on the secondaries is a persistent feature in the var.

HABITS. This bird chiefly differs from its eastern congener in its
more slender bill. There appears to be no difference in regard to
their habits, at least none have been noticed, and it is probable
there is none other than trivial changes caused by its opportunities
of procuring food, and the kinds upon which it subsists. It is
supposed to be distributed throughout Western North America, from the
British Possessions to Mexico, though Dr. Cooper thinks that it is not
a common bird south of San Francisco, and only to be seen there in the
colder months. It has been met with at San Diego in February. He did
not observe any in the Coast Mountains, near Santa Cruz, but northward
they are numerous in the summer, frequenting chiefly the groves of the
deciduous oaks, creeping constantly about their trunks and branches in
search of insects, which they also occasionally seek on the roofs and
walls of houses. Their habits are similar to those of _S. canadensis_,
but their movements are said to be slower, and their note is a single
harsh call, uttered occasionally, and responded to by their comrades.
Dr. Cooper found them quite common in Washington Territory and at
Puget Sound. Dr. Suckley also mentions their great abundance.

Dr. Kennerly met with this species a hundred miles west of
Albuquerque, New Mexico, and quite abundant among the pines of the
Sierra Madre. He speaks of its note as being peculiar.

Mr. J. K. Lord states that this species remained about Colville during
the winter, when the thermometer was 30° below zero. He also mentions
that he found them nesting, in June, in the branches of the tallest
pine-trees, so high up as to render the obtaining their eggs almost an

Mr. Ridgway found the Slender-billed Nuthatch abundant, throughout the
year, in the vicinity of Carson City, among the pines on the Sierra
Nevada Mountains. He noted its great similarity in manners to the
_carolinensis_; at the same time the well-marked difference in the
notes did not escape his attention. These notes are much weaker, and
are uttered in a finer tone, and some of them are said to be entirely

Sitta canadensis, LINN.


  _Sitta canadensis_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 177.—AUD. Orn. Biog.
    II, 1834, pl. cviii.—IB. Birds Am. IV, pl. ccxlviii.—REICH.
    Handb. Abh. II, 1853, 152, tab. dxiii, figs. 3561, 3562.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 376; Review, 87.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 15, no.
    91.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 54. _Sitta varia_, WILS. Am. Orn.
    I, 1808, 40, pl. ii.

SP. CHAR. Above ashy-blue. Top of head black; a white line above and a
black one through the eye. Chin white; rest of under parts
brownish-rusty. Length about 4.50 inches; wing, 2.66. Female with the
black of head mixed with ashy; beneath paler, more of a muddy-white.

HAB. Whole United States and British Provinces. North to Lake Winnipeg.

HABITS. The common Red-bellied Nuthatch, though nowhere a very
abundant species, is found throughout the whole of North America, from
Florida to high northern regions, and from ocean to ocean. The
Smithsonian Institution possesses specimens from Georgia, Selkirk
Settlement, California, and Washington Territory. Mr. Gambel found
them quite common in the mountains in the interior of California, in
October, roving in company with busy flocks of the _Parus montanus_.

Dr. Cooper met with them abundantly in Washington Territory, where
they preferred the oaks and other deciduous trees, and never
frequented the interior of the dense forest. He observed this bird and
the Slender-billed Nuthatch, along the 49th parallel, east of the
Cascade Mountains, as late as the middle of October. Dr. Suckley also
met both birds west of the same mountains.

This Nuthatch was observed by Mr. Ridgway among the aspen groves
bordering the streams that flow from the East Humboldt Mountains. In
that locality it was common through the month of September, though not
abundant. It was again seen in June among the pine-woods of the
Wahsatch Mountains, but it was not common.

While a few of these birds are resident of the Northern States, they
are, to a considerable extent, of migratory habits. Wilson observed
them leaving in large numbers for the Southern States in October, and
returning again in April. On the 20th of May, 1867, the writer
observed a small flock in Eastern Massachusetts, evidently just
arrived from the South. They were apparently fatigued and hungry, and
paid no attention to the near presence of workmen engaged in setting
bean-poles. They visited and carefully examined each pole, and bored
holes into several in search of hidden larvæ, often within a few feet
of persons at work.

While on the Pacific coast they are said to prefer the forests of
deciduous trees, and to be rarely found in the dark evergreen forests,
in the Eastern States they seem to be particularly fond of the seeds
of pine-trees, and in the winter are seldom found in the woods of
deciduous trees.

They feed in pairs and climb about in all directions, usually in
company with the white-breasted species, Chickadees, and the smaller
Woodpeckers. They are restless and rapid in their motions, and have a
voice at least an octave higher than any other of this family. The
note is a monotone, and is unmusical. Mr. Nuttall represents their cry
as consisting of three syllables, represented by _dāy-dāy-dāit_, and
compares it to the sound of a child’s trumpet.

Those wintering at the North occasionally visit farm-yards and
orchards, and examine the eaves of outbuildings for food.

Audubon found this species more plentiful in the woods of Maine and
Nova Scotia than anywhere else. He never met any south of Maryland,
saw none in Newfoundland, and only met with one in Labrador. At
Eastport he found a pair breeding as early as the 19th of April,
before the Bluebirds had made their appearance, and while ice was
still remaining on the northern exposures. An excavation had been made
in a low dead stump, less than four feet from the ground, both male
and female birds working by turns until they had reached the depth of
fourteen inches. The eggs, four in number, were of a white
ground-color, tinged with a deep blush when fresh, and sprinkled with
reddish dots. They raise but a single brood in a season.

C. S. Paine, of East Bethel, Vt., found a nest of this species about
the middle of May, in a small beech-tree, the excavation having been
made at the height of twelve feet from the ground. The hole was about
as large as that made by the Downy Woodpecker. When first noticed, the
bird was looking out of the hole. Having been started out, she flew to
a limb close by and watched the party some time. When she flew back,
she buzzed before the hole in the manner of a Humming-Bird, and then
darted in. While Mr. Paine was looking on, the male came several times
to feed his mate, who would meet him at the opening with a clamorous
noise, to receive his bounty. The nest contained five eggs.

In Western Massachusetts, Mr. Allen speaks of this species as chiefly
a winter resident, appearing the first week in October, and leaving
the last of April.

The eggs of this species measure .62 by .48 of an inch, and are of an
oblong-oval shape. Their ground-color is a clear crystal white, marked
principally about the larger end with a wreath of purple and roseate

Sitta pygmæa, VIG.


  _Sitta pygmæa_, VIGORS, Zoöl. Beechey’s Voy. 1839, 25, pl. iv.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. V, 1839, pl. ccccxv.—IB. Birds Am. IV, pl.
    ccl.—REICH. Handb. 1853, 153, tab. dxiv, figs. 3365,
    3366.—NEWBERRY, P. R. R. Rep. VI, IV, 1857, 79.—BAIRD, Birds N.
    Am. 1858, 378; Review, 88.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 363
    (Xalapa).—IB. Catal. 1861, 15, no. 93.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1,
    1870, 55.

SP. CHAR. Above ashy-blue; head and upper part of neck greenish
ashy-brown, its lower border passing a little below the eye, where it
is darker; nape with an obscure whitish spot. Chin and throat whitish;
rest of lower parts brownish-white; the sides and behind like the
back, but paler. Middle tail-feather like the back; its basal half
with a long white spot; its outer web edged with black at the base.
Length about 4 inches; wing, 2.40.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of United States; south to Xalapa.

This species is closely related to _Sitta pusilla_ of the Southern
States. The brown of the head has, however, an olivaceous-green tinge
not seen in the other; the white spot on the nape less distinct. The
middle tail-feather has its basal half white and the outer web edged
with black at the base. This black edging is never seen in the other,
and the white patch is reduced to a faint trace, only visible in very
highly plumaged specimens.

HABITS. This diminutive species of Nuthatch is found throughout our
Pacific coast and on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains, from
Washington Territory to Southern California. It is also to be found in
New Mexico, and specimens have been procured from Mexico.

Dr. Kennerly found them quite abundant in the Sierra Madre and San
Francisco Mountains, even as high up as the snow-line, seeking their
insect food among the tops of the lofty pines. Dr. Newberry frequently
met with these Nuthatches in the most wooded places on his route,
where water was near and any considerable amount of animal life
visible. He, however, never met with them in the forests of yellow
pines. Dr. Gambel mentions their almost extraordinary abundance, in
the winter months, in Upper California. Around Monterey, at times, the
trees appeared almost alive with them, as they ran up and down and
around the branches and trunks, uttering their monotonous and
querulous cries. Their note he describes as a repeated whistling
_wit-wit_. When one utters this cry, the rest join in. They also have
a whistling trill while they are busily searching the tree in every
part, and they never leave till they have pretty thoroughly searched
every crack.

Dr. Cooper only met with this Nuthatch in the open pine-forests about
Fort Colville, near the 49th parallel. They were associated in small
flocks about the 20th of October, when there were heavy frosts at
night. The chirping noise they made resembled the cries of young
chickens. Their habits were very similar to those of the _Psaltriparus

Mr. J. K. Lord found this Nuthatch an abundant bird along the entire
length of the boundary line from the coast to the Rocky Mountains. It
was also common on Vancouver Island. They were seen in large flocks in
company with the Chickadees, except during the nesting-time, which is
in June. A few were winter residents at Colville, but the greater
number left in November. He describes it as a very active bird, always
on the move. After nesting they congregate in large flocks and move
about from tree to tree, twittering a low sweet note as if singing to
themselves, now climbing back downwards along the under sides of the
topmost branches of tall pines, searching into every crevice for
insects, or, descending to the ground, clinging to the slender
flower-stalks for other insects. They nest in June, make a hole in the
dead branch of a pine, and deposit their eggs on the bare chips of the
wood. This account does not agree with the experience of California
ornithologists, who have found a loose nest within the excavation.

Mr. Ridgway found this Nuthatch abundant among the pines of the Sierra
Nevada, in the vicinity of Carson City. They were found generally in
pairs. Its note is said to greatly resemble the vociferous peeping of
some of the small Sandpipers, being sharp, loud, and distinct, and
vigorously and continuously uttered, whether climbing or flying. He
found it exceedingly hard to discover this bird among the branches, or
even when flying, owing to the swiftness and irregularity of its
flight. When the female of a pair had been killed, the male bird was
extremely loud in his lamentations. Diminutive as this bird is, Mr.
Ridgway states that it is also the noisiest of all the feathered
inhabitants of the pines, though it is less active in the pursuit of
insects than the larger species.

Nests of this bird obtained near Monterey appear to be as well made as
those of any of this genus, lining the cavity in which they are placed
and conforming to it in size and shape, the materials sufficiently
interwoven to permit removal and preservation, and warmly constructed
of feathers, wool, vegetable down, hair, and the silky efflorescence
of seeds.

Their eggs, seven in number, resemble those of the _S. canadensis_,
but are of smaller size and a little more pointed at one end. Their
ground-color is crystalline-white. This is covered more or less
thickly with red spots, most numerous at the larger end. Their measure
varies from .65 by .50 to .60 by .47 of an inch. The first eggs of
this bird brought to the notice of naturalists were procured at Fort
Crook on the Upper Sacramento of California, and not far from Mount
Shasta, by Sergeant John Feilner, U. S. A., forming part of a very
extensive collection of birds and eggs transmitted by him to the
Smithsonian Institution. Promoted to a lieutenancy for gallant
conduct, this gentleman finally attained the rank of captain of
cavalry, and was killed by the Sioux during an exploring expedition
into Dacotah under General Sully.

Sitta pusilla, LATH.


  _Sitta pusilla_, LATH. Ind. Orn. I, 1790, 263.—WILS. Am. Orn. II,
    1810, 105, pl. XV.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, pl. cxxv.—IB. Birds
    Am. IV, pl. ccxlix.—REICH. Handb. 1853, 153, tab. dxiv, figs.
    3567, 3568.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 377; Review, 88.—SCLATER,
    Catal. 1861, 15.

SP. CHAR. Above ashy-blue; top of head and upper part of neck rather
light hair-brown, divided on the nape by white. Eye involved in the
brown, which is deeper on the lower border. Beneath muddy-whitish;
sides and behind paler than the back. Middle tail-feathers almost
entirely like the back. Length of female, 4 inches; wing, 2.50.

HAB. South Atlantic and Gulf States. Ohio! KIRTLAND.

HABITS. The Brown-headed Nuthatch has a much more restricted
distribution than the other members of this family in this country.
The specimens in the Smithsonian Museum are chiefly from Georgia.
Wilson met with it in Virginia, and states that it is found in the
other Southern States. I have received its eggs from Cheraw, S. C.,
and from Florida.

Wilson’s description of its habits makes them almost identical with
those of _Sitta canadensis_, while its notes are more shrill and
chirping. Like that bird, it is very fond of the seeds of the pines.
Wherever found, it is a constant resident, and does not migrate.

Audubon states that this bird never goes farther north than Maryland,
and that it is the most abundant in Florida, Georgia, and the
Carolinas. In Louisiana it is rare, and it is not found in Kentucky.
Its notes, he states, are several octaves higher than those of the
_carolinensis_, and more shrill, and at least an octave and a half
higher than those of the _canadensis_.

Although apparently preferring pines and pine barrens, it by no means
confines itself to them, but is not unfrequently seen on low trees and
fences, mounting, descending, and turning in every direction, and with
so much quickness of motion as to render it difficult to shoot it. It
examines every hole and every crevice in the bark of trees, as well as
their leaves and twigs, among which it finds abundance of food at all
seasons. During the breeding-season they go about in pairs and are
very noisy. Their only note is a monotonous cry, described as
resembling _dĕnd, dĕnd_. Mr. Audubon further states that when the
first brood leaves the nest, the young birds keep together, moving
from tree to tree with all the activity of their parents, who join
them when the second brood is able to keep them company. In Florida
they pair in the beginning of February, having eggs as early as the
middle of that month. In South Carolina they breed one month later.
Their nest is usually excavated by the birds themselves in the dead
portion of a low stump or sapling, sometimes only a few feet from the
ground, but not unfrequently at the height of thirty or forty feet.
Both birds are said to work in concert with great earnestness for
several days, until the hole, which is round, and not larger at the
entrance than the body of the bird, is dug ten or twelve inches deep,
widening at the bottom. The eggs, according to Mr. Audubon, are laid
on the bare wood. This, however, is probably not their constant habit.
The eggs, from four to six in number, and not much larger than those
of the Humming-Bird, have a white ground, thickly sprinkled with fine
reddish-brown dots. They are said to raise two, and even three, broods
in a season. According to the observations of the late Dr. Gerhardt of
Northern Georgia, the Brown-headed Nuthatch breeds in that part of the
country about the 19th of April.

The eggs of this Nuthatch are of a rounded oval shape, measuring .60
by .50 of an inch. Their white ground-color is so completely overlaid
by a profusion of fine dottings of a dark purplish-brown as to be
entirely concealed, and the egg appears almost as if a uniform
chocolate or brown color.


CHAR. Primaries ten; first very short; less than half the second. Tail
long, wedge-shaped, the feathers stiffened and acute. Bill slender,
much compressed and curved. Outer lateral toe much longest; hind toe
exceeding both the middle toe and the tarsus, which is scutellate
anteriorly and very short. Entire basal joint of middle toe united to
the lateral.


  _Certhia_, LINNÆUS, Syst. Nat. ed. 10th, 1758, 112. (Type, _C.
    familiaris_.) (See REICHENBACH, Handbuch, I, II, 1853, 256, for a
    monograph of the genus.)

  [Line drawing: _Certhia americana._
                  827 ♂]

GEN. CHAR. Plumage soft and loose. Bill as long as head, not notched,
compressed; all its lateral outlines decurved. Nostrils not overhung
by feathers, linear, with an incumbent thickened scale, as in
_Troglodytes_. No rictal bristles, and the loral and frontal feathers
smooth, without bristly shafts. Tarsus scutellate anteriorly, shorter
than middle toe, which again is shorter than hind toe. All claws very
long, much curved and compressed; outer lateral toe much the longer;
basal joint of middle toe entirely adherent to adjacent ones. Wings
rather pointed, about equal to the tail, the feathers of which are
much pointed, with stiffened shafts. Primaries ten; first less than
half the second. Nest in holes of trees; eggs white, sprinkled with

  [Illustration: _Certhia americana._]

Of the _Certhiadæ_ but one genus belongs to America,—_Certhia_, with
its one small species of considerable variability with locality. The
characters above given include both family and generic characters,
derived from this one genus. This is readily distinguished by the
decurved, compressed bill; absence of notch and bristles; exposed
linear nostrils with incumbent scales; connate middle toe, very long
claws, short tarsi, pointed and stiffened tail-feathers, etc.

The American and European varieties (they can scarcely be called
species) resemble each other very closely, though they appear to be
distinguished by such differences as the following:—

The two European races, _C. familiaris_ and _C. costæ_, both differ
from all the American varieties in having the crissum scarcely tinged
with yellowish. _C. familiaris_ is more ashy beneath than any others,
and _C. costæ_ is purest white beneath of all. Nearest _C.
familiaris_, in the American series, as regards tints of the upper
parts, are the Pacific coast specimens of _C. americana_,—while the
latter are most like the Atlantic region specimens of the same. _C.
mexicana_ is to be compared only with the North American forms, though
it is the only one approaching _familiaris_ in the ashy lower parts.

_C. familiaris_ is at once separated from the rest by having the tail
shorter than the wing.

_C. costæ_ is almost precisely like Eastern specimens of _C.
americana_ in colors, but is absolutely pure white below, and without
the distinctly yellowish crissum of the American bird. The bill and
claws, however, are considerably longer than in Eastern _americana_,
though their size is almost equalled by those of Western specimens;
the colors are, however, more decidedly different.

There is never any deviation from the generic _pattern_ of coloration;
but the variation, _among individuals of each form_, in length of the
bill and claws, as well as the tail, is remarkable.

Certhia familiaris, var. americana, BONAP.


  _Certhia fusca_, BARTON, Fragments of the Natural History of
    Pennsylvania, 1799, II. _Certhia familiaris_, VIEILL. Ois. Am.
    Sept. II, 1807, 70 (not the European bird); also of WILSON and
    AUDUBON.—MAYNARD, Birds E. Mass. 1870, 93. _Certhia americana_,
    BONAP. Comp. List. 1838.—REICH. Handb. I, 1853, 265, pl. dcxv,
    figs. 4102, 4103.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 372; Review,
    89.—MAX. Cab. Jour. 1858, 105.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep.
    XII, II, 1859, 192.—HAMLIN, Pr. Bost. Soc. N. H. 1864—66, 80.
    _Certhia mexicana_, COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 58.

SP. CHAR. Bill about the length of the head. Above dark brown, with a
slightly rufous shade, each feather streaked centrally, but not
abruptly, with whitish; rump rusty. Beneath almost silky-white; the
under tail-coverts with a faint rusty tinge. A white streak over the
eye; the ear-coverts streaked with whitish. Tail-feathers brown
centrally, the edges paler yellowish-brown. Wings with a transverse
bar of pale reddish-white across both webs. Length, 5.50; wing, 2.60;
tail, 2.90. (No. 827.)

_Young._ (5945, Steilacoom, W. T.; Dr. J. S. Cooper.) Resembling the
adult, but streaks above indistinct, and the feathers there tipped
indistinctly with blackish; the rufous restricted to the upper
tail-coverts. Breast and jugulum with very minute blackish wavings or
indistinct bars.

HAB. Whole of United States, to Red River Settlement.

Specimens from the far west are purer white beneath, much as in
_costæ_, but those from the northwest coast have the white tinged with
light rusty. Though purer white below, these specimens are much
browner above than Eastern ones,—sometimes more so than in
_familiaris_, but then there is the yellowish crissum never seen in
this “species,” and the proportions are quite different. Thus it will
be seen the _C. americana_ may always be distinguished from the other
forms; when most resembling _costæ_ in the grayish tints of the upper
plumage (as in Eastern examples), the lower parts are less purely
white, and the bill and claws smaller; when like it in the proportions
and pure white of the lower parts (as in Western specimens), the
colors above are altogether more brown. The yellowish crissum of
_americanus_ will also distinguish them. Though often resembling
_familiaris_ in the colors of the upper parts, the latter may always
be distinguished by its ashy lower parts without yellowish crissum,
the shorter tail, with its less acute feathers, and stouter bill.

_C. mexicanus_ is still more different in colors, for which see that

HABITS. Our common Creeper, so closely resembling the Creeper of
Europe as by many to be supposed identical with it, is distributed
over the whole of North America, from the Gulf of Mexico to high
northern latitudes. At different seasons it may be found in every one
of the several States and Territories, yet it is never very abundant.
The Smithsonian possesses specimens from various parts of the country,
from Georgia to Fort Steilacoom on the Pacific, but of these none
appear to have been secured during the period of reproduction. Dr.
Heermann found them very common in the more mountainous districts of
California. Dr. Cooper found these birds abundant in the forests of
Washington Territory, but difficult to detect from the similarity of
their color to that of the bark over which they crept. They were
apparently constant residents in that Territory. Dr. Suckley, who
obtained several specimens of this species in the oak groves in the
vicinity of Fort Steilacoom, states that in their habits the Western
birds resemble those of the Atlantic States.

Mr. Ridgway found this Creeper inhabiting both the pine forests of the
Sierra Nevada, where it was the more common, and also, in winter,
among the willows of the river valleys. He did not meet with it east
of the Truckee River, nor until he had reached the Wahsatch Mountains.

Dr. Woodhouse found the Brown Creeper generally distributed throughout
the Indian Territory, Texas, New Mexico, and California, and adds that
it was especially abundant in the San Francisco Mountains of New

Dr. Cooper states that he has met with this form in the winter
throughout the higher mountains and among the Coast Range as far south
as Santa Cruz. He found them chiefly frequenting the coniferous trees,
creeping up and down their trunks and branches, searching for insects
in their crevices, and so nearly resembling the bark in their general
color, that they can be detected only with great difficulty, except
when in motion.

He adds that their notes are shrill and wiry, and are often heard when
the bird is scarcely visible, without a careful search, their cry
appearing to be from a greater distance than the real performer. In
March, Dr. Cooper heard them giving out a faint but sharp-toned song,
resembling that of a Wren. If Dr. Cooper is correct in his account of
the notes, they do not correspond with those of our Eastern bird.

Dr. Kennerly, in his Report on the birds observed by him near the 35th
parallel, states that he found our common Creeper very abundant among
the rough-barked cedars in the Aztec Mountains. It usually attracted
notice, and its place of retreat was discovered, by his hearing its
quick and sharp notes. A close and careful search generally enabled
him to perceive it proceeding leisurely upward and downward, in
straight or spiral lines, toward the top of the tree, dodging
dexterously to the opposite side from the observer, and only resuming
its occupation when assured of solitude and safety.

The observations of Dr. Kennerly, if they are to be received as
characteristic of the Western Creepers, do not correspond with those
of our Eastern birds, as far as we have observed them. None of our
birds are more easily approached, and when they are pursuing their
search for food, none are more regardless of observation. The
statement that our Creeper, when watched, moves to the opposite side
of the tree from the looker-on, has found a certain currency in our
books. We are, however, of the opinion that this is owing to its
restless activity, prompting it to constant changes of place and
position, and not to its timidity or caution. We have uniformly found
them either unconscious or regardless of our near presence.

They are solitary in their habits, and frequent, especially in the
summer, deep woods, searching for their favorite food in high places
where it is difficult to reach them, but this is no necessary evidence
of their shyness. They often hunt for their food in very exposed
places, with equal courage and recklessness. It is an active, restless
bird, associating with Titmice and the smaller Woodpeckers, moving
with great rapidity from side to side and from place to place. They
breed in hollow trees, in the deserted holes of the Woodpeckers, and
in the decayed stumps and branches of trees. Their nest is a loose
aggregation of soft, warm materials, not interwoven, but simply
collected with regard to no other requisite than warmth.

In the summer of 1851 our party, in their visit to one of the smaller
Grand Menan Islands, was so fortunate as to meet with the nest of this
bird. It was built in a decayed birch-tree, only a few feet from the
ground, and contained five eggs nearly ready to hatch. This was on the
20th of June. The nest was an intermingling of decayed wood, the fur
of small quadrupeds, and feathers, but with so little adherence or
consistency of form that it was impossible to retain the materials in
position after removal.

So far from evincing any timidity, the birds refused to leave their
nest, and could hardly be prevented from following it when removed
from the woods to a house on the island. One of our companions,
returning to the woods in order to secure the birds for the sake of
identification, found the pair still lingering round the place of
their rifled nest. Upon his approach they began to circle round his
head with reproachful cries, and continued to keep so close to him
that it was impossible to shoot one without mutilating it. At length
one of the birds alighted on a small branch held over his head by a
lad who accompanied him, and in this position was secured by shooting
it with a pistol loaded with the finest shot. Its mate could have been
secured, as she persisted in pursuing them, but she was not molested.
Throughout there was not a trace of timidity on the part of either
bird, but the most reckless and daring devotion.

Besides the single call-note or the sharp outcry with which the
Creepers signalize their movements, and which they utter from time to
time as they rapidly and busily move up and down the trunks and limbs,
or flit from tree to tree, they have been generally regarded as having
no song. But this is not the fact. The careful observations of Mr.
William Brewster of Cambridge have satisfied him that these birds have
a very distinct and varied song. During the winter these birds are not
uncommon in the vicinity of Boston, coming about the houses with all
the tameness and confidence of the _Parus atricapillus_, and permit a
very near approach. They are very easily attracted by suspending from
a piazza a piece of fat meat. Mr. Brewster has observed them commence
singing as early as the 14th of March. Their notes are varied and
warbling and somewhat confused; some of them are loud, powerful, and
surpassingly sweet, others are more feeble and plaintive; their song
usually ends with their accustomed cry, which may be represented by
_crēē-crēē-crē-ēp_. Mr. Brewster, besides repeatedly hearing them sing
in Massachusetts in the early spring, has also listened to their song
in Maine in the month of June.

Their eggs are small in proportion to the size of the bird, are nearly
oval in shape, with a grayish-white ground, sparingly sprinkled with
small, fine, red and reddish-brown spots. They measure .55 by .43 of
an inch.

Certhia familiaris, var. mexicana, GLOG.


  _Certhia mexicana_, “GLOGER, Handbuch,” REICHENBACH, Handbuch, I,
    1853, 265, pl. dlxii, figs. 3841, 3842.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856,
    290; 1858, 297; 1859, 362, 372.—SALVIN, Ibis, 1866, 190 (Volcan
    de Fuego, Guat.).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 373 (under _C.
    americana_), pl. lxxxiii, fig. 2; Review, 90.

SP. CHAR. Ground-color above very dark sepia-brown, each feather with
a sharply defined medial streak of grayish-white, these streaks
becoming broader posteriorly, where they are discontinued at the
beginning of the rump. Whole rump and upper tail-coverts
chestnut-rufous. Beneath pale ashy, becoming almost white on the
throat; crissal feathers deep ochraceous except at the tips, which are
whitish. Markings of the wings as usual. Measurements (8176, Mexico):
wing, 2.50; tail, 2.70; bill (from nostril), .48; hind claw, .30.

HAB. Guatemala and Mexico; probably extending along the table-lands
into the United States.

This is one of the best marked of the various races that have been
discussed (see p. 124). The ground-color of the upper parts is
altogether darker than in any of the others, and the streaks are more
sharply defined and narrower; the rufous of the rump is of a
castaneous, instead of yellowish cast; the wings appear more uniform
with the back, owing to the dark color of the latter, and their pale
markings have little of that yellowish tinge so noticeable in the
others. In the ashy tinge of the lower parts there is a resemblance to
_familiaris_ of Europe; but the latter has not the ochraceous crissum
so noticeable in the present bird. There is little resemblance to
Western and Rocky Mountain specimens of the _C. americana_ and if
these are to be considered as separable from the Eastern (which,
however, would not, in our opinion, be advisable) they must not be
referred to _mexicana_.

The Mexican Creeper is introduced here on account of the probability
of its occurrence in the Southern Rocky Mountains.

HABITS. Mr. Salvin found the Mexican Tree-Creeper by no means uncommon
in the pine forests of the upper zone of the Volcan de Fuego. He also
observed it frequenting pine-trees in the district of Chilasco, Vera
Paz, at about 6,000 feet above the sea.


CHAR. Rictal bristles wanting; the loral feathers with bristly points;
the frontal feathers generally not reaching to nostrils. Nostrils
varied, exposed or not covered by feathers, and generally overhung by
a scale-like membrane. Bill usually without notch (except in some
Middle American genera). Wings much rounded, about equal to tail,
which is graduated. Primaries ten, the first generally about half the
second. Basal joint of middle toe usually united to half the basal
joint of inner, and the whole of that of the outer, or more. Lateral
toes about equal, or the outer a little the longer. Tarsi scutellate.

The impossibility of defining any large group of animals, so as to
separate it stringently and abruptly from all others, is well
understood among naturalists; and the _Troglodytidæ_ form no exception
to the rule. Some bear so close a resemblance to the Mocking Thrushes
as to have been combined with them; while others again exhibit a close
approximation to other subfamilies. The general affinities of the
family, however, appear to be to the _Turdidæ_, and one of the best
characters for separating the two families appears to exist in the
structure of the feet.

In the _Turdidæ_ the basal joint of the outer lateral toe is united to
the middle toe, sometimes only a part of it; and the inner toe is
cleft almost to its very base, so as to be opposable to the hind toe,
separate from the others. In the _Troglodytidæ_, on the contrary, the
inner toe is united by half its basal joint to the middle toe,
sometimes by the whole of this joint; and the second joint of the
outer toe enters wholly or partially into this union, instead of the
basal joint only. In addition to this character, the open, exposed
nostrils, the usually lengthened bill, the generally equal lateral
toes, the short rounded wings, the graduated tail, etc., furnish
points of distinction.


A. Lateral toes very unequal.

  _a._ Culmen depressed basally, the interval between the
  nostrils wider than the much compressed anterior half of the
  bill. Plate on the posterior half of the tarsus continuous.

  _b._ Culmen compressed basally, the interval between the
  nostrils narrower than the rather depressed anterior half of
  the bill. Plate on the posterior half of the tarsus broken into
  smaller scales. Salpinctes.

B. Lateral toes equal.

  _c._ Length about 8 inches. Campylorhynchus.

  _d._ Length less than 6 inches.

    Bill abruptly decurved or hooked at the tip. Outstretched
    feet not reaching near to end of tail. Thryothorus.

      Tail longer than the wing, the feathers black, variegated
      terminally with whitish …                Subgenus _Thryomanes_.

      Tail shorter than the wing, the feathers rusty, not
      variegated with whitish …               Subgenus _Thryothorus_.

    Bill only gently curved at the tip. Outstretched feet
    reaching nearly to or beyond the end of the tail.

    Back without streaks. No distinct superciliary stripe.

      Bill curved, sub-conical. Tail as long as wing.…
                                              Subgenus _Troglodytes_.

      Bill straight, subulate. Tail much shorter than wing.…
                                                Subgenus _Anorthura_.

    Back streaked with black and white. Cistothorus.

      Bill short, stout; its depth equal to one half its length
      from the nostril; gonys straight or even convex, ascending.
      Crown streaked; no distinct superciliary stripe.…
                                              Subgenus _Cistothorus_.

      Bill elongated, slender; its depth less than one third its
      length from the nostril; gonys slightly concave, declining.
      Crown not streaked; a conspicuous superciliary stripe.…
                                             Subgenus _Telmatodytes_.


  _Campylorhynchus_, SPIX, Av. Bras. I, 1824, 77. (Type, _C.
    scolopaceus_, SPIX = _Turdus variegatus_, GMEL.)

  [Line drawing: _Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill stout, compressed, as long as, or longer than the
head, without notch or rictal bristles; culmen and commissure
curved; gonys nearly straight. Nostrils in the antero-inferior
part of nasal groove, in advance of the frontal feathers, with an
overhanging scale with thickened edge, as in _Thryothorus_;
sometimes, as in the type, reduced to a slight ridge along the
upper side of the nasal groove. Lateral septum not projecting
below or anteriorly into the nasal cavity, but concealed by the
nasal scale. Tarsus a little longer than middle toe and claw;
claws strong, much curved, and very sharp; middle toe with basal
joint adherent almost throughout. Wings and tail about equal, the
latter graduated; the exterior webs of lateral feathers broad.

This genus embraces the largest species of the family, and is
well represented in Middle and South America, two species only
reaching into North America, which may be distinguished as

Top of head and post-ocular stripe reddish-brown; back streaked
longitudinally and linearly with white. All the feathers beneath
conspicuously spotted. Crissum and flanks with rounded or
elongated spots. Iris reddish. Nostrils inferior, linear,
overhung by a scale. Nests large and purse-shaped; eggs white,
profusely marked with salmon-colored or reddish spots.

  _a._ Spots much larger on throat and jugulum than elsewhere.
  Inner webs of second to fifth tail-feathers (between middle
  and outer feathers) black, except at tips. Length, 8.00; wing,
  3.40; tail, 3.55. _Hab._ Adjacent borders of United States
  and Mexico …                                     _brunneicapillus._

  _b._ Spots on throat and jugulum little larger than elsewhere.
  Inner webs of intermediate tail-feathers banded with white like
  the outer. Length, 7.50. _Hab._ Cape St. Lucas …         _affinis._

Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus, GRAY.


  _Picolaptes brunneicapillus_, LAFRESNAYE, Mag. de Zool. 1835, 61,
    pl. xlvii.—LAWR. Ann. N. Y. Lyc. V, 1851, 114.—CASSIN, Birds
    Cal. Tex. 1854, 156, pl. xxv.—HEERMANN, J. A. N. Sc. II, 1853,
    263. _C. brunneicapillus_, GRAY, Genera, I, 1847, 159.—BP. Consp.
    1850, 223.—SCL. P. A. N. S. 156, 264.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    355; Pr. Phil. Acad. 1859, 3, etc.; Rev. 99.—HEERMANN, P. R. R.
    X, 1859.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 482 (Texas).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1,
    1870, 61.

SP. CHAR. Bill as long as the head. Above brown; darkest on the head,
which is unspotted. Feathers on the back streaked centrally with
white. Beneath whitish, tinged with rusty on the belly; the feathers
of the throat and upper parts, and under tail-coverts, with large
rounded black spots; those of the remaining under parts with smaller,
more linear ones. Chin and line over the eye white. Tail-feathers
black beneath, barred subterminally (the outer one throughout) with
white. Iris, reddish-yellow. Length, 8 inches; wing, 3.40; tail, 3.55.

HAB. Adjacent borders of the United States and Mexico, from the mouth
of the Rio Grande to the Valley of the Colorado, and to the Pacific
coast of Southern California. Replaced at Cape St. Lucas by _C.

This species is found abundantly along the line of the Rio Grande and
Gila, extending northward some distance, and everywhere conspicuous by
its wren-like habits and enormous nest.

  [Illustration: _Campylorhynchus brunneicapillus._]

HABITS. The Brown-headed Creeper is a comparatively recent addition to
the fauna of the United States, but appears to be common along the
southwestern borders of the United States, from the valley of the Rio
Grande to San Diego, in California. In Lower California it is replaced
by the _C. affinis_.

It was first added to our avifauna by Mr. Lawrence in 1851, on the
strength of a specimen obtained in Texas by Captain McCown.

Dr. Heermann, in his paper on the Birds of California, speaks of
finding it in the arid country back of Guymas, on the Gulf of
California. This country, presenting only broken surfaces and a
confused mass of volcanic rocks, covered by a scanty vegetation of
thorny bushes and cacti, among other interesting birds, was found to
contain this species in abundance. He describes it as a lively,
sprightly species, uttering, at intervals, clear, loud, ringing notes.
Its nest, composed of grasses and lined with feathers, was in the
shape of a long purse, enormous for the size of the bird, and laid
flat between the forks or on the branches of a cactus. The entrance
was a covered passage, varying from six to ten inches in length. The
eggs, six in number, he described as being of a delicate salmon-color,
very pale, and often so thickly speckled with ash and darker
salmon-colored spots as to give quite a rich cast to the whole surface
of the egg.

Lieutenant Couch met with these birds near Monterey. He states that
they have a rich, powerful song. Of the nest he gives substantially
the same description as that furnished by Dr. Heermann.

The eggs are of an oblong-oval shape, slightly more pointed at one
end, and are so equally and generally covered, over a white ground,
with fine salmon-colored spots, as to present a uniform and almost
homogeneous appearance. They vary in length from an inch to 1.02
inches, and have an average breadth of .68 of an inch.

Campylorhynchus affinis, XANTUS.


  _Campylorhynchus affinis_, XANTUS, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1859, 298 (Cape St.
    Lucas).—BAIRD, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1859, 303; Rev. 100.—SCL. Catal.
    1861, 17, no. 108.—ELLIOT, Illust. B. N. A. I, IV.—COOPER, Orn.
    Cal. 1, 1870, 62.

SP. CHAR. Cap of head reddish-brown; the concealed centres of feathers
dusky. Rest of upper parts grayish-brown, all the feathers of body and
scapulars with broad central or shaft streaks of whitish edged with
black; the streaks irregular in outline, on some feathers nearly
linear, in others widening at intervals along the shaft. Outer webs of
the wing-feathers crossed by about seven rows of whitish semicircular
spots, with corresponding series of more circular ones on the inner
web. Tail-feathers black, all of them with a series of about eight
quadrate white spots on each web, which are alternate to each other,
not opposite, and extend from or near the black shaft to the edge; the
extreme tips of the feathers black; the two central feathers, however,
more like the back, with irregular mottling of grayish and black.
Upper tail-coverts barred transversely with black.

Under parts white, faintly tinged with rusty posteriorly; each feather
spotted with black, excepting on the immaculate chin. These spots are
rather larger and more quadrate on the jugulum, where they are
sometimes on the sides of the feathers (on one or both sides);
posteriorly, however, they are elongated or tear-shaped, and strung
along the shaft, one or two on each. On the crissum they are large and
much rounded, three or four on each longer feather. Legs rather dusky.
Bill lead-color, pale at the base below; iris reddish-brown. A broad
white stripe from bill over the eye and nape; edged above and below
with black; line behind the eye like the crown; cheek-feathers white,
edged with blackish.

Immature specimens exhibit a tendency to a whitish spotting in the
ends of the feathers of the cap. A very young bird does not, however,
differ materially, except in having the spots less distinct beneath,
the white streaks less conspicuous above, the white of the wings
soiled with rufous. Specimens vary considerably in the proportional as
well as absolute thickness and length of the bill; thus, No. 32,167
measures .80 from nostril to end of bill, instead of .60, as given
below for No. 12,965.

12,965. Total length, 7.50; wing, 3.30; tail, 3.40; its graduation,
.45; exposed portion of first primary, 1.42, of second, 2.15, of
longest, or fourth (measured from exposed base of first primary),
2.45; length of bill from forehead, .90, from nostril, .60; along
gape, 1.07; tarsus, 1.02; middle toe and claw, .90; claw alone, .25;
hind toe and claw, .76; claw alone, .35.

HAB. Only observed at Cape St. Lucas, Lower California.

This species is most nearly allied to _C. brunneicapillus_; the most
apparent difference at first sight being in the greater concentration
of black on the throat and jugulum in _brunneicapillus_, and the much
smaller size of the remaining spots on the under parts, with the
decided light-cinnamon of the posterior portion of the body. The outer
and central tail-feathers alone are marked as in _C. affinis_, the
intermediate ones being entirely black, with the exception of a white
subterminal band.

This is one of the most characteristic birds constituting the isolated
fauna of Cape St. Lucas. Like nearly all the species peculiar to this
remarkable locality, it is exceedingly abundant, breeding in immense
numbers. It has not yet been detected elsewhere, though it may
possibly be found on the Lower Colorado.

HABITS. This recently described species was first discovered by Mr.
Xantus, and has, so far as is known, a somewhat restricted locality,
having been met with only at the southern extremity of Lower
California, where it is an exceedingly abundant bird. Mr. Xantus has
published no observations in regard to its habits, which, however, are
probably very nearly identical with those of the more common species.
From the brief memoranda given by him in the general register of his
collections, made at Cape St. Lucas, we gather that their nests were
built almost exclusively in opuntias, cacti, and the prickly pear, and
were generally only four or five feet from the ground, but
occasionally at the height of ten feet.

The nests are large purse-shaped collections of twigs and coarse
grasses, very similar to, and hardly distinguishable in any respect
from, those of the more northern species. The eggs vary from 1.05 to 1
inch in length, and from .65 to .70 of an inch in breadth, and have a
reddish-white ground very uniformly dotted with fine markings of
reddish-brown, purple, and slate.


  _Salpinctes_, CABANIS, Wiegmann’s Archiv, 1847, I, 323. (Type,
    _Troglodytes obsoletus_, SAY.)

GEN. CHAR. Bill as long as the head; all the outlines nearly straight
to the tip, then decurved; nostrils oval. Feet weak; tarsi decidedly
longer than the middle toe; outer lateral toe much longer, reaching to
the base of the middle claw, and equal to the hinder. Wings about one
fifth longer than the tail; the exposed portion of the first primary
about half that of the second, and two fifths that of the fourth and
fifth. Tail-feathers very broad, plane, nearly even or slightly
rounded; the lateral moderately graduated.

Of this genus but one species is so far known in the United States,
the Rock Wren of the earlier ornithologists. It is peculiar among its
cognate genera by having the two continuous plates on each side the
tarsus divided into seven or more smaller plates, with a naked
interval between them and the anterior scutellæ. Other characters will
be found detailed in the Review of American Birds, p. 109.

Salpinctes obsoletus, CABAN.


  _Troglodytes obsoletus_, SAY, Long’s Exped. II, 1823, 4 (south fork
    of Platte).—AUD. Orn. Biog. IV, pl. ccclx.—IB. B. A. II, pl.
    cxvi.—NEWBERRY, P. R. R. Rep. VI, IV, 1857, 80.—HEERMANN, P. R.
    R. Rep. X, 1859, 41. _Salpinctes obsoletus_, CAB. Wiegmann’s
    Archiv, 1847, I, 323.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 357; Rev.
    110.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 371 (Oaxaca).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1,
    1870, 64. _? Troglodytes latisfasciatus_, LICHT. Preis-Verzeich.
    1831, no. 82.

  [Line drawing: _Salpinctes obsoletus._
                  7157 ♂]

SP. CHAR. Plumage very soft and lax. Bill about as long as the head.
Upper parts brownish-gray, each feather with a central line and
(except on the head) transverse bars of dusky, and a small dull
brownish-white spot at the end (seen also on the tips of the
secondaries). Rump, sides of the body, and posterior part of belly and
under tail-coverts dull cinnamon, darker above. Rest of under parts
dirty white; feathers of throat and breast with dusky central streaks.
Lower tail-coverts banded broadly with black. Inner tail-feathers like
the back, the others with a broad black bar near the end; the tips
cinnamon; the outer on each side alternately banded with this color
and black. A dull white line above and behind the eye. Iris brown.
Length, 5.70; wing, 2.82; tail, 2.40. Young not marked or banded
beneath. Eggs white, spotted with red.

HAB. Central regions of the United States, to Mexico, east to mouth of
Yellowstone River. Cape St. Lucas. Not recorded from Pacific slope. W.
Arizona, Coues. Oaxaca, SCLATER.

  [Illustration: _Salpinctes obsoletus._]

HABITS. The Rock Wren, so far as its distribution is known, is
principally restricted to the high central plains of the Rocky
Mountains, from Nebraska to the coast ranges near the Pacific, and
from Oregon to Mexico and Lower California. According to Dr. Cooper it
is an abundant species throughout the dry, rocky, and barren districts
of California, especially in the southern portions, where it comes
nearer the coast. They are numerous among the plains on both sides of
the Rocky Mountains. Their favorite places are among the rocks, where
they are always busily engaged in hunting for insects in the crevices.
Dr. Cooper found nests at San Diego in cavities under the tiled roofs
of houses, but they all contained young as early as May. At Fort
Mojave they began to sing in February, and their song continued
throughout the spring. They range to a high elevation among the
mountains, having been found by Dr. Newberry at Klamath Lake in
Oregon. Dr. Cooper does not describe their song, but Dr. Heermann
speaks of it as only a very weak trill. The latter met with them in
the mountainous districts of California, where they were searching for
their food among the crevices of the rocks. He afterwards met with
them in New Mexico and Texas. They were quite abundant in the Tejon
Valley, passing in and out, among and under the boulders profusely
scattered over the mountains, searching for spiders, worms, and small
insects, in pursuit of which they uttered at intervals a loud and
quick note of a peculiarly thrilling character. Lieutenant Couch found
them in the sandstone ranges near Patos, in the province of Coahuila.
Some of their habits are spoken of as sparrow-like, and, while they
have the usual wren-like grating noises, they also possess a song of
great variety and sweetness.

Dr. Kennerly met with them among the bushes in the vicinity of the Rio
Grande. Their flight he describes as short, the bird generally soon
alighting on the ground and running off very rapidly.

This Wren was first discovered by Mr. Say near the Arkansas River,
inhabiting a sterile district devoid of trees, hopping along the
ground or flitting through the low, stunted junipers on the banks of
the river, usually in small flocks of five or six. Nuttall afterwards
found them in July on the Western Colorado. The note of the female was
_charr-charr-te-aigh_, with a strong guttural accent, and with a
shrill call similar to the note of the Carolina Wren. The old birds
were feeding a brood of five young, which, though full grown, were
cherished with querulous assiduity. He found them nesting among the
rocky ledges, in the crevices of which they hide themselves when
disturbed. Mr. Nuttall also met with this species near Fort Vancouver.
Mr. Salvin states that in several instances it has been met with in

The eggs of this Wren obtained by Dr. Palmer in Arizona have a clear
white ground, sparingly spotted with well-defined, distinct dottings
of brownish-red. These are chiefly distributed around the larger end.
They vary somewhat in size and shape, some being of a more rounded
form, though all have one end more pointed than the other. The length
is pretty uniform, .77 of an inch. The breadth varies from .60 to .66
of an inch. They are larger and more oblong than the eggs of any other
Wren, except perhaps the _mexicanus_, and bear little resemblance to
any other eggs of this family with which I am acquainted, except those
of the Winter Wren, and the egg attributed to _T. americanus_.

The nest is homogeneous in structure, composed entirely of thin strips
of reddish-colored bark and fine roots, interspersed with a few small
bits of wool. It is distorted by packing, so that measurements of it
would be valueless; its dimensions in its pressed condition are:
diameter, 5 inches; depth, 2 inches. The cavity is shallow and

From Mr. Ridgway we learn that from the summit of the Sierra Nevada
eastward, as far as the party explored, he found this Wren universally
distributed. In the middle provinces of the Rocky Mountains it was the
most abundant species of the family, but was not so abundant in the
Wahsatch Mountains. The general resort of this species was among rocky
or stony hill-slopes, though it was not confined to such localities.
At Carson City he found it particularly partial to the rubbish of the
decaying pine-logs. At Virginia City it was the only Wren seen
frequenting the old buildings and abandoned mining-shafts, in its
predilection for such places reminding him very much of the
_Thryothorus ludovicianus_, which in its manners it very strongly

Mr. Ridgway noticed a wonderful variety in the notes of this Wren. Its
peculiarly guttural _turee_ was repeatedly heard, and its song in
spring had a slight resemblance in modulation to that of the Carolina
Wren, though altogether lacking the power and richness so
characteristic of the superb song of that bird. Frequently its song
was changed into a prolonged monotonous trill, similar to the
tremulous spring-call of the _Junco hyemalis_.

This species is not so wary as the _Catherpes mexicanus_. Upon
suddenly starting up an individual of this kind, he would fly to the
nearest boulder, turn with his breast towards the party, swing oddly
from side to side, all the while ludicrously bowing and scolding the
intruder with his peculiar sharp expressions of displeasure.

Dr. Cooper, in his paper on the Fauna of the Territory of Montana,
states that he observed this bird occasionally through the main Rocky
Mountain chain to near the crossing of the Bitterroot, but it was less
common than among the cliffs and rocks of the barren plain along their
eastern slope. Though he did not find it in the western part of
Washington Territory, he has no doubt that it frequents parts of the
rocky cañons of the Columbia Plain. A nest with nine eggs was found in
a log-cabin below Fort Benton.


  _Catherpes_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 357. (Type, _Thryothorus
    mexicanus_, SW.)

GEN. CHAR. Bill longer than the head, slender; all the outlines nearly
straight to the tip, then gently decurved, gonys least so; nostrils
linear; tarsus short, about equal to the middle toe, which reaches to
the middle of the middle claw. Outer toe considerably longer than the
inner, reaching beyond the base of the middle claw. Wings a little
longer than the tail; the exposed portion of the first primary about
half that of the fourth and fifth. Tail-feathers very broad and
perfectly plane; tail nearly even; the two lateral graduated; the
outer about eleven twelfths of the middle.

  [Line drawing: _Catherpes mexicanus._
                  3969 ♂]

This genus agrees with _Salpinctes_ in the broad, plane tail-feathers,
but the bill is much longer, the nostrils linear, not oval, the feet
much stouter, the outer toe rather longer; the tarsus shorter, being
equal to the middle toe, not longer; the hind toe much longer than the
outer lateral, instead of equal to it. The wings are but little longer
than the tail, and shorter than in _Salpinctes_.

This genus is confined to the western portions, where a single
species, _C. mexicanus_, occurs in two well-marked varieties:—

C. mexicanus.

  Culmen almost straight, the tip decurved, gonys straight. Above
  blackish-brown; wings and back sparsely sprinkled with minute
  white specks; _no such markings on head or neck_. Bars on tail
  very broad, .12 in width on outer feathers. Wing, 2.84; tail,
  2.40; culmen, .96; tarsus, .75; middle toe, .68; posterior,
  .47; outer, .52; inner, .49 (52,791, Mazatlan, Mexico). _Hab._
  Mexico …                                          var. _mexicanus_.

  Culmen and gonys both gently curved, the latter somewhat
  concave. Above cinnamon-ashy, more reddish on rump and wings;
  head and neck above with numerous dots of white; very few of
  these on back and wings. Tail-bars very narrow and thread-like.
  Wing, 2.48; tail, 2.12; culmen, .83; tarsus, .56; middle toe,
  .52; posterior, .35; outer, .44; inner, .36 (53,425 ♂, Fort
  Churchill, Nevada). _Hab._ Middle (and Pacific?) Province of
  United States …                                  var. _conspersus_.

  [Illustration: _Catherpes mexicanus._]

In var. _mexicanus_ the white of throat is more abruptly defined
against the rufous of abdomen than in var. _conspersus_, in which the
transition is very gradual. The latter has the secondaries rufous with
narrow isolated bars of black; the former has them blackish,
_indented_ on lower webs with dark rufous. In _mexicanus_ the feet are
very stout, and dark brown; in _conspersus_ they are much weaker, and
deep black.

All specimens from south of the United States (including Giraud’s type
of _Certhia albifrons_) belong to the restricted _mexicanus_, while
all from the United States are of the var. _conspersus_.

Catherpes mexicanus, var. conspersus, RIDGWAY.


  _Troglodytes mexicanus_, HEERMANN, J. A. N. Sc. 2d ser. II, 1853,
    63.—IB. P. R. R. Rep. X, 1859, 41.—CASSIN, Illust. Birds Cal. I,
    1854, 173, pl. xxx. _Catherpes mexicanus_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 356 (in part); Rev. III (in part).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1,
    1870, 66. _Catherpes mexicanus_ var. _conspersus_, RIDGWAY.

SP. CHAR. (No. 53,425 ♂, near Fort Churchill, Nevada, December 7,
1867; R. RIDGWAY). Above, brownish-ashy on the anterior, and bright
cinnamon-rufous on the posterior half, the two colors shading
insensibly together. The anterior, or grayish portion thickly
sprinkled with numerous small circular dots of white, each preceded by
a smaller speck of dusky; a few of these dots on the rump. Wings with
obsolete, ragged, narrow, _isolated_ bars of dusky, these most sharply
defined on the secondaries. Tail clear rufous, crossed with about nine
very narrow, thread-like, somewhat zigzag bars of black,—these about
.02 wide on the middle, and .07 on the outer feather. Beneath,
anterior third, pure silky-white, shading insensibly into soft
ochraceous on the breast, this soon darkening into deep ferruginous,
the color of all the posterior lower parts; the whole of this
ferruginous surface, with very obsolete transverse spots of white,
each preceded by a narrower dusky one. Length, 5.75; extent of wings,
7.50 (fresh); wing, 2.48; tail, 2.13; culmen, .83; tarsus, .56. Bill
deep slate, paler, and with lilaceous tinge, at base of lower
mandible; iris umber; tarsi and toes black (fresh colors).

HAB. Central region of North America, from boundary of United States
northward. Extends up Valley of Colorado. Western Nevada, resident;

The above characters apply to all specimens of _Catherpes_ from north
of Mexico, as substantiated by a sufficient series in the collection.
It is a remarkable fact that this northern race should be so much
smaller than the Mexican one, especially in view of the fact that it
is a resident bird in even the most northern parts of its ascertained

HABITS. The geographical distribution of this race of the
White-throated Wren, so far as known, is confined to the line of the
United States and Mexican boundary, extending northward up the Valley
of the Colorado, as far as Western Nevada. The corresponding Mexican
race reaches some distance southward, but has not yet been detected
beyond the limits of Mexico. The habits of both races, however, are
quite similar, as far as known.

Dr. Heermann first met with this Wren in the spring of 1851, on the
Cosumnes River. In the following year he procured three specimens on
the Calaveras River. He describes it as an active, sprightly bird,
having a loud and pleasing song that may be heard a great distance,
and which it repeats at short intervals. When found, it was occupied
with searching for insects, between and under the large boulders of
rock that, in some portions of the river, are thrown together in
confused masses, as if by some terrific convulsion of nature.

Dr. Kennerly also met with this species in similar localities among
the hills bordering upon the Big Sandy, where the rocks are also
described as piled up thick and high. They were darting from rock to
rock and creeping among the crevices with great activity, constantly
repeating their peculiar and singular note. The great rapidity of
their motions rendered it difficult to procure a specimen. He did not
observe this bird anywhere else.

Their occurrence equally in such wild and desolate regions and in the
midst of crowded cities indicates that the abundance of their food in
either place, and not the absence or presence of man, determines this
choice of residence. When first observed they were supposed to nest
exclusively in deep and inaccessible crevices of rocks, where they
were not likely to be traced. Mr. H. E. Dresser afterwards met with
its nest and eggs in Western Texas, though he gives no description of
either. He found this species rather common near San Antonio, where it
remained to breed. One pair frequented a printing-office at that
place, an old half-ruined building, where their familiar habits made
them great favorites with the workmen, who informed him that the
previous spring they had built a nest and reared their young in an old
wall close by, and that they became very tame. At Dr. Heermann’s
rancho on the Medina he procured the eggs of this bird, as well as
those of the Louisiana and Bewick’s Wren, by nailing up cigar-boxes,
with holes cut in front, wherever these birds were likely to build.

Mr. Sumichrast describes its nest[29] as very skilfully wrought with
spiders’ webs, and built in the crevices of old walls, or in the
interstices between the tiles under the roofs of the houses. A nest
with four eggs, supposed to be those of this species, was obtained in
Western Texas by Mr. J. H. Clark; it was cup-shaped, not large, and
with only a slight depression. The eggs, four in number, were
unusually oblong and pointed for eggs of this family, and measured .80
by .60 of an inch, with a crystalline-white ground, profusely covered
with numerous and large blotches of a reddish or cinnamon brown.

So far as the observations of Mr. Ridgway enabled him to notice this
bird, he found it much less common than the _Salpinctes obsoletus_,
and inhabiting only the most secluded and rocky recesses of the
mountains. Its common note of alarm is described as a peculiarly
ringing _dīnk_. It has a remarkably odd and indescribably singular
chant, utterly unlike anything else Mr. Ridgway ever heard. This
consisted of a series of detached whistles, beginning in a high fine
key, every note clear, smooth, and of equal length, each in succession
being a degree lower than the preceding one, and only ending when the
bottom of the scale is reached. The tone is soft, rich, and silvery,
resembling somewhat the whistling of the Cardinal Grosbeak.

It was often seen to fly nearly perpendicularly up the face of a rocky
wall, and was also noticed to cling to the roof of a cave with all the
facility of a true Creeper.


  _Thryothorus_, VIEILLOT, Analyse, 1816, 45. (Type, _Troglodytes
     arundinaceus_, “_Troglodyte des Roseaux_,” VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept.
     II, 1807, 55 = _Sylvia ludoviciana_, LATH.)

  [Line drawing: _Thryothorus ludovicianus_

GEN. CHAR. Bill compressed, rather slender; height about one fourth
the length above. Culmen and commissure gently curved throughout;
gonys straight; tip very obsoletely notched. Nostrils in the lower
edge of anterior extremity of the nasal groove, narrowly elliptical,
overhung by a stiff scale-like roof of the thickened membrane of the
upper part of the nasal groove, the crescentic edge rounded. The
septum of nostrils imperforate; the posterior part of the nasal cavity
with a short septum projecting into it parallel with the central, not
perpendicular as in _Microcerculus_. Wings and tail about equal, the
latter moderately rounded; the first primary more than half the
second, about half the longest. Tarsi rather short, scarcely exceeding
middle toe. Anterior scutellæ distinct, rest of each side of tarsi in
a continuous plate. Lateral toes equal.

The diagnoses of the North American species are as follows:—

Species and Varieties.

COMMON CHARACTERS. Head above, and back, of much the same color.
Crissum barred transversely; rest of under parts plain. Upper
tail-coverts and exposed surface of wings barred. Iris hazel.
Nest in holes or with an arched covering. Eggs reddish-white,
spotted with red and purple.

  _a. Thryothorus._

  T. ludovicianus. Tail-feathers reddish-brown, barred with
  black. Greater wing-coverts spotted with whitish.

    Beneath yellow-whitish, washed occasionally with rusty. Sides
    plain. Bill from nostril, .45. Length, 6.00. _Hab._ Eastern
    Province United States …                     var. _ludovicianus_.

    Beneath rufous; lighter on throat and along median line.
    Sides obsoletely barred with dusky. Bill from nostril, .56.
    Length, 5.25. _Hab._ Lower Rio Grande …       var. _berlandieri_.

  _b. Telmatodytes._

  T. bewickii. Tail-feathers, except central, black; the exposed
  surface and tips only varied with white. Length, 5.50.

    Above dark rufous-brown; beneath plumbeous-white; flanks
    tinged with brown. Rump and exposed secondaries distinctly
    banded. Quills and middle tail-feathers brownish-black.
    Length from nostril, .39; along gape, .70. _Hab._ Eastern
    Province United States …                         var. _bewickii_.

    Above ashy-brown; beneath, including flanks, clear white;
    rump ashy, and, like secondaries, very obsoletely barred.
    Quills and middle tail-feathers grayish-brown. _Hab._
    Southern border of United States, into Mexico …
                                                  var. _leucogaster_.

    Colors intermediate between the two last. Bill longer, from
    nostril, .50, from gape, .81. _Hab._ Pacific Province …
                                                     var. _spilurus_.


Thryothorus ludovicianus, var. ludovicianus, BONAP.


  _Sylvia ludoviciana_, LATH. Ind. Orn. II, 1790, 548. _Troglodytes
    ludovicianus_, LICHT. Verz. 1823, 35; also of BONAPARTE, AUDUBON,
    and PRINCE MAX. _Thryothorus ludovicianus_, BON. List. 1838,
    etc.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 361; Rev. 123. _Troglodytes
    arundinaceus_, VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, 55, pl. cviii.
    (Certainly this species; the habits those of _C. palustris_.)
    _Certhia caroliniana_, WILSON, Am. Orn. II, 1810, 61, pl. xii,
    fig. 5. _Thryothorus littoralis_, VIEILL. Nouv. Dict. XXXIV. 1819,
    56. _Thryothorus louisianæ_, LESSON, Rev. Zoöl. 1840, 262.
  Additional figures: AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, pl. lxxvii.—IB. Birds
    Am. II, 1841, pl. cxvii.

SP. CHAR. Exposed portion of the bill shorter than the head. Above
reddish-brown, most vivid on the rump. A whitish streak over the eye,
bordered above with dark brown. Throat whitish; rest of under parts
pale yellow-rusty, darkest towards the under tail-coverts, which are
conspicuously barred with black. Exposed surface of the wings and tail
(including the upper coverts) barred throughout with brown, the outer
edges of tail-feathers and quills showing series of alternating
whitish and dusky spots. Legs flesh-colored. Length, 6 inches; wing,
2.60; tail, 2.45.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, from New York southward to the

  [Illustration: _Thryothorus bewickii._]

HABITS. The Great Carolina or Mocking Wren is found in all the
Southeastern and Southern States from Florida to Maryland, and from
the Atlantic to Kansas and the Valley of the Rio Grande. It is not
common about Washington, but is much more abundant in the Southern
States. Occasionally it has been found as far north as Philadelphia,
and in one or two instances near New York, where Mr. Lawrence has
twice seen it, and where on one occasion it appeared to be breeding.
Dr. Woodhouse found it very abundant throughout Texas and the Indian
Territory. It is also abundant, and resident, in Southern Illinois, as
far north as latitude 38° 20′ 20″.

The habits and movements of this species, as described by those who
have had the best opportunities for observing it, correspond with
those of the whole family of Wrens. Its flight is usually only in
short distances, and is accompanied with short flappings of the wings,
and violent jerkings of the body and the tail. The latter is usually
kept erect. It moves with quick jerks, and with sharp, rapid notes
uttered as if in anger. It is in sight one moment and out the next,
passes in at one place and out at another with the rapidity of
thought. Mr. Audubon often saw it singing from the roof of an
abandoned flat-boat, near New Orleans, and when its song was ended it
would creep from one board to the next, enter an augur-hole at one
place to reappear at another, catching numerous spiders and other
insects all the while.

  [Illustration: PLATE IX.

   1. Thryothorus ludovicianus, _Lath._ Pa., 1784.
   2.      “      berlandieri, _Couch_. Texas.
   3.      “      bewickii, _Aud._ ♂ Pa., 2047.
   4.      “          “        “     _var._
   5. Troglodyta ædon, _Vieill._ D. C.
   6. Cistothorus palustris, _Wils._ Pa., 1454.
   7.      “      stellaris, _Licht._ Ga., 3073.
   8. Troglodytes alascensis, _Baird_. Alaska, 54447.
   9.      “      hyemalis, _Vieill._ ♂ Va., 31045.
  10.      “         “      _var._ pacificus, _Baird_. W. T., 17434.]

Occasionally its movements are like those of a Creeper, ascending to
the upper branches of trees of a moderate height, or climbing a
grapevine, searching diligently among the leaves and in the crevices
of the bark for insects.

This species possesses a great variety and power of song. It is also
said to have and to exhibit remarkable powers of imitation, with a
great variety in its appropriated notes of other birds, giving, with
modulations, the hoarse rattle of the Kingfisher, the lively notes of
the Tufted Titmouse, the simple refrain of the Ground Robin, with
those of the Grakles, the Meadow Lark, the Bluebird, and others. Like
the common Wren, the Carolina generally builds its nest in the hollow
of some tree or stump, or any other convenient cavity. At other times
it constructs its own habitation without any other protection than the
thick branches of a vine or shrub. In these situations they are long
and deep, and have an artificial roofing, often separate from the nest
itself. The materials employed in their construction are hay, grasses,
leaves, feathers, horse-hair, and dry fibres of the long Spanish moss.
They are softly and warmly lined with fur, hair, and feathers. The
nest is not unfrequently five or six inches in depth, while the
opening is not large enough to admit more than one bird at a time.
They sometimes raise three broods in a season.

It breeds as far north as Philadelphia, Mr. Audubon having found its
nest in a swamp in New Jersey, opposite that city.

Although seemingly studious of concealment, and shy and retiring in
its habits, Nuttall frequently observed it in Tuscaloosa and other
large towns in Alabama, appearing on the tops of barns and out-houses,
singing with great energy.

Dr. Cooper, who enjoyed a favorable opportunity of watching these
birds in Florida, in the spring and summer of 1859, found a nest of
this Wren in the middle of March. It was built in a small box on a
shelf in a mill, and was about four feet from the ground. It was
arched over at the top, though this was not necessary to shelter it.
This covering was formed of shavings, with a few small sticks and
straws. Four eggs were laid. The birds were very tame, and were not
alarmed by the loud noise of the mill, nor by a cat almost always
present. Another nest found by Dr. Cooper was built in a small hole in
the trunk of a tree, not more than six inches from the ground. This
nest was not arched over. Its close proximity to a dwelling-house
alone protected it from wild animals.

The eggs of this Wren are usually six or seven in number, and vary in
size and shape. They are for the most part of a spheroidal-oval shape,
though some are more oblong than others. Their length varies from .75
to .70 of an inch, and their greatest breadth from .60 to .65. The
ground-color is a reddish-white, profusely covered with blotches of
purple, slate, reddish-brown, and red. These are generally and pretty
equally diffused, and are not more abundant at the larger end than

Thryothorus ludovicianus, var. berlandieri, COUCH.


  _Thryothorus berlandieri_, COUCH, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 362,
    pl. lxxxiii, fig. 1 (New Leon); Rev. 124.

SP. CHAR. Exposed portion of bill nearly as long as the head. Above
dark rusty-brown, most vivid on the rump. A whitish streak over the
eye, bordered above with brown. Chin white; rest of under parts dark
brownish-red; the under tail-coverts and sides of the body barred with
dusky. Exposed surface of wings and tail barred throughout with dusky.
Legs flesh-color. Length, 5.25; wing, 2.25; tail, 2.12.

HAB. Valley of Rio Grande.

The distinctive features of this race will be found indicated on page
141. This form bears to the _T. ludovicianus_ about the same relation
that _Harporhynchus longirostris_ does to _H. rufus_; and is hardly to
be considered a distinct “species” from it. It should be noted that in
both cases the lengthened bill and deeper color belong to the Rio
Grande. It has not yet been met with north of the Rio Grande, but
doubtless extends into Texas. Nothing is known of its habits.


_Thryomanes_, SCLATER, Catal. Am. Birds, 1861, 21. (Type _Troglodytes

  [Line drawing: _Thryothorus bewickii._
                  2047 ♂]

There are three strongly marked geographical varieties of “Bewick’s
Wren,” separable by quite constant characters. Of these the Mexican
(_leucogaster_) and the typical form from eastern North America
(_bewickii_) differ most in coloration, while the western (_spilurus_)
is intermediate in this respect, but with a longer bill than in the
other two. The peculiarities of the three forms are expressed on
page 141.

Thryothorus bewickii, var. bewickii, BONAP.


  _Troglodytes bewickii_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, 96, pl. xviii.—IB.
    Birds Am. II, 1841, 120, pl. cxviii. _Thryothorus bewickii_,
    BONAP. List, 1838.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 363. _Telmatodytes
    bewickii_, CAB. Mus. Hein. I, 1850, 78. _Thryothorus bewickii_,
    var. _bewickii_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864, 126.

SP. CHAR. Above dark rufous-brown; rump and middle tail-feathers
sometimes a little paler, and very slightly tinged with gray, and
together with the exposed surface of secondaries distinctly barred
with dusky. Beneath soiled plumbeous-whitish; flanks brown. Crissum
banded; ground-color of quills and tail-feathers brownish-black.
Length, 5.50; wing, 2.25; tail, 2.50. Length from nostril, 39; along
gape, 70.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States.

HABITS. This interesting species of Wren was first met with by Audubon
in Louisiana. A number of individuals were observed at the time, but
nothing of its history was known for several years afterward. In
shape, color, and habits it most resembled the Carolina Wren, but was
less rapid in movement, and not so lively. Fourteen years later Dr.
Bachman again met with birds of this species, in 1835, at the Salt
Sulphur Springs of Virginia. They comprised a family of two parents
and five young, nearly full grown. Their notes were like those of the
Winter Wren, neither louder nor more connected. They seemed of
restless habit, creeping actively among fences, stumps, and logs. One
ascended an oak, nearly to the top, in the manner of a Creeper. This
species proved to be quite common in that locality, and to be the only
Wren abundant among the mountains. Dr. Gibbs detected it near
Columbia, S. C., and Dr. Trudeau afterwards found it quite common in

It was first observed breeding by Professor Baird in Carlisle, Penn.,
in 1844. In all respects the nests and their location corresponded
with those of the common Wren. Dr. Woodhouse found it very abundant in
the Indian Territory, and describes its habits as similar to those of
other Wrens. Lieutenant Couch observed this Wren at Santa Rosalio in
Mexico, early in March. It was seeking its food among the low
prickly-pears. He was informed that they deposited their eggs wherever
they could do so without making much of a nest, inside the cabins
under the rafters, but in New Leon he found one of its nests quite
elaborately constructed in a thatched roof. He describes the song as
quite varied, and one of the sweetest that he heard in that country.

The late Dr. Gerhardt of Varnell’s Station, Ga., met with this species
among the mountainous portions of Northern Georgia, where it generally
nested in holes in stumps. In one instance the nest was constructed
five inches in length, and four in diameter, with a cavity two inches
in depth, and the walls of great proportionate thickness, made
externally of coarse roots, finer on the inside, and lined with
various kinds of animal fur and with feathers. Both birds worked
together in constructing their nest, beginning on the 11th of April,
and on the 27th of the same month this contained seven eggs. The nest
was not covered at the top, in the manner of the Carolina Wren. In the
following season another pair commenced building their nest in his
bed, in a log-house. Driven from these impossible quarters, they tried
the same experiment in various other parts of the house, but only to
abandon it, and at last finished by making a successful attempt in the
hay-loft. Their visits to that portion of Georgia, he informed me,
were irregular and only occasional. In 1859 he had not met with any
birds of this species for the space of five years.

The eggs measure .67 by .50 of an inch in their average proportions,
resembling somewhat those of the Carolina Wren, but having a lighter
ground, with fewer and finer markings of slate and reddish-brown. The
ground-color is of a pinkish-white.

Mr. A. Boucard obtained specimens of these birds in the winter months,
in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico, probably of the var. _leucogaster_.

We learn from Mr. Ridgway that in Southern Illinois (as far north as
latitude 38° 20′ 20″) this Wren is very abundant, and the most
familiar species of the family. In certain localities (as in the
Valley of the Wabash) it entirely replaces the _Troglodytes ædon_, the
latter being wholly unknown. In its habits it is even more familiar
than that species, always preferring the out-buildings, even in large
towns, to the neighborhood of the woods, and still further increases
its attractions by possessing a charming song, a real _song_, of sweet
notes finely modulated, and uttered, generally, as the bird perches
upon a fence or the stable roof, its head thrown back, and its long
tail pendent as it sings. The confused, gabbling sputter of _T. ædon_,
uttered as it pauses just for an instant in its restless hopping
through the ivy, cannot be compared to the chant of liquid musical
notes of this species, which resembles more nearly, both in modulation
and power, that of the Song Sparrow (_Melospiza melodia_), though far
superior to it. On ordinary occasions the note of Bewick’s Wren is a
soft, low _plit_, uttered as the bird hops about the fence or stable,
its long tail carried upright, and jerked to one side at each hop. In
its movements it is altogether more deliberate and less restless than
the _T. ludovicianus_, or _Troglodytes ædon_, neither of which it much
resembles in motion, and still less in notes. The nest of this Wren is
usually built about the out-houses, a mortise-hole or some
well-concealed corner being generally selected. Old stables and
ash-hoppers are especially frequented as nesting-places. Mr. Ridgway
found one in the bottom of the conical portion of a quail-net which
was hung up in a shed, and another in a piece of stove-pipe which lay
horizontally in the garret of a smoke-house; another rested upon a
flat board over the door of an out-house, while a fourth was placed
behind the weather-boarding of a building. The nest is generally very
bulky, though the bulk is regulated to suit the size of the cavity in
which the nest is placed. Its materials are usually sticks, straws,
coarse feathers, fine chips, etc., exteriorly fastened together with
masses of spider’s-webs, the lining being of finer and more downy
materials, generally soft spider’s-webs, tow, and especially the downy
feathers of barnyard fowls.

Thryothorus bewickii, var. leucogaster, GOULD.

  _Troglodytes leucogastra_, GOULD, P. Z. S. 1836, 89 (Tamaulipas).—
    BON. Notes Delattre, 1854, 43. ? _Thryothorus bewickii_, SCLATER,
    P. Z. S. 1859, 372 (Oaxaca). _Thryothorus bewickii_, var.
    _leucogaster_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 127.

SP. CHAR. Above ashy-brown; rump and middle tail-feathers
brownish-ash, the former nearly pure ash; without appreciable bars;
bars on secondaries obsolete. Beneath, including inside of wing, pure
white, with little or no brownish on the sides. Crissum banded;
ground-color of the quills and tail-feathers grayish-brown. Size of
var. _bewickii_.

HAB. Southern borders of United States, into Mexico.

HABITS. Nothing is on record of the habits of this variety as
distinguished from var. _bewickii_.

Thryothorus bewickii, var. spilurus, VIGORS.

  _Troglodytes spilurus_, VIGORS, Zoöl. Beechey’s Voyage, 1839, 18,
    pl. iv, fig. 1 (California). _Thryothorus spilurus_, COOPER, Orn.
    Cal. 1, 1870, 69. _Troglodytes bewickii_, NEWBERRY, P. R. R. Rept.
    VI, IV, 1857, 80.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, IB. XII, II, 1860, 190.
    _Thryothorus bewickii_, SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 22, no. 141 (in
    part). _Thryothorus bewickii_, var. _spilurus_, BAIRD, Rev. 126.

SP. CHAR. Similar to _bewickii_ in color, the bill considerably
longer. Length from nostril, .50, gape, .81, instead of .39 and .70.

HAB. Pacific slope of United States.

Young birds from all the localities differ from adults merely in
having the feathers of the throat and breast very narrowly and
inconspicuously edged with blackish.

HABITS. This variety of Bewick’s Wren is exclusively an inhabitant of
the Western coast. According to Dr. Cooper, they abound throughout the
wooded parts of California and northward, frequenting the densest
forests as well as the open groves. During the winter they were found
in the vicinity of Fort Mojave, but left in April, probably for the
mountains. They also winter throughout the mild regions towards the
coast as far north as Puget Sound. They are known as Mocking-Wrens,
though Dr. Cooper thinks they do not really imitate other birds, but
rather have a great variety of their own notes, some of which resemble
those of other birds and are well calculated to deceive one
unaccustomed to them. He was often led to search in vain for some new
form, which he thought he heard singing, only to find it to be a bird
of this species. Near San Diego, in April, 1862, he discovered one of
its nests built in a low bush, only three feet from the ground. It was
quite open above, formed of twigs, grass, etc., and contained five
eggs just ready to hatch, described as white with brown specks near
the larger end.

Messrs. Nuttall and Townsend observed these birds in the marshy
meadows of the Wahlamet, accompanied by their young, as early as May.
They seemed to have all the habits of Marsh Wrens. Drs. Gambel and
Heermann, who observed them in California, describe them as keeping in
low bushes and piles of brush, as well as about old dead trees and
logs, over and around which they were flitting with the greatest
activity, uttering, when approached, the usual grating scold of the

In Washington Territory Dr. Cooper states that this and the Winter
Wren are among the few birds that enliven the long rainy season with
their songs, which were as constantly heard in the dullest weather as
in the sunny spring. The young broods make their first appearance
there in June. Dr. Suckley found this species very abundant at Puget
Sound, where it is a constant resident throughout the year. On sunny
days in January and in February it was found among low thickets in
company with the smaller species. At this season they were very tame,
allowing a person to approach them without apparent fear. He speaks of
the voice of the male as being harsh and loud during the
breeding-season, and not unlike that of the common House Wren.


  _Troglodytes_, VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, 52. (Type,
    _Troglodytes ædon_.)

The characters of this genus are sufficiently indicated in the
synopsis on page 131. They come very close to those of _Thryothorus_,
the nostrils, especially, being linear and overhung by a scale. In
this respect both differ from _Thryophilus_ of Middle America. The
bill is shorter or not longer than the head; straight, slender, and
without notch. The tail is graduated, and shorter than the much
rounded wings, the feathers narrow. The light superciliary line of
_Thryothorus_ is almost entirely wanting.

Species and Varieties.

  _a. Troglodytes._

Tail and wings about equal.

  T. ædon. Beneath grayish-white. Crissum and flanks distinctly
  barred. Wing-coverts spotted with whitish. Dark bars of tail
  about half the width of their interspaces.

    First primary nearly half the longest. Color above
    dark-brown, rufous towards tail. _Hab._ Eastern Province
    United States …                                      var. _ædon_.

    Wing similar. Above paler brown. _Hab._ Eastern Mexico, from
    Rio Grande southward …                            var. _aztecus_.

    First primary half the second. Above paler brown. _Hab._
    Middle and Western Province United States …     var. _parkmanni_.

  _b. Anorthura._

Tail very short; only about two thirds the wing.

  T. hyemalis.

  _a._ Size of _ædon_ except for shorter tail, wing about 2.00;
  culmen very straight. _Hab._ Aleutian Islands …  var. _alascensis_.

  _b._ Much smaller than _ædon_, wing about 1.75.

    Pale reddish-brown; dusky bars of upper parts with whitish
    spots or interspaces. _Hab._ Eastern Province United States;
    Cordova? …                                       var. _hyemalis_.

    Dark rufous above and below; upper parts with few or almost
    no whitish spots. _Hab._ Pacific Province North America …
                                                    var. _pacificus_.

Troglodytes ædon, VIEILL.


  _Troglodytes ædon_, VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, 52, pl. cvii.—
    IB. Nouv. Dict. XXXIV, 1819, 506.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 366;
    Rev. 138.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 22, no. 145.—MAYNARD, B. E.
    Mass. _Hylemathrous ædon_, Cab. Jour. 1860, 407. _Sylvia
    domestica_, WILSON, Am. Orn. I, 1808, 129, pl. vii. _Troglodytes
    fulvus_, NUTT. Man. I, 1832, 422. ? _Troglodytes americanus_, AUD.
    Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 452; V, 1839, 469, pl. clxxix.—IB. Birds Am.
    II, 1841, 123, pl. cxix.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 368; Rev. I,
  Other figures: AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, pl. lxxxiii.—IB. Birds Am.
    II, 1841, pl. cxx.

SP. CHAR. Tail and wings about equal. Bill shorter than the head.
Above reddish-brown, darker towards the head, brighter on the rump.
The feathers everywhere, except on the head and neck, barred with
dusky; obscurely so on the back, and still less on the rump. All the
tail-feathers barred from the base; the contrast more vivid on the
exterior one. Beneath pale fulvous-white, tinged with light brownish
across the breast; the posterior parts rather dark brown, obscurely
banded. Under tail-coverts whitish, with dusky bars. An indistinct
line over the eye, eyelids, and loral region, whitish. Cheeks brown,
streaked with whitish. Length, 4.90; wing, 2.08; tail, 2.00.

HAB. Eastern Province of the United States, from Atlantic to the
Missouri River.

In the Review of American Birds (p. 139), I have established a
variety, _aztecus_, to embrace specimens from Mexico paler than
_ædon_, and with a brownish tinge on the breast, and smaller size.

There can scarcely be any doubt that the _T. americanus_ of Audubon is
nothing more than this species in dark, accidentally soiled plumage
(from charcoal of burnt trees, etc.).

  [Line drawing: _Troglodytes ædon._

HABITS. The common House Wren is found throughout the United States,
from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, though it is not everywhere
equally abundant. Thus, while in some parts of Massachusetts it occurs
in considerable numbers every year, in other portions not twenty miles
distant it is never seen. West of the Rocky Mountains it is replaced
by Parkman’s Wren, which is rather a race than a distinct species, the
differences in plumage being very slight, and in habits, nest, and
eggs not appreciable, though Dr. Cooper thinks there is a difference
in their song. Another race or a closely allied species, _T. aztecus_,
is found in Mexico, near the borders of the United States, but does
not have an extended range. It is found in the winter in Guatemala.

  [Illustration: _Troglodytes ædon._]

This species does not appear to be found beyond the southwestern
portion of Maine and the southern portions of New Hampshire and
Vermont. It makes its first appearance in Washington early in April,
and for a while is very abundant, visiting very familiarly the public
grounds of the capitol, private gardens, out-buildings, and the eaves
of dwellings. It does not appear in the New England States until after
the first week in May, and leaves for the South about the last of
September. It is not observed in any portion of the United States
after the first of November.

The hollows of decaying trees, crevices in rocks, or the centre of
meshes of interlacing vines, are their natural resorts. These they
readily relinquish for the facilities offered in the society of man.
They are bold, sociable, confiding birds, and will enter into the
closest relations with those who cultivate their acquaintance,
building their nests from preference under the eaves of houses, in
corners of the wood-shed, a clothes-line box, olive-jars,
martin-boxes, open gourds, an old hat, the skull of an ox placed on a
pole, the pocket of a carriage, or even the sleeve of an old coat left
hanging in an out-building. In the spring of 1855 a pair of these
Wrens nested within the house, and over the door of the room of the
late Robert Kennicott, where they raised their broods in safety. They
built a second nest on a shelf in the same room, which they entered
through a knot-hole in the unceiled wall. At first shy, they soon
became quite tame, and did not regard the presence of members of the
family. The male bird was more shy than his mate, and though equally
industrious in collecting insects would rarely bring them nearer than
the knot-hole, where the female would receive them. The female with
her brood was destroyed by a cat, but this did not deter the male bird
from appearing the following season with another mate and building
their nest in the same place. Another instance of a singular selection
of a breeding-place has been given by the same authority. Dr.
Kennicott, the father of Robert, a country physician, drove an old
two-wheeled open gig, in the back of which was a box, a foot in length
by three inches in width, open at the top. In this a pair of Wrens
insisted, time after time, in building their nest. Though removed each
time the vehicle was used, the pair for a long while persisted in
their attempts to make use of this place, at last even depositing
their eggs on the bare bottom of the box. It was two or three weeks
before they finally desisted from their vain attempts.

Sometimes this bird will build a nest in a large cavity, holding
perhaps a bushel. Before the cup of the nest is completed, the birds
will generally endeavor to fill the entire space with sticks and
various other convenient substances. Where the entrance is
unnecessarily large they will generally contract it by building about
it a barricade of sticks, leaving only a small entrance. In the midst
of these masses of material they construct a compact, cup-shaped,
inner nest, hemispherical in shape, composed of finer materials and
warmly lined with the fur of small quadrupeds, and with soft feathers.
If the eggs are taken as the female is depositing them, she will
continue to lay quite a long while. In one instance eighteen were
taken, after which the birds were let alone and raised a brood of

During the months of May and June the male is a constant and
remarkable singer. His song is loud, clear, and shrill, given with
great animation and rapidity, the performer evincing great jealousy of
any interruption, often leaving off abruptly in the midst of his song
to literally “pitch in” upon any rival who may presume to compete with

If a cat or any unwelcome visitor approach the nest, angry
vociferations succeed to his sprightly song, and he will swoop in
rapid flights across the head or back of the intruder, even at the
apparent risk of his life.

Where several pairs occupy the same garden, their contests are
frequent, noisy, and generally quite amusing. In their fights with
other birds for the possession of a coveted hollow, their skill at
barricading frequently enables the Wrens to keep triumphant possession
against birds much more powerful than themselves.

Their food is exclusively insectivorous, and of a class of destructive
insects that render them great benefactors to the farmer. Mr.
Kennicott ascertained that a single pair of Wrens carried to their
young about a thousand insects in a single day.

The young, when they leave their nest, keep together for some time,
moving about, an interesting, sociable, and active group, under the
charge of their mother, but industrious in supplying their own wants.

The eggs of the Wren, usually from seven to nine in number, are of a
rounded-oval shape, at times nearly as broad as long. Their
ground-color is white, but they are so thickly studded with markings
and fine spots of reddish-brown, with a few occasional points of
purplish-slate, as to conceal their ground. Their shape varies from
nearly spherical to an oblong-oval, some measuring .60 by .55 of an
inch, others with the same breadth having a length of .67 of an inch.

Under the name of _Troglodytes americanus_, or Wood Wren, Mr. Audubon
figured and described as a distinct species what is probably only a
somewhat larger and darker form of the present species, hardly
distinct enough to be treated even as a race. Mr. Audubon met with an
individual near Eastport in 1832. The young were following their
parents through the tangled recesses of a dark forest, in search of
food. Others were obtained in the same part of Maine, near
Dennisville, where Mr. Lincoln informed Mr. Audubon that this bird was
the common Wren of the neighborhood, and that they bred in hollow logs
in the woods, but seldom approached farm-houses.

In the winter following, at Charleston, S. C., Mr. Audubon again met
individuals of this supposed species, showing the same habits as in
Maine, remaining in thick hedges, along ditches in the woods, not far
from plantations. The notes are described as differing considerably
from those of the House Wren. It has not been seen by Mr. Boardman,
though residing in the region where it is said to be the common Wren.
Professor Verrill mentions it as a rare bird in Western Maine.

Mr. Charles S. Paine, of Randolph, Vt., is the only naturalist who has
met with what he supposes were its nest and eggs. The following is his
account, communicated by letter.

     “The Wood Wren comes among us in the spring about the 10th
     or 15th of April, and sings habitually as it skips among the
     brush and logs and under the roots and stumps of trees. In
     one instance I have known it to make its appearance in
     midwinter, and to be about the house and barn some time. It
     is only occasionally that they spend the summer here
     (Central Vermont). The nest from which I obtained the egg
     you now have, I found about the first of July, just as the
     young were about to fly. There were five young birds and one
     egg. The nest was built on the hanging bark of a decaying
     beech-log, close under the log. A great quantity of moss and
     rotten wood had been collected and filled in around the
     nest, and a little round hole left for the entrance. The
     nest was lined with a soft, downy substance. I have no doubt
     that they sometimes commence to breed as early as the middle
     of May, as I have seen their young out in early June.”

Mr. Paine discredits the statement that they build their nests in
holes in the ground. The egg referred to by Mr. Paine is oval in
shape, slightly more pointed at one end, measuring .75 of an inch in
length by .53 in breadth. The ground is a dead chalky-white, over
which are sprinkled a few very fine dots of a light yellowish-brown,
slightly more numerous at the larger end. This egg, while it bears
some resemblance to that of the Winter Wren, is totally unlike that of
the House Wren.

Troglodytes ædon, var. parkmanni, AUD.


  _Troglodytes parkmanni_, AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, 310.—IB. Synopsis,
    1839, 76.—IB. Birds Am. II, 1841, 133, pl. cxxii.—BAIRD, Birds
    N. Am. 1858, 367; Rev. 140.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII,
    II, 1860, 191 (nest).—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 23, no. 146.—COOPER,
    Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 71. _Troglodytes sylvestris_, GAMBEL, Pr. A. N.
    Sc. III, 1846, 113 (California, quotes erroneously AUD. _T.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of United States. East to the
Missouri River. Western Arizona, COUES.

Although the differences between the eastern and western House Wrens,
as stated in the Birds of North America, are not very appreciable, yet
a comparison of an extensive series shows that they can hardly be
considered as identical. The general color of _parkmanni_ above is
paler and grayer, and there is little or none of the rufous of the
lower back and rump. The bars on the upper surface are rather more
distinct. The under parts are more alike, as, while ædon sometimes has
flanks and crissum strongly tinged with rufous, other specimens are as
pale as in _T. parkmanni_.

Perhaps the most appreciable differences between the two are to be
found in the size and proportions of wing and tail. The wing in
_parkmanni_ is quite decidedly longer than in _ædon_, measuring, in
males, 2.12 to 2.15, instead of 2.00 to 2.05. This is due not so much
to a larger size as to a greater development of the primaries. The
first quill is equal to or barely more than half the second in
_parkmanni_; and the difference between the longest primary and the
tenth amounts to .32 of an inch, instead of about .20 in _ædon_, where
the first quill is nearly half the length of the third, and much more
than half the length of the second.

HABITS. This western form, hardly distinguishable from the common
House Wren of the Eastern States, if recognized as a distinct species,
is its complete analogue in regard to habits, nest, eggs, etc. It was
first obtained by Townsend on the Columbia River, and described by
Audubon in 1839. It has since been observed in various parts of the
country, from the Mississippi Valley to the Pacific Coast, and from
Cape St. Lucas to Oregon.

Dr. Cooper, in his Birds of Washington Territory, speaks of this Wren
as common about Puget Sound, where it appeared to be much less
familiar than our common Wren, though its habits and song seemed to be
very similar. It there frequented chiefly the vicinity of woods and
piles of logs, neither seeking nor dwelling in the vicinity of houses.
It arrives there about the 20th of April. As observed about Vancouver
in 1853, its song appeared to Dr. Cooper different from that of the
_T. ædon_. He found one of their nests built in a horse’s skull that
had been stuck upon a fence. Dr. Suckley, who observed these birds
about Fort Steilacoom, describes their voice as harsh and unmusical.

Dr. Cooper has since observed them in California, and in the winter,
in the Colorado Valley, where they roosted at night under the eaves of
the garrison buildings. They make their appearance at San Francisco as
early as March 16, and nest at San Diego in April. He has found their
nests in hollow trees at various heights, from five to forty feet, all
composed of a floor and barricade of long dry twigs, grass, and bark,
loosely placed, but so interwoven as to leave only just space for the
birds to squeeze in over them. They are warmly lined with a large
quantity of feathers. Their eggs he gives as from five to nine in

The late Mr. Hepburn has furnished more full and exact information in
regard to this species. We give it in his own words.

“The _T. parkmanni_ is the common wren of Vancouver Island, far more
so than of California, where I have found the Bewick’s Wren (_T.
bewickii_) much more numerous. Parkman’s Wren builds its nest in
hollow trees in Vancouver Island, about the middle of May, forming it
of small sticks laid at the bottom of the hole, neatly and comfortably
lining it on the inside with feathers that arch over the eggs. It will
also readily avail itself of any similar and equally convenient
cavity. I have known these birds to build under the roof of a frame
house, entering by a hole between the topmost board and the shingles;
also in a hole in a gate-post, through which gate people were
continually passing; and also over a doorway, getting in by a loose
board, in a place where the nest could be reached by the hand. In 1852
I put a cigar-box, with a hole cut in one end, between the forks of a
tree in a garden at Victoria. A pair of Wrens speedily took possession
of it and formed their nest therein, laying seven eggs, the first on
the 18th of May. The eggs of this Wren are white, thickly freckled
with pink spots, so much so in some specimens as to give a general
pink appearance to the egg itself, but forming a zone of a darker hue
near the larger end. They are .81 of an inch in length by .50 in

Their eggs resemble those of the _T. ædon_ so as to be hardly
distinguishable, yet on comparing several sets of each there seem to
be these constant differences. The spots of the western species are
finer, less marked, more numerous, and of a pinker shade of
reddish-brown. The eggs, too, range a little smaller in size, though
exhibiting great variations. In one nest the average measurement of
its seven eggs is .60 by .50, that of another set of the same number
.70 by .50 of an inch.

In all respects, habits, manners, and notes, Parkman’s Wren is a
perfect counterpart of the eastern House Wren. In the country east of
the Sierra Nevada it almost wholly replaces the western Bewick’s Wren
(_Thryothorus bewickii_, var. _spilurus_), and inhabits any wooded
localities, as little preference being given to the cottonwoods of the
river valleys as to the aspen groves high up in the mountains.

Troglodytes parvulus, var. hyemalis, VIEILL.


  _Sylvia troglodytes_, WILSON, Am. Orn. I, 1808, 139, pl. viii, f. 6.
    _Troglodytes hyemalis_, VIEILLOT, Nouv. Dict. XXXIV, 1819,
    514.—AUD. Orn. Biog. IV, 1838, 430, pl. ccclx.—IB. Birds Am. II,
    1841, 128, pl. cxxi.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 369; Rev.
    144.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 290 (Cordova, Mex.).—IB. Catal.
    1861, 23, no. 152.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER, Orn. Cal.
    I, 1870, 73.

SP. CHAR. Bill very straight, slender, and conical; shorter than the
head. Tail considerably shorter than the wings, which reach to its
middle. Upper parts reddish-brown; becoming brighter to the rump and
tail; everywhere, except on the head and upper part of the back, with
transverse bars of dusky and of lighter. Scapulars and wing-coverts
with spots of white. Beneath pale reddish-brown, barred on the
posterior half of the body with dusky and whitish, and spotted with
white more anteriorly; outer web of primaries similarly spotted with
pale brownish-white. An indistinct pale line over the eye. Length,
about 4 inches; wing, 1.66; tail, 1.26.

HAB. North America generally. South to Cordova, Mex.

Western specimens may be separated as a variety _pacificus_ (BAIRD,
Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 145), based on the much darker colors and the
almost entire absence of the whitish spots among the dark bars. The
under parts are more rufous; the tarsi are shorter, the claws larger,
the bill straighter and more slender.

The Winter Wren is very closely related to the common Wren (_T.
parvulus_, KOCH) of Europe, so much so, in fact, that the two almost
seem to be varieties of one species. The differences, as shown in a
large series from both continents, are the following: In _T. parvulus_
there is a tendency to more uniform shades; and the prevailing tint
anteriorly, beneath, is a pale yellowish-ash, almost immaculate,
instead of brownish-ochraceous, showing minute specks and darker edges
to the feathers. In extreme specimens of _T. parvulus_ the bars even
on the tail and wings (except primaries, where they are always
distinct) are very obsolete, while on the lower parts they are
confined to the flanks and crissum. Sometimes, however, specimens of
the two are found which are almost undistinguishable from each other.
In fact, it is only by taking the plainer European birds and comparing
them with the darker American examples from the northwest coast, that
the difference between _T. parvulus_ and _T. hyemalis_ is readily

HABITS. The Winter Wren, nowhere very abundant, seems to be
distributed over the whole of North America. Hardly distinguishable
from the common Wren of Europe, it can scarcely be considered as
distinct. The habits of our species certainly seem to be very
different from those assigned to the European bird, which in England
appears to be as common and as familiar a bird as even the Redbreast.
The small size and retiring habits of our species, as well as its
unfrequent occurrence, and only in wild places, combine to keep its
history in doubt and obscurity. It is supposed to be northern in its
distribution during the breeding-season, yet only a single specimen
was obtained by Sir John Richardson, and that on the northern shores
of Lake Huron.

On the Pacific coast Dr. Cooper regarded the Winter Wren as the most
common species in the forests of Washington Territory, where it
frequented even the densest portions, and where its lively song was
almost the only sound to be heard. It was most commonly seen in
winter, retiring in summer to the mountains to breed. He observed
young birds on the Coast Mountains in July.

Dr. Suckley also states that this Wren was found at Fort Steilacoom
more abundantly in the winter than any other species. It was very
unsuspicious, allowing a very near approach. The dense fir forests,
among fallen logs, were its usual places of resort during the long,
damp, and dreary winters of Oregon. Dr. Suckley regarded the habits of
this species and those of the Parkman Wren as nearly identical. Mr.
Bischoff obtained four specimens in Sitka.

Mr. Audubon found this species at Eastport, on the 9th of May, in full
song and quite abundant. A month later he found them equally plentiful
in the Magdalen Islands, and afterwards, about the middle of July, in
Labrador. He described its song as excelling that of any bird of its
size with which he was acquainted, being full of cadence, energy, and
melody, and as truly musical. Its power of continuance is said to be
very surprising.

The characteristics of the Winter Wren are those of the whole family.
They move with rapidity and precision from place to place, in short,
sudden hops and flights, bending downward and keeping their tails
erect. They will run under a large root, through a hollow stump or
log, or between the interstices of rocks, more in the manner of a
mouse than of a bird.

The writer has several times observed these Wrens on the steep sides
of Mount Washington, in the month of June, moving about in active
unrest, disappearing and reappearing among the broken masses of
granite with which these slopes are strewn. This was even in the most
thickly wooded portions. Though they evidently had nests in the
neighborhood, they could not be discovered. They were unsuspicious,
could be approached within a few feet, but uttered querulous
complaints if one persisted in searching too long in the places they

This Wren, as I am informed by Mr. Boardman, is a common summer
resident near Calais, Me.

Mr. Audubon met with its nest in a thick forest in Pennsylvania. He
followed a pair of these birds until they disappeared in the hollow of
a protuberance, covered with moss and lichens, resembling the
excrescences often seen on forest trees. The aperture was perfectly
rounded and quite smooth. He put in his finger and felt the pecking of
the bird’s bill and heard its querulous cry. He was obliged to remove
the parent bird in order to see the eggs, which were six in number.
The parent birds made a great clamor as he was examining them. The
nest was seven inches in length and four and a half in breadth. Its
walls were composed of mosses and lichens, and were nearly two inches
in thickness. The cavity was very warmly lined with the fur of the
American hare and a few soft feathers. Another nest found on the
Mohawk, in New York, was similar, but smaller, and built against the
side of a rock near its bottom.

Mr. William F. Hall met with the nest and eggs of this bird at Camp
Sebois in the central eastern portion of Maine. It was built in an
unoccupied log-hut, among the fir-leaves and mosses in a crevice
between the logs. It was large and bulky, composed externally of
mosses and lined with the fur of hedge-hogs, and the feathers of the
spruce partridge and other birds. It was in the shape of a pouch, and
the entrance was neatly framed with fine pine sticks. The eggs were
six in number, and somewhat resembled those of the _Parus
atricapillus_. The female was seen and fully identified.

In this nest, which measured five and three quarters inches by five in
breadth, the size, solidity, and strength, in view of the diminutive
proportions of its tiny architect, are quite remarkable. The walls
were two inches in thickness and very strongly impacted and
interwoven. The cavity was an inch and a quarter wide and four inches
deep. Its hemlock framework had been made of green materials, and
their strong and agreeable odor pervaded the structure. The eggs
measured .65 by .48 of an inch, and were spotted with a bright
reddish-brown and a few pale markings of purplish-slate, on a pure
white ground. Compared with the eggs of the European Wren their eggs
are larger, less oval in shape, and the spots much more marked in
their character and distinctness.

Troglodytes parvulus, var. alascensis, BAIRD.


  _Troglodytes alascensis_, BAIRD, Trans. Chicago Acad. Sc. I, ii, 315,
    pl. xxx, fig. 3, 1869.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—FRIESCH,
    Ornith. N. W. Amerikas, 1872, 30.

SP. CHAR. ♂ ad., 61,329, Amaknak Island, Unalaschka, Oct. 21, 1871; W.
H. Dall. Above umber-brown, more rufescent on the wings, rump, and
tail; secondaries and tail-feathers showing indistinct transverse
dusky bars; primaries about equally barred with blackish and dilute
umber or brownish-white; middle-coverts tipped with a small white dot,
preceded by a black one. Lower part, including a rather distinct
superciliary stripe, pale ochraceous-umber; sides, flanks, abdomen,
and crissum distinctly barred with dusky and whitish on a rusty
ground; crissum with sagittate spots of white. Wing, 2.20; tail, 1.60;
culmen, .65; tarsus, .75.

HAB. Aleutian and Pribylow Islands, Alaska.

The specimen above described represents about the average of a large
series obtained on Amaknak Island by Mr. Dall. They vary somewhat
among themselves as regards dimensions, but all are very much larger
than any specimens of _T. hyemalis_, from which it also differs in
longer, straighter, and more subulate bill (the gonys slightly
ascending). The type specimen from St. George’s Island was immature,
and we embrace the opportunity of giving the description of an adult
sent down with several others in the autumn of 1871 by Mr. Dall from

This form bears the same relation to _T. hyemalis_ that _Melospiza
unalaschkensis_ does to _M. melodia_; _T. pacificus_, like _M.
rufina_, being an intermediate form.

HABITS. Of this new variety, the Alaska Wren, but little is as yet
known as to its personal history. Mr. Dall states that it is found in
abundance all the year round on St. George’s Island, and that it
breeds in May, building a nest of moss in the crevices of the rocks,
and, according to the Aleuts, lays six eggs. Mr. Dall subsequently
found it quite common at Unalaschka in the summer of 1871.


  _Cistothorus_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 77. (Type,
    _Troglodytes stellaris_.)
  _Telmatodytes_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 78. (Type, _Certhia
  _Thryothorus_, VIEILLOT, Analyse, 1816, according to G. R. Gray.

  [Line drawing: _Cistothorus palustris._
                  1454 ♂]

GEN. CHAR. Bill about as long as the head or much shorter, much
compressed, not notched, gently decurved from the middle; the gonys
slightly concave or straight. Toes reaching to the end of the tail.
Tarsus longer than the middle toe. Hind toe longer than the lateral,
shorter than the middle. Lateral toes about equal. Hind toe longer
than or equal to its digit. Wings rather longer than the tail, all the
feathers of which are much graduated; the lateral only two thirds the
middle. The feathers narrow. Back black, conspicuously streaked with

Of this genus there are two sections, _Cistothorus_ proper and
_Telmatodytes_, the diagnoses of which have already been given. The
two North American species present the feature, unique among our
Wrens, of white streaks on the back.

A. Cistothorus. Bill half length of head. No white superciliary
streak. Head and rump and back streaked with white. Tail dusky,
barred with brown …                                   _C. stellaris._

B. Telmatodytes. Bill length of head. A white superciliary
stripe. Back alone streaked with white. Tail-feathers black,
barred with whitish …                                 _C. palustris._

Cistothorus stellaris, CABAN.


  _Troglodytes stellaris_, “LICHT.” NAUMANN, Vögel Deutschlands, III,
    1823, 724 (Carolina). _Cistothorus stellaris_, CAB. Mus. Hein.
    77.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 365; Rev. 146.—SCLATER, Catal. 22,
    no. 142 (in part). _Troglodytes brevirostris_, NUTT. Man. I, 1832,
    436.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 427, pl. clxxv.—IB. Birds Am. II,
    1841, 138, pl. cxxiv. _C. elegans_, SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859,

SP. CHAR. Bill very short, scarcely half the length of the head. Wing
and tail about equal. Hinder part of the crown and the scapular and
interscapular region of the back and rump almost black, streaked with
white. Tail dusky, the feathers barred throughout with brown (the
color grayish on the under surface). Beneath white; the sides, upper
part of breast, and under tail-coverts reddish-brown. Upper parts,
with the exceptions mentioned, reddish-brown. Length, 4.50; wing,
1.75; tail, 1.75.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, west to Loup Fork of Platte.

There is a closely allied variety from Mexico and Guatemala (_C.
elegans_, SCLATER & SALVIN, Pr. Z. S., 1859, 8) which differs in the
characters stated below.

  White dorsal streaks extending to the rump, which is
     conspicuously banded with brown, and somewhat spotted with
     whitish. Beneath, including lining of wings, light
     cinnamon-brown; throat and belly paler, almost white; sides
     and crissum very obsoletely barred with darker, and faintly
     spotted with whitish. Feathers of jugulum like sides, but
     with the color obscured by the paler edges. Tarsus, .65
     long. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States … _C. stellaris._

  Streaks on back confined to interscapular region; rump and upper
     tail-coverts almost plain reddish-brown. Beneath much paler
     than in _stellaris_, without any appreciable indication of
     bars or spots on sides and crissum, or of the fulvous of the
     jugular feathers. Inside of wings snowy-white. Tarsus, .72
     long. _Hab._ Mexico and Guatemala; Brazil? …       _C. elegans._

The differences between these two varieties are just barely
appreciable when specimens of the two, of corresponding seasons, are
compared. Two Mexican examples (_elegans_) differ more from each other
than one does from North American specimens; because one (a typical
specimen received from Salvin) is in the worn, faded, midsummer
plumage, and the other in the perfect autumnal dress. Besides the
longer tarsi of these Mexican birds, their tails, and even their
bills, are longer than seen in North American skins. But while these
differences between the North American and Mexican birds are just
appreciable, there is one from Brazil (51,017, Sr. Don Fred.
Albuquerque) which is exactly intermediate between these two varieties
in color, while in size it is even smaller than the North American
ones, measuring as follows: wing, 1.60; tail, 1.60; culmen, .45,
tarsus, .61.

Even if recognizable as belonging to different varieties, these
specimens are certainly all referable to one species.

HABITS. The Short-billed Marsh Wren is very irregularly distributed
throughout the United States, being found from Georgia to the British
Provinces, and from the Atlantic to the Upper Missouri. It is nowhere
abundant, and in many large portions of intervening territory has
never been found.

  [Illustration: _Cistothorus palustris._]

It is exclusively an inhabitant of low, fresh-water marshes, open
swamps, and meadows, is never found on high ground, and is very shy
and difficult of approach. It makes its first appearance in
Massachusetts early in May, and leaves early in September. In winter
it has been found in all the Gulf States, from Florida to Texas.

According to Nuttall, this Wren has a lively and quaint song,
delivered earnestly and as if in haste, and at short intervals, either
from a tuft of sedge or from a low bush on the edge of a marsh. When
approached, the song becomes harsher and more hurried, and rises into
an angry and petulant cry. In the early part of the season the male is
quite lively and musical. These Wrens spend their time chiefly in the
long, rank grass of the swamps and meadows searching for insects,
their favorite food.

Their nest is constructed in the midst of a tussock of coarse high
grass, the tops of which are ingeniously interwoven into a coarse and
strong covering, spherical in shape and closed on every side, except
one small aperture left for an entrance. The strong wiry grass of the
tussock is also interwoven with finer materials, making the whole
impervious to the weather. The inner nest is composed of grasses and
finer sedges, and lined with soft, vegetable down. The eggs are nine
in number, pure white, and rather small for the bird. They are
exceedingly delicate and fragile, more so than is usual even in the
eggs of Humming-Birds. They are of an oval shape, and measure .60 by
.45 of an inch.

Mr. Nuttall conjectured that occasionally two females occupied the
same nest, and states that he has known the male bird to busy itself
in constructing several nests, not more than one of which would be
used. As these birds rear a second brood, it is probable that these
nests are built from an instinctive desire to have a new one in
readiness for the second brood. This peculiarity has been noticed in
other Wrens, where the female sometimes takes possession of the new
abode, lays and sits upon her second set of eggs before her first
brood are ready to fly, which are left to the charge of her mate.

Mr. Audubon found this Wren breeding in Texas. Dr. Trudeau met them on
the marshes of the Delaware River, and their nest and eggs have been
sent to us from the Koskonong marshes of Wisconsin. It has also been
found in the marshes of Connecticut River, near Hartford; and in
Illinois Mr. Kennicott found it among the long grasses bordering on
the prairie sloughs.

In Massachusetts I have occasionally met with their nests, but only
late in July, when the rank grass of the low meadows has been cut.
These were probably their second brood. The nest being built close to
the ground, and made of the living grasses externally, they are not
distinguishable from the unoccupied tussocks that surround them.

Cistothorus palustris, BAIRD.


Var. palustris.

  _Certhia palustris_, WILSON, Am. Orn. II, 1810, 58, pl. xii, fig. 4
    (Penna). _Troglodytes palustris_, BON. Obs. Wils. 1824, no.
    66.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, 500, pl. c.—IB. Birds Am. II, 1841,
    135, pl. cxxiii.—REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 5 (Godthaab, Greenland).
    _Thryothorus palustris_, NUTT. Man. I, 1832, 439. _Cistothorus
    (Telmatodytes) palustris_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 364; Rev.
    147.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 22. _Thryothorus arundinaceus_,
    VIEILLOT, Nouv. Dict. XXXIV, 1819, 58 (not _Trog. arundinaceus_,
    VIEILLOT). _Thryothorus arundinaceus_, BON. Consp. 1850, 220.
    _Telmatodytes arundinaceus_, CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850, 78.

HAB. Eastern United States, from the Missouri River; Greenland?
REINHARDT; Mexico, and Guatemala? Cordova, SCLATER.

Var. paludicola.

  _Cistothorus palustris_, var. _paludicola_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864,
    148. _Troglodytes palustris_, NEWB. P. R. Rep. VI, IV, 1857, 80
    (Pacific region). _Cistothorus palustris_, COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R.
    Rep. X, II, 1859, 190 (W. T.)—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1. 1870, 75.
    _Certhia palustris_, LORD, Pr. R. Art. Inst. IV, 117.

SP. CHAR. Bill about as long as head. Tail and wing nearly equal.
Upper parts of a dull reddish-brown, except on the crown,
interscapular region, outer surface of tertials, and tail-feathers,
which are almost black; the first with a median patch like the
ground-color; the second with short streaks of white, extending round
on the sides of the neck; the third indented with brown; the fourth
barred with whitish, decreasing in amount from the outer feather,
which is marked from the base to the fifth, where it is confined to
the tips; the two middle feathers above like the back, and barred
throughout with dusky. Beneath rather pure white, the sides and under
tail-coverts of a lighter shade of brown than the back; a white streak
over the eye. Length, 5.50; wing, 2.08; tail, 2.00. (1,454.)

HAB. Pacific Coast and Middle Province of United States.

In comparing a series of Marsh Wrens of eastern North America with
western, we find that they differ very appreciably in certain
characteristics, which may be expressed by the following diagnoses:—

  Bill lengthened, equal to tarsus. Tail-coverts above and below
     either perfectly plain, or with very obsolete bands, reduced
     to obscure spots beneath. Bands on tail broken; scarcely
     appreciable on the middle feathers …           var. _palustris_.

  Bill shorter than tarsus. Tail-coverts distinctly banded all
     across. Bands on tail quite distinct; appreciable on the
     central feathers …                            var. _paludicola_.

The differences between these two races is much more appreciable than
those between _Troglodytes ædon_ and _T. “parkmanni”_; the most
striking character is the much longer bill of the var. _palustris_.

Specimens of the var. _paludicola_ from the interior are paler and
more grayish-brown above, and have less distinct bars on the
tail-coverts and tail, than in Pacific coast specimens, while on the
crown the brown, instead of the black, largely predominates.

HABITS. The common Marsh Wren appears to have a nearly unrestricted
range throughout North America. It occurs on the Atlantic coast from
Massachusetts to Florida, and from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and as
far north as Washington Territory on the west coast. A single specimen
was procured in Greenland. It is not, however, at all common in these
more northern latitudes. Mr. Drummond, of Sir John Richardson’s party,
met with it in the 55th parallel on the eastern declivity of the Rocky
Mountains and in the Saskatchewan Valley. Dr. Cooper found it early in
March in the salt marshes along the coast of Washington Territory, and
thinks it winters in that section. On the Eastern coast it is not
common as far north as Massachusetts, a few being found at Cambridge
and in Barnstable County. It is abundant near Washington, D. C., and
throughout the country in all suitable locations south and west from
Pennsylvania. Mr. Ridgway found it plentiful in Utah.

They frequent low marshy grounds, whether near the sea or in the
interior, and build in low bushes, a few feet from the ground, a
well-constructed globular nest. On the Potomac, where the river is
subject to irregular tides, they are generally not less than five feet
from the ground.

These nests are nearly spherical, and both in size and shape resemble
a cocoanut. They are made externally of coarse sedges firmly
interwoven, the interstices being cemented with clay or mud, and are
impervious to the weather. A small round orifice is left on one side
for entrance, the upper side of which is also protected from the rain
by a projecting edge. The inside is lined with fine grasses, feathers,
the down of the silk-weed, and other soft and warm vegetable
substances. These birds arrive in the Middle States early in May and
leave early in September. They have two broods in the season, and each
time construct and occupy a new nest.

Audubon describes its nest as built among sedges, and as usually
partly constructed of the sedges among which the nest is built. This
is the usual manner in which the _C. stellaris_ builds its nest, but I
have never known one of the present species building in this manner,
and in the localities in which they breed, near the coast, being
subject to irregular heights of tides, it could not be done with

The note of the Marsh Wren is a low, harsh, grating cry, neither loud
nor musical, and more resembling the noise of an insect than the vocal
utterances of a bird.

Their food consists chiefly of small aquatic insects, minute mollusks,
and the like, and these they are very expert in securing.

The eggs of this species average .65 of an inch in length and .50 in
breadth. They are, in color, in striking contrast with those of the
_C. stellaris_, being so thickly marked with blotches and spots of a
deep chocolate-brown as to be almost of one uniform color in
appearance. They are of an oval shape, at times almost spheroidal, one
end being but slightly more pointed than the other. They number from
six to nine.

In a few instances eggs of this species from the Mississippi Valley
and from California are of a light ashy-gray color, the markings being
smaller and of a much lighter color.

       *     *     *     *     *

We have thus completed the account of the Oscine Singing-Birds with
slender bills not hooked at the end, and which have ten distinct
primaries; the first or outer one, however, either quite small or else
considerably shorter than the second. We now come to a series with
only nine primaries, the first being entirely wanting, and the second,
now the outermost, nearly or quite as long as the third. In the
preliminary tables of general arrangement will be found the
comparative characters of the different families of _Oscines_, but the
diagnosis of the series referred to is presented here, as follows:—

COMMON CHARACTERS. Primaries nine; the first quill nearly as long as
the second or third. Tarsi distinctly scutellate the whole length
anteriorly. Bill conical, but slender or depressed, usually, except in
_Cærebidæ_, half the length of the head; more or less bristled, or
notched. Nostrils oval or rounded. Lateral toes nearly or quite equal,
and shorter than the middle; the basal joint of the middle free nearly
to its base externally, united for about half internally.

Motacillidæ. Bill slender. Culmen slightly concave at base. Legs long;
claws but little curved. Hind toe considerably longer than the middle
one; its claw much longer (twice) than the middle claw; all the claws
but slightly curved. Innermost secondaries (so-called tertials)
elongated, much longer than the outer secondaries; and the fifth
primary emarginated at end. Nest on ground.

Sylvicolidæ. Bill rather slender, conical, or depressed. Culmen
straight or convex. Hind toe shorter than the middle; the claws all
much curved. Hind claw not conspicuously longer than the middle one.
When the hind toe is lengthened, it is usually in the digit, not the
claw. Tertials generally not longer than the secondaries, and not
emarginated. Gape wide; tongue slightly split at end. Nest variously

Cærebidæ. Similar to _Sylvicolidæ_. Bill generally longer; equal to
head or more. Gape of mouth narrow; tongue generally much fringed at
the end. Nest on trees.

The _Tanagridæ_, the _Fringillidæ_, and even the _Icteridæ_, come very
near these families, as will be explained farther on, all agreeing in
having the nine primaries, and in many other characters.


CHAR. Bill slender, conical, nearly as high as wide at the base, with
slight notch at the tip; the culmen slightly concave above the
anterior extremity of the nostrils; short bristles at gape, which,
however, do not extend forward to nostrils. Loral feathers soft and
dense, but with bristly points; nasal groove filled with naked
membrane, with the elongated nostrils in lower edge; the frontal
feathers coming up to the aperture, but not directed forward nor
overhanging it. Wings lengthened and sharp-pointed; the primaries nine
(without spurious first), of which the first three to five,
considerably longer than the succeeding, form the tip; the exterior
secondaries generally much emarginated at the ends; the inner
secondaries (so-called tertials) nearly equal to the longest
primaries. The tail rather narrow, emarginate. Tarsi lengthened,
scutellate anteriorly only, the hind claw usually very long, acute,
and but slightly curved (except in _Motacilla_). Inner toe cleft
almost to the very base, outer adherent for basal joint only.

The combination of naked nostrils, notched bill, and nine primaries,
with the tarsi scutellate anteriorly only, will at once distinguish
the _Anthinæ_ of this family from the _Alaudidæ_, which they so
closely resemble in coloration, habits, and lengthened hind claw. The
lengthened, slightly curved hind claw, much pointed wings, emarginated
secondaries,—the inner ones nearly as long as the primaries,—distinguish
the family from the _Sylvicolidæ_, with which also it has near

Subfamilies and Genera.

Motacillinæ. Tail longer than or equal to wings; the two central
feathers rather longer than lateral; the feathers broadest in
middle, whence they taper gradually to the rounded tip. Colors
uniform: gray, black, yellowish; without pale edges to feathers
above, or streaks below.

  Tail from coccyx considerably longer than the wings, doubly
  forked. Hind claw shorter than the toe; decidedly curved …

  Tail from coccyx equal to the wings, slightly graduated. Hind
  claw decidedly longer than the toe, slightly curved …    _Budytes._

Anthinæ. Tail shorter than the wings, emarginate at end, the two
central shorter than lateral; the feathers broadest near the end,
and rounding rapidly at end. Above grayish-brown, the feathers
edged with paler. Under parts streaked.

  Wings much pointed and lengthened.

    Hind toe and claw shorter than tarsus; outstretched toes
    falling short of tip of tail …                          _Anthus._

    Hind toe and claw longer than tarsus; outstretched toes
    extending beyond tip of tail …                        _Neocorys._

  Wings short and rounded.

    Point of wings formed by outer four primaries of nearly equal
    length …                                        _Notiocorys._[30]

    Point of wing formed by outer five primaries, the first
    shorter than the third …                        _Pediocorys._[31]

  [Illustration: PLATE X.

   1. Motacilla alba, _Linn._ Europe.
   2. Budytes flava, _Linn._ Alaska, 45912.
   3. Anthus ludovicianus, _Gm._ Labrador, 18081.
   4.   “    pratensis, _Linn._ Europe, 18590.
   5. Neocorys spraguei, _Aud._ ♀ Dacota, 1884.
   6. Mniotilta varia, _Linn._ ♂ 18685.
   7. Parula americana, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 53385.
   8. Protonotaria citrea, _Bodd._ Ill., 1011.
   9. Helmitherus swainsoni, _Aud._ S. C., 1054.
  10.     “       vermivorus, _Gm._ Pa., 2148.]



_Motacilla_, LINN. Syst. Nat. (Type, _Motacilla alba_.)

The diagnosis already given of _Motacilla_ will serve to define it.
The genus is an Old World one, represented by several species, only
one of which (_M. alba_) is entitled to a place here from occurring in

Motacilla alba, LINN.


  _Motacilla alba_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 12th ed. 1766, 331.—KEYS. & BLAS.
    Wirb. Europ. 1840, xlix, and 174.—DEGLAND, Orn. Europ. I, 1849,
    433.—REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 6 (Greenland).—NEWTON,
    Baring-Gould’s Iceland, 1863, App. (“rather plentiful”).—BAIRD,
    Rev. Am. B. 1864, 152.
  Figure: GOULD, Birds Europe, 143.

  [Line drawing: _Motacilla alba._

SP. CHAR. (9,410 ♂, Nürnberg). Forehead as far back as above the eyes,
with sides of head and neck, white; the remaining portion of head and
neck above and below to the jugulum, black; the rest of under parts
white. Upper parts ashy-gray, including rump; the upper tail-coverts
tinged with black. Wings with two conspicuous bands and the outer
edges of the secondaries white. Tail-feathers black; the outer two
white, edged with black internally. Bill and legs black. Tip of wing
formed by outer three primaries; the distance between the third and
fourth about one third that between the fourth and fifth. Tarsi
lengthened; claw small; hind toe and claw shorter than the middle, its
claw short, considerably curved, less than the toe alone; lateral toes
nearly equal. Length, 7.30; wing, 3.45; tail, 3.90; bill from nostril,
.37; tarsus, .86; hind toe and claw, .50.

HAB. Continental Europe, rarer in England; Iceland; Greenland (only
two specimens seen); Siberia; Syria; Nubia, etc.

_Motacilla yarrelli_, a closely allied species, by some considered a
variety only, differs in having the rump black, the ashy of the back
glossed with blackish, and with the black edging of the lateral
tail-feathers broader.

  [Illustration: _Motacilla alba._]

HABITS. The common White Wagtail of Europe claims a place in the North
American fauna as an occasional visitant of Greenland, where in two
instances single specimens have been procured. It is found in all
portions of the European Continent, from the islands of the
Mediterranean as far north as the Arctic regions. It appears in Sweden
in April, and leaves there in October. Mr. Gould states also that it
is found in the northern portions of Africa, and in the highlands of
India. It also occurs, though less frequently, in England, where it is
replaced by a local race, or an allied species, _Motacilla yarrelli_
of Gould. The _Motacilla alba_ is said by Temminck to inhabit meadows
in the vicinity of streams of water, villages, and old houses. Its
food is chiefly insects in various stages and of different kinds.

It builds its nest on the ground among the grass of the meadow, in
fissures in rocks or decayed buildings, among the roots of trees, on
the banks of streams, in piles of wood and fagots, or under the arch
of a bridge. The nests are somewhat coarsely constructed of interwoven
dry bent stems of plants and reeds, with a finer lining of the same.
The eggs, six in number, are of a bluish-white ground thickly
sprinkled with fine dottings, which are most usually of a
blackish-brown color, sometimes ashy-gray or reddish-brown.

The Pied Wagtail, _M. yarrelli_, Degland and Gerbe regard as a race,
and not a species. It has a limited habitat, confined to Norway,
Sweden, and the British Islands, in the latter of which it is a
resident throughout the year. Besides their difference in plumage, Mr.
Yarrell has noticed certain differences also of habit. The _alba_ is
said not to be so partial to water as the pied species, and though
often found near ploughed land, does not, like its kindred species,
follow the plough in search of insects. Mr. Hewitson also states that
it has a hoarser voice.

Like all the birds of this family, the Wagtail is much admired for the
elegance of its form, its activity, and the airy lightness of its
motions. It seems ever on the move, runs with great rapidity a quick
succession of steps in pursuit of its food, and goes from place to
place in short undulating flights. It has a cheerful chirping note
which it utters while on the wing. When it alights, it gives a
graceful fanning movement with its tail, from which it derives its

The Pied Wagtail, whose habits have been more closely observed by
English naturalists, has frequently been seen to wade into the water
in search of aquatic insects, and probably also of small fish, as in
confinement they have been known to catch and feed on minnows in a
fountain in the centre of their aviary. It is probable that the habits
of the White Wagtail are not dissimilar.

They leave their breeding-places in October, collecting and moving in
small flocks.

Their eggs measure .79 of an inch in length and .59 in breadth. The
ground-color is of a grayish-white so thickly flecked with fine
ash-colored and black dots as to give the entire egg the effect of a
uniform dark ashen hue.


  _Budytes_, CUVIER, R. A. 1817. (Type, _Motacilla flava_, LINN.)

  [Line drawing: _Budytes flava._

The recent discovery of a species of yellow-bellied Wagtail in Norton
Sound, by the naturalists of the Russian Telegraph Expedition, adds
another member of an Old World family to the list of American birds.
Much confusion exists as to the precise number of species in the
genus, some grouping together as varieties what others consider as
distinct species. There is an unusual degree of variation with age,
sex, and season, and this, combined with strongly marked geographical
peculiarities, renders the proper solution of the problem impossible
to any but those having access to large series.

Budytes flava, LINN.


  _Motacilla flava_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I (1766), 33.—FINSCH & HARTLAUB,
    Vögel Ostafrikas, 268. _Budytes flava_, BON. (1838).—MIDDENDORFF,
    Sibirische Reise, II, ii (1852), 168.—DEGLAND & GERBE, Ornith.
    Europ. I (1867), 376.—BAIRD, Trans. Chicago Acad. Sci. I, ii, p.
    312, pl. xxx, fig. 1; 1869.—DALL & BANNISTER, Tr. Ch. Ac. I,
    1869, 127.—TRISTRAM, Ibis, 1871, 231.—FINSCH, 1872.

SP. CHAR. Description of specimen No. 45,912, taken at St. Michael’s,
Norton Sound, June 6, 1866, by H. M. Bannister. Above, including edges
of upper tail-coverts, rich olive-green, the top and sides of the head
and neck pure ash-gray; chin and well-marked stripe from nostrils over
the eye to the nape, white; all under parts rich yellow, tinged with
olive on the sides. Stripe from corner of mouth through the eye, and
involving the ear-coverts, blackish-ash. Feathers of wings and tail
dark brown; the coverts and secondaries edged with olive (showing the
obscure light wing-bars), the longest of the latter edged externally
with white; innermost quills edged externally with white. Outer three
quills nearly equal and longest (the prolonged secondaries as long),
the others graduating less. Outer tail-feathers and shaft white; the
inner web edged externally with dusky, which, beginning at the base,
runs out gradually to the edge, about half an inch from tip of
feathers; second feather with rather less white, and with a narrow
line of brown along the outer side of the shaft to within half an inch
of the tip. Bill and legs blackish.

  [Illustration: _Budytes flava._]

Dimensions (prepared specimen). Total length, 6.00; wing, 3.00; tail,
3.00; exposed portion of first primary, 2.30. Bill: length from
forehead, 0.58; from nostril, 0.35; along gape, 0.57. Legs: tarsus,
0.91; middle toe and claw, 0.70; claw alone, 0.16; hind toe and claw,
0.65; claw alone, 0.36.

A second specimen (No. 45,910) differs in having ashy color of head
obscured with olivaceous-brown; and the yellow on breast showing
brownish bases. The light markings on the wings more distinct and

Another bird (No. 45,913), taken on shipboard, about ninety miles west
of St. Matthew’s Island, Behring’s Sea, August 10, 1866, appears to be
of the same species, in autumnal dress. Here the upper colors are more
brown; the lower parts yellowish-white tinged with brownish-fulvous
across the breast and flank. Kamtschatkan specimens of the same stage
of plumage are very similar.

I am unable to distinguish this species from the Protean _Budytes
flava_ of Europe and Asia. Many different races appear to be found
throughout this wide circle of distribution, many of them more or less
local, but the proportions and general character are the same in all,
and the general tendency appears to be to unite all into one species.
The sexes and ages of all the species, real or supposed, vary very
much, and, in the absence of a large series, I can throw no light upon
the obscurities of the subject. I cite above the latest general work
on the birds of Europe, in which will be found the principal

The specimens from Alaska submitted for examination to Mr. H. B.
Tristram were identified by him as the _B. flava_.

HABITS. The Gray-headed Wagtail of Europe finds a place in the fauna
of North America as a bird of Alaska, where specimens have been
obtained, and where it is, at least, an occasional visitant. It is not
a common bird of the British Islands, where it is replaced by a
closely allied species. Only seven or eight instances of its
occurrence were known to Mr. Yarrell.

On the continent of Europe it is quite an abundant species, inhabiting
wet springy places in moist meadows, and frequenting the vicinity of
water and the gravelly edges of rivers. It is numerous in all the
central portions of Europe. It has also an extensive northern and
eastern geographical range, appearing in Norway and Sweden as early as
April and remaining there until September. Linnæus met with it in
Lapland on the 22d of May. It occurs in Algeria, Nubia, and Egypt. Mr.
Gould has received it from the Himalayas, and Temminck gives it as a
bird of Japan.

According to Degland, this bird is a very abundant species in France,
where it nests on the ground in the cornfields, in open fields,
meadows, and amidst the standing grain. It lays from four to six eggs,
of a brownish-yellow on a reddish-white ground, profusely covered with
fine dots of reddish-gray, which are more or less confluent. A few
zigzag lines of dark brown or black are found on the larger end. They
measure .63 of an inch in length and .55 in breadth. Its food is
flies, moths, small green caterpillars, and aquatic insects.

Ray’s Wagtail, recognized by some authors as a distinct species, is
probably only an insular race, chiefly found in the British Islands
and in Western France. In the latter place both birds occur, and here
also they have been known to mate the one with the other. Their nests
and eggs are so alike as not to be distinguishable. The former are
constructed of fine fibrous roots and fine stems of grasses, and are
lined with hair.

These birds are remarkably social, collecting in small flocks soon
after leaving their nests, and until their autumnal migrations
following the older birds in quest of food. They have two call-notes
which are quite shrill, and are repeated in succession, the second
being lower in tone. No mention is made by the naturalists of the
Telegraph Expedition of their having any song other than these notes.

Mr. Bannister first observed this species at St. Michael’s, on the 9th
or 10th of June, and from that time until late in August they were
among the most abundant of the land-birds. During the month of June he
observed them in flocks of twenty or thirty individuals. It seemed to
be a rather shy bird. He described its flight as like that of our
common Goldfinch, rising with a few strokes of its wings, then closing
them and describing a sort of paraboloidal curve in the air. The only
note which he heard and identified as uttered by this species was a
kind of faint chirp, hardly to be called a song. These birds seemed to
prefer the open country, and were rarely observed in the low brush,
the only approach to woods found on the island.


The characters of this subfamily have already been detailed. The
American sections may be defined as follows, although whether entitled
to rank as genera may be questioned:—

COMMON CHARACTERS. Tail decidedly shorter than the wings; less
than half the whole length of bird; simply emarginate and
rounded. Hind claw lengthened; only slightly curved. Feathers of
back with paler edges; breast streaked with dusky. Nest on the
ground; eggs finely mottled so as almost to be uniform dark brown
(in North American species).

  _a. Wings much pointed, and lengthened._

  Point of wing formed by four outer primaries, of which the
  fourth sometimes a little shorter than the third. Hind toe and
  claw as long as middle, shorter than tarsus, the claw alone
  usually a little longer than the toe itself, and slightly
  curved; inner toe and claw longer than the outer; outstretched
  toes falling short of the tip of tail; hind toe and claw
  shorter than tarsus …                                     _Anthus_.

  Point of wings formed by four outer primaries, the first
  longest, or as long as others. Legs stout, the outstretched
  toes reaching almost to tip of tail. Hind toe and claw longer
  than tarsus, the claw very long, but equal to the toe proper …

  _b. Wings short, rounded._

  Point of wings formed by four outer primaries of nearly equal
  length …                                          _Notiocorys_.[32]

  Point of wings formed by five outer primaries, the first
  shorter than third …                              _Pediocorys_.[33]


  _Anthus_, BECHST. Gemein. Naturg. Deutschl. 1802. (Type, _Alauda

  [Line drawing: _Anthus ludovicianus._

CHAR. Bill slender, much attenuated, and distinctly notched. A few
short bristles at the base. Culmen concave at the base. Tarsi quite
distinctly scutellate; longer than the middle toe; inner lateral toe
the longer. Hind toe rather shorter than the tarsus, but longer than
the middle toe, owing to the long, attenuated, and moderately curved
hind claw, which is considerably more than half the total length of
the toe. Tail rather long, emarginate. Wing very long, considerably
longer than the lengthened tail, reaching to its middle. The first
primary nearly equal to the longest. The tertials almost as long as
the primaries.

But one species of this genus belongs properly to North America,
although a second is accidental in Greenland and Alaska. The diagnoses
are as follows:—

  Bill and feet blackish. Prevailing color above olive-brown.
    Beneath buff. Edge and inside of wings white. Shafts of middle
    tail-feathers above dark brown …               _A. ludovicianus._

  Bill and feet dusky flesh-color. Prevailing color above
    olive-green; more distinctly streaked. Beneath greenish-white.
    Edge and inside of wings greenish-yellow. Shafts of middle
    tail-feathers above whitish …                     _A. pratensis._

ZANDER (Cabanis Journal, Extraheft I, 1853, 64) states that _Anthus
cervinus_, PALLAS, is found in the Aleutian Islands. It is described
as having

     The feet yellowish-brown; the two longest under tail-coverts
     with a blackish longitudinal spot; the longest tertial
     almost equal to the longest primary; the shaft of the first
     tail-feather mostly white; no green on the plumage; the
     throat rust-color.

BALDAMUS (Naumannia, 1857, 202) says he has received _Anthus aquaticus_
and its eggs from Labrador. This statement, however, requires

Anthus ludovicianus, LICHT.


  _Alauda ludoviciana_, GM. S. N. I, 1788, 793. _Anthus ludovicianus_,
    LICHT. Verz. 1823, 37; also of AUDUBON & BONAPARTE.—BAIRD, Birds
    N. Am. 1858, 232; Rev. 153.—COUES, Pr. A. N. S. 1861, 220
    (Labrador).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 296 (Cordova).—IB. Catal.
    1861, 24, no. 153. SCL. & SALV. Ibis, 1859, 9 (Guatemala).—JONES,
    Nat. in Bermuda, 1859, 29, autumn.—BLAKISTON, Ibis, 1862, 4
    (Saskatchewan).—DALL & BANNISTER, Tr. Chic. Ac. I, 1869,
    277.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 78. _Alauda rubra_, GM.; _Alauda
    rufa_, WILS.; _Anthus spinoletta_, BON., AUD.; _Alauda
    pennsylvanica_, BRISS.; _? Alauda pennsylvanica_, BONN. Encycl.
    Méth. I, 1790, 319. _? Motacilla hudsonica_, LATH. Ind. Orn. II,
    1790, 503.—VIEILLOT, Encycl. Méth. II, 1823, 447. _Anthus
    pennsylvanica_, ZANDER; _Anthus aquaticus_, AUD.; _Anthus
    pipiens_, AUD.; _Anthus rubens_, MERREM; _Anthus reinhardtii_,
    HÖLBOLL, Fauna Grönlands (ed. Paulsen), 1846, 25 (Greenland).
  Figures: AUD. Birds Am. III, pl. cxl.—IB. Orn. Biog. I, pl. lxxx.—
   WILSON, V. pl. lxxxix.

SP. CHAR. (_Female_, in spring.) Above olive-brown, each feather
slightly darker towards the central portion; beneath pale dull-buff,
or yellowish-brown, with a maxillary series of dark-brown spots and
streaks across the breast and along sides. Ring round the eye, and
superciliary stripe, yellowish. Central tail-feathers like the back,
others dark blackish-brown; the external one white, except at the base
within; a white spot at the end of the second. Primaries edged with
whitish, other quills with pale brownish. Length, 6.50; wing, 3.45;
tail, 2.95.

HAB. Whole of North America; Greenland; Bermuda; south to Orizaba,
Guatemala, and even Peru? Heligoland, Europe. (GÄTKE.) Not noted in
West Indies.

  [Illustration: _Anthus ludovicianus._]

Spring specimens from Labrador, collected by Dr. Coues, have the upper
parts ashy without any tinge of olive, almost bluish on the head; the
lower parts deeper and more reddish-buff than in autumnal and winter
specimens. Tarsi black in spring, brown in winter; toes always black.

HABITS. At different seasons of the year the Brown Titlark is found
throughout the continent, and abundant for the time in the several
parts of the country, chiefly frequenting the least cultivated
portions and apparently preferring the sterile and least attractive
regions. It is one of the most extensively distributed of all our
North American birds, being found in immense numbers over the whole
length and breadth of North America. Gambel met them in large numbers
in New Mexico and California; Richardson found them on the plains of
the Saskatchewan; it is abundant in the Arctic regions from May to
October, and is equally common on the coast of Labrador; Mr. Dall
found it universal from British Columbia north. It is also found in
Florida, Cape St. Lucas, Mexico, and Central America. Accidental
specimens have occurred in Europe.

This lark is a bird of easy and beautiful flight, passing and
repassing through the air with graceful evolutions, and when moving to
new localities, sweeping over the place several times before
alighting. It also moves rapidly on the ground and after the manner of
the true larks, jerking the tail like our Water-Thrushes and the
European Wagtails.

When feeding on the open ground in the interior, their food is chiefly
insects and small seeds. On the banks of rivers and on the seashore
they are fond of running along the edge of the water, searching among
the drift for insects, small shells, and crustaceans. Near New Orleans
and Charleston, in the winter, Mr. Audubon found them feeding, in
company with the Turkey Buzzard, upon garbage.

Dr. Coues found the Titlark abundant in every locality visited by him
in Labrador, giving him an ample opportunity to observe its habits
during the breeding-season. He found them on some of the most rocky
and barren islands along the coast. They frequented only the open,
bare, and exposed situations, such as that coast everywhere afforded,
and were never found in wooded localities. The nests of this species
found by him were identical in situation, form, and construction,
placed on the sides of steep, precipitous chasms, in small cavities in
the earth, into which dry moss had been introduced to keep the nest
from the damp ground. They were composed entirely of coarse, dry
grasses loosely put together, without any lining. Their external
diameter was six inches, and the depth of the cavity two inches.

Dr. Coues describes the song of the male bird as very sweet and
pleasant. Mr. Audubon speaks of it as consisting of a few clear and
mellow notes when on the wing, and when standing erect on the rocks it
produces a clearer and louder song.

Dr. Coues speaks of their flight as undulating and unsteady, and never
protracted to any great distance. They never alight on bushes, but
always on the ground, where they run with great ease and rapidity. At
low tides they resorted to the muddy flats, where they ran about upon
the eel-grass, searching for their food in company with the small
Sandpipers and in a similar manner, finding there an abundance of
food. At all times they exhibited a heedless familiarity and an entire
want of fear of man, feeding unconcernedly around the doors of the
houses, and searching for their insect food on the roofs of the sheds
and dwellings.

Both birds incubate and sit so closely that they may almost be trodden
upon before they are willing to leave their nest, and even then only
flutter off to a short distance, with loud cries of distress that soon
bring the mate and other pairs of the same species to join in the
lamentations. They hover over the heads of the intruders, at times
approaching within a few feet, expressing their distress by the most
plaintive cries, and even when the intruders withdraw following them
to a considerable distance.

All the nests of this lark that I have seen are remarkable for the
thickness of their walls, and the strength, compactness, and elaborate
care with which the materials are put together, particularly for nests
built on the ground. They are well suited to protect their contents
from the cold, damp ground on which they are placed; and their upper
portions are composed of stout vegetable stems, lichens, and grasses
strongly interwoven, and forming a strong rim around the upper part of
the nest.

Dr. Coues describes their eggs as of a dark chocolate-color,
indistinctly marked with numerous small lines and streaks of black.
Audubon describes them as having a ground-color of a deep
reddish-chestnut, darkened by numerous dots of deeper reddish-brown
and lines of various sizes, especially toward the larger end. Those in
my possession, received from Labrador by Thienemann, measure from .75
to .78 of an inch in length, and from .59 to .62 in breadth, and have
a light-brown or clay-colored ground, so thickly covered with spots as
to be almost concealed. These spots are of a purplish chocolate-brown,
with occasional darker lines about the larger end. In others the
markings are bolder and larger and of brighter hues. Like the eggs of
the _Anthus arboreus_ of Europe, it is probable that those of this
Titlark exhibit great variations, both in ground-color and in the
shades of their markings.

Anthus pratensis, BECHST.


  _Alauda pratensis_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 1766, 287. _Anthus pratensis_,
    BECHST. Deutsch. Vögel, III, 1807, 732.—KEYS. & BLAS. Wirb.
    Europas, 1840, 172.—ZANDER, Cab. Jour. I, extraheft, 1853,
    60.—PAULSEN, ed. HÖLBOLL, Faun. Grönlands, 1846, 24.—REINHARDT,
    Ibis, 1861, 6.—NEWTON, Baring-Gould’s Iceland, 1863.—BAIRD, Rev.
    Am. B. 1864, 155.
  Figures: GOULD’S Birds Europe, pl. cxxxvi.

HAB. Europe generally; common in Lapland; accidental in Greenland; St.
Michael’s, Norton Sound.

This species in general form resembles the _A. ludovicianus_, the
fifth primary in both being abruptly and considerably shorter than the
outer four; the bill and legs quite similar. The average size appears
much the same. The upper parts are, however (especially the head and
back), more distinctly streaked with dusky; the edge and inside of
wing greenish-yellow, not white, and the upper plumage and outer edges
of the quills decidedly olive-green. The shafts of the middle
tail-feathers above are whitish, not dark brown; the under parts
greenish-white, conspicuously streaked with dark brown. The bill is
dusky, the base and edges paler; the legs dusky flesh-color, not dark

The occurrence of this species in Greenland was noticed in the Review;
and since the publication of that work a specimen has been obtained at
St. Michael’s, in Alaska, by Mr. W. H. Dall, and is now in the
Smithsonian collection. The specimen in question appears to be the
true _pratensis_.

HABITS. This European species claims a place in the North American
fauna on the ground of a single specimen having been found in
Greenland, in 1845, and one at St. Michael’s, Norton Sound. In the Old
World it is the counterpart of our _ludovicianus_, which, in all
respects, it closely resembles. It is the most common and the best
known of European Titlarks. In Great Britain, where it is found
throughout the year, it appears to prefer the uncultivated districts,
inhabiting commons and waste lands, and in the more northern parts
frequenting the moors. It is also found in meadows and marsh lands, in
winter seeking more sheltered places. It is rarely seen to alight on a
branch or to sit on a rail. Its song is soft and musical, and is
usually uttered when on the wing or when vibrating over its nest. It
seeks its food altogether on the ground, running nimbly in pursuit of
insects, slugs, and worms. According to Yarrell its nest is built on
the ground, generally among the grass. It is composed externally of
dried sedges, lined with finer materials and some hair. The eggs are
six in number, of a reddish-brown color, mottled over with darker
shades of the same, and measure .80 by .60 of an inch.

According to the observations of English naturalists, this bird
resorts to various ingenious devices to conceal its nest, or to draw
aside attention from it, such as feigning lameness when it is
approached, and concealing it by artificial covering when it has been
once discovered.

The Meadow Pipit is common during the summer months in Denmark,
Sweden, and Norway, visiting also the Faroe Islands and Iceland. It
inhabits the whole continent of Europe as far south as Spain, Italy,
and Sicily. It has also been found in Northern Africa, and, according
to Gould, in Western Asia. Temminck also states it to be among the
birds of Japan.

According to Degland these larks, after the breeding-season, unite in
small flocks, probably families, and frequent low and damp localities.
In summer they are more often found on high and dry mountain plains.
Their flesh is said to be delicious.


  _Neocorys_, SCLATER, Pr. Zoöl. Soc. Lond. 1857, 5. (Type, _Alauda
    spraguei_, AUD.)

CHAR. Bill half as long as the head; the culmen concave at the base,
slightly decurved at the tip. Rictus without bristles. Legs stout;
tarsi distinctly scutellate, longer than the middle toe. Hind toe very
long, equal to the tarsus, much longer than the middle toe; its claw
but slightly curved, and about half the total length. Inner lateral
toe rather longer than outer. Wings much longer than tail; first quill
longest. Tertials considerably longer than secondaries. Tail rather
short, emarginate.

But one species of this genus is known, it being peculiar to the
Western plains.

Neocorys spraguei, SCLAT.


  _Alauda spraguei_, AUD. Birds Am. VII, 1843, 335, pl. cccclxxxvi.
    _Agrodoma spraguei_, BAIRD, Stansbury’s Rep. 1852, 329. _Neocorys
    spraguei_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 5.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    234.—BLAKISTON, Ibis, 1862, 4 (Saskatchewan).—COOPER, Orn. Cal.
    I, 1870, 80. _Anthus (Neocorys) spraguei_, BAIRD, Rev. 155.

SP. CHAR. Above wood-brown, all the feathers edged with paler,
especially on the neck, where there is a brownish-yellow tinge. The
under parts are dull white, with a collar of sharply defined narrow
brown streaks across the forepart and along the sides of the breast.
Lores and a superciliary line whitish. Tail-feathers, except the
middle ones, dark brown; the outer one white, the second white, with
the inner margin brown. The outer primary is edged with white, and
there are two dull whitish bands across the wings. Bill and feet
yellow, the former brown above. Length (female), 5.75; wing, 3.35;
tail, 2.50.

HAB. Plains of Yellowstone and Upper Missouri to Saskatchewan;

  [Line drawing: _Neocorys spraguei._

This little-known species has the general appearance of a Titlark, but
is readily distinguished from _Anthus ludovicianus_ by the purer white
of its under parts, the much darker centres and much paler margins to
the feathers above, the entirely white external tail-feather, and the
yellow legs and bill, as well as by its generic peculiarities. In its
song and general habits it approaches nearer the European Skylark than
any bird belonging to our fauna.

HABITS. This interesting species was first described by Audubon, in
the supplementary portion of his Birds of America. It was obtained by
the party which accompanied him to the Upper Missouri in 1843. It was
first met with on the 19th of June near Fort Union, in Dacotah
Territory. It has since been found on the fork of the Saskatchewan,
but little additional information respecting its habits has been
obtained since its first discovery.

  [Illustration: _Neocorys spraguei._]

It seems to more nearly approach, in its habits, the European Skylark
than any other of our North American birds. Mr. Edward Harris was
completely misled, at first, by the sound of their song, so that on
several occasions he sought for them on the ground. Their voices
appeared to come to him from the earth’s surface. After having
travelled in quest of them, to no purpose, to many distant parts of
the prairies, he at last discovered that these sounds proceeded from
several of these birds soaring at so great an elevation as to make
them difficult to discover by the eye, even in the transparent
atmosphere of that country.

They are described as running gracefully on the ground, at times
squatting to observe the movements of the intruders, and again
elevating their bodies as if to meet their approach. Rising from the
ground, they fly in an undulating manner, so that it is extremely
difficult to shoot them on the wing. They continue thus to fly in
increasing circles until about a hundred yards high, when they begin
to sing. After a while, suddenly closing their wings, they drop to the
ground. They could be easily approached in a light wagon, and in this
manner several specimens were obtained.

Captain Blakiston (Ibis, V. 61) found this Skylark common on the
prairies of the Saskatchewan during the breeding-season. He first met
with it on the 6th of May, near Fort Carlton. When disturbed from the
grass, its usual haunt, it utters a single chirp, and immediately
mounts in the air by a circuitous course, with a very undulating
flight, to a great height, where with outstretched wings it soars in a
peculiar manner, and utters a very striking song. This is described as
consisting of a quick succession of notes, in a descending scale, each
note being lower than the preceding. The bird then descends to the
ground with great rapidity, almost like a stone, and somewhat in the
manner of a hawk swooping on its prey. It was difficult of approach,
and not easily killed. He also observed these birds in Northern
Minnesota, May 4, 1859.

A nest of this bird was built on the ground and placed in a hollow. It
was made of fine grasses interwoven into a circular form, but without
any lining. The eggs were four or five in number, an oblong oval in
shape, much pointed at one end, and measuring .87 of an inch in length
by .63 in breadth. Their ground-color was a dull white, so minutely
dotted with a grayish-purple as to give the whole egg a homogeneous
appearance, as of that uniform color.

The young larks, soon after being hatched, followed their parents on
the ground, and were fed with seeds of the smaller plants and with
insects. They had already begun to associate in small flocks of from
eight to a dozen before the party left, and on the 16th of August had
commenced their southern migrations.


The _Sylvicolidæ_ are essentially characterized among the Oscines with
nine primaries, by their small size, the usually slender and conical
insectivorous bill, shorter than the head, without angle in the gape
near the base; the toes deeply cleft so as to leave the inner one free
almost to its very base (except in _Mniotiltæ_), etc. The shallow
notch at the end of the tongue, instead of a deeply fissured tip,
distinguishes the family from the _Cærebidæ_, to some of which there
is otherwise so great a resemblance. The absence of abrupt hook and
notch in both mandibles separates it from such of the _Vireonidæ_ as
have nine primaries.

The American _Motacillidæ_ are distinguished from the _Sylvicolidæ_ by
the emargination of the outer and the great elongation of the inner
secondaries, as well as by other features referred to under that
family. _Anthus_, in particular, differs in the lengthened and
slightly curved hind claw. There is little difficulty in distinguishing
the _Sylvicolidæ_, however, from any families excepting the
slender-billed forms of the _Tanagridæ_, as _Chlorospingus_,
_Nemosia_, _Chlorochrysa_, etc., and the conirostral _Cœrebidæ_. In
fact, some ornithologists are inclined to include all three of the
families thus mentioned in one, from the difficulty of marking their
boundaries respectively.

In fact, we are of the opinion that no violence would be done by
adopting this view, and would even include with the above-mentioned
families the _Fringillidæ_ also. The order of their relation to one
another would be thus: _Fringillidæ, Tanagridæ, Sylvicolidæ,
Cœrebidæ_; there being scarcely any break in the transition between
the two extremes, unless there are many genera referred to the wrong
family, as seems very likely to be the case with many included in the
_Tanagridæ_. The _fringilline_ forms of the latter family are such
genera as _Buarremon_ and _Arremon_, they being so closely related to
some _fringilline_ genera by so many features—as rounded concave
wing, lax plumage, and spizine coloration—as to be scarcely
separable. Either these two families are connected so perfectly by
intermediate forms as to be inseparable, or the term _Tanagridæ_
covers too great a diversity of forms. With the same regularity that
we proceed from the _Fringillidæ_ to the typical forms of the
_Tanagridæ_ (_Pyranga_, _Tanagra_, _Calliste_, etc.), we pass down the
scale from these to the _Sylvicolidæ_; while between many genera of
the latter family, and others referred to the _Cærebidæ_, no
difference in external anatomy can be discovered, much less expressed
in a description.

In the following synopsis we attempt to define the higher groups of
the _Sylvicolidæ_, although in the large number of species and their
close relationships it is very difficult to express clearly their
distinctive features.


A. Bill conical, its bristles very weak, or wanting.

  _a._ Bill sub-conical, the culmen and commissure nearly

    Sylvicolinæ. Feet weak, not reaching near the end of the
    tail. Wing pointed, considerably longer than the nearly even
    or slightly emarginated tail. Feet dark-colored (except in
    _Helmitherus_, _Helinaia_, and _Parula_). _Arboreal._

    Geothlypinæ. Feet strong, reaching nearly to end of the
    tail. Wing rounded. Feet pinkish-white. _Terrestrial._

  _b._ Bill high and compressed, the culmen and commissure much

    Icterianæ. Bill without notch or rictal bristles; wing much
    rounded, shorter than the tail.

B. Bill depressed, its bristles strong.

    Setophaginæ. Bill, _tyrannine_, considerably broader than
    high, the tip more or less hooked, and with a distinct notch.
    Rictal bristles reaching half-way, or more, to the tip.

Sections and Genera.


1. Middle toe, with claw, longer than tarsus.

    Mniotilteæ. Bill much compressed for terminal half, the
    lateral outline decidedly concave; culmen and gonys decidedly
    convex; commissure moderately concave. Rictal bristles very
    inconspicuous; notch just perceptible …              _Mniotilta._

2. Middle toe, with claw, not longer than tarsus.

    Vermivoreæ. Bill without a distinct notch, or lacking it
    entirely; rictal bristles wanting, or very minute; culmen and
    gonys nearly straight; bill only very moderately compressed.

  _a._ Middle toe and claw about equal to tarsus.

      Bill not acute; culmen and gonys decidedly convex; notch
      just perceptible; bristles apparent …           _Protonotaria._

      Bill moderately acute, robust; no notch; culmen straight,
      its base elevated and slightly arched; bristles not
      apparent …                                          _Helinaia._

      Bill moderately acute; robust; no notch; culmen convex, its
      base not elevated; bristles apparent …           _Helmitherus._

  _b._ Middle toe and claw considerably shorter than tarsus.

      Bill very acute, its outlines nearly straight; notch not
      perceptible; bristles not apparent …          _Helminthophaga._

      Bill very acute, its outlines nearly straight; notch just
      perceptible; bristles strong …                        _Parula._

    Sylvicoleæ. Bill distinctly notched; rictal bristles strong;
    outlines generally slightly curved.

      Bill acute, gonys slightly concave …            _Perissoglossa._

      Bill not acute, gonys convex …                      _Dendroica._


3. Wings pointed, longer than the nearly even tail.


      Above olive-brown; beneath white with dark streaks … _Seiurus._

      Above olive-green; beneath yellow without streaks …

4. Wings rounded, shorter than the graduated tail.


      Above olive-green; beneath yellow, without streaks …


5. Bill very deep and compressed; tail graduated; outer toe
deeply cleft.


      Olive-green above; bright yellow anteriorly beneath. Upper
      mandible deeper than the lower …                     _Icteria._

      Plumbeous-blue above; red, black, and white beneath. Upper
      mandible not so deep as the lower …              _Granatellus._

6. Bill slender, sub-conical, but curved; tail nearly even; outer
toe adherent for basal half.


      Above olive-gray; beneath whitish posteriorly, and yellow
      anteriorly …                                     _Teretristis._


7. Bill _tyrannine_. Tail broad, equal to or longer than the
wing, and much rounded.

    Setophageæ. Colors mainly black, red, and white.

      Tail not longer than the wing. Above black, wing variegated …

      Tail longer than the wing. Above plumbeous, wing
      unvariegated …                                     _Myioborus._

8. Bill _sylvicoline_. Tail narrow, almost even; shorter than the

    Myiodiocteæ. Colors yellow beneath, olive-green or ashy

      Black markings about the head in the ♂ …         _Myiodioctes._

9. Bill somewhat _parine_. Tail equal to the wing, almost even.

    Cardellineæ. Colors mainly red, or red, ashy, and white.

      Bill weak, almost cylindrical; wings rounded, the quills
      broad and soft at ends. Tail slightly rounded, the feathers
      soft. Colors mainly red …                          _Ergaticus._

      Bill stout, the culmen and gonys very convex; wings
      pointed, the quills emarginated and hard at ends. Tail
      even, the feathers hard. Color ashy above; rump and beneath
      white. Head red and black …                       _Cardellina._

Of the above, _Granatellus_, _Myioborus_, _Ergaticus_, and
_Cardellina_ belong to Central and South America, _Teretristis_ to



CHAR. Bill slightly notched some distance from the tip. Rictal
bristles minute. Hind toe considerably developed, longer than the
lateral toe; its claw decidedly longer than its digit. First quill
nearly or quite as long as the second. Wings long, pointed; much
longer than the tail, which is nearly even. Tail-feathers with white
spots. Bill much compressed for terminal half, the commissure and
lateral outlines decidedly concave; the culmen and gonys convex.


  _Mniotilta_, VIEILLOT, Analyse, 1816, 45. (Type, _Motacilla varia_,

GEN. CHAR. General form sylvicoline; bill rather long, compressed,
shorter than the head, with very short rictal bristles and a shallow
notch. Wings considerably longer than the tail, which is slightly
rounded; first quill shorter than second and third. Tarsi rather
short; toes long, middle one equal to the tarsus; hind toe nearly as
long, the claw considerably shorter than its digit. Color white,
streaked with black. Nest on ground; eggs white, blotched with red.

This genus differs from other Sylvicolines in the elongation of the
toes, especially the hinder one, by means of which the species is
enabled to move up and down the trunks of trees, like the true
Creepers. But one species is recognized as North American, although
Nuttall describes a second.

Mniotilta varia, VIEILL.


  _Motacilla varia_, LINN. S. N. I, 1766, 333. _Certhia varia_,
    VIEILLOT; AUDUBON. _Mniotilta varia_, VIEILLOT, Gal. Ois. I, 1834,
    276, pl. clxix.—AUDUBON.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 235; Rev.
    167.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298 (Oaxaca, Xalapa); 1859, 363
    (Xalapa); 1855, 143 (Bogota); 1856, 291 (Cordova); 1864, 172 (City
    of Mex.)—IB. Catal. 1861, 25, no. 162.—SCL. & SALV. Ibis, 1859,
    10 (Guatemala).—NEWTON, Ibis, 1859, 143 (Santa Cruz;
    winter).—CAB. Jour. III, 475 (Cuba; winter).—BRYANT, Pr. Bost.
    Soc. 1859 (Bahamas; April 20).—GOSSE, Birds Jam. 134 (Jamaica;
    winter).—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 1859, 29 (October).—CAB. Jour.
    1860, 328 (Costa Rica).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N.Y. Lyc. 1861, 322
    (Panama R. R.; winter).—GUNDL. Cab. Journ. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very
    common). _Certhia maculata_, WILS. _Mniotilta borealis_, NUTT.
    _Mniotilta varia_, var. _longirostris_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    xxxi, no. 167.—IB. Catal. in 8vo, 1869, no. 167.
  Figures: AUD. Orn. Biog. V, pl. xc; Birds Am. II, pl. cxiv.—WILSON,
    Am. Orn. III, pl. xix.

  [Line drawing: _Mniotilta varia_, Vieill.]

SP. CHAR. Bill with the upper mandible considerably decurved, the
lower straight. General color of the male black, the feathers broadly
edged with white; the head all round black, with a median stripe in
the crown and neck above, a superciliary and a maxillary one of white.
Middle of belly, two conspicuous bands on the wings, outer edges of
tertials and inner of all the wing and tail feathers, and a spot on
the inner webs of the outer two tail-feathers, white. Rump and upper
tail-coverts black, edged externally with white. Female similar; the
under parts white, obsoletely streaked with black on the sides and
under tail-coverts. Length, 5 inches; wing, 2.85; tail, 2.25.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, and north to Fort Simpson.
Both coasts of Mexico (as far north as Mazatlan, on west side), and
southward to Bogota. Whole of West Indies and Bermuda.

_Localities quoted._ Bahamas; Bermuda; Cuba; Jamaica; Santa Cruz; West
Indies; Cordova, Xalapa, Oaxaca, Mex.; Guatemala; Panama R.R.; Bogota.

Specimens breeding in the Southern States differ in rather longer bill
and less amount of black, but are otherwise undistinguishable.

  [Illustration: _Mniotilta varia._

HABITS. The Black and White Creeper, nowhere an abundant species, is
met with in various sections of the country. It occurs in all parts of
New England and New York, and has been found in the interior as far
north as Fort Simpson. It has been met with on the Pacific coast only
at Mazatlan, is common in the Bahamas and most of the West India
Islands, generally as a migrant. It has also been found in Texas, in
the Indian Territory, and in Mexico, and throughout Central America.
In the last-named region Mr. Salvin states it to be pretty equally and
generally spread over the whole country. It is there migratory,
leaving in spring. It was also detected in Colombia, South America, by
Mr. C. W. Wyatt. Mr. Newton also met with it as a winter visitant in
St. Croix, leaving that island at the end of March. He regards this
species as almost a thorough Creeper in habits. In Jamaica a few are
resident throughout the year, according to the observations of Mr.
March, and though its nests have never been found there, a son of Mr.
March saw a pair carrying materials with which to construct one.

Dr. Coues states that this Warbler is a very common summer resident
near Washington, but is more abundant there in the spring and in the
fall, the greater number going farther north to breed. They arrive in
Washington during the first week in April, and are exceedingly
numerous until May. He adds that they are generally found in high open
woods, and that they “breed in holes in trees.” This is probably an
error, or, if ever known to occur, an entirely exceptional case.

Our bird is also a common summer visitant at Calais, arriving there
about the 1st of May, and by the 10th becoming rather abundant. Mr.
Boardman has frequently found their nests there, and always on the
ground, in rocky places and usually under small trees.

It does not appear to have been met with on the Pacific coast north of
Mazatlan, nor in any portion of Western North America, beyond the
valleys of the Mississippi and the Rio Grande.

In its habits this bird seems to be more of a Creeper than a Warbler.
It is an expert and nimble climber, and rarely, if ever, perches on
the branch of a tree or shrub. In the manner of the smaller
Woodpeckers, the Creepers, Nuthatches, and Titmice, it moves rapidly
around the trunks and larger limbs of the trees of the forest in
search of small insects and their larvæ. It is graceful and rapid in
movement, and is often so intent upon its hunt as to be unmindful of
the near presence of man.

It is found chiefly in thickets, but this is probably owing to the
fact that there its food is principally to be obtained. It is
occasionally seen in more open country, and has been known to breed in
the immediate vicinity of a dwelling.

Wilson regarded this bird as a true Creeper, and objected to its being
classed as a Warbler. He even denied to it the possession of any song.
In this he was quite mistaken. Though never loud, prolonged, or
powerful, the song of this Warbler is very sweet and pleasing. It
begins to sing from its first appearance in May, and continues to
repeat its brief refrain at intervals almost until its departure in
August and September. Nuttall speaks of it as being at first a
monotonous ditty, and as uttered in a strong but shrill and filing
tone. These notes, he adds, as the season advances, become more mellow
and warbling, and, though feeble, are pleasing, and are similar to
those of the Redstart. But this statement does not do full justice to
the varied and agreeable notes with which, in early spring, these
birds accompany their lively hunt for food among the tops of the
forest trees. They are diversified and sweet, and seem suggestive of a
genial and happy nature.

These birds make their appearance in New England early in May, and
remain there, among the thick woods, until the middle of October, and
in the Southern States until the verge of winter.

Their movements in search of food are like those of the Titmice,
keeping the feet together and moving in a succession of short rapid
hops up the trunks of trees and along the limbs, passing again to the
bottom by longer flights than in the ascent. They make but short
flights from tree to tree, but are apparently not incapable of more
prolonged ones.

So far as I know, these birds always build their nests on the ground.
Mr. Nuttall found one in Roxbury containing young about a week old.
The nest was on the ground, on the surface of a shelving rock, made of
coarse strips of the inner bark of the _Abies canadensis_ externally,
and internally of soft decayed leaves and dry grasses, and lined with
a thin layer of black hair. The parents fed their young in his
presence with affectionate attention, and manifested no uneasiness,
creeping, head downward, about the trunks of the neighboring trees,
carrying large smooth caterpillars to their young. The nests of this
bird are strongly and compactly built, externally of coarse strips of
various kinds of bark, and lined within with hair and fine stems of
grasses. In several instances I have known them to be roofed over at
the top, in the manner of the Golden-crowned Thrush. They measure
about three inches in their external diameter, and are equally deep.

The nests appear to be a favorite receptacle for the parasitic eggs of
the Cow-Bunting. Mr. Robert Ridgway obtained a nest at Mt. Carmel,
Ill., in which were four eggs of the _Molothrus_ and only two of the
parent birds; and Mr. T. M. Trippe, of Orange, N.Y., also found a nest
of this Creeper in which were but three of its own and five of the

The eggs vary in shape from a rounded to an oblong oval, and in size
from .69 to .75 of an inch in length, and from .51 to .53 of an inch
in breadth. Their ground-color is a creamy-white, to which the deep
red markings impart an apparently pinkish tinge. They are marked more
or less profusely with bright red dots, points, and blotches. These
vary in number and in distribution. In some they are very fine, and
are chiefly confined to the larger end. In others they are larger,
more diffused, and occasionally there are intermingled marks and
blotches of slate-color. The effect of these variations is, at times,
to give the appearance of greater differences to these eggs than
really exists, the ground-color and the shade of the red markings
really presenting but little modifications.

The color of the young nestlings is closely assimilated to that of the
objects that usually surround the nest, and helps to conceal them. Mr.
Burroughs once came accidentally upon a nest with young of this
species. He says: “A Black and White Creeping Warbler suddenly became
much alarmed as I approached a crumbling old stump in a dense part of
the forest. He alighted upon it, chirped sharply, ran up and down its
sides, and finally left it with much reluctance. The nest, which
contained three young birds nearly fledged, was placed upon the ground
at the foot of the stump, and in such a position that the color of the
young harmonized perfectly with the bits of bark, sticks, etc., lying
about. My eye rested upon them for the second time before I made them
out. They hugged the nest very closely, but as I put down my hand they
all scampered off with loud cries for help, which caused the parent
birds to place themselves almost within my reach.”



  _Protonotaria_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 239. (Type, _Motacilla
    citrea_, BODD.)

  [Line drawing: _Protonotaria citrea_, Baird.]

GEN. CHAR. Characterized by its long, distinctly notched bill, and
long wings, which are an inch longer than the slightly graduated tail
(the lateral feathers about .12 of an inch shorter). The under
tail-coverts are very long, reaching within half an inch of the tip of
the tail. The tarsi and hind toe are proportionally longer than in the
true Warblers. The notch and great size of the bill distinguish it
from the Swamp Warblers. Nest in holes; eggs much blotched with

The only North American species belonging to the group appears to be
the old _Sylvia protonotaria_ of Gmelin.

Protonotaria citrea, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla citrea_, BODD. Tabl. 1783 (Pl. enl. 704, fig. 2).
    _Protonotaria citrea_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 239; Rev.
    173.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 26, no. 166.—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861,
    324 (Cuba; very rare). _Helminthophaga citrea_, Cab. Jour. 1861,
    85 (Costa Rica). _Motacilla protonotarius_, GM. _Sylvia prot._
    LATH.—VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lxxxiii.—WILSON, Am. Orn.
    III, pl. xxiv. fig. 2.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. iii. _Vermivora
    prot._ BON. _Helinaia prot._ AUD. _Helmitherus prot._ BON.
    _Compsothlypis prot._ CAB. Jour. _Motacilla auricollis_, GMEL. I,
    1788, 984. _Sylvia aur._ LATH., etc. (based on _Le Grand Figuier
    du Canada_, BRISSON, Ois. III, 1760, 508, pl. xxvi, fig. 1).
    Female. _Sylvicola aur._ NUTT. Man. I, 1840, 431.

SP. CHAR. Bill very large; as long as the head. Head and neck all
round, with the entire under parts, including the tibiæ, rich yellow,
excepting the anal region and under tail-coverts, which are white.
Back dark olive-green, with a tinge of yellow; rump, upper
tail-coverts, wings, and tail above, bluish ash-color. Inner margin of
quills and the tail-feathers (except the innermost) white; the outer
webs and tips like the back. Length, 5.40; wing, 2.90; tail, 2.25.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States (Southern region); Cuba, Costa
Rica, and Panama R.R. Not recorded from Mexico or Guatemala.
Accidental in New Brunswick (G. A. BOARDMAN in letter). Yucatan

This is one of the very handsomest of American Warblers, the yellow of
the head and lower parts being of a pureness and mellowness scarcely
approached by any other species. In a highly colored male from
Southern Illinois (No. 10,111, Mississippi Bottom, Union Co., April
23; R. Kennicott) it is stained in spots, particularly over the eyes
and on the neck, with a beautiful cadmium-orange.

  [Illustration: _Protonotaria citrea._

HABITS. In regard to the habits of this beautiful and interesting
Warbler we receive but little light from the observations of older
ornithological writers. Its geographical distribution is somewhat
erratic and irregular. It does not appear to be distributed over a
very wide range. It occurs as a migrant in the West Indies and in
Central America. In the United States it is found in the Southern
region, but farther west the range widens, and in the Mississippi
Valley it is found as far north as Kansas, Southern and Central
Illinois, and Missouri. Accidental specimens have been obtained as far
to the northeast as Calais, though unknown to all the Eastern States
as far south as Southern Virginia. It was met with by none of the
government parties except by Dr. Woodhouse, who found it abundant in

Mr. Audubon observed them, near Louisville, Kentucky, frequenting
creeks and lagoons overshadowed by large trees. These were their
favorite places of resort. They also preferred the borders of sheets
of water to the interior of the forest. They return in spring to the
Southern States early in March, but to Kentucky not before the last of
April. They leave in October, and raise but a single brood in a
season. Audubon describes their nest, but it differs so essentially
from their known mode of breeding, that he was evidently in error in
regard to his supposed identification of the nest of this species.

Dr. Bachman, who often met them on the borders of small streams near
Charleston, was confident that they breed in that State, and noticed a
pair with four young birds as early as June 1, in 1836.

Recently more light has been thrown upon their habits by Mr. B. F.
Goss, who, in May, 1863, found them breeding near Neosho Falls, in
Kansas. The nest was built within a Woodpecker’s hole in the stump of
a tree, not more than three feet high. The nest was not rounded in
shape, but made to conform to the irregular cavity in which it was
built. It was of oblong shape, and its cavity was deepest, not in the
centre, but at one end, upon a closely impacted base made up of
fragments of dried leaves, broken bits of grasses, stems, mosses, and
lichens, decayed wood, and other material, the upper portion
consisting of an interweaving of fine roots of wooded plants, varying
in size, but all strong, wiry, and slender. It was lined with hair.

Other nests since discovered are of more uniform forms, circular in
shape, and of coarser materials, and all are built with unusual
strength and care for a nest occupying a sheltered cavity.

In one instance their nest was built in a brace-hole within a mill,
where the birds could be closely watched as they carried in the
materials, and the parent was afterward taken by hand by Mr. Goss from
its nest. It was quite tame, and approached within two yards of him.

Since then Mr. Ridgway has obtained a nest at Mt. Carmel, Ill. It was
built in a hollow snag, about five feet from the ground, in the river
bottom. So far from being noisy and vociferous, as its name would seem
to imply, Mr. Ridgway describes it as one of the shyest and most
silent of all the Warblers.

The eggs of this Warbler have an average breadth of .55 of an inch and
a length varying from .65 to .70 of an inch. They are of a
rounded-oval form, one end being but slightly less rounded than the
other. Their ground-color is a yellowish or creamy white, more or less
profusely marked over their entire surface with lilac, purple, and a
dark purplish-brown.

Mr. Ridgway states that it is always an abundant summer bird in the
Wabash bottoms, where it inhabits principally bushy swamps and the
willows around the borders of stagnant lagoons or “ponds” near the
river, and in such localities, in company with the White-bellied
Swallow (_Hirundo bicolor_), takes possession of the holes of the
Downy Woodpecker (_Picus pubescens_) and Chickadee (_Parus
carolinensis_), in which to build its nest.

Mr. Ridgway adds that in its movements this Warbler is slow and
deliberate, like the _Helmitherus vermivorus_, strikingly different in
this respect from the sprightly, active _Dendroecæ_. Its common note
is a sharp _piph_, remarkably like the winter note of the _Zonotrichia

It has been taken as far north as Rock Island, Ill., and Dr. Coues
mentions the occurrence of one individual near Washington, D. C., seen
in a swampy brier-patch, May 2, 1861. This was perhaps only an
accidental visitor. If regularly found there, it is probably
exceedingly rare. It has not been met with between Washington and St.
Stephens, New Brunswick, where its occurrence was unquestionably
purely accidental.


  _Helmitherus_, RAFINESQUE, Journal de Physique, LXXXVIII, 1819, 417.
    (Type, _Motacilla vermivora_.)
  _Vermivora_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. IV. 1827, 170 (not of MEYER,
  _Helinaia_, AUD. Synopsis, 1839, 66. (Type, _Sylvia swainsoni_, AUD.)

  [Line drawing: _Helmitherus vermivorus_, Bonap.]

GEN. CHAR. Bill large and stout, compressed, almost tanagrine; nearly
or quite as long as the head. Culmen very slightly curved; gonys
straight; no notch in the bill; rictal bristles wanting. Tarsi short,
but little longer, if any, than the middle toe. Tail considerably
shorter than the wings; rather rounded. Wings rather long, the first
quill a little shorter than the second and third.

  [Illustration: _Helmitherus vermivorus._

The birds of this division are very plain in their colors, more so
than any other American Warblers. There are but two species referable
to the genus, of which the _H. swainsoni_ differs from the type in
having a considerably longer and more compressed bill, the ridge of
which is compressed, elevated, and appears to extend backwards on the
forehead, as well as to be in a straight line with the upper part of
the head. The wings are longer; the tail forked; not rounded; the
feathers narrower and more pointed; the tarsi shorter than in the
type. It appears to be at least a distinct subgenus to which the name
_Helinaia_, AUD., is to be applied.


COMMON CHARACTERS. Colors plain. Above olivaceous, beneath nearly
white. No spots or bands on wing or tail.

  H. vermivorus. Above olive-green. Head yellowish, with a
  black stripe above and one behind each eye. Tail rounded.
  _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States; south to Costa Rica;
  Cuba. (_Helmitherus._)

  H. swainsoni. Above dull olive-green, tinged with brown.
  Stripes on the head somewhat as in the last, but reddish-brown;
  the median light stripe on the crown scarcely visible. Tail
  slightly forked. _Hab._ South Carolina and Georgia; Cuba (very
  rare). (_Helinaia._)

Helmitherus vermivorus, BONAP.


  _Motacilla vermivora_, GMEL. Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 951. ? _Sylvia
    vermivora_, LATH. Ind. Orn. II, 1790, 499.—WILS. III, pl. xxiv,
    fig. 4.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. xxxiv. _Sylvicola vermivora_,
    RICH. _Helinaia vermivora_, AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. cv.—LEMBEYE,
    Av. Cuba, 1850, 35, pl. vi, fig. 4. _Helmitherus vermivorus_,
    BON.; CAB.; BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 252; Rev. 179.—SCLATER, P.
    Z. S. 1859, 363 (Xalapa).—IB. Catal. 1861, 28, no. 175.—SCLATER
    & SALVIN, Ibis, I, 1859, 11 (Guatemala); Cab. Jour. 1860, 329
    (Costa Rica); IB. 1856 (Cuba).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
    (Cuba; somewhat rare). _Vermivora pennsylvanica_, BON., GOSSE, B.
    Jamaica, 1847, 150. _Helmitherus migratorius_, RAF. J. de Phys.
    88, 1819, 417.—HARTLAUB; _Vermivora fulvicapilla_, SWAINSON,
    Birds, II, 1837, 245.

SP. CHAR. Bill nearly as long as the head; upper parts generally
rather clear olive-green. Head with four black stripes and three
brownish-yellow ones, namely, a black one on each side of the crown
and one from behind the eye (extending, in fact, a little anterior to
it), a broader median yellow one on the crown, and a superciliary from
the bill. Under parts pale brownish-yellow; tinged with buff across
the breast and with olivaceous on the sides. Tail unspotted. Female
nearly similar. Length, 5.50; wing, 3.00; tail, 2.35.

In autumnal specimens the light stripes on the head are deeper buff
than in spring.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States (rather Southern); Southeastern
Mexico; Guatemala; Cuba; Costa Rica; Veragua; Orizaba (winter,

HABITS. Much remains to be ascertained in regard to the history,
habits, and distribution of this interesting species. So far as is now
known it is hardly anywhere very common during the breeding-season.
Yet its abundance and wide distribution as a migrant during the winter
months in various extended localities appear to warrant the belief
that it must be correspondingly abundant in summer in localities that
have escaped our attention. It has been occasionally met with in the
Central and Southern States, as far west as Eastern Mexico, and as far
to the north as Southeastern New York. Specimens have been procured
from Cuba, Mexico, Central America, and the northern portions of South
America. It is a regular winter visitant of Jamaica, whither it goes
in the autumn in considerable numbers, and is very widely diffused.

It reaches Pennsylvania about the middle of May, and leaves in
September. Wilson noticed a pair feeding their young about the 25th of
June. He supposed this bird to have a more northern distribution than
belongs to it. In the interior they are met with, according to
Audubon, as far north as the southern shores of Lake Erie, where he
found them in the autumn. Mr. Audubon found them more numerous in New
Jersey than anywhere else. In Ohio and Kentucky they are comparatively
rare. Mr. Ridgway informs me that this is a rather common species in
Southern Illinois in the thickest damp woods in the bottom-lands along
the Wabash River.

According to Wilson, these birds are among the nimblest of its family,
and are remarkably fond of spiders, darting about wherever there is a
probability of finding these insects. Where branches are broken and
the leaves withered, it searches among them in preference, making a
great rustling as it hunts for its prey. Their stomachs are generally
found full of spiders and caterpillars.

These birds are arboreal in their preferences, residing in the
interior of woods, and are seldom seen in the open fields. They resort
to the ground and turn over the dry leaves in quest of insects. They
are very unsuspicious and easy of approach.

Nuttall describes their notes and their habits as resembling the
common _Parus atricapillus_, and remarks that they are constantly
uttering a complaining call, sounding like _tshe-dē-dē_.

Until quite recently, nothing has been positively known in regard to
its nesting. Audubon has described its nest as made of dry mosses and
the fallen bloom of the hickory and the chestnut, and as built in
bushes several feet from the ground. He describes the eggs as
cream-colored, marked about the larger end with reddish-brown. These
descriptions have not been confirmed, and all our information has led
us to look for its nest on the ground.

Mr. Trippe states that it is found, but is not at all common, near
Orange, N.Y., where it arrives about the middle of May. It has, at
that time, a rapid, chattering note, and it always, he says, keeps
near the ground, and, besides its chattering song, has in June a
series of odd notes, much like those of the White-breasted Nuthatch,
but more varied and musical, yet hardly entitled to be called a song.

Mr. T. H. Jackson of Westchester, Penn., in the American Naturalist
for December, 1869, mentions finding the nest and eggs of this bird.
We give his account in his own words: “On the 6th of June, 1869, I
found a nest of this species containing five eggs. It was placed in a
hollow on the ground, much like the nests of the Oven-Bird (_Seiurus
aurocapillus_), and was hidden from sight by the dry leaves that lay
thickly around. The nest was composed externally of dead leaves,
mostly those of the beech, while the interior was prettily lined with
the fine, thread-like stalks of the hair-moss, (_Polytrichium_).
Altogether it was a very neat structure, and looked to me as though
the owner was habitually a ground nester. The eggs most nearly
resemble those of the White-bellied Nuthatch (_Sitta carolinensis_),
though the markings are fewer and less distinct. So close did the
female sit that I captured her without difficulty by placing my hat
over the nest.”

The same observing ornithologist informs me that this Warbler arrives
in Pennsylvania early in May, and makes the most solitary part of the
woods its home, outside of which it is rarely seen. True to its name,
it is ever busy hunting out and devouring the worms that lurk among
the forest foliage, pursuing its avocation in silence, with the
exception of a faint note uttered occasionally. This species is not as
shy as many of our Warblers that frequent the woods. Towards the
latter part of May they commence constructing their nests. Mr. Jackson
adds that the nest above referred to was found on a thickly wooded
hillside, a few yards above a running stream. So neatly was it
embedded in the ground and covered with dry leaves, that discovery
would have been impossible had not the female betrayed its position.
Both birds exhibited the greatest alarm at his presence, but on his
retiring to a short distance the female returned to the nest, where
she was easily captured. The base and periphery of the nest were
composed of dry beech-leaves, while the inner lining was made of fine
hair-mosses (_Polytrichium_).

In the latter part of June, 1871, Mr. Jackson found another nest of
this species, containing five young birds about half grown. He was
seated on a log, resting after a hard tramp, when a Worm-eating
Warbler alighted near him, having a large green worm in its beak.
After at first manifesting much uneasiness, and scolding as well as
she could, she suddenly became silent and flew to the ground. On his
going to the spot both parents flew from the nest. It was in all
respects, in regard to materials, manner of construction, and
situation, the exact counterpart of the other. Both were placed on
steep, wooded hillsides, facing the east.

Two of the eggs of this Warbler thus identified by Mr. Jackson, and
kindly loaned to me by him, are of a somewhat rounded-oval shape, less
obtuse at one end. They have a clear, crystal-white ground, and are
spotted with minute dottings of a bright red-brown. These are much
more numerous in one than in the other, and in both are confluent at
the larger end, where they are beautifully intermingled with cloudings
of lilac-brown. These eggs measure, the one .78 by .60 of an inch; the
other, .70 by .56 of an inch.

Another nest of this species, found by Mr. Joseph H. Batty of New
York, on the side of a hill near Montclair, N.J., was also built on
the ground, in a part of the woods where there was no underbrush, and
was placed in a slight hollow, with dry oak-leaves collected around
it, and partly covering it. The nest was made of dry leaves, and lined
with grasses and fine roots. It contained four eggs, alike in their
marking, and corresponding exactly with those obtained by Mr. Jackson.
Mr. Batty nearly stepped on the bird without her leaving the nest.

Dr. Coues found the Worm-eating Warbler a rather uncommon summer
resident near Washington, breeding there but sparingly. It arrives
there during the first week in May, and remains until the third week
in September. He describes it as slow and sedate in its movements.

Helmitherus swainsoni, AUD.


  _Sylvia swainsoni_, AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 563, pl. cxcviii.
    _Sylvicola sw._ RICH. _Vermivora sw._ BON. _Helinaia sw._ AUD.
    Birds Am. II, 1841, pl. civ (type of genus). _Helmitherus sw._
    BON.; CAB.; BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 252; Rev. 180.

SP. CHAR. Bill as long as the head. Upper parts dull olive-green,
tinged with reddish-brown on the wings, and still more on the crown
and nape; a superciliary stripe and the under parts of the body are
white, tinged with yellow, but palest on the tail-coverts; the sides
pale olive-brown. There is an obscure indication of a median yellowish
stripe on the forehead. The lores are dusky. No spots nor bands on
wings or tail. Length, 5.60; wing, 2.85; tail, 2.20.

HAB. Coast of South Carolina and Georgia; Cuba (very rare).

A young bird (No. 32,241 Liberty Co., Georgia) is very similar to the
adult described, but differs in the following respects: the lower
parts have a decided soiled, sulphur-yellow tinge, while the brown of
the upper parts is much more reddish, there being no difference in
tint between the crown and back; also the superciliary stripe is more
sharply defined.

HABITS. This species is comparatively rare, and, so far as is known,
has a very restricted distribution. It was first discovered by Rev.
Dr. Bachman, in the vicinity of Charleston, S. C., near the banks of
the Edisto River. This was in the spring of 1832. He was first
attracted by the novelty of its notes, which were four or five in
number and repeated at intervals of a few minutes. These notes were
loud and clear, and more like a whistle than a song. They resembled
the sounds of some extraordinary ventriloquist,—so much so that he at
first supposed the bird to be much farther off than it really was. He
was so fortunate as to secure it. The shape of the bill he at once
noticed as being different from that of any other American bird then
known to him. In the course of that season he obtained two other
specimens. Toward the close of the same season he saw an old female,
accompanied by its four young. One of the latter, which he procured,
did not differ materially from the old birds.

He met with them only in swampy and muddy places, and when opened, he
always found their stomachs filled with fragments of coleopterous
insects, as well as small green worms, such as are common on
water-plants. The habits of this species most resemble those of the
Prothonotary Warbler, as the latter skips among the low bushes growing
about ponds or in marshy places. It is seldom seen on high trees.
Nothing is known as to their nesting or eggs.


  _Helminthophaga_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 20. (Type, _Sylvia
    ruficapilla_, WILS.)

  [Line drawing: _Helminthophaga ruficapilla._

GEN. CHAR. Bill elongated, conical, very acute; the outlines very
nearly straight, sometimes slightly decurved; no trace of notch at the
tip, nor of bristles on the rictus. Wings long and pointed; the first
quill nearly or quite the longest. Tail nearly even or slightly
emarginate; short and rather slender. Tarsi longer than the middle toe
and claw.

The species of this section are well characterized by the attenuation
and acuteness of the bill, and the absence of any notch. There are,
however, considerable subordinate differences in the different
species. In some the bill is larger and more acute than others; in one
species, the _H. peregrina_, the wings are unusually lengthened, the
tail being only about seven twelfths as long.

Species and Varieties.

COMMON CHARACTERS. Iris brown. Length about 5.00. Nest on the
ground, in grass or dead leaves. Eggs clear white, thickest at
end, with minute dots of brown of various shades and faint purple.

A. Tail with a conspicuous patch of white.

  _a._ A black patch covering throat and breast.

    1. chrysoptera. Above ash, beneath white. Forehead and a
    patch on the wing yellow. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United
    States, south to Bogota; Cuba.

    2. bachmani. Above olive-green; beneath, with forehead,
    yellow; crown ash, bounded anteriorly with a black bar. No
    yellow on wing. _Hab._ South Carolina and Georgia. Cuba in

  _b._ No black on throat or breast.

    3. pinus. Above olive-green; beneath, with forehead, yellow;
    wings ash, with two white bands; lores black. _Hab._ Eastern
    Province of United States, south into Guatemala.

B. Tail without a conspicuous white patch.

  _c._ Crown with a concealed patch of rufous (obsolete in ♀).

    4. ruficapilla. Above olive-green; head ashy; beneath
    continuous yellow; a light orbital ring. _Hab._ North America
    (very rare in Middle and Western Provinces); Greenland. South
    to Southern Mexico (Oaxaca, Cordova, Orizaba).

      Yellow of throat spreading over cheeks, and staining lores
      and eyelids. Atlantic States. (Carlisle, Penn., specimens.) …
                                                  var. _ruficapilla_.

      Yellow of throat confined within the maxillæ; lores and
      eyelids clear white. Mississippi Valley. (Chicago
      specimens.) …                                  var. _ocularis_.

      Yellow of throat restricted to a medial stripe, leaving its
      sides ashy. Middle Province. (Specimen from Fort Tejon,
      Cal., and East Humboldt Mountains, Nevada.) …
                                                   var. _gutturalis_.

    5. virginiæ. Above ash to the rump, beneath white.  A patch
    on the jugulum, with the upper and lower tail-coverts,
    yellow. _Hab._ Rocky Mountains of United States, west to East
    Humboldt Mountains.

    6. luciæ. Above ash, beneath continuous white. Upper
    tail-coverts chestnut. _Hab._ Colorado region of Middle

    7. celata. Above continuous olive-green, below continuous
    pale yellow. (Orange on crown in ♂ only?) …        var. _celata_.

      Above ashy-olive, beneath yellowish olivaceous-white; inner
      webs of tail-feathers broadly edged with white. (Middle
      regions of North America; Mexico.) …          var. _lutescens_.

      Above greenish-olive, beneath bright greenish-yellow; white
      edges to inner webs of tail-feathers obsolete. (Pacific
      Province of North America.) …                   var. _obscura_.

      Similar to var. _celata_, but plumage darker and more
      dingy. No white edgings to tail-feathers, and apparently
      _no rufous_ on the crown in either sex. (Georgia, Florida,

  _d._ No rufous on crown.

    8. peregrina. Above olive-green; head and neck pure ash;
    beneath continuous white. _Hab._ Eastern Province of North
    America north to Fort Simpson, H. B. T. south to Panama. Cuba

Helminthophaga chrysoptera, CABAN.


  _Motacilla chrysoptera_, LINN. S. Nat. I, 1766, 333. _Sylvia chr._
    LATH.—WILS. Am. Orn. II, pl. xv. fig. 5.—BON. _Sylvicola chr._
    BON. _Helinaia chr._ AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. cvii. _Helmitherus
    chr._ BON.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1855, 143 (Bogota). _Helminthophaga
    chrysoptera_, CAB. Mus. Hein.; Journ. f. Orn. 1860, 328 (Costa
    Rica).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 255; Rev. 175.—SCLATER &
    SALVIN, Ibis, II, 1860, 397 (Choctum, Guatemala).—SALVIN, 1867,
    135.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 477 (San Antonio).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N.
    Y. Lyc. VII, 1861, 293 (Panama).—GUNDL. Cab. Journ. 1861, 326
    (Cuba, rare). _Motacilla flavifrons_, GMELIN. _Sylvia flavifrons_,

  [Illustration: _Helminthophaga celata._]

SP. CHAR. Upper parts uniform bluish-gray; the head above and a large
patch on the wings yellow. A broad streak from the bill through and
behind the eye, with the chin, throat, and forepart of the breast,
black. The external edge of the yellow crown continuous with a broad
patch on the side of the occiput above the auriculars, a broad
maxillary stripe widening on the side of the neck, the under parts
generally, with most of the inner webs of the outer three
tail-feathers, white; the sides of the body pale ash-color. _Female_
similar, but duller. Length about 5 inches; wing, 2.65; tail, 2.25.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, San Antonio (DRESSER); Cuba
(rare); Guatemala; Costa Rica; Panama; Bogota. Recorded in West Indies
from Cuba only; not from Mexico. Veragua; Chiriqui (SALVIN).

HABITS. So far as our present knowledge of this Warbler extends, it is
nowhere a common species, and is distributed over a comparatively
small extent of territory. Wilson met with it in Pennsylvania during
the last of April and the first of May, believing it to be only a
migrant species on its way to more northern regions. Nuttall was
sceptical of these conclusions, as he never met with the species in
the New England States. Audubon observed these birds in their
migrations through Louisiana, which State they entered from Texas in
the month of April. He procured several specimens in Louisiana and
Kentucky, and one in New Jersey. He knew nothing as to its breeding,
and seems to have accepted Wilson’s inferences in regard to its
northern migrations. He never met with this bird in the fall, when, if
a Northern species, it should be returning south, and thence inferred
that it migrated by night.

Professor Baird has obtained this bird near Carlisle, Penn., in July,
rendering probable its breeding in that vicinity. W. S. Wood met with
it near St. Louis, May 13, 1857, and two days previously in the same
year Mr. Kennicott procured an individual in Southern Illinois.
Occasionally specimens have been obtained in Massachusetts, and of
late these occurrences have become more frequent or more observed. It
was first noticed near Boston by J. Eliot Cabot, Esq., who shot one in
May, 1838, near Fresh Pond. This was, he thinks, on the 20th of that
month. Since then Mr. J. A. Allen has known of several specimens taken
within the State. Mr. Jillson has observed it spending the summer in
Bolton, and evidently breeding, as has also Mr. Allen at Springfield,
and Mr. Bennett at Holyoke. In the summer of 1870, Mr. Maynard
obtained its nest and eggs in Newton.

The late Dr. Gerhardt found it breeding among the high grounds of
Northern Georgia. It has also been taken at Racine, Wis., by Dr. Hoy,
and in Ohio. These data seem to show that it is sparingly found from
Georgia to Massachusetts, and from New Jersey to Missouri and
Wisconsin. Its western limits may be more extended. It was not met
with by any of the exploring parties beyond St. Louis, but its
retiring habits and its sparse distribution may account for this.

Dr. Samuel Cabot was the first naturalist to meet with the nest and
eggs of this bird. This was in May, 1837, in Greenbrier County, Va.
The nest was constructed in the midst of a low bush on high ground,
and contained four eggs.

The late Dr. Alexander Gerhardt found the nest and eggs of this
Warbler in the spring of 1859, in Whitfield County, Ga. It contained
four eggs, and was built on the ground. It was very large for the
bird, being five inches in height and four in diameter. The cavity was
also quite large and deep for so small a bird, exceeding three inches
both in depth and in diameter. The outer and under portions of this
nest were almost entirely composed of the dry leaves of several kinds
of deciduous trees. These were interwoven with and strongly bound
together by black vegetable roots, dry sedges, and fine strips of
pliant bark, and the whole lined with a close network of fine leaves,
dry grasses, and fibrous roots. Dr. Gerhardt informed me that these
birds usually build on or near the ground, under tussocks of grass, in
clumps of bushes, or pine-brush, and that they lay from four to five
eggs, from the 6th to the 15th of May.

The eggs of this species are of a beautiful, clear crystal-white, with
a few bright reddish-brown spots around the larger end. Eggs from
Racine, Wis., and from Northern Georgia, differ greatly in their
relative size. The former measure .70 of an inch in length and .53 in
breadth; the latter, .63 by .49.

A single specimen of this species was obtained by Mr. Salvin, at
Choctum, in Guatemala.

Helminthophaga bachmani, CABAN.


  _Sylvia bachmani_, AUD. Orn. Biog. II, 1834, 483, pl. clxxxiii.
    _Sylvicola b._ RICH. _Vermivora b._ BON. _Helinaia b._ AUD. Syn.
    Birds Am. II, 1841, 93, pl. cviii.—LEMBEYE, Av. Cuba, 1850, 36,
    pl. vi. fig. 1. _Helmitherus b._ BON. _Helminthophaga b._ CAB.
    Jour. III, 1855, 475 (Cuba, in winter).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    255; Rev. 175.—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba, rare);
    Repert. 65, 232.

SP. CHAR. Above olive-green, as also are the sides of the head and
neck. Hind head tinged with ash. A broad patch on the forehead,
bordered behind by black; chin, stripe from this along the side of the
throat, and the entire under parts, deep yellow. Throat and forepart
of breast black. A patch on the inner web of the outer two
tail-feathers near the end white. Length, 4.50; wing, 2.35; tail,
2.05. _Female_ with merely a patch of dusky on the jugulum, and with
the black bar on vertex obsolete.

HAB. Coast of South Carolina and Georgia; Cuba in winter.

HABITS. Bachman’s Warbler is a comparatively new and but little known
species of this interesting group. It was first discovered, July,
1833, by Rev. Dr. John Bachman, a few miles from Charleston, S. C.,
and in the same vicinity he afterwards discovered a few others of both
sexes. He described it as a lively, active bird, gliding among the
branches of the thick bushes, occasionally mounting on the wing and
seizing insects in the air, in the manner of a Flycatcher. The
individual first obtained was an old female which had, to all
appearances, just reared a brood of young. With this partial
exception, nothing is known in relation to its habits. As all the
species of this genus, without any at present known exception,
construct their nests upon the ground, it is a natural inference that
it probably nests in a similar situation.

The Smithsonian Institution possesses but a single specimen of this
bird, obtained near Charleston, S. C. It was not observed by any
naturalist of the several governmental exploring expeditions, and, so
far as we are at present informed, its only known places of abode are
South Carolina and Cuba, where it is extremely rare. Its nest and eggs
still remain unknown.

  [Illustration: PLATE XI.

   1. Helminthophaga pinus, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 2229.
   2.        “       chrysoptera, _Linn._ ♂ 10156.
   3.        “       bachmani, _Aud._ ♂ S. C., 2903.
   4. H. celata, _Say. var._ Cape St. Lucas, 16949.
   5.      “     _Say. var._ Rocky Mts.
   6.      “     _Say. var._ Florida.
   7. H. ruficapilla, _Wils._ Pa., 2238.
   8.        “        _Wils. var._ Cal.
   9. H. luciæ, _Cooper_. Cal., 31892.
  10. H. peregrina, _Wils._ 19496. In spring.
  11.        “      _Wils._ In autumn.
  12. H. virginiæ, _Bd._ Arizona, 58334.]

Helminthophaga pinus, BAIRD.


  _Certhia pinus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 187. _Sylvia pinus_,
    LATH., VIEILL. (not of WILSON). _Helminthophaga pinus_, BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 254; Rev. 174.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1,
    1859, 11 (Guatemala).—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 28, no. 176. _Sylvia
    solitaria_, WILSON, Am. Orn. II, pl. xv.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl.
    xx. _Sylvicola sol._ RICH. _Vermivora sol._ SW. _Helinaia sol._
    AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. cxi. _Helmitherus sol._ BON.—SCLATER, P.
    Z. S. 1856, 291 (Cordova). _Helminthophaga sol._ CAB.

SP. CHAR. Upper parts and cheeks olive-green, brightest on the rump;
the wings, tail, and upper tail-coverts, in part, bluish-gray. An
intensely black patch from the blue-black bill to the eye, continued a
short distance behind it. Crown, except behind, and the under parts
generally, rich orange-yellow. The inner wing and under tail-coverts
white. Eyelids, and a short line above and behind the eye, brighter
yellow. Wing with two white bands. Two outer tail-feathers with most
of the inner web, third one with a spot at the end, white. _Female_
and _young_ similar, duller, with more olivaceous on the crown.
Length, 4.50; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.10.

HAB. Eastern United States and Mexico to Guatemala (Cordova; Coban).
Not noted from West Indies.

HABITS. The Blue-winged Yellow Warbler is not known so far to the
north as New England, and is rare even in Eastern and Southern New
York. It seems to be distributed through the United States from
Pennsylvania to Florida, and from the Mississippi Valley eastward. It
has also been taken in Central America. Mr. Trippe states that it
breeds in the vicinity of Orange, N. Y. Mr. Audubon found it abundant
in the barrens of Kentucky, and as far north on the Mississippi as St.

In regard to the song of this bird, Mr. Trippe states that its notes
are very forcible and characteristic. Once heard, they will always be
remembered. He describes them as a rapid chirrup resembling
_chūūchich, k´-a-re-r´r´r´r´r_, uttered very quickly. According to Mr.
Ridgway, they are wonderfully similar to the rude lisping chirrup of
the _Coturniculus passerinus_.

Wilson says that these Warblers come from the South early in May,
frequenting thickets and shrubberies in search of insects, which they
seek in the branches. They are also fond of visiting gardens and
orchards, gleaning for insects among the low bushes. They generally
build their nests on the edge of sequestered woods. These Mr. Wilson
states to have been, in every instance observed by him, fixed on the
ground, in a thick tussock of long grass, and built in the form of an
inverted cone, the sides being formed of the dry bark of strong
fibrous weeds lined with fine dry grasses. These materials, he
remarks, are not arranged in the usual circular manner, but shelve
downward from the top, the mouth being wide and the bottom narrow. He
describes the eggs as five in number, pure white, with a few faint
dots of reddish near the larger end. The young appear the first week
in June. The nests were always in an open but retired part of the
woods, and were all as thus described.

According to Mr. Audubon its song consists of a few weak notes that
are by no means interesting. His description of its nest agrees with
that of Wilson. He states that it usually has two broods in the
season, one in May, the other in July. The young disperse as soon as
they are able to provide for themselves.

He describes them as of solitary habits, and adds that they leave
Louisiana for the South early in October. Its flight is short,
undetermined, and performed in zigzag lines. It will ascend twenty or
thirty yards in the air as if about to go to a greater distance, when,
suddenly turning round, it will descend to the place from which it set
out. It rarely pursues insects on the wing, feeding chiefly on the
smaller kind of spiders, and seizing other insects as they come within
its reach.

The above accounts of its breeding, and especially of its nest, do not
correspond with the observations of Mr. Ridgway, near Mt. Carmel,
Ill., where the bird is abundant. A nest collected by him is a very
loose open structure, composed chiefly of broad, thin, and flexible
strips of the inner bark of deciduous trees, chiefly the bass-wood. It
contained five eggs, and was obtained May 8. It was first discovered
by noticing the bird with materials in her bill. The situation of this
nest “was in no wise,” says Mr. Ridgway, “as described by Wilson, not
having any covered entrance.” The nest was very bulky, and so loosely
made that only the inner portion could be secured. “I have found other
nests,” adds Mr. Ridgway, “all corresponding with this one. There can
be no doubt as to its identity, as the birds were seen building the
nest, and were closely watched in their movements. Both male and
female were seen several times.” (No. 10,140, Smith. Coll.)

The eggs of this species measure .70 of an inch in length by .53 in
breadth. Their ground-color is white, sprinkled with a few
reddish-brown spots.

Helminthophaga ruficapilla, BAIRD.


_Sylvia ruficapilla_, WILS. Am. Orn. III, 1811, 120, pl. xxvii, fig.
    3.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1832, 450, pl. lxxxix. _Helminthophaga
    ruficapilla_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 256; Rev. 175.—SCLATER,
    P. Z. S. 1859, 373 (Xalapa).—DRESSER, Ibis, 65, 477
    (Texas).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 82. _Sylvia rubricapilla_,
    WILS. Am. Orn. VI, 1812, 15, General Index.—NUTT., BON.
    _Sylvicola rub._ RICH. _Vermivora rub._ BON.—REINHARDT, Vid. Med.
    for 1853, 1854, 82 (Greenland).—BREWER, Pr. Bost. Soc. N. H. VI,
    1856, 4 (nest and eggs). _Helinaia rub._ AUD. Birds Am. II, pl.
    cxiii. _Helmitherus rub._ BON.—SCL. P. Z. S. 1856, 291 (Cordova);
    1859, 363 (Xalapa). _Helminthophaga rub._ CAB.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1858, 298 (Oaxaca; Feb. and Aug.). _Mniotilta rub._ REINHARDT,
    Ibis, 1861, 6 (Greenland). _Sylvia leucogastra_, SHAW, Gen. Zoöl.
    X, II, 1817, 622. “_Sylvia nashvillei_,” VIEILLOT.—GRAY. _Sylvia
    mexicana_, HOLBÖLL.

SP. CHAR. Head and neck above and on sides ash-gray, the crown with a
patch of concealed dark brownish-orange hidden by ashy tips to the
feathers. Upper parts olive-green, brightest on the rump. Under parts
generally, with the edge of the wing, deep yellow; the anal region
paler; the sides tinged with olive. A broad yellowish-white ring round
the eye; the lores yellowish; no superciliary stripe. The inner edges
of the tail-feathers margined with dull white. _Female_ similar, but
duller; the under parts paler, and with more white; but little trace
of the red of the crown. Length, 4.65; wing, 2.42; tail, 2.05.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America; rare in the Middle Province
(Fort Tejon, Cal., and East Humboldt Mountains, Nev.); Greenland
(REINHARDT); Oaxaca (February and August, SCLATER); Xalapa and Cordova
(SCLATER); Orizaba (winter, SUMICHRAST). Not recorded from West Indies.

It is an interesting fact, that, in this species, we find in the
yellow a tendency to become more and more restricted as we pass
westward. In adult spring males from the Atlantic States this color
invades the cheeks, and even stains the lores and eyelids. In two
adult spring males from Chicago it is confined within the maxillæ, the
cheeks being clear ash, and the loral streak and orbital ring pure
white; while in an adult male (autumnal, however) from the East
Humboldt Mountains (Nevada, No. 53,354, U. S. Geol. Expl., 40th par.)
the yellow is restricted to a medial strip, even the sides of the
throat being ashy; the ash invades the back too, almost to the rump,
while in Eastern specimens it extends no farther back than the nape. A
male (No. 10,656, J. Xantus) from Fort Tejon, Cal., is much like the
Nevada specimen, though the peculiar features of the remote Western
form are less exaggerated; it is about intermediate between the other
specimen and the specimens from Chicago. As there is not,
unfortunately, a sufficiently large series of these birds before us,
we cannot say to what extent these variations with longitude are

HABITS. The Nashville Warbler appears to be a species of somewhat
irregular occurrence; at one time it will be rather abundant, though
never very numerous, and at another time comparatively rare. For a
long while our older naturalists regarded it as a very rare species,
and knew nothing as to its habits or distribution. Wilson, who first
met with it in 1811, never found more than three specimens, which he
procured near Nashville, Tenn. Audubon only met with three or four,
and these he obtained in Louisiana and Kentucky. These and a few
others in Titian Peale’s collection, supposed to have been obtained in
Pennsylvania, were all he ever saw. Mr. Nuttall at first regarded it
as very rare, and as a Southern species. In that writer’s later
edition he speaks of it as a bird having a Northern distribution as
far as Labrador. Dr. Richardson records the occurrence of a single
straggler in the fur country. So far as known, it occurs as a migrant
in all the States east of the Missouri, and is a summer resident north
of the 40th parallel. It probably breeds in the high ground of
Pennsylvania, though this fact is inferred rather than known. It
breeds in Connecticut and Massachusetts, and in Maine in the vicinity
of Calais, being more abundant there than anywhere else, as far as has
been ascertained.

Two individuals of this species have been taken in Greenland: one at
Godthaab, in 1835; and the other at Fiskenæsset, August 31, 1840.

In Massachusetts it has so far been found in only a few restricted
localities, Andover, Lynn, and Hudson, though it undoubtedly occurs
elsewhere. About the time Wilson obtained his first specimen, a living
bird of this species flew into the parlor of the late Colonel Thomas
H. Perkins of Brookline, and is now in the collection of his grandson,
Dr. Cabot. The latter gentleman states that when he first began making
collections this Warbler was a very rare visitant to his neighborhood,
but has of late become much more common, though varying greatly in
this respect in different seasons. Specimens have been obtained in
Western Iowa by Mr. H. W. Parker, of Grinnell.

A few instances of its occurrence west of the Mississippi Valley are
known. One of these was by Xantus near Fort Tejon; another near Lake
Tahoe, in the Sierra Nevada, by Mr. Gruber; and in the East Humboldt
Mountains, Nevada, by Mr. Ridgway. Specimens of this Warbler were
obtained in the winter by M. Boucard at Oaxaca, Mexico.

In the summer of 1854, Mr. Charles S. Paine found it breeding in
Randolph, Vt., but was unable to discover the nest. “They spend the
summer,” he wrote, “among low bushes, and probably build their nests
among the thickets. I have watched their movements on several
occasions. Once I detected an old bird with food in her bill about to
feed her young. I could hear the young birds, yet was unable to find
the nest.” Two years later, Mr. George O. Welch, of Lynn, found the
nest of this Warbler on the ground in a small thicket. It contained
young partially fledged, and one egg unhatched. The nest was built in
a slight depression, in a dry place, among fallen leaves and in the
shelter of a thicket of young oak-trees. This egg in shape was of a
rounded oval, and measured .59 by .50 of an inch; one end was slightly
more pointed than the other. The ground-color was white, slightly
tinged with pink, and marked over the entire surface with
purplish-brown dots. Around the larger end these spots form a
beautiful wreath of confluent markings. Since then other nests have
been found in the same locality, all on the ground and built in like
situations. They have a diameter of four and a height of two inches.
The cavity has a diameter of two and a depth of one and a quarter
inches. The outer portions are built of dry mosses, intermingled with
strips of the bark of the wild grape and the red cedar and a few
herbaceous twigs, and lined with a thick layer of dried carices, small
leaves of the white pine, and fine grasses. The whole structure is
loosely put together. The nests are generally concealed by overarching
leaves, which, however, form no part of the nest itself.

The late Elijah P. Barrow, of Andover, Mass., a young naturalist of
much promise, found several nests of this rare Warbler, all of which
were concealed by grass. The eggs he found varied in length from .59
to .61 of an inch, and in breadth from .50 to .51 of an inch. Both
parents, as observed by him, were entirely silent.

The Nashville Warbler has been said to be a comparatively silent and
songless bird, rarely giving forth any sounds, and these are compared
by Dr. Richardson to the creaking noise made by the whetting of a saw.
Wilson compares these sounds to the cracking of dry twigs or the
striking together of small pebbles. Mr. J. A. Allen speaks of its song
as being similar to that of the Chestnut-sided Warbler, which latter
bird, as is well known, has notes so closely resembling those of the
Summer Yellow-Bird that it is difficult to distinguish one from the
other by their notes. Mr. T. M. Trippe states, also, that this Warbler
has a very fine song, resembling that of the Summer Yellow-Bird more
nearly than any other.

These Warblers arrive in Massachusetts about the first of May, and
remain about three weeks, when the larger portion move farther north.

More recently Mr. Paine writes me that the Nashville Warbler has of
late years become a common bird in certain localities in Central
Vermont. They come and keep company with the Canada Warbler, but are
more restless than that species at the time of their first appearance.
They always in the breeding-season take up their abode in thickets,
where there are also tall trees. Mr. Paine adds that their song
consists of repetitions of single notes, the last terminating somewhat
abruptly. Their song ceases by the 10th of June. After their young are
ready to fly, they disperse about the woods and fields, and are then
not readily discovered.

Helminthophaga virginiæ, BAIRD.


  _Helminthophaga virginiæ_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. under explanation of
    plates, 1860, xi, pl. lxxix, fig. I (Fort Burgwyn, N. M.); Rev.
    177.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 85.

SP. CHAR. Somewhat like _H. ruficapilla_. _Male._ Top and sides of
head, back, and wings light ashy-plumbeous; quills and tail-feathers
brown, edged with pure ashy-plumbeous, the latter indistinctly and
narrowly margined with whitish internally and at the end. Rump, with
upper and lower tail-coverts, bright yellow, in vivid contrast with
the rest of the body. Crown with a concealed patch of rich chestnut.
Rest of under parts brownish-white, with a patch of rich yellow on the
jugulum. Inside of wings and axillars pure white. A white ring round
the eye. Bill and legs dusky. The colors much duller in autumn.

_Female, spring._ Similar to the male, but chestnut spot on crown
obsolete, the yellow jugular patch less distinct, the upper
tail-coverts more greenish, and the lower less rich yellow.

Length, 5.00; extent, 7.25; wing, 2.50 when fresh. Dried skin: length,
4.90; wing, 2.50; tail, 2.20; tarsus, .67.

HAB. Southern Rocky Mountains (Middle Province of United States); East
Humboldt, Wahsatch, and Uintah Mountains.

A young bird (No. 53,355, East Humboldt Mountains, Nevada, August 5)
is olive-gray above, becoming green on the rump and upper
tail-coverts; the middle and secondary coverts narrowly tipped with
pale grayish-buff, producing two indistinct bands. The lower parts are
pale dirty-buff, except the lower tail-coverts, which are
lemon-yellow; there is scarcely a tinge of yellow on the jugulum, and
not a trace of chestnut on the crown.

HABITS. But little is as yet known in regard to the habits and
distribution of this somewhat rare and recently discovered species. It
was first met with by Dr. W. W. Anderson, at Fort Burgwyn in New
Mexico, and described by Professor Baird in 1860, in a note to the
explanation of Vol. II. of the Birds of North America. It was named in
honor of Mrs. Virginia Anderson, the wife of its discoverer. An
immature individual of this species was obtained August 15, 1864, by
Dr. Coues, at Fort Whipple, near Prescott, in the Territory of
Arizona. As it bears a close resemblance to the _Helminthophaga
ruficapilla_, it is not improbable that its habits bear a very close
resemblance to those of that species.

In the summer of 1869, Mr. Robert Ridgway was so fortunate as to meet
with the nest and eggs of this bird near Salt Lake, Utah (Smith. Coll.
15,239). This was June 9. The nest was embedded in the deposits of
dead or decaying leaves, on ground covered by dense oak-brush. Its rim
was just even with the surface. It was built on the side of a narrow
ravine at the bottom of which was a small stream. The nest itself is
two inches in depth by three and a half in diameter. It consists of a
loose but intricate interweaving of fine strips of the inner bark of
the mountain mahogany, fine stems of grasses, roots, and mosses, and
is lined with the same with the addition of the fur and hair of the
smaller animals.

The eggs were four in number, and measure .64 by .47 of an inch. They
are of a rounded-ovoid shape, have a white ground with a slightly
roseate tinge, and are profusely spotted with numerous small blotches
and dots of purplish-brown and lilac, forming a crown around the
larger end.

This bird was first observed by Mr. Ridgway among the cedars and pines
of the East Humboldt Mountains, where in July it was quite common. It
was very abundant in the Wahsatch Mountains near Salt Lake City,
throughout the summer chiefly inhabiting the thickets of scrub-oak on
the slopes of the cañons in which they nested, and where they were
daily seen, but where, owing to the thickness of the bushes, they were
with difficulty obtained. He describes its song as almost exactly like
that of _Dendroica æstiva_. The usual note is a soft _pit_, quite
different from the sharp _chip_ of _H. celata_.

Helminthophaga luciæ, COOPER.


  _Helminthophaga luciæ_, COOPER, Pr. Cal. Acad. July, 1861, 120 (Fort
    Mohave).—BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864, 178.—ELLIOT, Illust. Birds N.
    Am. I, v.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 84.

SP. CHAR. General form and size that of _H. ruficapilla_. Above
light-cinereous; beneath white, having a soiled, very pale buff,
almost white tinge on the throat, breast, and flanks. A patch on the
vertex, as in _H. ruficapilla_, and the upper tail-coverts, dark
chestnut-brown. Lores to nostrils and region round the eye, like the
throat, in rather decided contrast to the ash of the crown. Quills and
tail-feathers brown, narrowly edged externally with gray. An obsolete
terminal white patch on the inner web of the outer feather; this web
in most of the other tail-feathers likewise narrowly edged with white.
Axillars and inner face of wings white. Iris brown. Tarsi blue.
Length, in life, 4.40; extent, 6.90; wing, 2.40. Length of skin, 3.90;
wing, 2.33; tail, 1.86; tarsus, .64; middle toe and claw, .50; bill
above, .35; gape, .50.

HAB. Fort Mohave, Colorado River (Middle Province of United States);
Fort Whipple, Arizona.

HABITS. This is also a new or recently discovered species of this
interesting group of Warblers. In regard to its nest and eggs nothing
is positively ascertained, yet as all the birds of this genus are
known to build on the ground, and to have a great uniformity in the
characteristics of their eggs, it seems to be a matter of natural
inference that this species also is a ground builder, and has eggs
similar to those of the Nashville Warbler. For the little we know in
regard to its habits and distribution, we are indebted to the
observations of Dr. J. G. Cooper of California, who first discovered
it, and to Dr. Coues, who has since met with it in Arizona.

Dr. Cooper first observed this species near Fort Mohave, where it made
its appearance about the last of March. His attention was called to it
by its peculiar notes, resembling those of some _Dendroicæ_, but
fainter. After considerable watching and scrambling through dense
mezquite thickets in its pursuit, he succeeded in shooting one, and
found it to be a new species. Afterwards they became more numerous,
frequenting the tops of the mezquite-trees in pursuit of insects, and
constantly uttering their short but pleasing notes. About ten days
after the first appearance of the males, Dr. Cooper obtained the first
female, and thinks that without doubt they are much later in their
migrations, as is the case with other Warblers. He was not able to
discover their nest, having to leave the valley late in May.

Mr. Holden obtained other specimens of this bird, near the 34th
parallel, in March of 1863.

Dr. Coues met with three individuals of this species near Fort
Whipple, where it is a summer resident. It arrives there between the
15th and the 20th of April, and remains until the latter part of
September. It mates about the last of April, and the young birds
appear early in June.

Dr. Coues regards its habits as more like those of the true Ground
Warblers than those of the other species of this group. It shows a
decided preference for thickets and copses, rather than for high open
woods, and is also an exceedingly shy and retiring species. To the
extreme difficulty of observing or procuring it Dr. Coues attributes
its having so long remained unnoticed.

It is described as exceedingly active in all its motions, and quite as
restless as a _Polioptila_, to which class, in its colors, it also
bears a close resemblance. The only note Dr. Coues ever heard it utter
was a quick and often repeated _tsip_, as slender and as wiry as that
of a Gnatcatcher. Dr. Cooper, however, has described its song as rich
and pleasing, the little performer being mounted on the top of some
mezquite or other bush. Dr. Cooper supposes this species to breed, not
in the Colorado Valley, but in the more mountainous regions.

Dr. Coues hazards the conjecture that this bird builds in low bushes.
Should it prove so, it would in this respect differ from all the other
members of this well-marked group, and from the other Ground Warblers,
which, in its general habits, it so much resembles.

Helminthophaga celata, var. celata, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia celata_, SAY, Long’s Exp. R. Mts. I, 1823, 169.—BON. Am.
    Orn. I, pl. v, fig. 2.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. clxxviii.
    _Sylvicola cel._ RICH. _Vermivora cel._ JARD. _Helinaia cel._ AUD.
    Birds Am. II, pl. cxii. _Helmitherus cel._ BON.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1857, 212 (Orizaba). _Helminthophaga cel._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 257; Rev. Am. Birds, I, 1865, 176 (in part).—DALL &
    BANNISTER (Alaska).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298 (Oaxaca,
    December); 1859, 373; 1862, 19 (La Parada). _H. celata_, var.
    _celata_, RIDGW. Rept. U. S. Geol. Expl. 40th Par.

SP. CHAR. Above grayish olive-green, rather brighter on the rump.
Beneath entirely greenish yellowish-white, except a little whitish
about the anus; the sides tinged with grayish-olivaceous. A concealed
patch of pale orange-rufous on the crown, hidden by the grayish tips
to the feathers. Eyelids and an obscure superciliary line
yellowish-white, a dusky obscure streak through the eye. Inner webs of
tail-feathers broadly edged with white. _Female_ with little or none
of the orange on the crown, and the white edgings to inner webs of
tail-feathers. _Young_ lacking the orange entirely, and with two
fulvous-whitish bands on the wing. Length, 4.70; wing, 2.25; tail,

HAB. Middle Province of North America; Yukon and McKenzie River
district. Very rare in the Eastern Province of United States; Mexico
in winter; Oaxaca, La Parada, (SCLATER); Orizaba, winter (SUMICHRAST).

This variety inhabits the interior regions of North America, from the
Yukon southward into Mexico; westward, its range meets that of the
var. _lutescens_ at about the meridian of 116°, while eastward it
extends beyond the Mississippi, though rare east of the latter region.
Specimens from Southern Illinois (where it is abundant in its
migrations) and from Wisconsin are precisely like Rocky Mountain
examples; but several in the collection before us from the South
Atlantic States (Florida, Georgia, etc.) are so different as almost to
warrant their separation as a different variety. These individuals are
most like the style of the interior,—var. _celata_,—but are even less
yellowish, and the whole plumage is very dark and dingy; all of them,
too, lack any trace whatever of orange on the crown. Should all
specimens from this region agree in the latter respect, the series
from the Southeastern States is certainly entitled to recognition as a
variety, for which we propose the name _obscura_.

HABITS. The geographical distribution of _H. celata_ is involved in
some doubt, owing probably to its irregularity of migration. In a few
occasional instances this species has been observed in the Atlantic
States. Several have been obtained near Philadelphia. Mr. Audubon
affirms to having seen it in the Middle States about the 10th of May,
and in Maine later in the month. Beyond that he did not trace it. Mr.
J. A. Allen procured one specimen of this bird in Springfield, Mass.,
May 15, 1863. There were quite a number among the fruit-trees of the
garden and orchard, then in bloom, and, mistaking them for
_Helminthophaga ruficapilla_, he at first neglected to shoot any,
until, being in doubt, he procured one, and found it the Orange-Crown.
The group passed on, and one was all he obtained. It is not given by
Mr. Turnbull as one of the birds of New Jersey and Pennsylvania, nor
by Mr. Boardman or Professor Verrill as occurring in Maine. I am
informed by Mr. Ridgway that it is a regular spring and autumn migrant
in Southern Illinois, and in some seasons is quite common.

It was taken as a migratory species at Oaxaca, Mexico, during the
winter months, by M. A. Boucard.

Mr. Audubon’s account of the habits and movements of this species must
be received with much caution. His description of its nest is entirely
inaccurate, and much that he attributes to this species we have reason
to believe relates to the habits of other birds.

On the Pacific coast it seems to be quite abundant, at different
seasons, from Cape St. Lucas to the arctic regions, where it breeds.
Mr. Kennicott obtained several specimens at Fort Yukon and at Fort
Resolution, and Mr. Boss met with them at Fort Simpson. Xantus
obtained these birds both at Fort Tejon and at Cape St. Lucas. It is
common in Southern California during the winter, frequenting low
bushes and the margins of streams. Dr. Gambel met with it in early
spring on the island of Santa Catalina, where he had an opportunity of
listening to its simple and lively song. This he describes as
commencing in a low, sweet trill, and ending in _tshe-up_. It is
sometimes considerably varied, but is described as generally
resembling _er-r,r,r,r-shè-up_.

Dr. Cooper speaks of this Warbler as an abundant and constant resident
of California, near the coast, and found in summer throughout the
Sierra Nevada. In March they begin to sing their simple trill, which,
he says, is rather musical, and audible for a long distance.

Dr. Coues met with this Warbler in Arizona, at Fort Yuma, September
17, at Fort Mohave, October 1, and also at the head-waters of Bill
Williams River. Lieutenant Couch found it at Brownsville, Tex.,
seeking its food and making its home among the low shrubbery.

Dr. Suckley found it very abundant at Fort Steilacoom, in Washington
Territory, where it kept in shady places among thick brush, generally
in the vicinity of watercourses. Dr. Heermann found a few pairs
incubating near the summits of the highest mountains on the Colorado
River. The nests of this species, seen by Mr. Kennicott, were
uniformly on the ground, generally among clumps of low bushes, often
in the side of a bank, and usually hidden by the dry leaves among
which they were placed. He met with these nests in the middle of June
in the vicinity of Great Slave Lake. They were large for the size of
the bird, having an external diameter of four inches, and a height of
two and a half, and appearing as if made of two or three distinct
fabrics, one within the other, of nearly the same materials. The
external portions of these nests were composed almost entirely of
long, coarse strips of bark loosely interwoven with a few dry grasses
and stems of plants. Within it is a more elaborately interwoven
structure of finer dry grasses and mosses. These are softly and warmly
lined with hair and fur of small animals.

Nests from more arctic regions are of a different style of structure,
homogeneous in materials,—which are chiefly stems of small plants and
the finer grasses,—and are of a more compact make and smaller in size.

Their eggs are from four to six in number, and vary in length from .70
to .60 of an inch, and in breadth from .50 to .45 of an inch. They
have a clear white ground, marked with spots and small blotches of
reddish-brown and fainter marking of purplish-slate. The number of
spots varies greatly, some eggs being nearly unspotted, others
profusely covered.

Mr. Ridgway met with this Warbler in great abundance during its
autumnal migration among the shrubbery along the streams of the Sierra
Nevada, at all altitudes. In summer it was only seen among the high
aspen woods on the Wahsatch Mountains. Fully fledged young birds were
numerous in July and August. Their usual note was a sharp _chip_.

This bird was found breeding near Fort Resolution, on the Yukon, at
Fort Rae, and at Fort Anderson.

The notice of geographical distribution of the different races, at the
beginning of the article, will serve to show to what varieties the
preceding remarks severally belong.

Helminthophaga celata, var. lutescens, RIDGWAY.


  _Helminthophaga celata_, COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, ii, 1859,
    178.—LORD, Pr. R. Art. Inst. Woolwich, IV, 1864, 115.—BAIRD, Rev.
    Am. Birds, I, 1865, 176 (in part).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 83.
    _H. celata_, var. _lutescens_, RIDGWAY, Report U. S. Geol. Expl.
    40th Par.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Upper surface continuous bright olive-green. Whole
lower parts, including superciliary stripe and eyelids, bright yellow,
almost gamboge; abdomen somewhat whitish. Inner webs of tail-feathers
just perceptibly edged with white. Whole crown bright orange-rufous,
scarcely concealed. Wing, 2.40; tail, 1.90; bill, .40; tarsus, .67;
middle toe, .45. Wing-formula, 2, 3, 1, 4. _Female._ Similar, but
orange of crown almost obsolete. Wing, 2.30; tail, 1.90. _Young of the
year._ Similar to adult, but with a brownish tinge above; middle and
secondary coverts tipped with dull fulvous, furry, inconspicuous
bands. No trace of orange on the crown.

HAB. Pacific Province of North America, from Alaska to Cape St. Lucas.
Straggling eastward to about the 116th meridian. Not found in Mexico?

The differences between the Pacific coast specimens of the _H. celata_
and those from the interior regions—first pointed out in the Review of
American Birds—are very readily appreciable upon a comparison of
specimens. The present bird is a coast variety, entirely replacing the
true _celata_ (var. _celata_) in the region above indicated.

Helminthophaga peregrina, CABAN.


  _Sylvia peregrina_, WILS. Am. Orn. IV, 1811, 83, pl. xxv, fig. 2.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. II, pl. cliv. _Sylvicola per._ RICH. _Vermivora per._
    BON. _Helinaia per._ AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. cx. _Helmitherus per._
    BON. _Helminthophaga per._ CAB. Mus. Hein.—IB. Jour. Orn. 1861, 85
    (Costa Rica).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 258; Rev. 178.—SCLATER &
    SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 31 (Guatemala).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 373
    (Oaxaca); Catal. 1861, 29, no. 180.—LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc.
    1861, 322 (Panama).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba, very
    rare). _Sylvia tennessæi_, VIEILLOT, Encycl. Méth. II, 1823, 452.
    _? Sylvia missuriensis_, MAX. Cab. Jour. VI, 1858, 117.

SP. CHAR. Top and sides of the head and neck ash-gray; rest of upper
parts olive-green, brightest on the rump. Beneath dull white, faintly
tinged in places, especially on the sides, with yellowish-olive.
Eyelids and a stripe over the eye whitish; a dusky line from the eye
to the bill. Outer tail-feather with a white spot along the inner edge
near the tip. _Female_ with the ash of the head less conspicuous; the
under parts more tinged with olive-yellow. Length, 4.50; wing, 2.75;
tail, 1.85.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America; Calais, Me.; north to Fort
Simpson, H. B. T.; Mexico; Oaxaca? Guatemala; Costa Rica; Panama R. R.
Very rare in Cuba. Veragua (SALVIN). Chiriqui (LAWRENCE).

Autumnal specimens and young birds are sometimes so strongly tinged
with greenish-yellow as to be scarcely distinguishable from _H.
celata_. The wing is, however, always longer, and the obscure whitish
patch on the inner edge of the exterior tail-feather, near its tip, is
almost always appreciable. In _celata_ this edge is very narrowly and
uniformly margined with whitish.

A young bird of the year, from Port Simpson (27,228), has two distinct
greenish-white bands on the wings, and the forehead and cheeks
greenish-yellow. A corresponding age of _H. celata_ has the wing-bands
more reddish-brown, the wings shorter, and no white patch on the outer

HABITS. Like the Nashville Warbler the present species has received a
name inappropriate to one with so northern a distribution. It was
first obtained on the banks of the Cumberland River by Wilson, and has
since been known as the Tennessee Warbler. But two specimens were ever
obtained by him, and he regarded it as a very rare species. He found
them hunting nimbly among the young leaves, and thought they possessed
many of the habits of the Titmice. Their notes he described as few and
weak, and in their stomachs he found, upon dissection, small green
caterpillars and a few winged insects.

Mr. Audubon also regarded it as a rare species, and only three
specimens ever fell within his observations. These were obtained in
Louisiana and at Key West. He describes them as appearing to be
nimble, active birds, expert catchers of flies, and fond of hanging to
the extremities of branches, uttering a single mellow _tweet_ as they
fly from branch to branch in search of food, or while on the wing.

Mr. Nuttall appears not to have met with it. Dr. Richardson procured
only a single specimen at Cumberland House, in the latter part of May.
This was in a dense thicket of small trees, and was flying about among
the lower branches. He was unable to discover its nest, or to learn
anything in regard to its habits.

A little more light has since then been given both as to its
geographical distribution and its mode of nesting. Specimens of this
species have been obtained in Costa Rica, Guatemala, Oaxaca, Mexico,
and Panama. A specimen of this species was also taken in Colombia, S.
A., by Mr. C. W. Wyatt. Dr. Gundlach mentions it as occasionally found
in Cuba. Mr. Drexler secured specimens of it at Moose Factory and at
Fort George in the arctic regions. Specimens were taken by Mr. Bernard
R. Ross at Fort Simpson. Mr. Robert Kennicott met with it on the
northern shores of Lake Winnipeg, June 6. They were then abundant, and
had already mated. He again met with them at Fort Resolution, and Mr.
Clarke found them at Fort Rae, Mr. W. F. Hall in Maine, Mr. Bell on
the Upper Missouri, and Professor Baird in Pennsylvania. Mr. Ridgway
has obtained it both in spring and in fall in Southern Illinois, where
it is abundant in some seasons. It does not appear to occur on the
Pacific coast.

Mr. Boardman writes that the Tennessee Warbler is, in the summer time,
quite a common bird in St. Stephens and vicinity. Its notes, he adds,
resemble the low, subdued whistle of the common Summer Yellow-Bird.

Mr. Maynard found this Warbler very common near Lake Umbagog during
the breeding-season. It was found in all the wooded localities in the
regions north of the neighboring mountains. Its song, he states,
resembles that of _H. ruficapilla_, the notes of the first part being
more divided, while the latter part is shriller.

A nest of this Warbler (Smith. Coll., 3476), obtained on the northern
shore of Lake Superior by Mr. George Barnston, is but little more than
a nearly flat bed of dry, matted stems of grass, and is less than an
inch in thickness, with a diameter of about three inches. It is not
circular in shape, and its width is not uniform. Its position must
have been on some flat surface, probably the ground. The eggs resemble
those of all the family in having a white ground, over which are
profusely distributed numerous small dots and points of a
reddish-brown, and a few of a purplish-slate. They are of an
oblong-oval shape, and measure .68 by .50 of an inch.

A nest from near Springfield, Mass., obtained by Professor Horsford,
the parent bird having been secured, was built in a low clump of
bushes, just above the ground. It is well made, woven of fine hempen
fibres of vegetables, slender stems of grass, delicate mosses, and
other like materials, and very thoroughly lined with hair. It measures
two and three fourths inches in diameter and two in height. The cavity
is two inches wide and one and three fourths deep. The eggs measure
.60 by .50 of an inch, are oblong-oval in shape, their ground-color a
pearly white, marked in a corona, about the larger end, with brown and
purplish-brown spots.


  _Chloris_, BOIE, Isis, 1826, 972 (not of Moehring, 1752). (Type,
    _Parus americanus_.)
  _Sylvicola_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Journ. III, July, 1827, 169. (Not of
    Humphrey, Mus. Calonnianum, 1797, 60; genus of land mollusks.)
    (Same type.)
  _Parula_, BONAP. Geog. & Comp. List, 1838. (Same type.)
  _Compsothlypis_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851, 20. (Same type.)

GEN. CHAR. In the species of this genus the bill is conical and acute;
the culmen very gently curved from the base; the commissure slightly
concave. The notch when visible is further from the tip than in
_Dendroica_, but usually is either obsolete or entirely wanting.
Bristles weak. The tarsi are longer than the middle toe. The tail is
nearly even, and considerably shorter than the wing. Color, blue
above, with a triangular patch of green on the back; anterior lower
parts yellow.

Two species—one with three varieties—of this genus, as lately
restricted, are known in America, only one, however, has as yet been
detected within the limits of the United States. They may be
distinguished as follows:—

P. americana. Eyelids white. Yellow beneath restricted to
anterior half.

  Two white bands on wing; a dusky collar across the jugulum.
  _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States, south to Guatemala;
  Bahamas; Cuba; Jamaica; St. Croix; St. Thomas.

P. pitiayumi. Eyelids dusky. Yellow beneath, extending back
along sides to the crissum.

_Two white bands on wing._

  Above plumbeous-blue; lores and eyelids deep black. Abdomen
  wholly yellow. Wing, 2.20; tail, 1.75. _Hab._ South America
  from Bogota to Paraguay …                     var. _pitiayumi_.[34]

  Above ashy-blue; lores and eyelids scarcely darker. Abdomen
  wholly white. Wing, 2.35; tail, 2.05. _Hab._ Tres Marias
  Islands, Western Mexico …                     var. _insularis_.[35]

_Only a trace of white on wings, or none at all._

  Above indigo-blue. Wing, 2.10; tail, 1.70. _Hab._ Costa Rica
  and Guatemala …                                var. _inornata_.[36]

  [Line drawing: _Parula americana_, Bonap.]

_Compsothlypis gutturalis_, CABANIS (_Parula gut._, BAIRD, Rev. Am.
B.), and _Conirostrum superciliosum_, HARTLAUB (_Parula superciliosa_,
BAIRD, Rev.), have been referred by later systematists to this genus;
but they are much more closely related to _Conirostrum_,—a genus
usually assigned to the _Cærebidæ_. The _“P.” gutturalis_ is confined
to Costa Rica; but _“P.” superciliosa_ is a species of the table-lands
of Mexico, and likely to be detected in Arizona or New Mexico. The
characters of this species are as follows:—

_Conirostrum superciliosum_, HARTL. R. Z. 1844, 215. Whole dorsal
region, including rump, olive-green; rest of upper parts ashy.
Anterior half beneath yellow, with a crescentic bar of chestnut-brown
across the jugulum; posterior lower parts white, ashy laterally. A
conspicuous superciliary stripe of white. Wing, 2.60; tail, 2.10.

Parula americana, BONAP.


  _Parus americanus_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. I, 1758, 190. _Motacilla
    am._ GMELIN. _Sylvia am._ LATH., AUD. _Sylvicola am._ RICH.,
    AUD.—JONES, Nat. in Bermuda, 1839, 59. _Parula am._ BON. List
    Birds N. Am. 1838.—GOSSE, Birds Jam. 1847, 154 (Jamaica).—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 238; Rev. 169.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 202
    (Xalapa).—IB. Ibis, 1859, 10 (Guatemala).—IB. Catal. 1861, 26,
    163.—NEWTON, Ibis, 1859, 143 (Santa Cruz; winter).—CASSIN, Pr. A.
    N. S. 1860, 376 (St. Thomas).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
    (Cuba; very common). _Compsothlypis am._ CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850,
    20.—IB. Jour. III, 1855, 476 (Cuba). _Ficedula ludoviciana_,
    BRISSON. _Motacilla lud._ GM. _Motacilla eques_, BODD. _Sylvia
    torquata_, VIEILL. _Thryothorus torq._ STEPHENS. _Sylvia pusilla_,
    WILS. _Sylvicola pus._ SWAINS.
  Figures: AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. xv.—IB. Birds Am. II, pl. xci.—VIEILL.
    Ois. Am. II, pl. xcix.—WILS. Am. Orn. IV, pl. xxviii.—BUFFON, pl.
    enl. dccxxxi, fig. 1; dccix, fig. 1.

SP. CHAR. Above blue, the middle of the back with a patch of
yellowish-green. Beneath yellow anteriorly, white behind. A
reddish-brown tinge across the breast. Lores and space round the eye
dusky; a small white spot on either eyelid; sides of head and neck
like the crown. Two conspicuous white bands on the wings. Outer two
tail-feathers with a conspicuous spot of white. _Female_ similar, with
less brown on the breast. Length, 4.75; wing, 2.34; tail, 1.90. Nest
of long moss.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, north to the Lakes
(“Greenland”), west to the Missouri Valley; in winter, south to
Guatemala (not seen on the west coast of Mexico). West Indies;
Bahamas; Cuba; Jamaica; St. Croix; St. Thomas; Jalapa, Guatemala
(SCLATER); Orizaba, winter (SUMICHRAST); Yucatan (LAWRENCE); Porto
Rico and Inagua (BRYANT).

Autumnal males are browner on the chin, yellower on the throat and
jugulum. Head tinged with greenish; secondaries edged with
greenish-yellow. Autumnal females are light greenish-olive above,
dirty-white beneath.

  [Illustration: _Parula americana._

In very brightly colored spring males, there is frequently (as in
58,335, Philadelphia) a well-defined, broad blackish band across the
jugulum, anterior to an equally distinct and rather broader one across
the breast, of a brown tint, spotted with black, while the sides are
much spotted with chestnut-brown; the blue above is very pure, and the
green patch on the back very sharply defined.

HABITS. The Blue Yellow-Back is one of our most interesting and
attractive Warblers. Nowhere very abundant, it has a well-marked and
restricted area within which it is sparingly distributed. It is found
from the Mississippi Valley to the Atlantic, and from Canada
southward. In its winter migrations it visits the West Indies, the
Bahamas, and Central and South America. Halifax on the east, and
Platte River on the west, appear to be the northern limit of its
distribution. Dr. Woodhouse met with it in the Indian Territory during
the breeding-season. Mr. Alfred Newton found this species, apparently
only a winter visitant, in the island of St. Croix. Most of the birds
left about the middle of March, though a few remained until early in

A single specimen of this species was taken at South Greenland in

This Warbler has been found breeding as far to the south as
Tuckertown, N. J., by Mr. W. S. Wood; and at Cape May, in the same
State, by Mr. John Krider. At Washington, Dr. Coues found it only a
spring and autumn visitant, exceedingly abundant from April 25 to May
15. Possibly a few remained to breed, as he met with them in the first
week of August. In the fall they were again abundant from August 25 to
the second week in October. He found them inhabiting exclusively high
open woods, and usually seen in the tops of the trees, or at the
extremities of the branches, in the tufts of leaves and blossoms.

Even where most common it is not an abundant species, and is to be
found only in certain localities, somewhat open and swampy thickets,
usually not of great extent, and prefers those well covered with the
long gray lichens known as Spanish moss. In such localities only, so
far as I know, do they breed.

This Warbler has also been ascertained to breed in Southern Illinois,
where Mr. Ridgway found it in July, engaged in feeding fully fledged
young birds. It is there most common in spring and fall.

A true Warbler in most of its attributes, this bird has many of the
habits of Titmice. Like these it frequents the tops of the taller
trees, feeding on the small winged insects and caterpillars that
abound among the young leaves and blossoms. It has no song, properly
so called, its notes are feeble and few, and can be heard only a short

The song of this species is said by Mr. Trippe, of Orange, N. Y., to
be a somewhat sharp and lisping, yet quite varied and pleasing, series
of notes.

Mr. Audubon speaks of this species as breeding in Louisiana, but his
description of the nest differs so entirely from such as are met with
in Massachusetts as to suggest doubts as to the correctness of the
identification. He describes them as flitting over damp places, the
edges of ponds and streams, and pursuing their prey with great
activity. They resort to the woods as soon as the foliage appears on
the forest trees, and glean among the leaves for the smaller winged

The nests of this Warbler, so far as has fallen under my observation,
have always been made of long gray lichens still attached to the trees
on which they grow. With great skill do these tiny architects gather
up, fasten together, and interweave, one with the other, the hanging
ends and longer branches. By an elaborate intertwining of these long
fibres they form the principal part, sometimes the whole, of their
nests. These structures are at once simple, beautiful, ingenious, and
skilfully wrought. When first made, they are somewhat rude and
unfinished, but as their family are gathered, the eggs deposited,
incubated, and hatched, a change has been going on. Little by little
has the male bird busied himself, when not procuring food for his
mate, in improving, strengthening, and enlarging the nest. These same
acts of improvement upon the original nests are noticed with
Humming-Birds, Vireos, and a few other birds.

The nests are sometimes constructed on the sides of trunks of trees,
when covered with the long gray lichens, but are more frequently found
hanging from branches usually not more than six or eight feet from the
ground. Thus surrounded by long hanging mosses in clumps not
distinguishable from the nests themselves, they would not be readily
recognized were it not that those familiar with the habits of the bird
may be readily guided to the spot by the artless movements of the
unsuspecting parents.

These birds are confiding, easily approached, and rarely exhibit any
signs of alarm. Even when their nest is disturbed they make but little
complaint, and do not manifest any very great signs of emotion. When
built against a trunk these nests consist only of an interweaving of
the moss above and below a very small opening, within which a small
cup-shaped flooring has been made of the same material, and usually
cannot be removed without destroying all semblance of a nest. When
pensile they are imperfectly circular in shape, with an entrance on
one side, and rarely with any lining. Occasionally they are models of
symmetry and beauty.

The eggs, four or five in number, have a clear white ground, and are
sparingly spotted with markings of reddish-brown, slate, purple, and
lilac. In some the first predominate, in other the last three shades
are more abundant, and usually form a confluent ring around the larger
end. They measure from .62 to .65 of an inch in length, and from .49
to .50 in breadth.


This section has been already characterized as having a distinctly
notched bill, well provided with bristles. Of the two genera one,
_Perissoglossa_, has the bill slender, acute, something like
_Helminthophaga_, and with the tongue lengthened and much lacerated at
end; the other, _Dendroica_, with less acute bill and tongue shorter,
merely notched at tip, and a little fringed only.


  _Perissoglossa_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 181. (Type, _Motacilla
    tigrina_, GM.)

  [Line drawing: _Perissoglossa tigrina_, Baird.]

GEN. CHAR. Form of _Dendroica_, but bill slender, acute, with very
obsolete notch; the commissure gently arched or curved from the base;
the gonys also straight, or even slightly concave. Tongue lengthened,
narrow, deeply bifid (for one third), and deeply lacerated or fringed
externally at the end; the edge along the median portion folded over
on the upper surface, but not adherent.

The curvature of the bill in _Perissoglossa tigrina_ is quite peculiar
among the _Sylvicolidæ_ with notched bills. Some Helminthophagas
(without notch) approximate this character, though in none, excepting
_H. bachmani_, is it in equal amount,—all the others having the gonys
very slightly convex, instead of straight, or even slightly concave.

It is most probable that the _Helinaia carbonata_ of Audubon belongs
here, as it appears very closely allied to the type of this genus. The
two species may be distinguished as follows:—

COMMON CHARACTERS. _Male._ Top of head black. Above olive,
becoming yellowish on rump. Head, neck, and lower parts bright
yellow, becoming whitish posteriorly. Dorsal feathers with black
centres; breast and sides streaked with black. A black streak
through the eye.

  P. tigrina. Large white patches on inner webs of

    Sides of head and middle of throat tinged with chestnut. One
    large white patch on wing, covering both rows of coverts.
    Outer web of lateral tail-feather blackish.

  P. carbonata. No white patches on tail-feathers.

    No chestnut about head. Two bands on the wing, the anterior
    one white, the posterior yellow. Outer web of lateral
    tail-feather whitish.

Perissoglossa tigrina, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla tigrina_, GMELIN, Syn. Nat. I, 1788, 985. _Sylvia tig._
    LATH. _Dendroica tig._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 286.—SCLATER,
    Catal. 1861, 33, no. 198; P. Z. S. 1861, 71 (Jamaica,
    April).—MARCH, Pr. An. Sc. 1863, 293 (Jamaica; breeds).—A. & E.
    NEWTON, Ibis, 1859, 144 (St. Croix. Notes on anatomy of
    tongue).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; not rare).—SAMUELS,
    240. _Perissoglossa tigrina_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 181.
    _Sylvia maritima_, WILSON, Am. Orn. VI, 1812, 99, pl. liv, fig.
    3.—BON.; NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. V, pl. ccccxiv.—D’ORB. La Sagra’s
    Cub. 1840, 70, pl. x. _Sylvicola mar._ JARD., BON., AUD. Birds Am.
    II, pl. lxxxv. _Certhiola mar._ GOSSE, Birds Jam. 1847, 81.—IB.
    Illust. _Rhimamphus mar._ CAB. Jour. III, 1855, 474 (Cuba.)

SP. CHAR. Bill very acute, conical, and decidedly curved. Bill and
feet black. Upper part of head dull black, some of the feathers
faintly margined with light yellowish-brown. Collar scarcely meeting
behind; rump and under parts generally rich yellow. Throat, forepart
of breast, and sides, streaked with black. Abdomen and lower
tail-coverts pale yellow, brighter about the vent. Ear-coverts light
reddish-chestnut. Back part of a yellow line from nostrils over the
eye of this same color; chin and throat tinged also with it. A black
line from commissure through the eye, and running into the chestnut of
the ear-coverts. Back, shoulder, edges of the wing and tail,
yellowish-olive; the former spotted with dusky. One row of small
coverts, and outer bases of the secondary coverts, form a large patch
of white, tinged with pale yellow. Tertials rather broadly edged with
brownish-white. Quills and tail dark brown, the three outer feathers
of the latter largely marked with white on the inner web; edge of the
outer web of the outer feathers white, more perceptible towards the
base. Length, 5.25; wing, 2.84; tail, 2.15.

_Female._ Above olivaceous-ash, most yellowish on rump; no black nor
chestnut on head. Wing-coverts inconspicuously edged with whitish.
Tail-spots very inconspicuous. Beneath dull white tinged with
yellowish on the breast, and streaked as in the male, but with dusky
grayish instead of black.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, north to Lake Winnipeg and
Moose Factory; all the West Indies to St. Croix. Breeds in Jamaica.
Not recorded from Mexico or Central America.

The chestnut about the head in adult males varies in amount with the
individual; sometimes (as in 20,633, May, Moose Factory, Hudson’s Bay
Territory) there is an oblong spot of chestnut in the middle of the
crown, but generally this is absent. Very frequently the chestnut
tinges the throat. All variations in these respects appear, however,
to be individual, and not dependent at all on locality. West Indian
specimens appear to be absolutely identical with those from North

Autumnal specimens are browner, the chestnut markings much obscured.

  [Illustration: PLATE XII.

   1. Perissoglossa tigrina, _Gm._ ♂ H. B. Ter., 20633.
   2.       “          “       “   ♀ Pa., 678.
   3.       “       carbonata, _Aud._ (Copied from Audubon).
   4. Dendroica virens, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 941.
   5.     “     occidentalis, _Towns._ ♂ Cal., 5518.
   6.     “     chrysopareia, _Scl. & Salv._ ♂.
   7.     “     townsendi, _Nutt._ ♂ Guat., 8017.
   8.     “     nigrescens, _Towns._ ♂ Ariz., 1908.
   9.     “     coronata, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 8384.
  10.     “     cærulescens, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 3419.
  11.     “          “          “    ♀ Pa., 2308.
  12.     “     coronata, _Linn._ ♀.]

HABITS. This somewhat rare species, so far as its history and
distribution are known with certainty, is migratory in the principal
portions of the United States, in the spring and fall passing to the
north of the 42d parallel to breed. The first specimen was obtained
near the extreme southern point of New Jersey by George Ord, in 1811,
and described and figured by Wilson. From this accidental circumstance
it derives its inappropriate name of Cape May Warbler. Wilson never
met with a second specimen, and Mr. Nuttall was wholly unacquainted
with it. Mr. Audubon also never met with a specimen in all his
wanderings, and was able to add nothing to its history. Those figured
by him were procured by Mr. Edward Harris, near Philadelphia, through
which region these birds appear to pass rapidly in their northern

Mr. J. A. Allen obtained a specimen near Springfield, Mass., May 15,
1863, and specimens have also been procured at East Windsor Hill,
Conn., by Dr. Wood. It was not met with in Western Maine by Mr.
Verrill, but in Eastern Maine and in New Brunswick Mr. Boardman has
found it a not uncommon summer visitant, though of irregular
frequency. He has no doubt that they remain there to breed. They reach
Calais as early as the second week in May, or as early as their
appearance usually in the neighborhood of Philadelphia has been
noticed. Mr. Kumlien has also obtained specimens from year to year,
about the middle of May, in Southern Wisconsin, where they do not
remain to breed, and Mr. Ridgway has taken them in the beginning of
May in Southern Illinois.

It is also by no means uncommon in Cuba; was met by the Newtons as a
migrant in St. Croix, and is not only one of the birds of Jamaica, but
is resident and breeds in the highlands of that island. It is not
known to occur in Central America, Mexico, or west of the Mississippi
River. Specimens were procured at Moose Factory about May 28.

Its nests and eggs have not been, with certainty, obtained in the
United States, though an egg obtained in Coventry, Vt., in 1836, and
attributed at the time to this bird, closely resembles its identified
eggs from Jamaica. Specimens of the bird, as well as its nests and
eggs, have also been received from St. Domingo by Mr. Turnbull of
Philadelphia. In the summer of 1871 a nest of this species was found
by Mr. H. B. Bailey on the Richardson Lakes, in the extreme
northwestern part of Maine. The nest was in a low spruce-tree, less
than five feet from the ground, and when found contained only a single
egg. Unfortunately it was left until more eggs were deposited, and in
the mean while the tree was cut, and the nest and eggs were destroyed.

Mr. W. T. March of Jamaica, in his notes on the birds of that island,
states that this species may always be found, in its various changes
of plumage, about the mangrove swamps and river-banks. During the
summer months it was common about Healthshire and Great Salt Pond, and
at other times very generally distributed over the island. He also met
with several specimens of its nests and eggs, but their position was
not stated. The nests had apparently been taken from a bush or tree,
were three and one fourth inches in diameter by two and one half in
height, with cavities unusually large and deep for the size of the
nests. They were wrought almost entirely of long strips of thin
flexible bark, strongly and firmly interwoven. The outer portions
consisted of coarser and longer strips, the inner being much finer and
more delicate. With the outer portions were also interwoven bits of
mosses, lichens, and the outer bark of deciduous trees. The entire
fabric was a remarkable one.

The eggs measure .70 by .55 of an inch, have a pinkish-white ground,
blotched with purple and brown of various shades and tints. They are
disposed chiefly about the larger end, usually in a ring. The eggs are
oval in shape and slightly pointed at one end.

Perissoglossa carbonata, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia carbonata_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, 308, pl. lx
    (Kentucky).—NUTT. _Helinaia carbonata_, AUD. Syn.—IB. Birds Am.
    II, 1841, 95, pl. cix. _Dendroica carbonata_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 287; Rev. Am. Birds, 207.

SP. CHAR. Bill brownish-black above, light blue beneath. Iris hazel.
Feet light flesh-color. Upper part of the head black. Forepart of the
back, lesser wing-coverts, and sides dusky, spotted with black. Lower
back dull yellowish-green, as is the tail, of which the outer web of
the outer feather is whitish. Tip of the second row of coverts white,
of the first row yellow; quills dusky, their outer webs tinged with
yellow. A line from the lore over the eye; sides of the neck and the
throat bright yellow. A dusky line behind the eye. The rest of the
under parts dull yellow, excepting the sides. Length, 4.75 inches;
bill above, 4.42; tarsus, .75. (AUDUBON).

HAB. Kentucky.

This species continues to be known only by the description and figure
of Audubon.

Judging from the description, this species is closely related to _P.
tigrina_, but seems to be distinct in the pure black of the top of the
head, the absence of orange-brown on the cheeks, the white of the wing
being on the middle coverts instead of the greater, and the
tail-feathers being yellowish-green; the outer web of outer feather
white, instead of a large spot on the inner web, etc. The back appears
more distinctly streaked.

HABITS. Two specimens of this Warbler, obtained near Henderson, Ky.,
May, 1811, by Mr. Audubon, are all its claim to be recognized as a
good species. None have since been seen. These birds are described as
having been busily engaged in collecting insects among the branches of
a dogwood tree. Their motions were like those of other Warblers. This
is all we as yet know as to the history of this species, and its
claims to be regarded as a good and distinct species are involved in


  _Sylvicola_, GRAY, Genera Birds, 2d ed. 1841, 32. (Not of Humphreys
    nor Swainson.)
  _Dendroica_, GRAY, Genera Birds, Appendix, 1842, 8.
  _Rhimamphus_, HARTLAUB, Rev. Zool. 1845, 342. (Not of Rafinesque,
    Am. Monthly Mag. 1818, and Jour. de Phys. 1819.)

  [Line drawing: _Dendroica coronata._

GEN. CHAR. Bill conical, attenuated, depressed at the base, where it
is, however, scarcely broader than high, compressed from the middle.
Culmen straight for the basal half, then rather rapidly curving, the
lower edge of upper mandible also concave. Gonys slightly convex and
ascending. A distinct notch near the end of the bill. Bristles, though
short, generally quite distinct at the base of the bill. Tarsi long;
decidedly longer than middle toe, which is longer than the hinder one;
the claws rather small and much curved; the hind claw nearly as long
as its digit. The wings long and pointed; the second quill usually a
very little longer than the first. The tail slightly rounded and

_Colors._ Tail always with a white or yellow spot; its ground-color
never clear olive-green. In _D. æstiva_ edged internally with yellow.

Eggs usually with a white or a bluish-white ground, marked with
purplish-brown and obscure lilac; in some, mingled with varying shades
of sienna-brown. Nest, so far as known, in bushes and trees, except
_D. palmarum_, which is on the ground.

  [Illustration: _Dendroica auduboni._]

The genus _Dendroica_ is one of the most extensive as to species of
any in North America, and scarcely admits of any subdivision. There is
a little variation in the bill, wings, etc., the chief peculiarities
being in _D. castanea_ and _pennsylvanica_, in which the bill is
broader, and more depressed, with longer bristles; in _D. striata_,
where the bill is narrow with scarcely any bristles; and in _D.
palmarum_ and _kirtlandi_, where the wings are very short, scarcely
longer than the tail. _D. palmarum_ has the tarsus unusually long. The
colors in all are strongly marked, and the species are among the most
beautiful of all belonging to our fauna, and are the most conspicuous
for their numbers and in their migrations.

The difference in manners between certain members of this genus is
remarkable; thus, the _D. palmarum_ is very terrestrial in its habits,
walking upon the ground with the ease and grace of a Titlark
(_Anthus_), and, like these birds, it has a wagging motion of the
tail. On the other hand, the _Dendroica dominica_ is as much a Creeper
as is the _Mniotilta varia_; creeping not only along the branches, but
the cornices and lattices of buildings, with the facility of a
Nuthatch (_Sitta_). Both these species, however, may often be seen
hopping among the foliage of the trees, now and then snapping an
insect on the wing, in the manner of others of the family.

Species and Varieties.

  Inner webs of tail-feathers with a large patch, or broad
  edge, of yellow                                            GROUP A.

  Inner webs of tail-feathers with a large patch, or broad
  edge, of white.
    Wings with conspicuous white markings                    GROUP B.
    Wings without conspicuous white markings[37]             GROUP C.

Group A.—_Golden Warblers._

  Rump and crissum without rufous markings                _Series I._
  Rump and crissum with rufous markings                  _Series II._

_Series I._

Prevailing color rich yellow, shaded on upper parts with
olive-green. ♂ with streaks of chestnut across the breast and
along the sides, and with or without a greater or less tinge of
the same on the crown. ♀ with the streaks beneath obsolete or
entirely wanting; no rufous on crown. _Juv._ paler and duller
than the ♀, sometimes quite ashy.

A. Tarsus less than .65 of an inch. Outer webs of tail-feathers
with yellow predominating.

    1. D. æstiva. Crown generally pure yellow, sometimes with
    only a tinge of rufous; lower webs of wing-coverts and
    tertials pure yellow; rump and upper tail-coverts much mixed
    with the same. Wing-formula,[38] 12, 3; wing, 2.60; tail,
    2.05; bill, from nostril, .30; tarsus, .62. _Hab._ Entire
    continent of North America; in winter south to Bogota and
    Cayenne; Trinidad (only locality in West Indies).

B. Tarsus not less than .70 of an inch. Outer webs of
tail-feathers with dusky predominating.

  _a._ Crown without any rufous, or with only a tinge.

    2. D. petechia. _Nape olive-green_ (except in _juv._);
    _sides streaked_ (except in _juv._). Crown greenish,
    sometimes tinged with orange-rufous anteriorly; lower webs of
    wing-coverts, etc., not pure yellow, and rump and upper
    tail-coverts without any admixture of yellow. _Hab._ West
    Indies (except Barbadoes and Trinidad); not on the Continent.

      Lower part of throat streaked; outer webs of wing-coverts
      hardly appreciably different from the general surface.
      Above golden yellowish-olive; crown generally without a
      trace of rufous. Wing-formula, 23, 4, 1, 5; wing, 2.55;
      tail, 2.10; bill, .30; tarsus, .80. _Hab._ Cuba and the
      Bahamas …                                 var. _gundlachi_.[39]

      Lower part of throat not streaked; outer webs of
      wing-coverts decidedly yellowish, and quite different from
      the general surface. Above greenish yellow-olive; crown
      almost always strongly tinged with rufous. Wing-formula, 4,
      3, 2, 5, 1, 6; wing, 2.70; tail, 2.25; bill, .35; tarsus,
      .79. _Hab._ Jamaica and Hayti? …           var. _petechia_.[40]

      Whole throat sometimes streaked; back also sometimes with
      streaks of dark castaneous; green above lighter than in
      var. _petechia_, the rump sometimes tinged with yellow.
      Wing-formula, 2, 3, and 4 equal, 51; wing, 2.50; tail,
      2.00; bill, .34; tarsus, .78. _Hab._ Porto Rico, St.
      Thomas, St. Croix, and St. Bartholomew …
                                              var. _ruficapilla_.[41]

    3. D. aureola.[42] _Nape always ashy; sides never
    streaked._ Abdomen, anal region, and axillars nearly white;
    forehead and crown strongly tinged with rufous; nape dark
    ashy. Wing-formula, 2, 3, and 4 equal, 5, 16; wing, 2.55;
    tail, 2.00; bill, .32; tarsus, .75. _Hab._ Galapagos Islands.

  _b._ Crown with only a sharply defined ovate patch of dark

    4. D. capitalis.[43] A broad superciliary stripe of pure
    yellow; wing-formula, 3 = 4, 2, 1 = 5; wing, 2.30; tail, 2.00;
    bill, .30; tarsus, .70. (♀ distinguishable from that of the
    varieties of _petechia_ by the distinctly yellow upper
    eyelid, and considerably shorter tarsus.) _Hab._ Barbadoes
    Island, West Indies.

  _c._ Head all round rufous.

    5. D. vieilloti. (♀ not distinguishable from that of other
    species.) _Hab._ Continental Middle America.

_Breast and sides with broad streaks of rufous; outer webs of
wing-coverts and tertials pure yellow._

      Rufous of the throat with the posterior outline sharply
      defined against yellow of jugulum. Wing-formula, 3, 4, 2,
      1, 5; wing, 2.75; tail, 2.10; bill, .34; tarsus, .75.
      _Hab._ New Granada (Carthagena, etc.) …   var. _vieilloti_.[44]

      Rufous of the throat covering the jugulum and blending with
      the streaks of the breast. Wing-formula, 3, 2, 4, 1, 5;
      wing, 2.45; tail, 2.05; bill, .27; tarsus, .64. _Hab._
      Isthmus of Panama …                        var. _rufigula_.[45]

_Breast and sides with only very narrow or scarcely appreciable
streaks of rufous; outer webs of wing-coverts, etc., scarcely
different from general surface._

      Rufous of the head confined to it, and abruptly defined all
      round. Wing-formula, 3, 2 = 4, 1, 5; wing, 2.70; tail,
      2.25; bill, .31; tarsus, .72. _Hab._ Mexico (from Honduras
      and Yucatan to Mazatlan) …                  var. _bryanti_.[46]

_Series II._

Prevailing color yellow; crown, rump, and crissum with spots of
rufous; a band of the same on the side of the head, from bill
(meeting both on forehead and on chin) around eye and over

    6. D. eoa.[47] _Hab._ Jamaica (GOSSE).

Group B.

Base of primaries with white patch.

  Two white bands on wing                                 _Series I._
  No white bands on wing                                 _Series II._

Base of primaries without white patch.

  Rump yellow.
    Crown with a yellow spot                            _Series III._
    Crown without a yellow spot                          _Series IV._
  Rump not yellow.
    Throat white (with black streaks in _striata_
      and _pharetra_)                                      _Series V._
    Throat yellow or orange                               _Series VI._
    Throat black, or mixed with black                    _Series VII._

_Series I._

    7. D. olivacea. ♂. Head and neck, all round, fine light
    orange-rufous; a broad black “spectacle” along side of the
    head. ♀. Head yellowish, dusky on top; spectacle obsolete.
    _Hab._ Whole of Eastern Mexico; Guatemala.

_Series II._

    8. D. cærulescens. ♂. Head dark blue above and black
    underneath; a black patch covering whole lateral and under
    side of head and lateral lower parts. Rest of upper parts
    dark blue; bases of primaries and abdomen pure white. ♀.
    Above olive, with a light superciliary stripe; beneath wholly
    light greenish-buff; base of primaries white. _Hab._ Eastern
    Province of United States; in winter south into Cuba,
    Jamaica, and St. Domingo.

_Series III._

    9. D. coronata. A yellow patch on each side of the breast;
    above ashy streaked with black; belly white. ♂. Breast more
    or less black; upper parts ash with a bluish tinge. ♀. Breast
    only streaked with black; ash of upper part grayish or

      Throat white; a white superciliary streak; two white bands
      on wing. _Hab._ Eastern Province of North America, north to
      Alaska and Greenland; in winter south to Panama and West
      Indies (resident in Jamaica!) …                var. _coronata_.

      Throat yellow; no white superciliary streak; one white
      patch formed by the fusion of the two bands on the wing.
      _Hab._ Western Province of North America from British
      Columbia, south to Cape St. Lucas and Jalisco, Western
      Mexico; east to Rocky Mountains. …             var. _auduboni_.

_Series IV._

    10. D. maculosa. Whole lower parts bright yellow; black
    streaks across breast and along sides; crown ash; lores,
    auriculars, and back black. ♀ scarcely different. _Hab._
    Eastern Province of North America, from Fort Simpson to
    Panama; Cuba and Bahamas.

_Series V._

A. Above ashy-blue, or soft bluish-green.

    11. D. cærulea. Lower parts pure white or greenish-white;
    with or without a narrow band across the breast; above fine
    ashy-blue, or soft bluish-green; if blue (♂), the back and
    crown streaked with black; if green (♀ and _juv._), these
    streaks obsolete. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States
    (rare northward except in Mississippi Valley), south to
    Bogota in winter; Cuba.

B. Above not ashy-blue nor bluish-green, but streaked with
black upon an ashy greenish-olive or yellowish ground, or else
bright olive-green.

  _a._ Sides more or less rufous, and without black or dusky
  streaks on under surfaces.

    12. D. pennsylvanica. ♂. Crown pure yellow; throat and
    auriculars pure white; ♀ _ad._ similar, but crown greenish,
    and more or less streaked. _Juv._ Above bright olive-green,
    nearly grass-green, _without streaks_ except on the back;
    side of head, and sides, clear ashy, the latter with or
    without a trace of chestnut; eyelids and medial lower parts
    pure white. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States, south
    to Panama; Bahamas.

    13. D. castanea. ♂. Crown reddish-chestnut; throat and
    sides rufous; auriculars black. ♀ similar, but crown thickly
    streaked, sometimes without a trace of rufous; jugulum and
    throat only tinged with rufous. _Juv._ Above greenish-olive,
    streaks obsolete; beneath, _including lower tail-coverts_,
    pale greenish-buff, or whitish-buff, and without any trace of
    streaks on the sides (distinction from ♀ of _D. striata_) the
    sides usually with a tinge of chestnut. _Hab._ Eastern
    Province of North America, from Hudson’s Bay Territory to New

  _b._ Sides without any rufous, and with black or dusky streaks.

_Medial lower parts not streaked; inner webs of tail-feathers
with broad patch of white._

    14. D. striata. ♂. Crown deep black; auriculars and lower
    parts white; throat with two series of black streaks,
    converging and forming an angle on the chin. Above ashy
    streaked with black. ♀ similar, but crown greenish streaked
    with black; lower parts tinged with greenish. _Juv._ Above
    greenish-olive, the streaks obsolete; beneath pale
    greenish-yellow; _the lower tail-coverts pure white_. _Hab._
    Eastern Province of North America, north to Greenland and
    Kodiak, south to Bogota, Cuba, and Bahamas.

_Medial lower parts streaked with black; inner webs of
tail-feathers merely edged with white._

    15. D. pharetra.[48] ♂. Above grayish-white, with broad
    streaks of black; posteriorly, plain brownish-gray; lower
    parts with cuneate spots of black. _Hab._ Jamaica.

_Series VI._

A. A black “mask” around the eye and on auriculars, and
extending down the side of the throat; a light superciliary
stripe continued back into a large space, of similar color, on
side of neck.

    16. D. blackburniæ. Crown with an orange or yellowish spot
    (exposed or concealed); superciliary stripe, side of neck and
    throat, intense orange-red (♂ ad.), or varying from this to
    pale buff (_juv._). ♀ intense black above; back streaked with
    white or yellowish. ♀ olive-gray above, streaked with black.
    _Juv._ olive-gray above without distinct streaks. _Hab._
    Eastern Province of United States, south to Ecuador; Bahamas.

    17. D. dominica. Crown without an orange or yellowish spot;
    superciliary stripe and side of neck pure white; throat
    gamboge-yellow; above ash, without streaks.

      Superciliary stripe bright yellow anterior to the eye.
      Bill, .45; tarsus, .60; wing, 2.60; tail, 2.00. _Hab._
      Atlantic United States and West Indies …       var. _dominica_.

      Superciliary stripe pure white anterior to the eye. Bill,
      .35; tarsus, .60; wing, 2.70; tail, 2.20. _Hab._
      Mississippi region of United States; Mexico (Yucatan on
      east coast, and Colima on west coast); Guatemala and
      Honduras …                                     var. _albilora_.

B. No black “mask.” Superciliary stripe scarcely reaching
behind the eye. Sides of neck ashy like the back.

    18. D. graciæ. Auriculars, neck, crown, and upper parts
    generally, ashy; a supra-loral stripe, a crescent on the
    lower eyelid, and the anterior lower parts gamboge-yellow.
    Crissum white.

_Back and sides streaked with black; abdomen white._

      Yellow of throat terminating abruptly at the jugulum;
      supra-loral stripe extending about .20 of an inch past the
      eye, this portion of it white; dorsal streaks broad. Wing,
      2.60; tail, 2.20. _Hab._ Arizona (Fort Whipple) …
                                                       var. _graciæ_.

       Yellow of throat covering whole jugulum, and not ending
       abruptly; supra-loral stripe scarcely passing the eye, and
       wholly yellow; dorsal streaks narrow. Wing, 2.20; tail,
       1.95. _Hab._ British Honduras (Belize) …        var. _decora_.

_Back and sides not streaked with black; abdomen yellow._

      Yellow of throat extending back to the crissum; supra-loral
      stripe as in the last; dorsal streaks wanting. Wing, 2.10;
      tail, 1.95. _Hab._ Porto Rico …            var. _adelaidæ_.[49]

_Series VII._

Throat black in ♂, mixed with black in ♀.

A. Sides streaked; black of throat with its posterior outline

  _a._ Side of head white and black.

    19. D. nigrescens. A small yellow spot over the lore; above
    ash; beneath white. ♂. Whole crown, uniform glossy black;
    back streaked with black. ♀. Crown ash streaked with black;
    throat mixed with white anteriorly. _Juv._ Crown and cheeks
    ashy; throat mostly white; back without streaks. _Hab._
    Western and Middle Province of United States, south, in
    winter, into Western Mexico (Oaxaca).

  _b._ Side of head yellow and black, or yellow and olive.

_Black of throat covering jugulum; a hidden yellow spot in middle
of forehead._

    20. D. chrysopareia. Black above, pure white below; no
    tinge of yellow behind the black jugular patch. _Hab._
    Eastern Middle America, from Guatemala to Texas (San

    21. D. virens. Olive-green above, the crown and back
    without streaks; beneath white, the breast and anal region
    tinged with black. _Hab._ Eastern Province of North America,
    from Greenland to Panama; Cuba; Oaxaca; Heligoland, Europe!

_Black of throat confined anteriorly to the jugulum; no yellow
spot on forehead._

    22. D. townsendi. Above olive-green, the crown and back
    with conspicuous black streaks; beneath yellow anteriorly,
    and white posteriorly. ♀, black of throat mixed with yellow;
    _juv._, no black on throat, and streaks on back obsolete.
    _Hab._ North and Middle Province of United States, south, in
    winter, into Guatemala.

B. Sides not streaked; black of throat with its posterior
outline convex.

    23. D. occidentalis. Above ash tinged with olive; beneath
    white. Head nearly all yellow. ♂. Top of head yellow with a
    few small black spots; nape black; back streaked with black;
    sides pure white. (♀ not seen.) _Juv._ Yellow of crown
    overlaid by olive; above greenish-plumbeous, without any
    black on nape or back; throat yellowish-whitish; sides tinged
    with ashy. _Hab._ Western and Middle Province of United
    States, south to Guatemala.

Group C.

A. Above ash; no supra-loral stripe; eyelids not yellow.

    24. D. kirtlandi. Above, including side of head and neck,
    bluish-ash; crown and back streaked with black; beneath
    (except crissum) pale yellow; breast speckled, and sides
    streaked with black; lores and orbital region, black; eyelids
    white. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States (Cleveland,
    Ohio), and Bahamas.

    25. D. pityophila.[50] Above, including side of head and
    neck, dull ash; the forehead and crown olive-green; crown and
    back not streaked; beneath white; the throat and jugulum
    yellow; sides ashy; no specks on breast, nor streaks on
    sides, but a few along side of neck, between the ash and
    yellow. _Hab._ Cuba.

B. Olive-green or brown above; a supra-loral stripe of yellow;
eyelids yellow.

  _a._ Above olive-green, without streaks; crissum white; sides
  of breast with obsolete grayish streaks.

    26. D. pinus. Forehead and ear-coverts olive; abdomen
    white; yellow supra-loral stripe not continued behind the
    eye. ♀ more grayish; _juv._ above umber, beneath light
    grayish-brown, tinged with yellow. _Hab._ Eastern Province of
    United States; Bahamas.

    ? 27. D. montana. Forehead and ear-coverts yellow; abdomen
    yellow; yellow supra-loral stripe continued past the eye into
    the yellow of the auriculars. (♀ and other stages unknown.)
    _Hab._ “Blue Mountains of Virginia.”

  _b._ Above olive-green, the back streaked with chestnut;
  crissum yellow; streaks of black on sides.

    28. D. discolor. Bright gamboge-yellow beneath; streak on
    lores and along side of neck, as well as along sides and
    flanks, deep black; dorsal feathers chestnut medially. ♀
    duller, but similar; _juv._ not seen. _Hab._ Eastern Province
    of United States: in winter, throughout West Indies.

  _c._ Above olive-brown, the back not streaked; crissum
  gamboge-yellow; streaks of reddish-chestnut on sides.

    29. D. palmarum. _Ad._ Forehead and crown deep rufous;
    superciliary stripe bright yellow, continued back over
    auriculars; sexes alike. _Juv._ and _ad._ in winter. Crown
    brownish, streaked with dusky; streaks on sides more dusky.
    _Hab._ Eastern Province of North America, north to Fort
    Simpson and Hudson’s Bay; Bahamas; Cuba, St. Domingo, and
    Jamaica, in winter.

Dendroica æstiva, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla æstiva_, GM. Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 996.—_Sylvia æstiva_,
    LATH.; VIEILL. II, pl. xcv.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. xxxv. 93.
    _Sylvicola æst._ SWAINS.—AUD. Birds. Am. II, pl. lxxxviii.
    _Rhimamphus æst._ BON.; CAB. Jour. III, 472 (Cuba). _Dendroica
    æst._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 282; Rev. 195.—SCLATER, Catal.
    1861, 32, no. 194 (Ecuador, Cayenne, N. Granada).—TAYLOR, Ibis,
    1864, 81 (Trinidad).—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, II, 1859, 181
    (N. W. coast).—SAMUELS, 237.—DALL & BANNISTER, (Alaska).—COOPER,
    Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 87. _Sylvia carolinensis_, LATH. Ind. Orn. II,
    1790, 551. _? Sylvia flava_, VIEILLOT, II, 1807, 31, pl. lxxxi.
    _Sylvia citrinella_, WILS. II, pl. xv, fig. 5. _Sylvia childreni_,
    AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, pl. xxxv (young). _? Sylvia rathbonia_,
    AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, pl. lxv. _Sylvicola r._ AUD. Birds Am.
    II, pl. lxxxix. _Motacilla rubiginosa_, PALLAS, Zoög. Rosso-Asiat.
    I, 1831, 496 (Kodiak). _Rhimamphus chryseolus_, BON. Bull. Soc.
    Linn. Caen, II, 1851, 32 (_D. æstiva_, from South America;
  Other localities: _Xalapa_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 363. _Guatemala_,
    SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, page 11. _Panama_, winter, LAWR.
    Ann. N. Y. Lyc. 1861, 322. _Turbo, N. Granada_, CASS. Pr. A. N.
    Sc. 1860, 191. _Bogota_, SCLATER, Pr. 1855, 143. _City of Mexico_,
    IB. 1864, 172.

SP. CHAR. Bill lead-color. Head all round, and under parts generally,
bright yellow; rest of upper parts yellow-olivaceous, brightest on the
rump. Back with obsolete streaks of dusky reddish-brown. Fore breast
and sides of the body streaked with brownish-red. Tail-feathers bright
yellow; the outer webs and tips, with the whole upper surfaces of the
innermost one, brown; extreme outer edges of wing and tail-feathers
olivaceous like the back; the middle and greater coverts and tertials
edged with yellow, forming two bands on the wings. _Female_ similar,
with the crown olivaceous like the back, and the streaks wanting on
the back, and much restricted on the under parts. Tail with more
brown. Length of male, 5.25; wing, 2.66; tail. 2.25. (No. 940.)
_Young._ Dull brownish-olive above; pale ochraceous-yellow beneath,
with the throat more whitish; the yellow of tail restricted to inner
half of inner webs. The latter feature will serve to distinguish it
from any other North American species.

HAB. Entire North America, and in winter into South America as far as
Ecuador, Cayenne, and Trinidad. Not recorded from West Indies, where
replaced by allied species.

In the great abundance of this species and its wide range of
distribution, there are many variations in size and color, though none
that are not readily understood. In young birds the yellow of the
tail-feathers is more restricted, sometimes confined to the edge of
the inner webs. In adults there is occasionally a tinge of orange in
the forehead.

_Sylvia rathbonia_ of Audubon is described with even tail, and the
tail-feathers brown, edged externally with yellow; the reverse of
_æstiva_. It is generally, however, considered a synonyme.

Birds of this type (“Golden Warblers”) of six or eight additional
species are known to occur in the West Indies, the Galapagos, and in
Middle America; one of them, _D. bryanti_, possibly to be met with in
Southern Arizona. (See Baird, Review Am. Birds, 193.)

After comparing a series of about one hundred and twenty North and
Central American specimens (the latter being winter visitors to the
region where obtained), nothing really characteristic of any
particular region can be detected. Specimens from the Pacific coast of
the United States are perfectly identical in colors with those from
the Atlantic States; and they agree in size and proportions, except of
the bill, which is appreciably longer and broader in the Eastern than
in the Western birds. The most highly colored examples are from the
interior regions, along the Mississippi Valley from Louisiana to
Northern Illinois, and over the plains north to Fort Simpson. The
majority of the specimens from this region are just appreciably
different from others, in having the yellow more intense and
prevalent, almost subduing the olive shades above; the crown more
tinged with orange. Sometimes (as in No. 4,301, Calcasieu Pass, La.)
the rump and upper tail-coverts are absolutely _pure_ yellow, only a
medial stripe on the feathers being olivaceous like the back. The
orange-rufous tinge on the crown is deepest in Nos. 4,665, Fort
Lookout, and 4,300, Calcasieu Pass.

Three adult summer males from Alaska (Nos. 54,429, Kodiak; 54,425,
Yukon River; and 27,267, Fort Yukon), as well as one from Maine
(52,378, Calais), differ from others in having the olive pervading the
whole surface above, even to the bill, the forehead being only tinged
with yellow, and the edges of wing-coverts merely inclining to this
color. The lower parts are much as in Southern specimens, though the
yellow is less intense.

Females from Arizona (as 49,712, Camp Grant, May; 40,664, Fort
Whipple, May; and 34,340, Los Pinos, New Mexico, June) differ from
others in very bleached plumage, the lower parts being almost white,
and the upper surface quite ashy. But this is, in fact, an actual
bleaching, frequently to be seen in birds from that region.

HABITS. The geographical range of the common Summer Yellow-Bird is
very nearly coextensive with North America. In its northern
distribution it is found as far toward the arctic shores as any of our
land birds. Richardson speaks of it as well known throughout the fur
countries as far as the woods extend, and mentions meeting with it
among the earliest arrivals in spring, coming in company with the
equally well-known Robin and the Grakle. At Fort Franklin, latitude
66°, he saw it the 15th of May, about the time of its first appearance
in New England. This was supposed to be the limit of its northern
range, but more recent observations give abundant evidence of its
presence, in considerable numbers, to the very shores of the Arctic
Ocean. The late Mr. Hepburn, in manuscript notes, states it to be a
common summer visitant both of California and Vancouver’s Island, and
that along the coast he has traced it as far north as the frontier
line of 54° 40′, where it arrives at the beginning of May, but does
not nest until the end of the month.

Mr. Dall, in his notes on the birds of Alaska, states that this
Warbler is a rather common bird all through that territory, and gives
its arrival as about the 10th of May.

Its extreme southern limit is not so distinctly traced, but is at
least as far as the northern portions of South America, inclusive of
Cayenne and Ecuador. In all of the West Indies except Trinidad it is
replaced by several closely allied species or local races. In
Trinidad, Mr. E. C. Taylor states that he found this species common,
and could perceive no difference from North American specimens. In
Guatemala it is abundant in the winter.

Dr. Coues found this Warbler abundant in Arizona, where it is a summer
resident, from April 25 to the middle of September. There, as
elsewhere, its preference for watercourses was noticed. Wherever
found, it is always most abundant in alluvial meadows, and more rare
in other localities.

Dr. Samuel Cabot found this Warbler common in Central America, and Dr.
Cragin, of Surinam, sent the Boston Society several specimens from
Guiana. Dr. Woodhouse found it abundant in Texas and New Mexico, as
did Drs. Suckley and Cooper in Washington Territory and California. It
breeds over the whole area of North America, from Georgia on the
southeast and from Mexico, northward. Dr. Sumichrast found it, only as
a migratory bird, abundant on the plains of Mexico.

The notes of Mr. Kennicott and the memoranda of Messrs. McFarlane,
Ross, and Lockhart attest the extreme abundance of this species in the
farthest Arctic regions. In nearly every instance the nests were
placed in willows from two to five feet from the ground, and near
water. In one instance Mr. Ross found the eggs of this species in the
nest of _Turdus swainsoni_, which had either been deserted or the
parent killed, as the eggs were in it, and would probably have been
hatched by the Warbler with her own.

Dr. Cooper found this Warbler very abundant in Washington Territory,
and noticed their arrival in large numbers at the Straits of Fuca as
early as April 8.

The Summer Yellow-Bird arrives in New England with great uniformity
from the first to the middle of May. Its coming is usually the
harbinger of the opening summer and expanding leaves. Unlike most of
its family, it is confiding and familiar, easily encouraged, by
attention to its wants, to cultivate the society of man. It
confidingly builds its nest in gardens, often in close vicinity to
dwellings, and in the midst of large villages and cities, among the
shrubbery of frequented parks. This Warbler, soon after its arrival,
begins the construction of its nest. It is usually placed in low
bushes, three or four feet from the ground. Occasionally very
different positions are chosen. Hedges of buckthorn and hawthorn,
barberry-bushes, and other low shrubs, are their favorite places of
resort. On one occasion the nest was placed some forty feet from the
ground, in the top of a horse-chestnut tree overhanging the main
street of a village. Such high positions are, however, not very

The nest is invariably fastened to several twigs with great firmness,
and with a remarkable neatness and skill. A great variety of materials
is employed in the construction of their nests, though not often in
the same nest, which is usually quite homogeneous. The more common
materials are the hempen fibres of plants, fibrous strips of bark,
slender stems of plants and leaves, and down of asclepias. Interwoven
with these, forming the inner materials, are the down from willow
catkins, the woolly furze from fern-stalks and the _Eriophorum
virginicum_, and similar substances. These are lined with soft, fine
grasses, hair, feathers, and other warm materials. Cotton, where
procurable, is a favorite material; as also is wool, where abundant. I
have known instances where nests were built almost exclusively of one
or the other material. A pair of these birds, in 1836, built their
nest under a parlor window in Roxbury, where all their operations
could be closely watched. When discovered, only the framework, the
fastening to the supporting twigs, had been erected. The work of
completion was simple and rapid. The female was the chief builder,
taking her position in the centre of the nest and arranging the
materials in their places as her mate brought them to her.
Occasionally, with outstretched wings and expanded tail, she would
whirl herself round, giving to the soft and yielding materials their
hemispherical form. At intervals she arrested her revolutions to stop
and regulate with her bill some unyielding portion. When her mate was
dilatory, she made brief excursions and collected material for
herself, and when the materials brought her were deemed unsuitable,
they were rejected in a most summary and amusing manner. The important
part of the tail-feathers in shaping the nest and placing the
materials in position was a striking feature in this interesting
performance. The greater portion of the nest was thus constructed in a
single day.

The wonderful sagacity displayed by this Warbler in avoiding the
disagreeable alternative of either having to abandon its own nest or
of rearing the young of the intrusive Cow Blackbird, when one of these
eggs is dropped in her nest, was first noticed by Mr. Nuttall. The egg
of the parasite, being too large for ejectment, is ingeniously
incarcerated in the bottom of the nest, and a new lining built over
it. Occasionally, either by accident or design, the intrusive egg has
been fractured. Mr. Nuttall states that where the parasitic egg is
laid after her own, the Summer Yellow-Bird acts faithfully the part of
a foster-parent. This, however, is not according to my observations.
In several instances I have known the Summer Yellow-Bird utterly
refuse to act the part of a foster-parent, and, rather than do so,
sacrifice her own eggs. So far as I know, this Warbler will never sit
upon or hatch out the egg of the Cowbird, under any circumstances.
Some powerful instinct, bordering closely upon reason, seems to teach
these intelligent Warblers the character of the intruder, and they
sacrifice their own eggs rather than rear the parasite. In this
dilemma they will always, so far as I know, incarcerate their own eggs
with the Cowbird’s and reconstruct the nest above them. In one
instance the same pair of Yellow-Birds twice, in the same nest,
covered up alien eggs in this manner, building, in fact, three nests
one above the other, between the walls of which had been successively
included two eggs of the Cowbird. This three-storied nest measured
seven inches in length, and was built almost exclusively of raw
cotton. The covering of the imprisoned eggs was about two thirds of an
inch thick. In both instances the Cowbird’s eggs had been broken,
apparently by design.

So far as I am aware this Warbler raises but one brood in
Massachusetts in a season. In Pennsylvania it is said to raise two,
and even three. The eggs are usually five and occasionally six in

This Warbler is conspicuous in its devotion to its young, evincing a
strong attachment and an anxiety in regard even to an unoccupied nest,
and betraying the site by this solicitude. They will also resort to
various expedients to draw one away from their nest, by feigned
lameness and other stratagems and manœuvres.

The song of the Summer Yellow-Bird is simple but pleasing, and is
easily recognized when once known, though liable to be confounded with
that of the Maryland Yellow-Throat, and also said to resemble the song
of several other Warblers.

In confinement they usually become very tame, confiding, and
reconciled to their imprisonment, and have been known to perch on an
outstretched finger, and to catch flies in a room.

Their eggs vary in length from .61 to .70 of an inch, and in breadth
from .49 to .52. They have a ground-color of a light green. Their dots
and blotches vary greatly in number, size, and manner of distribution.
Their colors are light purple, darker purplish-brown, and other shades
of brown and lilac.

Dendroica coronata, GRAY.


  _Motacilla coronata_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 333. _Sylvia
    coronata_, LATH.; VIEILLOT; WILS.; NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl.
    cliii. _Sylvicola coronata_, SWAINS.; BON.; AUD. Birds, Am. II,
    pl. lxxvi.—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 59 (abundant in April). _Dendroica
    coronata_, GRAY, Genera, 1842, 2.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 272;
    Rev. 187.—MARCH, P. A. N. Sc. 1863, 292 (Jamaica, in summer;
    breeding).—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; common).—COOPER &
    SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, ii, 1859, 180 (Puget Sound).—SAMUELS,
    226.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 89.
    _Rhimanphus cor._ CAB. Jour. 1855, 473 (Cuba). _Motacilla
    canadensis_, LINN. 12th ed. 1766, 334 (_Ficedula canadensis
    cinerea_, Br. III, 524, pl xxvii, fig. 1). _Parus virginianus_,
    LINN. 12th ed. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 342. _Motacilla umbria, cincta,
    pinguis_, GM. _Sylvia xanthopygia_, VIEILL. _Sylvia xanthoroa_,
  Localities quoted: _S. Greenland_, REINHARDT, Ibis, 1861, 5.
    _Cordova_, SCL. P. Z. S. 1856, 291. _Xalapa_, IB. 1859, 363.
    _Guatemala_, SCL. & SALV. 1859, 11. _Panama_, LAWR. Ann. N. Y.
    Lyc. VIII, 63. _Cuba_, winter, CAB. Jour. III, 473. _Bahamas_,
    winter, BRYANT, Bost. Pr. VII, 1859. _Jamaica_, GOSSE, Birds Jam.
    155. _St. Domingo_, SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857, 231. _Costa Rica_, LAWR.
    _Orizaba_, winter, SUMICHRAST.

SP. CHAR. Above bluish-ash, streaked with black. Under parts white.
The forepart of breast and the sides black, the feathers mostly edged
narrowly with white. Crown, rump, and sides of breast yellow. Cheeks
and lores black. The eyelids and a superciliary stripe, two bands on
the wing and spots on the outer three tail-feathers, white. _Female_
of duller plumage and browner above. Length, 5.65; wing, 3.00; tail,

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, and northward, extending
sparsely along United States boundary to Pacific Ocean; Denver City,
Colorado; Fort Yukon; Greenland; Eastern Mexico to Panama R. R.;
Western West Indies and Bermuda. Breeds in Jamaica!

Autumnal and winter birds are very much duller and more obscurely
colored, the upper parts of an umber cast with the streaks almost
obsolete; the black of the breast wanting or but just indicated, and
the yellow patches on crown almost concealed by the brown tips to the
feathers, and those on side of breast quite dull.

A spring male (52,283) from Washington is remarkable in having the
adjoining series of feathers down the middle of the back with their
inner webs broadly edged with yellow. In this respect it differs from
all others that we have noticed.

HABITS. The Yellow-crowned Wood Warbler is one of the most common
species of this genus, as well as one of the most widely distributed.
It is found, at different seasons, throughout the eastern part of the
continent, as far west as the Great Plains, extending at the far north
to the Pacific Ocean. It has been found in Greenland, three specimens
having been taken within twenty years, and on the shores of the Arctic
Ocean, and during the winter in the West India Islands, Mexico, and
Central America. Specimens from Florida and Fort Steilacoom, Panama,
Guatemala, and Jamaica, and from Fort Rae, Anderson River, and the
Yukon, in the collection of the Smithsonian Institution, attest its
wide distribution. In Jamaica, in the neighborhood of Spanishtown,
this species has been known to breed. In view of the fact that this
bird is regarded, with good reason, as one of our most northern
species, breeding to the very shores of the frozen seas, the
occurrence seems erratic and remarkable. Yet it is not without
corresponding vagaries in other species, the _cærulescens_ breeding in
Cuba and the _tigrina_ in St. Domingo and Jamaica.

Mr. Paine, of East Randolph, Vt., states that these Warblers arrive in
his vicinity about the first of May, and remain there nearly two
weeks, and then all pass north. They do not return on their southern
flight until the last of September, when they remain about three
weeks. It is a very active, restless bird, chirping continually and
very sharply as it flies around in search of insects, but has not, so
far as he knows, any song.

In Southern Illinois, as Mr. Ridgway informs me, this bird is a common
winter sojourner, remaining late in spring with the migratory species.
It is very abundant throughout the winter in woods, orchards, and

Mr. Salvin found this species frequenting the more open districts
about Duenas, Guatemala, apparently preferring scattered bushes to the
denser underwood, and was an abundant species there throughout the
winter season.

It is but quite recently that we have known with certainty its place
and manner of breeding. Neither Wilson, Nuttall, nor Audubon appear to
have met with its nest, though the latter received one from Professor
McCulloch of Halifax.

In the summer of 1855, early in July, I obtained a nest of this
species in Parsboro’, Nova Scotia. It was built in a low bush, in the
midst of a small village, and contained six eggs. The parents were
very shy, and it was with great difficulty that one of them was
secured for identification. Though late in the season, incubation had
but just commenced.

The nest was built on a horizontal branch, the smaller twigs of which
were so interlaced as to admit of its being built upon them, though
their extremities were interwoven into its rim. The nest was small for
the bird, being only two inches in depth and four and a half in
diameter. The cavity is one and a half inches deep and two and a half
wide. Its base and external portions consist of fine, light, dry
stalks of wild grasses, and slender twigs and roots. Of the last the
firm, strong rim of the nest is exclusively woven. Within, the nest is
composed of soft, fine grasses, downy feathers, and the fine hair of
the smaller mammals.

Mr. Audubon, who observed very closely the habits of these birds
during a winter in Florida, describes them as very social among
themselves, skipping along the piazza, balancing themselves in the air
opposite the sides of the house in search of spiders and insects,
diving through the low bushes of the garden after larvæ and worms, and
at night roosting among the orange-trees. In his visit to Maine he
found them very abundant in early May. The woods seemed alive with
them, and wherever he landed, on his way to Labrador, he found them in
great numbers.

  [Illustration: PLATE XIII.

   1. Dendroica auduboni, _Towns._ ♂ Rocky Mts., 11965.
   2.     “     blackburniæ, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 939.
   3.     “          “         “   ♀ Pa., 944.
   4. Dendroica castanea, _Wils._ ♂ Pa., 2231.
   5.     “          “       “    ♀ Pa., 949.
   6.     “     pinus, _Wils._ ♂ Pa., 2942.
   7. Dendroica pennsylvanica, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 2233.
   8.     “           “           “    ♂ _juv._, Ill., 60883.
   9.     “     striata, _Forst._ ♂ Pa., 1545.
  10. Dendroica cærulea, _Wils._ ♂ Ohio, 7349.
  11.     “        “        “    ♀ Mo., 6980.
  12.     “ striata, _Forst._ ♀ Pa., 978.]

This Warbler is an expert flycatcher, feeds chiefly on insects, and is
a great devourer of small caterpillars; but in the winter its food is
largely composed of berries, especially those of the _Myrica
cerifera_. It will also feed on grass-seeds. In the warmer wintry days
in Florida, when insects are abundant, Mr. Audubon states that these
birds are particularly active in their pursuit, and the trees seem
full of them. At this time they emit, at each movement, a single note,
_twēēt_, so very peculiar that they may be at once recognized by the

Wilson states that these Warblers appear in Pennsylvania, from the
North, early in October, and stay there several weeks. Some of them
remain in the Southern States all winter. They feed with great avidity
upon the berries of the red cedar.

In Western Massachusetts it is a very abundant spring and autumn
visitant, making but a brief stay in spring, but passing northward in
large numbers. In autumn it remains longer, and passes south more
leisurely. Mr. B. P. Mann found its nest and eggs in Concord, but this
was probably an exceptional instance. In Eastern Maine it arrives May
25, and, as Mr. Boardman thinks, remains to breed. Both Dr. Suckley
and Dr. Cooper met with this species in Washington Territory, where it
is very rare.

No writers have observed or noted the song of this bird, except Mr. T.
M. Trippe (American Nat., II. p. 171), who states that during its
spring migrations it has a very sweet song or warble, uttered at short

It reaches the high northern latitudes late in May, and leaves that
region in September. The observations of Mr. McFarlane show that the
nests of this bird are moderately common at Anderson River, and are
generally built in low spruce-trees four or five feet from the ground.
In one or two instances it was placed on the ground.

The eggs of this Warbler vary from .72 to .80 of an inch in length,
and from .50 to .55 in breadth. Their ground-color is white, often
tinged with a bluish shade, and blotched and spotted with
reddish-brown, purple, and darker shades of brown. They are of a
rounded oval shape.

Dendroica auduboni, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia auduboni_, TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. VII, II, 1837.—IB.
    Narrative, 1839, 342.—AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, 52, pl. cccxcv.
    _Sylvicola auduboni_, BON. List. 1838.—AUD. Birds Am. II, 1841,
    26, pl. lxxvii. _Dendroica auduboni_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    273; Rev. 188.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298 (Oaxaca; October);
    1860, 250 (Orizaba).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 273 (San
    Geronimo, Guat.).—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII, II, 1859,
    181.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1864, 172 (City of Mexico).—COOPER, Orn.
    Cal. 1, 1870, 88.

SP. CHAR. Above bluish-ash, streaked with black, most marked on the
middle of the back; on the head and neck bluish-ash. Middle of crown,
rump, chin, and throat, and a patch on the side of the breast,
gamboge-yellow; space beneath and anterior to the eyes, forepart of
breast and sides, black; this color extending behind on the sides in
streaks. Middle of belly, under tail-coverts, a portion of upper and
lower eyelids, and a broad band on the wings, with a spot on each of
the four or five exterior tail-feathers, white; rest of tail-feathers
black. _Female_ brown above; the other markings less conspicuous and
less black. Length, 5.25; wings, 3.20; tail, 2.25. _Young_, first
plumage, whole body, including head all round and rump, conspicuously
streaked with slaty-black upon an ashy ground above and white below.
No yellow on crown, rump, breast, or throat. Wings and tail as in
autumnal adult.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of the United States; Cape St.
Lucas; Western Mexico and Orizaba? Oaxaca (cold regions, October,
SCLATER); Guatemala (SALVIN).

This bird is very closely allied to _D. coronata_, but is
distinguished by the yellow (not white) throat; the absence of a
superciliary white stripe (the eyelids white, however); the
restriction of the black of the face to the lores, and to a suffusion
round the eye; and the presence of one broad band on the wings,
instead of two narrow ones.

HABITS. This beautiful Warbler, so strikingly simulating the _D.
coronata_ in the character of its markings, and now so well known as a
common species on the Pacific coast, was first met with by Mr.
Townsend near the Columbia River, where he found it very abundant. His
account of its habits is inconsistent, and probably not reliable. Mr.
Nuttall, who was with Mr. Townsend, differs, also, essentially in his
account. He states that he first saw them about the middle of April,
and that their song bore a very close resemblance to that of the _D.
æstiva_, but was delivered in a much superior style. They remained his
summer companions, breeding among the shady firs on the borders of
prairie openings, where there was an abundant supply of insect food.
By the 8th of June he found their young already out, in small and busy
flocks, solicitously attended by their parents. They greatly resembled
the young of the _coronata_. These birds frequented large trees,
particularly the water-oaks, and the lower branches of gigantic firs.

Dr. Cooper found this Warbler one of the most abundant species of
Washington Territory, and believed them to be, to some extent, a
resident species, as he met them about the Straits of Fuca in March.
He speaks of its song as lively, and heard everywhere on the borders
of the woods, even near the coast, where few of the smaller species
ever visit. In the fall he noticed straggling flocks of the young
wandering about the low shrubbery in large numbers. The same writer
also states that this species is in winter a very abundant bird in the
southern part of California, flitting about among the bushes and low
trees. The males are then in the dull plumage of the females, and do
not put on their richer hues until March or April. He saw none south
of San Francisco after May 1, but they began to reappear in September.
As he found newly fledged young near Lake Tahoe, he thinks they breed
throughout the higher Sierra Nevada. At the sea level in latitude 37°
they appear late in September, and remain until March 20.

Dr. Suckley regarded this bird as the most abundant species visiting
the western portion of Washington Territory. Near Fort Steilacoom it
was found principally among the oak-trees on the plains.

Dr. Woodhouse found it abundant in New Mexico, confining itself to the
timbered and mountainous districts, and especially plentiful among the
San Francisco Mountains, feeding among the tall pines. Dr. Coues found
it exceedingly common in Arizona, where some spend the winter, and a
few possibly remain in the summer to breed.

Dr. Heermann found them remaining in the Sacramento Valley throughout
the winter, and quotes Dr. Kennerly as finding these birds on the Boca
Grande and at different points in Sonora. Mr. Gambel found these
Warblers on all his route from New Mexico to California in great
abundance, their habits greatly resembling those of the _D. coronata_.
They display a great deal of familiarity, entering the towns,
resorting to the gardens and hedge-rows, and even the corrals of the
houses, descending also to the ground in company with Blackbirds and

This Warbler is thus shown to have a very extended distribution. It is
now known to be found, at different seasons, from Central America to
British Columbia, and from New Mexico to the Pacific.

We are indebted to the late Mr. Hepburn for all the knowledge we
possess in reference to its nests, eggs, and breeding-habits. He
procured their nests and eggs in Vancouver’s Island. They were built
in the forked branches of small shrubs. Around these the materials of
which they were built were strongly bound, and to it the nests were
thus securely fastened. They were quite long and large for the bird,
being four inches in height, and three and a half in diameter. The
cavity is small, but deep. The external periphery of the nest is made
of coarse strips of bark, long dry leaves of wild grasses, and strong
stalks of plants, intermingled with finer grasses, pieces of cotton
cloth, and other materials. The inner nest is also a singular
combination of various materials, yet carefully and elaborately put
together. It is made up of fine grasses, feathers, lichens, mosses,
fine roots, etc., all felted together and lined with a warm bedding of
fur and feathers. Mr. Hepburn’s observations, so far as they go, seem
to show that this bird does not usually build in such lofty positions
as Nuttall and others conjectured.

According to Mr. Hepburn, they arrive in Vancouver’s Island in the
middle of April, and generally frequent high trees, constructing their
nests in the upper branches, though also frequently building in low
bushes, a few feet from the ground. The number of their eggs is four.
These, he states, have a pure white ground, and are spotted, usually
chiefly about the larger end, with red markings.

Mr. Salvin met with both this species and the _D. coronata_ at San
Geronimo, November, 1859. They congregated together on the ground,
where they principally obtained their food.

Dr. Cooper, in his paper on the fauna of Montana, mentions this
Warbler as the only one of the genus seen by him between Fort Benton
and Fort Vancouver. It was very common throughout the mountains, and
he found it in every portion of the country west of them, even where
scarcely a bush was to be seen.

According to the careful observations of Mr. Robert Ridgway, this
Warbler, during the summer months, in the Great Basin, chiefly
inhabits the pines of the high mountain ranges, as well as the cedar
and piñon woods of the desert mountains. In winter it descends to the
lower portions, being then found among the willows, or, in small
roving companies, hopping among the tree-tops in the river valleys. In
manners it is said by him to resemble the _coronata_, but in their
notes they differ very widely. A nest, containing three young, was
found by Mr. Ridgway near the extremity of a horizontal branch of a
pine-tree, about ten feet from the ground.

The eggs of the Audubon Warbler do not resemble those of any
_Dendroica_ with which I am acquainted, but are most like those of the
Hooded Warbler. They measure .70 by .50 of an inch, have a reddish or
pinkish white ground, and are sparingly marked with fine brown
markings, tinted with a crimson shading.

Dendroica maculosa, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla maculosa_, GM. Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 984. _Sylvia m._ LATH.;
    VIEILL.; BON.; NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, II, V, pl. 1. 123.
    _Sylvicola m._ SWAINS.; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. xcvi.
    _Rhimanphus m._ CAB. Jour. III, 1855, 474 (Cuba). _Dendroica m._
    BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 284; Review, 206.—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1859, 363, 373 (Xalapa).—BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1859
    (Bahamas).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11 (Guatemala).—LAWRENCE,
    Ann. N. Y. Lyc. 1861, 322 (Panama; winter).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour.
    1861, 326 (Cuba; very rare).—SAMUELS, 238. _Sylvia magnolia_,
    WILS. III, pl. xxiii, fig. 3.

SP. CHAR. _Male, in spring._ Bill dark bluish-black, rather lighter
beneath. Tail dusky. Top of head light grayish-blue. Front, lore,
cheek, and a stripe under the eye, black, running into a large
triangular patch on the back between the wings, which is also black.
Eyelids and a stripe from the eye along the head white. Upper
tail-coverts black, some of the feathers tipped with grayish. Abdomen
and lower tail-coverts white. Rump and under parts, except as
described, yellow. Lower throat, breast, and sides streaked with
black; the streaks closer on the lower throat and fore breast. Lesser
wing-coverts, and edges of the wing and tail, bluish-gray, the former
spotted with black. Quills and tail almost black; the latter with a
square patch of white on the inner webs of all the tail-feathers (but
the two inner) beyond the middle of the tail. Two white bands across
the wings (sometimes coalesced into one) formed by the middle and
secondary coverts. Part of the edge of the inner webs of the quills
white. Feathers margining the black patch on the back behind and on
the sides tinged with greenish. Length, 5 inches; wing, 2.50; tail,
2.25. Autumnal males differ in absence of black of back, front, sides
of head, and to a considerable degree beneath, and in much less white
on the wings and head.

_Female in spring._ Similar, but all the colors duller. Black of the
back restricted to a central triangular patch.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America to Fort Simpson; Eastern Mexico
to Guatemala and Panama; Bahamas; Cuba (very rare).

HABITS. The Black and Yellow Warbler, one of the most beautiful of
this attractive family, was supposed by our earlier writers to be
exceedingly rare. Wilson never met with more than two specimens,—one
in Ohio, the other on the Mississippi,—and spoke of it as a very
scarce species. In regard to its song he was quite at fault, denying
to it any notes deserving the name of song. Nuttall, who had only seen
it occasionally in Massachusetts, in the middle of May, regarded it as
rare, and was unacquainted with its notes. Its history is now much
better known, and neither its great rarity nor its deficiency as to
melody can any longer be admitted.

At certain seasons and in particular places it is a very common
species. It may be found during the breeding-season throughout North
America east of the Great Plains, between latitude 44° and Fort
Simpson in the fur country. During its migrations it may be met with
in most of the Eastern States, in Eastern Mexico, and the northern
portions of South America. It has been found in the Bahamas, and also
in Cuba, where it is not common. Specimens have been received from
Mexico, Guatemala, and Panama, and from Fort Resolution, Rupert House,
and Fort Simpson, in Arctic America, and as far to the west as the
mouth of Vermilion River. Dr. Bryant met with it in the Bahamas as
early as the 15th of March, where it was quite common. M. Boucard
found it at Playa Vicente, in the hot portion of the State of Oaxaca,

In Western Massachusetts, Mr. Allen found it a common spring and
autumn visitor, occurring in its northern flights from the middle of
May to the first of June, and in the autumn as late as September 20.
Professor Verrill found it in Western Maine, but not common, both in
spring and fall, but had no reason to believe that it bred there. Mr.
Boardman does not include it in his list of Calais birds, and I did
not find it among the islands in the Bay of Fundy. In the vicinity of
Halifax, during the months of June and July, it is one of the most
common of the Warblers, occurring in every direction.

Mr. Audubon observed these Warblers in Louisiana, in their migrations,
as early as the middle of March; but its appearance there, as well as
in Kentucky and Ohio, appeared to be occasional and accidental. In
autumn he has met with them in large numbers among the mountains of
Northern Pennsylvania, They were passing southward with their young.
While on his way to Labrador he noticed them in Maine, near Eastport,
in May, very abundant along the roads, the fields, and the low woods,
as well as in the orchards and gardens. The season was then not
advanced, the weather cold; and these birds sheltered themselves by
night among the evergreens, and were often so chilled as to be readily
taken by the hand. He also met them wherever he landed in the
neighboring islands in the Bay of Fundy and at Labrador.

The song of this Warbler is clear and sweetly modulated, and surpasses
that of most of this family. It seems to prefer the interior of low
woods, where its notes may chiefly be heard during the early summer,
as it sings while it is searching for its food among the branches, in
the manner of the Vireos.

Like nearly all the members of this family, in its search for food it
blends the habits of the Creepers with those of the Flycatchers,
feeding upon insects in their every form, running up and down the
trunks for the ova, larvæ, and pupæ, expertly catching the insect on
the wing, and equally skilful in hovering over the expanded bud and
searching the opening leaves.

Mr. Audubon found its nest placed deep among the branches of low
fir-trees, supported by horizontal twigs, constructed of moss and
lichens, and lined with fibrous roots and feathers. One found in
Labrador, in the beginning of July, contained five eggs, small and
rather more elongated than is common in this genus. They were white,
and sprinkled with reddish dots at the larger end. The female
fluttered among the branches, spreading her wings and tail in great
distress, and returning to her nest as soon as the intruders were a
few yards off. In August he saw a number of their young already
following their parents and moving southward. In his expedition to
Texas, Mr. Audubon again met this bird, in considerable numbers, early
in April. Their eggs, he states, measure three fourths of an inch in
length by nine sixteenths in breadth. In some the ground-color,
instead of pure white, is of a yellowish tinge.

The writer found this Warbler abundant near Halifax in the early
summer of 1850, frequenting the thick hemlock woods, confiding in its
habits, unsuspicious, and easily approached. The distress, as
described by Audubon, manifested in behalf of its own young, it is as
ready to exhibit when the nest of a feathered neighbor is disturbed. A
pair of Hudson’s Bay Titmice, protesting against the invasion of their
home, by their outcries brought a pair of these Warblers to their
sympathetic assistance; and the latter manifested, in a more gentle
way, quite as much distress and anxiety as the real parents. With
expanded tail and half-extended wings they fluttered overhead among
the branches, approaching us almost within reach, uttering the most
piteous outcries.

Sir John Richardson found this Warbler as common and as familiar as
the _D. æstiva_ on the Saskatchewan, and greatly resembling it in
habits, though gifted with a much more varied and agreeable song.

Mr. Kennicott met this Warbler on Great Slave Lake, June 12, 1860,
where he obtained a female, nest, and five eggs. The nest, loosely
built, was placed in a small spruce about two feet from the ground,
and in thick woods. The bird was rather bold, coming to her nest while
he stood by it. This nest was only one and a half inches deep, with a
diameter of three and a half inches; the cavity only one inch deep,
with a diameter of two and a half inches. It was made almost entirely
of fine stems of plants and slender grasses, and a few mosses. The
cavity was lined with finer stems, and fine black roots of herbaceous

The eggs of this Warbler are, in shape, a rounded oval, one end being
but slightly more pointed than the other. They measure .62 of an inch
in length and .49 in breadth. Their ground-color is a light ashen hue,
or a dull white, and this is more or less sprinkled with fine dots and
blotches of a light brown. For the most part these are grouped in a
ring about the larger end.

Mr. R. Deane, of Cambridge, found this bird breeding near Lake
Umbagog. Its nest was in the fork of a low spruce about three feet
from the ground. The nest contained four eggs, and was made of dry
grasses, spruce twigs, and rootlets. It was lined with fine black
roots, being a rather coarse structure for a Warbler. The eggs were
nearly spherical, averaging .62 by .51 of an inch. Their ground-color
was a creamy-white, sparsely marked with a few large blotches of lilac
and umber.

Dendroica cærulea, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia cærulea_, WILS. Am. Orn. II, 1810, 141, pl. xvii, fig. 5.
    _Sylvicola c._ SWAINS.; JARD.; RICH.; BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl.
    xlix; NUTT. _Dendroica c._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 280; Rev.
    191.—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very rare).—SAMUELS, 579.
    _Sylvia rara_, WILSON, II, pl. xxvii, fig. 2.—BON.; AUD. Orn.
    Biog. I, pl. xlix. _Sylvia azurea_, STEPH. Shaw, Zoöl. X,
    1817.—BON. Am. Orn. II, 1828, pl. xxvii (♀).—AUD. Orn. Biog. I,
    pl. xlviii, xlix; NUTT. _Sylvia bifasciata_, SAY, Long’s Exped. I,
    1823, 170. _Sylvia populorum_, VIEILL. Encyc. Méth. II, 1823, 449
    (from Wilson).
  Other localities: _Bogota_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1857, 18. _Panama R.
    R._, LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. 1861, 322. _Yucatan_, LAWR.
    _Veragua_, SALV.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Above bright blue, darkest on the crown, tinged with
ash on the rump; middle of back, scapulars, upper tail-coverts, and
sides of the crown, streaked with black. Beneath white; a collar
across the breast, and streaks on the sides, dusky-blue. Lores, and a
line through and behind the eye (where it is bordered above by
whitish), dusky-blue; paler on the cheeks. Two white bands on the
wings. All the tail-feathers except the innermost with a white patch
on the inner web near the end. _Female_, greenish-blue above,
brightest on the crown; beneath white, tinged with greenish-yellow,
and obsoletely streaked on the sides; eyelids and a superciliary line
greenish-white. Length, 4.25; wing, 2.65; tail, 1.90.

HAB. Eastern United States, north to Niagara Falls; Cuba (very rare);
Guatemala; Veragua, Panama, and Bogota. Not recorded from Mexico
(except Yucatan), or West Indies (except Cuba).

The autumnal adult plumage of both sexes is, in every respect, exactly
like the spring dress. Young males in late summer are very similar to
adult females, but are purer white below, and less uniform
greenish-blue above, the dark stripes on sides of the crown and black
centres to scapulars being quite conspicuous; the young female, at the
same season, is similar in pattern to the adult, but is dull green
above, without any tinge of blue, and light buffy-yellow below.

There is considerable variation in adult males, especially in the
width of the pectoral collar; one (No. 60,877, Mt. Carmel, Wabash Co.,
Ill., Aug. 9) has this entirely interrupted. In this individual there
is no trace of a whitish supra-auricular streak; while others from the
same locality, and obtained at the same date, have the band across the
jugulum continuous, and a quite distinct white streak over the

HABITS. Of this somewhat rare Warbler very little is as yet well
known. Its habits and distribution during the breeding-season need
more light than we now possess to enable us to give its story with any
degree of exactness. Its appearance in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois,
and Missouri early in May, when Warblers that go north to breed are on
their way, at first suggested its belonging to that class. It is not
known to proceed any farther north, except in accidental instances;
though the writer has been assured, and has no reason to doubt the
fact, that it abounds and breeds in the neighborhood of Niagara Falls.
I can find no good evidence that it ever occurs in Massachusetts.
Individuals have been obtained in northern South America, Panama, and
Cuba. Dr. Woodhouse describes it as quite common in Texas and in the
Indian Territory, where it breeds, as he obtained both the old and the
young birds. It was also abundant among the timbered lands of the
Arkansas and its tributaries. It was not obtained in any other of the
government expeditions, nor was it found in Arizona by Dr. Coues. Mr.
T. M. Trippe noticed a single individual near Orange, N. Y. Wilson
supposed them to breed in Pennsylvania, though he was never able to
find their nests. He usually met with these birds in marshes or on the
borders of streams among the branches of poplars. Their habits were
those of the Flycatchers. He saw none later than the 20th of August.
Describing this species as the Blue-green Warbler, as met with by him
on the banks of the Cumberland early in April, he mentions its
gleaning for food among the upper branches of the tallest trees,
rendering it difficult to be procured. Its resemblance, in habits, to
Flycatchers, he again remarks. Its only note was a feeble _cheep_.

According to Audubon, this Warbler appears in Louisiana, where it also
breeds early in spring, and leaves the first of October. Like all its
family, it is quite lively, has a similar flight, moves sideways up
and down the branches, and hangs from the ends of the twigs in its
search for insects.

Mr. Audubon also states that the liveliness of the notes of this
Warbler renders it conspicuous in the forests, the skirts of which it
frequents. Its song, though neither loud nor of long continuance, he
speaks of as extremely sweet and mellow. He found it as numerous in
the State of Louisiana as any other Warbler, so that he could
sometimes obtain five or six in a single walk.

The nest he describes as placed in the forks of a low tree or bush,
partly pensile, projecting a little above the twigs to which it is
attached, and extending below them nearly two inches. The outer part
is composed of the fibres of vines and the stalks of herbaceous
plants, with slender roots arranged in a circular manner. The nest is
lined with fine dry fibres of the Spanish moss. The eggs are five in
number, of a pure white with a few reddish spots about the larger end.
When disturbed during incubation, the female is said to trail along
the branches with drooping wings and plaintive notes, in the manner of
_D. æstiva_. After the young have left the nest, they move and hunt
together, in company with their parents, evincing great activity in
the pursuit of insects. They are also said to have a great partiality
for trees the tops of which are thickly covered with grapevines, and
to occasionally alight on tall weeds, feeding upon their seeds.

In his visit to Texas, Mr. Audubon met a large number of these birds
apparently coming from Mexico. On one occasion he encountered a large
flock on a small island.

Mr. Nuttall mentions finding these birds very abundant in Tennessee
and also in West Florida.

In only a single instance has the writer met with this Warbler. This
was about the middle of June, at the Fairmount Water Works in the city
of Philadelphia, where, among the tops of the trees, a single
individual was busily engaged in hunting insects, undisturbed by the
large numbers and vicinity of visitors to the grounds. It kept in the
tops of the trees, moving about with great agility.

Mr. Ridgway gives the Cærulean Warbler as the most abundant species of
its genus in the Lower Wabash Valley, not only during the spring and
fall migrations, but also in the summer, when it breeds more
plentifully even than the _D. æstiva_. It inhabits, however, only the
deep woods of the bottom lands, where it is seldom seen, and only to
be distinguished by the naturalist. Inhabiting, mostly, the tree-tops,
it is an inconspicuous bird, and thus one that easily escapes notice.
In its habits it is perhaps less interesting than others of its genus,
being so retired, and possessing only the most feeble notes.

Dendroica blackburniæ, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla blackburniæ_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 977. _Sylvia
    bl._ LATH.; WILSON, III, pl. xxiii.—NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. II, V,
    pl. cxxxv, cccxcix. _Sylvicola bl._ JARD.; RICH.; AUD. Birds Am.
    II, pl. lxxxvii. _Rhimanphus bl._ CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850, 19.
    _Dendroica bl._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 274; Rev. 189.—SCLATER &
    SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11 (Guatemala).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 363
    (Xalapa); IB. 1860, 64 (Ecuador).—IB. Catal. 1861, 30, no. 187
    (Pallatanga and Nanegal, Ecuador).—SAMUELS, 227.—SUNDEVALL, Ofv.
    1869, 611.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 478. _? Motacilla chrysocephala_,
    GMELIN, I, 1788, 971 (_Figuier orangé et F. étranger_, BUFF. V,
    313, pl. lviii, fig. 3, Guiana). _Sylvia parus_, WILS. V, pl.
    xliv, fig. 3.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxxiv. _Sylvicola parus_,
    AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. lxxxiii. _Sylvia lateralis_, STEPH. _?
    Motacilla incana_, GMEL. I, 1788, 976. _Sylvia incana_, LATH.;
    VIEILL. _? Sylvia melanorhoa_, VIEILL. Nouv. Dict. XI, 1817, 180
    (Martinique).—IB. Encycl. Méth. II, 444.
  Localities quoted: _Bogota_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1855, 143. _Panama_,
    LAWR. Ann. N. Y. Lyc. VII, 62. _Costa Rica_, CAB. Jour. 1860, 328.
    _Bahamas_, BRYANT, Bost. Pr. VII, 1859. _Veragua_, SALVIN.
    _Orizaba_ (winter; rare), SUMICHRAST.

SP. CHAR. Upper parts nearly uniform black, with a whitish scapular
stripe and a large white patch in the middle of the wing-coverts. An
oblong patch in the middle of the crown, and the entire side of the
head and neck (including a superciliary stripe from the nostrils), the
chin, throat, and forepart of the breast, bright orange-red. A black
stripe from the commissure passing around the lower half of the eye,
and including the ear-coverts; with, however, an orange crescent in
it, just below the eye, the extreme lid being black. Rest of under
parts white, strongly tinged with yellowish-orange on the breast and
belly, and streaked with black on the sides. Outer three tail-feathers
white, the shafts and tips dark brown; the fourth and fifth spotted
much with white; the other tail-feathers and quills almost black.
_Female_ similar; the colors duller; the feathers of the upper parts
with olivaceous edges. Length, 5.50; wing, 2.83; tail, 2.25.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States; Eastern Mexico, and south to
Bogota and Ecuador; Bahamas alone of West Indies with certainty.

Autumnal males resemble the females. They have two white bands instead
of one; the black stripes on the sides are larger; under parts
yellowish; the throat yellowish, passing into purer yellow behind.

Autumnal young birds have the same pattern of coloration, but the dark
portions are dull grayish-umber, with the streaks very obsolete, and
the light parts dull buffy-white, tinged with yellow on the jugulum;
there is neither clear black, bright yellow, nor pure white on the
plumage, except the latter on the wing-bands and tail-patches.

HABITS. This somewhat rare and very beautiful Warbler requires
additional investigation into its habits before its history can be
regarded as satisfactorily known. Save in reference to its wider
distribution during its southern migrations, little more is known as
to its habits than where Audubon left its history nearly thirty years
since. The Smithsonian collection has specimens from Pennsylvania,
Ohio, Wisconsin, Missouri, Illinois, and from Central America. Mr.
Sclater has received specimens from Mexico, and from Ecuador in South
America. Other writers mention having specimens from Guiana,
Martinique, and Panama, and Dr. Bryant found it in the Bahamas. It is
thus known to have a wide distribution from the Atlantic to the
Mississippi River, as far to the north probably as Labrador. Its area
of reproduction is not known with exactness, but the southern limit is
supposed to be the high wooded districts of Pennsylvania, New York,
and New England. A young bird was taken by Holböll, October 16, 1845,
at Frederikshaab, Greenland. In 1837 an egg was sent me from Coventry,
Vt., which purported to belong to this bird; and in the following
summer its nest and eggs were procured in a wild, secluded part of
Roxbury, Mass. In neither case was the identification entirely free
from doubt.

Dr. Bachman states that when a resident of Lansingburg, N. Y., in
1833, he saw a pair of these birds in the act of constructing their
nest. Mr. Allen has no doubt that a few breed in the vicinity of
Springfield, Mass., as he has obtained them as late as June 24. He
found it most common in mixed or hard-wood forests. It arrives about
the middle of May. Professor Verrill gives it as a summer resident of
Western Maine, though rarely seen on account of its habit of keeping
concealed among the dense foliage. Mr. Boardman gives the same account
of its residence in summer in the neighborhood of Calais.

Mr. Audubon did not regard this bird and his “Hemlock Warbler” as the
same species, but gave distinct and different accounts of their
habits. We have therefore to receive with caution these records of
peculiarities. He found the Blackburnian Warbler breeding in
Northeastern Maine, in New Brunswick, in the Magdaleine Islands, and
in Labrador and Newfoundland. He states, correctly, that it has a very
sweet song of five or six notes, much louder than seemed possible from
the size of the bird. It pursues its insect prey among the branches of
the fir-trees, moving along after the manner of the common Redstart.

Mr. McCulloch, of Halifax, gave Mr. Audubon a nest of this bird with
three eggs. The nest was formed externally of different textures,
lined with fine delicate strips of bark and a thick bed of feathers
and horse-hair. The eggs were small, conical, with a white ground
spotted with light red at the larger end. The nest was in the small
fork of a tree five feet from the ground, and near a brook.

The nest obtained in Roxbury was in a bush, a few feet from the
ground, in a very wild region of forest and rocks. Externally, except
in its length, which was less, it resembled a nest of the _G.
trichas_, being made of coarse, dry grasses. Internally it was much
more warmly lined with feathers and soft fur than is the case in nests
of the Yellow-Throat. The eggs were of a crystal whiteness, marked at
their larger end with dark purple, and but for their smaller size
might have been mistaken for those of _G. trichas_. The position of
the nest, however, was conclusive in regard to this point. The egg
from Coventry was substantially similar, except that reddish-brown
dots were mingled with the purple markings, in the form of a wreath
around the larger end.

Wilson describes this Warbler as songless, but attributes to its
counterpart, the Hemlock Warbler, a very sweet song of a few low
notes,—a very different account from that given by Audubon of the song
of the Blackburnian.

Mr. Paine states that this species is resident during the summer
months in Randolph, Vt. It is, he says, a very close companion of the
_D. virens_, arriving at the same time with it even to a day, or about
the 10th of May. Its dry chirping song may then be heard in striking
contrast with the sweet notes of the _virens_. He was not able to find
its nest.

Mr. C. W. Wyatt met with this species as a winter resident at Alto, in
Colombia, South America. Its upward range seemed to be terminated only
by the paramos. Among the oaks on the Pamplona road he found it very
common just under the paramo, the bright orange throat of the male
making it a very conspicuous bird. He was led to believe that they
were not found there at a lower elevation than five thousand feet.

Dendroica dominica, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla dominica_, L. Syst. Nat. 12th ed. 1766, 334 (_Ficedula
    dominica cinerea_, BRISS. III, 520, pl. xxvii, fig. 3). _Dendroica
    dominica_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 209. _Motacilla superciliosa_,
    BODDÆRT, Tableau Pl. enl. 686, fig. 1, 1783. _Dendroica
    superciliosa_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 289.—SCLATER (Xalapa,
    Oaxaca, Jamaica, Mexico).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 274
    (Duenas, Guat.; Sept.).—MARCH, Pr. A. N. Sc. 1863, 293
    (Jamaica).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very common).
    _Motacilla flavicollis_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 959. _Sylvia
    fl._ LATH.; WILS. II, pl. xii, fig. 6. _Motacilla pensilis_,
    GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 960. _Sylvia p._ LATH.; VIEILL. (St.
    Domingo).—BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. lxxxv; NUTT. _Sylvicola
    pens._ RICH; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. lxxix.—GOSSE, Birds Jam.
    1847, 156 (Jamaica). _Rhimanphus pens._ CAB. Jour. III, 474 (Cuba).
  Other localities: _Cordova_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 291. _St.
    Domingo_, SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857, 231. _Jamaica_, GOSSE, Birds Jam.

SP. CHAR. Upper parts uniform grayish-blue. Chin and throat bright
yellow; under parts white. Forehead, and sometimes most of crown,
lores and cheeks, sides of throat, and numerous streaks on the sides
of the breast, black. A stripe from the nostrils over and behind the
eye, a crescent on the lower eyelid, the sides of the neck behind the
black cheekpatch, and two conspicuous bands on the wings, white.
Terminal half of the outer webs of the outer two, and terminal third
of the third tail-feathers, white. _Female_ almost precisely similar.
Length, 5.10; wing, 2.60; tail, 2.30. (3,322.)

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, north to Washington and
Cleveland; in winter abundant in Cuba; St. Domingo and Jamaica; Mexico
(Colima on west coast), and Guatemala. Resident in Jamaica?

An autumnal male (No. 1,098, Washington, D. C.) has the bluish-ash
above obscured by a wash of brown; the black “mask” less sharply
defined, the streaks on forehead wanting; the yellow paler and duller,
and the white beneath soiled with brownish.

In general pattern of coloration this species resembles two others;
one from Arizona, the other from Porto Rico. The diagnoses are as

COMMON CHARACTERS. Upper parts ash-gray, the forehead and sides
of vertex black. A line from nostril to above eye (passing into
white behind), chin, and throat, yellow, margined laterally with
blackish; crissum, inside of wings, axillars; and two bands on
wings, white.

  Superciliary line extending to the nape, and white, excepting
  sometimes anterior to the eye. Cheeks black, separated from the
  ash of the neck by a white patch. Eyelids and infra-ocular
  crescent white. Back not streaked. Bill lengthened, gonys
  almost concave.

    Yellow confined to jugulum; rest of under parts white; the
    sides streaked with black …                           _dominica_.

  Superciliary line scarcely extending beyond the eye, and
  yellow, excepting at extreme end. Cheeks ashy, like sides of
  neck; dusky only near the eye, and not bordered on side of neck
  behind by white. Eyelids and infra-ocular crescent yellow. Back
  streaked. Bill short, gonys slightly convex.

    Yellow of under parts confined to jugulum; rest of under
    parts white; the sides streaked with black …            _graciæ_.

    Yellow of under parts extending to crissum. Sides scarcely
    streaked …                                        _adelaidæ._[51]

  [Illustration: PLATE XIV.

   1. Dendroica æstiva, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 940.
   2.    “      maculosa, _Gm._ ♂ D. C., 20634.
   3.    “      montana. (From Audubon.)
   4.    “      olivacea, _Giraud_. ♂ Mex., 30692.
   5. Dendroica kirtlandi, _Baird_. ♂ Ohio, 4363.
   6.    “      dominica, _Linn._ ♂ Ga., 3322.
   7.    “         “    , _var._ albilora, _Ridgw._ ♂ Ohio, 7701.
   8. Dendroica palmarum, _Gm._ ♂ N. S., 26929.
   9.    “      discolor, _Vieill._ ♂ Pa., 1091.
  10.    “      graciæ, _Coues_. ♂ Ariz., 40680.
  11. Seiurus aurocapillus, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 1433.
  12.    “    noveboracensis, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 2434.
  13.    “    ludovicianus, _Aud._ ♂ Pa., 964.]

In the Review (p. 209) several variations in this species are noted;
but at that time there was not a sufficient number of specimens to
warrant our coming to a conclusion as to their value. Now, however, we
have better material before us, and upon the examination of about
thirty specimens, including two series of nearly equal numbers,—one
from the Atlantic States and the West Indies, the other from the
Mississippi region and Middle America,—find that there are two
appreciably different races, to be distinguished from each other by
points of constant difference. All birds of the first series have the
bill longer than any of the latter, the difference in a majority of
the specimens being very considerable; they also have the superciliary
stripe bright yellow anteriorly, while among the latter there is never
more than a trace of yellow over the lores, and even this minimum
amount is discernible only in one or two individuals. The West Indian
form is, of course, the true _dominica_, and to be distinguished as
var. _dominica_; as none of the synonymes of this species were founded
upon the Mexican one, however, it will be necessary to propose a new
name; accordingly, the term var. _albilora_ is selected as being most
descriptive of its peculiar features.

The following synopsis, taken from typical specimens, shows the
differences between these two races:—

  (No. 3,322, ♂, Liberty County, Georgia.) Bill (from nostril),
    .45; tarsus, .60; wing, 2.60; tail, 2.00. Superciliary
    stripe, anterior to eye, wholly bright yellow; yellow of chin
    and maxillæ extending to the bill. _Hab._ In summer, Atlantic
    States of United States, north to Washington. In winter, and
    possibly all the year, in Cuba, Santo Domingo, and Jamaica …
                                                     var. _dominica_.

  (No. 61,136, ♂, Belize, Honduras.) Bill (from nostril), .35;
    tarsus, .60; wing, 2.70; tail, 2.20. Superciliary stripe
    wholly white; yellow of chin and maxillæ bordered narrowly
    next the bill with white. _Hab._ In summer, the Mississippi
    region of United States, north to Lake Erie; common in South
    Illinois. In winter, and possibly all the year, in Mexico,
    south to Guatemala, Yucatan on the Atlantic, and Colima on
    the Pacific side …                               var. _albilora_.

HABITS. The history of the Yellow-throated Warbler is very imperfectly
known. Its geographical distribution is irregular and apparently
eccentric. Found occasionally, rather than frequently, in the Southern
Atlantic and Gulf States, it occurs irregularly as far north as
Washington, New York City, Cleveland, O., Union County, Ill., and
Kansas. In the last place it is supposed also occasionally to breed.
West of this it has not been traced in any portion of the United
States. It was obtained in Tamaulipas, Mexico, by Lieutenant Couch,
and on the western coast Mr. Xantus found it at Colima. Mr. Sclater
has also procured it from other portions of Mexico, and M. Boucard
took it at Oaxaca. It has been obtained in Guatemala and Jamaica. In
the latter place it is found the entire season. In Cuba, in the
winter, it is quite common. It has also been found in St. Domingo, and
probably in the other West India Islands. Mr. Gosse states that these
birds do not appear in Jamaica before the 16th of August, and that
they leave by the first of April. On the other hand, Mr. March, in his
notes on the birds of that island, states that on the 8th of August he
obtained an old bird and two young, the latter of which he was
confident had been hatched on the island, and his son had met with the
birds all through the summer, and had procured a specimen on the 4th
of June.

Wilson states that the habits of this species partake more of those of
the Creeper than of the true Warbler. He met with it in Georgia in the
month of February. He speaks of its notes as loud, and as resembling
those of the Indigo-Bird. It remained some time creeping around the
branches of the same pine, in the manner of a _Parus_, uttering its
song every few minutes. When it flew to another tree, it would alight
on the trunk and run nimbly up and down in search of insects. They are
said to arrive in Georgia in February, after an absence of only three
months. Wilson states that they occur as far north as Pennsylvania,
but does not give his authority. The food of this species appears to
be larvæ and pupæ, rather than winged insects. Those dissected by Mr.
Gosse in Jamaica were found to have quite large stomachs, containing
caterpillars of various kinds.

Nuttall and Audubon are very contradictory in their statements
touching its nesting, and it is not probable that the accounts given
by either are founded upon any reliable authorities. The former
describes a nest remarkable both for structure and situation, said to
have been found in West Florida, suspended by a kind of rope from the
end of branches over a stream or a ravine. This nest, entirely
pensile, is impervious to rain, and with an entrance at the bottom. He
gives a very full and minute description of this nest, but gives no
authority and no data to establish its authenticity. We can therefore
only dismiss it as probably erroneous.

On the other hand, Mr. Audubon claims to have seen its nest, of which
he gives a very different account. He describes it as very prettily
constructed, like the nests of any other of this genus, its outer
parts made of dry lichens and soft mosses, the inner of silky
substances and fibres of the Spanish moss. The eggs are said to be
four in number, with a white ground-color and a few purple dots near
the larger end. He thinks they raise two broods in a season in
Louisiana. These nests are not pensile, but are placed on the
horizontal branch of the cypress, from twenty to fifty feet above the
ground. It closely resembles a knot or a tuft of moss, and therefore
is not easily discovered from below.

A nest containing a single egg, found by Mr. Gosse near Neosho Falls,
and supposed to belong to this species, but not fully identified, was
built in a low sapling a few feet from the ground, and is a very neat
structure, such as is described by Audubon. The egg is pure
crystal-white, oblong and pointed, and marked with purple and brown.

Mr. Ridgway informs me that in Southern Illinois, at least in the
valley of the Lower Wabash, the Yellow-throated Warbler may be said to
be at least a regular, though not common, summer sojourner. Though it
inhabits chiefly the swampy portions of the bottom-lands, it makes
frequent visits to the orchards and door-yards, less often, however,
in the breeding than in the migrating season. In its manners it is
almost as much of a Creeper as the _Mniotilta varia_, being frequently
seen creeping not only along the branches of trees, but over the eaves
and cornices of buildings, with all the facility of a Nuthatch.

Eggs supposed to be of this species, taken near Wilmington, N. C., by
Mr. Norwood Giles (16,199, Smith. Coll.), have a ground-color of dull
ashy-white, with a livid tinge. They are thickly speckled, chiefly
around the larger end, with irregular markings of rufous, and fainter
ones of lilac interspersed with a very few minute specks of black.
They are broadly ovate in form, and measure .70 by .55 of an inch.

Dendroica graciæ, COUES.


  _Dendroica graciæ_ (COUES), BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, I, April, 1865;
    p. 210.—ELLIOT, Illust. Birds N. Am. I, vi.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1,
    1870, 563 (Appendix).

SP. CHAR. _Adult male_ (No. 40,680, May 1, 1865, Dr. E. Coues). Whole
upper parts, including ear-coverts and sides of neck, ash-gray; small
cuneate streaks over the crown, coalesced laterally into a broad
stripe on each side, with larger cuneate streaks on the interscapular
region, and inconspicuous linear streaks on upper tail-coverts, black.
Two conspicuous white bands across the wing, formed by the tips of
middle and secondary coverts; secondaries passing externally into
light ash. Lateral tail-feather entirely white, except about the basal
third of the inner web (the dusky running some distance toward the end
along the edge), and a broad streak covering most of the terminal
fourth of the outer web, which are clear dusky; the next feather has
the outer web exactly the same, but almost the basal half of the inner
is dusky; on the next the white is confined to an oblong spot (not
touching the inner edge) on about the terminal third, while the outer
web is only edged with white; the rest have no white at all. A
superciliary stripe extending about .20 of an inch behind the eye
(that portion behind the eye white), the lower eyelid, maxillæ, chin,
throat, and jugulum pure gamboge-yellow. Rest of lower parts,
including lining of wing, pure white; the sides conspicuously streaked
with black; lores, and a few obsolete streaks along the junction of
the ash and yellow, dusky. Wing, 2.60; tail, 2.20; bill (from
nostril), .30; tarsus, .60. _Adult female_ (40,685, May 24). Similar
to the male, but colors duller, and markings less sharply defined.
Wing, 2.45; tail, 2.00. _Young_ (36,992, August 11). Above
brownish-gray _without streaks_. Beneath ochraceous-white, obsoletely
streaked along the sides. Yellow superciliary stripe not well defined,
and only a tinge of yellow on the jugulum, the throat being
grayish-white. Wings and tail nearly as in the adult. The young in
autumnal plumage is similar, but the yellow occupies its usual area;
it is, however, much duller, as well as lighter, than in the adult.

HAB. Fort Whipple, near Prescott, Arizona. Belize, British Honduras
(var. _decora_).

This species is most closely related to _D. adelaidæ_, from Porto
Rico; but in the latter the yellow beneath extends back to the
crissum, covering even the sides; there are also no streaks on the
sides or back; the proportions, too, are quite different, the wings
and tail being scarcely three fourths as long, while the bill and feet
are much the same size, the tarsi even much shorter. A specimen (No.
41,808 ♂) from Belize, Honduras, differs so essentially from the Fort
Whipple specimens, that it is, beyond doubt, entitled to a distinctive
name. The differences between these two very well marked races can
best be expressed in a table, as follows:—

  (40,680, ♂, Fort Whipple, Arizona). Bill (from nostril), .30;
    tarsus, .60; wing, 2.60; tail, 2.20. Superciliary stripe
    extending .20 behind the eye, that portion behind the eye
    white; yellow of jugulum not spreading over breast (ending
    1.35 from the bill). Streaks of crown coalesced into a broad
    stripe on each side; those of back broad, and those on upper
    tail-coverts almost obsolete. Wing-bands, .20 wide. Lore
    dusky-grayish. _Hab._ Fort Whipple, near Prescott, Arizona;
    abundant, breeding (COUES) …                       var. _graciæ_.

  (41,808, ♂, Belize). Bill, .30; tarsus, .60; wing, 2.20; tail,
    1.95. Superciliary stripe scarcely passing the eye, wholly
    yellow; yellow of jugulum spreading over breast (ending 1.60
    from the bill). Streaks of the crown scarcely coalesced along
    its sides; those on back not longer than those on crown, and
    those on upper tail-coverts very conspicuous. Wing-bands, .10
    wide. Lore deep black. _Hab._ Belize, Honduras, resident? …
                                                       var. _decora_.

HABITS. We are indebted to Dr. Elliott Coues for all that we at
present know in reference to this recently discovered species. He
first met with it July 2, 1864, in the Territory of Arizona. Dr. Coues
first noticed this bird among the pine woods covering the summit of
Whipple’s Pass of the Rocky Mountains. He saw no more in his journey
into Central Arizona until he was again among the pines at Port
Whipple. There he again found it, and it proved to be a very common
bird. Dr. Coues anticipates that this species will yet be found to
occur in the forests of the San Francisco Mountains, and that its
range will be ascertained to include all the pine tracts of New Mexico
and Arizona, from the valley of the Rio Grande to that of the Great
Colorado River. He also has no doubt that it breeds near and around
Fort Whipple.

Specimens found at Belize, first believed to be identical with those
from Arizona, are now referred to a race called _decora_.

According to Dr. Coues’s observations, the Warbler arrives at Fort
Whipple about the 20th of April, and remains in that neighborhood
until the third week in September. It is found almost exclusively in
pine woods, is active, industrious, and noisy, and possesses very
marked flycatching habits, flying out from its perch to catch passing
insects. It has been, so far, found almost exclusively among the
tallest trees.

In regard to the song of this species, Dr. Coues states that it
appears to have several different notes. One of these is the ordinary
_tsip_, given out at all times by both old and young of all kinds of
small insectivorous birds. Its true song, heard only in spring,
consists of two or three loud sweet whistles, sometimes slurred,
followed by several continuous notes, resembling _chir-r-r_, in a wiry
but clear tone. Their notes are of great power for the size of the
bird. It also has another and quite different song, which Dr. Coues
thought greatly resembled the notes of the common American Redstart.

As all the birds he noticed had mated by the first of May, he has no
doubt that they raise two broods in a season; and the fact that he
found newly fledged young as late as the middle of August seems to
corroborate the correctness of his supposition. In regard to the eggs,
nest, or breeding-habits of this species, we have as yet no

Dendroica pennsylvanica, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla pennsylvanica_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 333, no. 19;
    GMELIN. _Sylvia p._ LATH.; WILSON, I, pl. xiv, fig. 5. _Dendroica
    p._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 279; Rev. 191.—SCLATER & SALVIN,
    Ibis, 1859, 11; 1860, 273 (Coban, Guat.; November).—SAMUELS, 231.
    _Sylvia icterocephala_, LATH. Ind. Orn. II, 1790, 538.—VIEILL.;
    BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. lix. _Sylvicola ict._ SWAINS.; JARD.;
    AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. lxxxi. _Dendroica ict._ SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1859, 363 (Xalapa), 373 (Oaxaca).
  Other localities: _Bahamas_, BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1859. _Costa
    Rica_, CAB. Jour. 1860, 328. _Panama_, winter, LAWR., Ann. N. Y.
    Lyc. 1861, 322. _Yucatan_, LAWR. _Veragua_, SALV.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Upper parts streaked with black and pale
bluish-gray, which becomes nearly white on the forepart of the back;
the middle of the back glossed with greenish-yellow. The crown is
continuous yellow, bordered by a frontal and superciliary band, and
behind by a square spot of white. Loral region black, sending off a
line over the eye, and another below it. Ear-coverts and lower eyelid
and entire under parts pure white, a purplish-chestnut stripe starting
on each side in a line with the black mustache, and extending back to
the thighs. Wing and tail-feathers dark brown, edged with bluish-gray,
except the secondaries and tertials, which are bordered with light
yellowish-green. The shoulders with two greenish-white bands. Three
outer tail-feathers with white patches near the end of the inner webs.

_Female_ like the male, except that the upper parts are
yellowish-green, streaked with black; the black mustache scarcely
appreciable. Length, 5.00; wing, 2.50; tail, 2.20.

HAB. Eastern Province of the United States; Bahamas; Guatemala to
Costa Rica and Panama R. R. Not recorded from Mexico proper or West
Indies, except Bahamas.

The young in autumn is very different from either male or female in
spring. The entire upper parts are of a continuous light olive-green;
the under parts white; the sides of the head, neck, and breast
ash-gray, shading insensibly into and tingeing the white of the chin
and throat. No black streaks are visible above or on the cheeks, and
the eye is surrounded by a continuous ring of white not seen in
spring. In this plumage it has frequently been considered as a
distinct species.

The male in this plumage may usually be distinguished from the female
by possessing a trace, or a distinct stripe, of chestnut on the
flanks, the young female at least lacking it.

HABITS. The geographical distribution of this common species during
its season of reproduction is inferred rather than positively known.
So far as I am aware, it is not known to breed farther south than
Massachusetts. Yet it is probable that, when we know its history more
exactly, it will be found during the breeding-season in different
suitable localities from Pennsylvania to Canada. Mr. H. W. Parker, of
Grinnell, Iowa, mentions this bird as common in that neighborhood.

Until recently it was regarded as a rather rare species, and to a
large extent it had escaped the notice of our older ornithological
writers. Wilson could give but little account of its habits. It passed
rapidly by him in its spring migrations. He did not regard it as
common, presumed that it has no song, and nearly all that he says in
regard to it is conjectural. Mr. Audubon met with this species but
once, and knew nothing as to its habits or distribution. Mr. Nuttall,
who observed it in Massachusetts, where it is now known to be not
uncommon in certain localities, also regarded it as very rare. His
account of it is somewhat hypothetical and inexact. Its song he very
accurately describes as similar to that of the _D. æstiva_, only less
of a whistle and somewhat louder. He represents it as expressed by
_tsh-tsh-tsh-tshyia_, given at intervals of half a minute, and often
answered by its mate from her nest. Its lay is characterized as simple
and lively. Late in June, 1831, he observed a pair collecting food for
their young on the margin of the Fresh Pond swamps in Cambridge.

Mr. Allen has found this species quite common in Western
Massachusetts, arriving there about the 9th of May, and remaining
through the summer to breed. He states—and his observations in this
respect correspond with my own—that during the breeding-season they
frequent low woods and swampy thickets, nesting in bushes, and adds
that they are rarely found among high trees. They leave there early in

Professor Verrill found this Warbler a common summer visitant in
Western Maine, arriving about the second week in May, and remaining
there to breed. Mr. Boardman thinks it reaches Eastern Maine about the
middle of May, and is a common summer resident. I did not meet this
species either in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia, nor was Dr. Bryant
more fortunate, but Lieutenant Bland gives it in his manuscript list
of the birds found in the neighborhood of Halifax.

Mr. Ridgway informs me that this species breeds in the oak openings
and among the prairie thickets of Southern Illinois.

During the eight months that are not included in their season of
reproduction, this species is scattered over a wide extent of
territory. Their earliest appearance in the Northern States (at
Plattesmouth) is April 26, and they all disappear early in September.
At other times they have been met with in the Bahamas, in Mexico,
Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Panama. It has not yet been detected in the
West Indies. M. Boucard obtained specimens at Playa Vicente, in the
hot country of Oaxaca, Mexico.

In the neighborhood of Calais, Mr. Boardman informs me that this
Warbler is common, and that its habits resemble those of the
Black-poll Warbler more than those of any other of the genus. It
always nests in bushes or in low trees, and in the vicinity of swamps.

Among the memoranda furnished to the late Mr. Kennicott by Mr. Ross is
one to the effect that the Chestnut-sided Warbler was observed at Lake
of the Woods, May 29. How common it is at this point is not stated.

Mr. C. S. Paine regards the Chestnut-sided Warbler as one of the
sweetest singers that visit Vermont. He describes it as very confiding
and gentle in its habits. It is chiefly found inhabiting low bushes,
in the neighborhood of taller trees, and it always builds its nest in
the fork of a low bush, not more than from three to five feet from the
ground. He has seen many of their nests, and they have all been in
similar situations. They will permit a very near approach without
leaving their nests. These are constructed about the last of May.
Their song continues until about the last of June. After this they are
seldom heard.

J. Elliot Cabot, Esq., had the good fortune to be the first of our
naturalists to discover in June, 1839, the nest and eggs of this
Warbler. It was fixed on the horizontal forked branch of an oak
sapling, in Brookline, Mass. The female remained sitting on her nest
until so closely approached as to be distinctly seen. The nest was of
strips of red-cedar bark, and well lined with coarse hair, and was
compact, elastic, and shallow. It contained four eggs, the
ground-color of which was white, over which were distributed numerous
distinct spots of umber-brown. These were of different sizes, more
numerous towards the larger end.

In regard to their breeding in Pennsylvania, Mr. Nuttall mentions in
the second edition of his work that he met them among the Alleghanies
at Farranville in full song, and had no doubt that they were nesting
there at the time.

The Chestnut-sided Warbler usually constructs its nest in localities
apart from cultivated grounds, on the edges of low and swampy woods,
but in places more or less open. Quite a number of their nests have
been met with by Mr. George O. Welch, of Lynn, Mass. Their more common
situation has been barberry-bushes. The nests vary from about two and
a half to three and a half inches in external height, and have a
diameter of from three to four inches. The cavity is about two inches
deep. They are usually composed externally of loosely intertwined
strips of the bark of the smaller vegetables, strengthened by a few
stems and bits of dry grasses, and lined with woolly vegetable fibres
and a few soft hairs of the smaller animals. They are usually very
firmly bound to the smaller branches by silky fibres from the cocoons
of various insects. These nests were all found in open places, in low,
wild marshy localities, but none far from a cultivated neighborhood,
and the situations chosen for the nests do not differ materially from
those usually selected by the common _D. æstiva_.

The eggs of this Warbler are of an oblong-oval shape, have a
ground-color of a rich creamy-white, and are beautifully spotted,
chiefly about the larger end, with two shades of purple and
purplish-brown. They measure .65 by .49 of an inch.

Dendroica striata, BAIRD.


  _Muscicapa striata_, FORSTER, Phil. Trans. LXII, 383, 428. _Motacilla
    s._ GMELIN. _Sylvia s._ LATH.; VIEILLOT; WILS.; BON.; NUTT.; AUD.
    Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxxiii.—LEMBEYE, Av. Cuba, 1850, 33.
    _Sylvicola s._ SWAINSON; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl.
    lxxviii.—REINHARDT, Vid. Med. for 1853, 1854, 73 (Greenland).—MAX.
    Cab. Jour. VI, 1858, 113. _Mniotilta s._ REINH. Ibis, 1861, 6
    (Greenland). _Rhimanphus s._ CAB. Jour. III, 475 (Cuba).
    _Dendroica s._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 280; Rev. 192.—COUES, Pr.
    A. N. Sc. 1861, 220 (Labrador coast).—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
    (Cuba; rare).—SAMUELS, 233.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska). _? D.
    atricapilla_, LANDBECK, Wiegmann’s Archiv, 1864, 56 (Chile).
  Other localities quoted: _Bogota_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1855, 143.
    _Bahamas_, BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1839.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Crown, nape, and upper half of the head black; the
lower half, including the ear-coverts, white, the separating line
passing through the middle of the eye. Rest of upper parts
grayish-ash, tinged with brown, and conspicuously streaked with black.
Wing and tail-feathers brown, edged externally (except the inner
tail-feathers) with dull olive-green. Two conspicuous bars of white on
the wing-coverts, the tertials edged with the same. Under parts white,
with a narrow line on each side of the throat from the chin to the
sides of the neck, where it runs into a close patch of black streaks
continued along the breast and sides to the root of the tail. Outer
two tail-feathers with an oblique patch on the inner web near the end;
the others edged internally with white. _Female_ similar, except that
the upper parts are olivaceous, and, even on the crown, streaked with
black; the white on the sides and across the breast tinged with
yellowish; a ring of the same round the eye cut by a dusky line
through it. Length of male, 5.75; wing, 3.00; tail, 2.25.

HAB. Eastern Province of all North America to Arctic Ocean; Alaska;
Greenland; Cuba, in winter (rare); Bahamas; Bogota. Chile? Not
recorded from intermediate localities.

The autumnal dress of young birds is very different from that of
spring. The upper parts are light olive-green, obsoletely streaked
with brown; beneath greenish-yellow, obsoletely streaked on the breast
and sides, the under tail-coverts pure white, a yellowish ring round
the eye, and a superciliary one of the same color. In this dress it is
scarcely possible to distinguish it from the immature _D. castanea_.
The differences, as far as tangible, will be found detailed under the
head of the latter species.

The young bird in its first dress is also quite different, again, from
the autumnal-plumaged birds. The upper parts are hoary-grayish, the
lower white; each feather of the whole body, except lower
tail-coverts, with a terminal bar or transverse spot of blackish,
those on the upper parts approaching the base of the feathers along
the shaft. Wings and tail much as in the autumnal plumage.

HABITS. The appearance of this beautiful and familiar Warbler in New
England is the sure harbinger of the summer. The last of the migrants
that do not tarry, it brings up the rear of the hosts of hyperborean
visitors. This species ranges over the whole extent of eastern North
America, from Mexico to the Arctic seas. It has not been found farther
west than the Great Plains and the Rio Grande. Wherever found it is
abundant, and its lively and attractive manners and appearance render
it a pleasing feature. It is not known to stop to breed in
Massachusetts, but it lingers with us till the last blossom of the
apple falls, and until the Bluebird and the Robin have already
well-fledged broods, sometimes as late as the 10th of June, and then
suddenly disappears.

Dr. Woodhouse found it abundant in Texas and the Indian Territory, and
individuals have been procured in Missouri and Nebraska. It has been
found abundant in the Arctic regions, around Fort Anderson, Fort
Yukon, and Fort Good Hope. A single specimen was taken near Godhaab,
Greenland, in 1853, as recorded by Professor Reinhardt. Dr. Bryant met
with it in the Bahamas, in the spring of 1859, where it was abundant
from the 1st to the 10th of May. He describes its habits as similar to
those of the _Mniotilta varia_, climbing around the trunks of trees in
search of insects with the same facility. Single specimens have been
procured from Greenland on the northeast, and from Bogota and Cuba.
Dr. Coues found it abundant in Labrador in all well-wooded situations,
and describes it as a most expert flycatcher, taking insects on the
wing in the manner of the _Contopus virens_.

Mr. Allen has never noted the arrival of this bird in Western
Massachusetts before the 20th of May, nor later than the 1st of June.
They again become abundant the last of September, and remain into
October. In Eastern Maine Mr. Boardman reports them abundant, and as
remaining to breed. They are there more numerous about open pastures
than most Warblers. They nest in low trees, about swampy places.

In Central Vermont, Mr. Paine states, the Black-Poll is the last of
all the migrant birds that come from the South, and is seen only a few
days in the first of June. It seldom stays more than a day or two, and
then passes north. It appears singular that a bird coming so late
should go yet farther north to breed. He states that its song consists
only of a few low, lisping peeps. It may usually be seen wandering
over fields in which there are a few scattered trees, and seems to be
a very active, restless bird.

The writer also met with them in great abundance about Eastport, and
in the islands of the Grand Menan group. It was the most common
Warbler in that locality. The low swampy woods seemed filled with
them, and were vocal with their peculiar love-notes.

Wilson states that he occasionally found this Warbler in Pennsylvania
and New Jersey, and was confident they would be found to breed in
those States, but this has never been confirmed. He regarded it as a
silent bird, and Mr. Audubon does not compliment its vocal powers. Yet
it is a pleasing and varied, if not a powerful singer. Mr. Trippe
speaks of its song as faint and lisping, and as consisting of four or
five syllables.

None of our birds, before its history was well known, has been made
the occasion for more ill-founded conjectures than the Black-Poll.
Wilson was at fault as to its song and its Southern breeding, and
imagined it would be found to nest in high tree-tops, so as not to be
readily detected. Nuttall, on the other hand, predicted that it would
be found to breed on the ground, after the manner of the _Mniotiltae_,
or else in hollow trees. Mr. Audubon, finding its nest in Labrador,
indulges in flights of fancy over its supposed rarity, which, seen in
the light of our present knowledge, as an abundant bird in the
locality where his expedition was fitted out, are somewhat amusing.
That nest was in a thicket of low trees, contained four eggs, and was
placed about four feet from the ground, in the fork of a small branch,
close to the main stem of a fir-tree. Its internal diameter was two
inches, and its depth one and a half. It was formed, externally, of
green and white moss and lichens, intermingled with coarse dry
grasses. It was lined, with great care, with fine, dry, dark-colored
mosses, resembling horse-hair, with a thick bed of soft feathers of
ducks and willow grouse.

In passing north, these Warblers, says Audubon, reach Louisiana early
in February, where they glean their food among the upper branches of
the trees overhanging the water. He never met with them in maritime
parts of the South, yet they are abundant in the State of New Jersey
near the sea-shore. As they pass northward their habits seem to
undergo a change, and to partake more of the nature of Creepers. They
move along the trunks and lower limbs, searching in their chinks for
larvæ and pupæ. Later in the season, in more northern localities, we
again find them expert flycatchers, darting after insects in all
directions, chasing them while on the wing, and making the clicking
sound of the true Flycatcher.

They usually reach Massachusetts after the middle of May, and their
stay varies from one, usually, to nearly four weeks, especially when
their insect-food is abundant. In our orchards they feed eagerly upon
the canker-worm, which is just appearing as they pass through.

Around Eastport and at Grand Menan they confine themselves to the
thick swampy groves of evergreens, where they breed on the edges of
the woods. All of the several nests I met with in these localities
were built in thick spruce-trees, about eight feet from the ground,
and in the midst of foliage so dense as hardly to be noticeable. Yet
the nests were large and bulky for so small a bird, being nearly five
inches in diameter and three in height. The cavity is, however, small,
being only two inches in diameter, and one and a fourth to one and a
half in depth. They were constructed chiefly of a collection of
slender young ends of branches of pines, firs, and spruce, interwoven
with and tied together by long branches of the _Cladonia_ lichens,
slender herbaceous roots, and finer sedges. The nests were strongly
built, compact and homogeneous, and were elaborately lined with fine
panicles of grasses and fine straw. In all the nests found, the number
of eggs was five.

It is a somewhat noticeable fact, that though this species is seen in
New England only by the middle of May, others of its kind have long
before reached high Arctic localities. Richardson records its presence
at the Cumberland House in May, and Engineer Cantonment by the 26th of
April. Mr. Lockhart procured a nest and five eggs at Fort Yukon, June
9. All the nests taken in these localities were of smaller size, were
built within two feet of the ground, and all were much more warmly
lined than were those from Grand Menan. In a few instances Mr.
McFarlane found the nests of this species actually built upon the
ground. This, however, is an abnormal position, and only occasioned by
the want of suitable situations in protected localities. In one
instance a nest was taken on the first of June, containing
well-developed embryos. Yet this same species has frequently been
observed lingering in Massachusetts a week or more after others of its
species have already built their nests and begun hatching.

The eggs of this species measure .72 by .50 of an inch. Their shape is
an oblong-oval. Their ground-color is a beautiful white, with a slight
tinge of pink, when fresh. They are blotched and dotted over the
entire surface with profuse markings of a subdued lavender, and deeper
markings of a dark purple intermixed with lighter spots of
reddish-brown. The usual number is five, though six are occasionally
found in a nest.

Dendroica castanea, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia castanea_, WILS. Am. Orn. II, 1810, 97, pl. xiv, fig. 4.—BON.;
    NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. lxix. _Sylvicola castanea_, SWAINS.;
    JARD.; RICH.; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. lxxx. _Rhimanphus
    castaneus_, CAB. _Dendroica castanea_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    276; Rev. 189.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11 (Guatemala).—CASSIN,
    Pr. A. N. Sc. 1860, 193 (Isthmus Darien; winter).—LAWRENCE, Ann.
    N. Y. Lyc. 1861, 322 (Isthmus Panama; winter).—SAMUELS, 228.
    _Sylvia autumnalis_, WILS. III, pl. xxiii, fig. 2.—AUD. Orn. Biog.
    I, pl. lxxxviii.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Crown dark reddish-chestnut; forehead and cheeks,
including a space above the eye, black; a patch of buff-yellow behind
the cheeks. Rest of upper parts bluish-gray streaked with black, the
edges of the interscapulars tinged with yellowish, of the scapulars
with olivaceous. Primaries and tail-feathers edged externally with
bluish-gray, the extreme outer ones with white; the secondaries edged
with olivaceous. Two bands on the wing and the edges of the tertials
white. The under parts are whitish with a tinge of buff; the chin,
throat, forepart of breast, and the sides, chestnut-brown, lighter
than the crown. Two outer tail-feathers with a patch of white on the
inner web near the end; the others edged internally with the same.
_Female_ with the upper parts olive, streaked throughout with black,
and an occasional tinge of chestnut on the crown. Lower parts with
traces of chestnut, but no stripes. Length of male, 5.00; wing, 3.05;
tail, 2.40.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America to Hudson’s Bay; Guatemala,
south to Isthmus of Darien. Not recorded from Mexico or West Indies.

The female and immature males of this species differ much from the
spring males, and are often confounded with other species, especially
with _D. striata_. A careful comparison of an extensive series of
immature specimens of the two species shows that in _castanea_ the
under parts are seldom washed uniformly on the throat and breast with
yellowish-green, but while this may be seen on the sides of the neck
and breast, or even across the latter, the chin and throat are nearly
white, the sides tinged with dirty brown, even if the (generally
present) trace of chestnut be wanting on the sides. There is a buff
tinge to the under tail-coverts; the quills are abruptly margined with
white, and there are no traces (however obsolete) of streaks on the
breast. In _D. striata_ the under parts are quite uniformly washed
with greenish-yellow nearly as far back as the vent, the sides of the
breast and sometimes of the belly with obsolete streaks; no trace of
the uniform dirty reddish-brown on the sides; the under tail-coverts
are pure white. The quills are only gradually paler towards the inner
edge, instead of being rather abruptly white.

HABITS. The Bay-breasted Warbler is one of the many species belonging
to this genus whose history is yet very imperfectly known. Everywhere
quite rare, it is yet distributed from the Atlantic to the Great
Plains, and from the Gulf of Mexico far into the Hudson Bay Territory.
In the winter it is known to extend its migrations as far to the south
as the northern portions of South America. It has not been traced to
Mexico nor to the West India Islands, but has been procured by Mr.
Salvin in Guatemala. Nearly all the specimens obtained in the United
States have either been taken before the 12th of May or in the autumn,
indicative of a more northern breeding-place. In Eastern Massachusetts
it is exceedingly rare, passing through after the middle of May and
returning in September. Mr. Maynard has obtained a specimen as late as
June 19, which, though not necessarily proving that any breed there,
indicates that the line of their area of reproduction cannot be
distant. In the western part of the same State, Mr. Allen has found it
from May 20 to the 25th, and has obtained one specimen in July. In
Western Maine, Mr. Verrill has noted its occurrence from the middle of
May to June, but it is very rare; and Mr. Boardman reports the same
for Eastern Maine, where it is a summer resident. He writes that he
has several times shot specimens in the early summer, but that he
could never find the nest. It is also given by Lieutenant Bland as one
of the birds found in the vicinity of Halifax. It was not observed by
any of the governmental exploring expeditions, nor found in Arizona by
Dr. Coues. Mr. Lawrence has received specimens from Panama, obtained
in winter, Mr. Cassin from Darien, and Mr. Sclater from Guatemala.

This species so far eluded the notice of Mr. Audubon as to prevent him
from giving any account of its habits. He only mentions its occasional
arrival in Pennsylvania and New Jersey early in April, and its almost
immediate and sudden disappearance. He several times obtained them at
that period, and yet has also shot them in Louisiana as late as June,
while busily searching for food among the blossoms of the

Wilson also regarded this species as very rare. He reports it as
passing through Pennsylvania about the middle of May, but soon
disappearing. He describes these birds as having many of the habits of
Titmice, and displaying all their activity. It hangs about the
extremity of the twigs, and darts about from place to place with
restless diligence in search of various kinds of larvæ. Wilson never
met with it in the summer, and very rarely in the fall.

Mr. Nuttall noticed this species passing through Massachusetts about
the 15th of April. He regarded it as an active insect-hunter, keeping
in the tops of the highest trees, darting about with great activity,
and hanging from the twigs with fluttering wings. One of these birds
that had been wounded soon became reconciled to its confinement, and
greedily caught at and devoured the flies that were offered. In its
habits and manners it seemed to him to greatly resemble the
Chestnut-sided Warbler.

Mr. T. M. Trippe speaks of this Warbler as one of the last to arrive
near Orange, N. Y. Owing to the fact that at that time the foliage is
pretty dense, and that it makes but a short stay, it is not often
seen. He speaks of it as not quite so active as the other Warblers,
keeping more on the lower boughs, and seldom ascending to the tops of
the trees.

Mr. C. W. Wyatt met with this species at Naranjo, in Colombia, South

Eggs of this bird obtained by Mr. George Bush at Coldwater, near Lake
Superior, are of an oblong-oval shape, measuring .75 by .52 of an
inch, and except in their superior size and fewer markings might be
mistaken for eggs of _D. æstiva_. Their ground-color is a bluish or
greenish white. The markings are very few and fine, except those in
the crown around the larger end, and there the blotches are deeper and
more numerous. Their colors are dark reddish-brown and purple.

Mr. Maynard found this species the most abundant of the _Sylvicolidæ_
at Lake Umbagog, where it breeds. Two nests were taken in June. One
was found June 3, in a tree by the side of a cart-path in the woods,
just completed. It was built in the horizontal branch of a hemlock,
twenty feet from the ground, and five or six from the trunk of the
tree. By the 8th of June it contained three fresh eggs. The other was
built in a similar situation, fifteen feet from the ground, and
contained two fresh eggs.

These nests were large for the bird, and resembled those of the Purple
Finch. They were composed outwardly of fine twigs of the hackmatack,
with which was mingled some of the long hanging _Usnea_ mosses. They
were very smoothly and neatly lined with black fibrous roots, the
seed-stalks of _Cladonia_ mosses, and a few hairs. They had a diameter
of about six inches, and a height of about two and a half inches. The
cavity was three inches wide and an inch and a quarter deep. The eggs
varied in length from .71 to .65 of an inch, and in breadth from .53
to .50. Their ground-color was a bluish-green, thickly spotted with
brown, and generally with a ring of confluent blotches of brown and
lilac around the larger end. Occasionally the spots proved to be more
or less of an umber-brown, and in some specimens the spots were less
numerous than in others.

These birds were found in all the wooded sections of that region,
where they frequented the tops of tall trees. Their song, he states,
in its opening, is like that of the Black-Poll, with a terminal warble
similar to that of the Redstart, but given with less energy.

Dendroica cærulescens, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla canadensis_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 336 (not p. 334,
    which is _D. coronata_). _Sylvia canadensis_, LATH.; WILSON.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxlviii, clv.—SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857, 231 (St.
    Domingo). _Sylvicola canadensis_, SWAINS.; JARD.; BON.; AUD. Birds
    Am. II, pl. xcv. _Rhimanphus can._ CAB. _Dendroica canadensis_,
    BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 271.—IB. P. Z. S. 1861, 70
    (Jamaica).—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very
    common).—SAMUELS, 224. _Motacilla cærulescens_, GM. S. Nat. I,
    1788, 960. _Sylvia cær._ LATH.; VIEILL. II, pl. lxxx.—D’ORB.
    Sagra’s Cuba, Ois. 1840, 63, pl. ix, figs. 1, 2. _Dendroica cær._
    BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864, 186. _Sylvia pusilla_, WILS. V, pl.
    xliii, fig. 3 (Juv.). _Sylvia leucoptera_, WILS. _Sylvia
    palustris_, STEPH. _Sylvia macropus_, VIEILLOT. _Sylvia
    sphagnosa_, BON.; NUTTALL; AUD. _Sylvicola pannosa_, GOSSE, Birds
    Jam. 1847, 162 (female).—IB. Illust. no. 37.

SP. CHAR. Above uniform continuous grayish-blue, including the outer
edges of the quill and tail-feathers. A narrow frontal line, the
entire sides of head and neck, chin and throat, lustrous black; this
color extending in a broad lateral stripe to the tail. Rest of under
parts, including the axillary region, white. Wings and tail black
above, the former with a conspicuous white patch formed by the bases
of all the primaries (except the first); the inner webs of the
secondaries and tertials with similar patches towards the base and
along the inner margin. All the tail-feathers, except the innermost,
with a white patch on the inner web near the end. Length, 5.50; wing,
2.60; tail, 2.25.

_Female_, olive-green above and dull yellow beneath. Sides of head
dusky olive, the eyelids and a superciliary stripe whitish. Traces of
the white patches at the base of the primaries and of the tail.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States; Jamaica, Cuba, and St. Domingo
in winter; very abundant; Bahamas (BRYANT). Not recorded from Mexico
or Central America.

The white patch at the base of the primary, together with the total
absence of outer markings on the wings, is peculiar to this species,
and is found in both sexes. The female is more different from the male
than that of any other species.

The plumage of the male in autumn is similar to the spring dress, but
the back and wings are washed with greenish, and the black of the
throat variegated with white edges to the feathers. A younger male
(788, October 10, Carlisle, Penn.) differs in having the black
appearing in patches, the throat being mostly white; there is also a
narrow white superciliary stripe.

HABITS. The Black-throated Blue Warbler, at different seasons of the
year, is distributed over nearly the whole eastern portion of North
America. Abundant in the West Indies in winter, as also in the South
Atlantic States in early spring and late in fall, it is found during
the breeding-season from Northern New York and New England nearly to
the Arctic regions. A few probably stop to breed in the high portions
of Massachusetts, and in late seasons they linger about the orchards
until June. They undoubtedly breed in Vermont, New Hampshire, and

Dr. Woodhouse states that he found it abundant in Texas; but this is
the only instance, so far as is known, of its occurring west of the
Mississippi Valley.

Towards the close of the remarkably mild winter of 1866, a pair of
these birds were observed for several days in a sheltered portion of
Boston. They were in excellent condition, and were very busily
employed hunting for the larvæ and eggs of insects and spiders in the
corners and crevices of the walls of houses and out-buildings,
evidently obtaining a full supply. In Southern Illinois, Mr. Ridgway
cites this Warbler as one of the least common of the spring and fall

Audubon found this species in nearly every Southern and Southwestern
State during their migrations. They arrive in South Carolina late in
March, are most abundant in April, and leave early in May. They keep
in the deep woods, passing among the branches about twenty feet from
the ground. He traced them as far north as the Magdaleine Islands, but
found none in Newfoundland, and but a single specimen in Labrador.
They breed in Nova Scotia, and a nest was given him found near Halifax
by Dr. MacCulloch. These were said to be usually placed on the
horizontal branch of a fir-tree, seven or eight feet from the ground,
and to be composed of fine strips of bark, mosses, and fibrous roots,
and lined with fine grasses and a warm bed of feathers. The eggs, five
in number, were white, with a rosy tint, and sprinkled with
reddish-brown dots, chiefly at the larger end.

This Warbler is an expert catcher of the smaller winged insects,
pursuing them quite a distance, and, when seizing them, making the
clicking sound of the true Flycatcher. So far as they have been
observed, they have no song, only a monotonous and sad-sounding

Nuttall, in the second edition of his Manual, mentions having observed
several pairs near Farranville, Penn., on the Susquehanna, and among
the Alleghanies. It was in May, and in a thick and shady wood of
hemlock. They were busy foraging for food, and were uttering what he
describes as slender, wiry notes.

In Western Massachusetts, Mr. Allen states it to be common from the
15th to the 25th of May, and again in September. They were found by
Mr. C. W. Bennett on Mount Holyoke during the breeding-season, and by
Mr. B. Hosford on the western ridges during the same period. They are
common, Mr. Boardman states, in the thick woods about Calais, through
all the breeding-season.

In Jamaica, during the winter, it exclusively frequents the edges of
tall woods in unfrequented mountainous localities. They are found in
that island from October 7 until the 9th of April. Mr. Gosse, who has
closely observed their habits during winter, speaks of their playing
together with much spirit for half an hour at a time, chasing each
other swiftly round and round, occasionally dodging through the
bushes, and uttering at intervals a pebbly _cheep_. They never remain
long alighted, and are difficult to kill. Restlessness is their great
characteristic. They often alight transversely on the long pendent
vines or slender trees, hopping up and down without a moment’s
intermission, pecking at insects. They are usually very plump and fat.

De la Sagra states that this bird occasionally breeds in Cuba, young
birds having been killed that had evidently been hatched there. The
record of this Warbler, as presented by different authors, is
apparently inconsistent and contradictory: rare with some observers,
abundant with others; remaining in Jamaica until well into April, yet
common in South Carolina in March, and even appearing in Massachusetts
in midwinter; supposed to breed in the highlands of Cuba, yet, except
in the case of the nest taken near Halifax, its manner of breeding was
unknown until lately. It is probably rare in lowlands everywhere, and
nowhere common except among mountains, and, while able to endure an
inclement season where food is abundant, is influenced in its
migratory movements by instinctive promptings to change its quarters
entirely in reference to a supply of food, and not by the temperature
merely. Its presence in Boston in winter was of course a singular
accident; but its plump condition, and its contented stay so long as
its supply of food was abundant, sufficiently attested its ability to
endure severe weather for at least a limited period, and while its
food was not wanting. Mr. Trippe states that these birds reach
Northern New Jersey during the first week of May, and stay a whole
month, remaining there longer than any other species. At first they
have no note but a simple chirp; but, before they leave, the males are
said to have a singular drawling song of four or five notes.

Mr. Paine states that this Warbler is a resident, but not very common
bird, in Randolph, Vt. He has usually noticed it in the midst of thick
woods, not generally in tall trees, but among the lower branches or in
bushes. The song he describes as very short and insignificant, its
tones sharp and wiry, and not to be heard at any great distance. He
knows nothing as to its nest. They arrive at Randolph from the South
about the middle of May.

We are indebted to Mr. John Burroughs for all the knowledge we possess
in relation to the nest and eggs of this species, which had previously
baffled the search of other naturalists. He was so fortunate as to
meet with their nest in the summer of 1871. Early in July, in company
with his nephew, Mr. C. B. Deyoe, Mr. Burroughs visited the same
woods, in Roxbury, Delaware County, N. Y., in which he had in a
previous year found the nest of the Mourning Ground Warbler. The trees
were mostly hemlock, with an undergrowth of birch and beech. They
first noticed the parent birds with food in their bills, and then set
about deliberately to find their nest by watching their movements. But
the birds were equally vigilant, and watched them quite as
determinedly. “It was diamond cut diamond.” They were so suspicious,
that, after loading their beaks with food, they would swallow it
themselves, rather than run the risk of betraying their secret by
approaching the nest. They even apparently attempted to mislead them
by being very private and confidential at a point some distance from
the nest. The two watched the birds for over an hour, when the
mosquitoes made it too hot for them to hold out any longer, and they
made a rush upon the ground, determined to hunt it over inch by inch.
The birds then manifested the greatest consternation, and when, on
leaping over an old log, the young sprang out with a scream, but a few
feet from them, the distracted pair fairly threw themselves under
their very feet. The male bird trailed his bright new plumage in the
dust; and his much more humbly clad mate was, if anything, more
solicitous and venturesome, coming within easy reach. The nest was
placed in the fork of a small hemlock, about fifteen inches from the
ground. There were four, and perhaps five, young in the nest, and one
egg unhatched, which, on blowing, proved to have been fresh.

The nest measures three and a half inches in diameter, and a trifle
more than two in height. The cavity is broad and deep, two and a third
inches in diameter at the rim, and one and a half deep. Its base and
periphery are loose aggregations of strips of decayed inner bark from
dead deciduous trees, chiefly basswood, strengthened by fine twigs,
rootlets, and bits of wood and bark. Within this is a firm, compact,
well-woven nest, made by an elaborate interweaving of slender roots
and twigs, hair, fine pine-needles, and similar materials.

The egg is oval in shape, less obtuse, but not pointed, at one end,
with a grayish-white ground, pinkish when unblown, and marked around
the larger end with a wreath, chiefly of a bright umber-brown with
lighter markings of reddish-brown and obscure purple.  A few smaller
dottings of the same are sparingly distributed over the rest of the
egg. Its measurements are .70 by .50 of an inch. It more nearly
resembles the eggs of the _D. maculosa_ than any other, is about five
per cent larger, a little more oblong, and the spots differ in their
reddish and purplish tinge, so far as one specimen may be taken as a

Dendroica olivacea, SCLAT.


  _Sylvia olivacea_, GIRAUD, Birds Texas, 1841, 14, pl. vii, fig. 2.—
    SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1855, 66. _Sylvicola olivacea_, CASSIN, Ill.
    Birds Texas, etc. 1855, 283, pl. xlviii. _Rhimamphus olivaceus_,
    SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 291 (Cordova). _Dendroica olivacea_,
    SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298 (Oaxaca; cold region).—IB. P. Z. S.
    1859, 363 (Jalapa).—IB. Catal. 1861, 31, no. 190.—BAIRD, Rev. Am.
    B. 1864, 205. _Sylvia tæniata_, DUBUS, Bull. Acad. Brux. XIV,
    1847, 104.—IB. Rev. Z. 1848, 245. _Sylvicola tæniata_, BON. Consp.
    1850, 309.

SP. CHAR. Head and neck all round, with jugulum, brownish-saffron,
with a greenish tinge on the nape. Rest of upper parts ashy. Middle
and tips of greater wing-coverts white, forming two bands on the wing;
a third white patch at the bases of the primaries (except the outer
two), and extending forwards along the outer edges. Secondaries edged
externally with olive-green. Inner webs of quills conspicuously edged
with white. Under parts, except as described, white, tinged with
brownish on the sides; a narrow frontal band, and a broad stripe from
this through eye and over ear-coverts, black. Outer tail-feather
white, except at base and towards tip; greater portion of inner web of
next feather also white, much more restricted on the third. Length,
4.60; wing, 2.88; tail, 2.15; tarsus, .75.

A female specimen (14,369), perhaps also in autumnal plumage, has the
saffron replaced by clear yellowish, except on the top of head and
nape, which are olive-green. The black frontal and lateral bands are
replaced by whitish, leaving only a dusky patch on the ears.

HAB. Mexico (both coasts to the southward); Guatemala.

This species is given by Mr. Giraud as occurring in Texas, but it is
possible that he may have been misled as to the true locality. It may,
however, be yet detected along the southern border of the United

Nothing is known of its habits.

Dendroica nigrescens, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia nigrescens_, TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. VII, II, 1837, 191
    (Columbia River).—AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, 57, pl. cccxcv.
    _Vermivora nig._ BON.; NUTT. _Sylvicola nig._ AUD. Birds Am. II,
    pl. xciv. _Rhimanphus nig._ CAB. 1850. _Dendroica nig._ BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 270; Rev. 186.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298;
    1859, 374 (Oaxaca; high mountains in March).—HEERMANN, P. R. R.
    Rep. X, iv, 40.—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII, ii, 1859,
    180.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 90. _? Sylvia halseii_, GIRAUD,
    Birds Texas, 1838, pl. iii, fig. 1, ♀ (suggested by Sclater).

SP. CHAR. Head all round, forepart of the breast, and streaks on the
side of the body, black; rest of under parts, a stripe on the side of
the head, beginning acutely just above the middle of the eye, and
another parallel to it, beginning at the base of the under jaw (the
stripes of opposite sides confluent on the chin), and running further
back, white. A yellow spot in front of the eye. Rest of upper parts
bluish-gray. The interscapular region and upper tail-coverts streaked
with black. Wing-coverts black, with two narrow white bands; quills
and tail-feathers brown, the two outer of the latter white, with the
shafts and a terminal streak brown; the third brown, with a terminal
narrow white streak. Bill black; feet brown. Length, 4.70; wing, 2.30;
tail, 2.10.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of United States. Migratory
southward into Western Mexico (Oaxaca); Orizaba (winter, SUMICHRAST).

Female (53,373, East Humboldt Mountains, Nev., July 14). Similar to
the male, but crown ash medially streaked with black, instead of
continuous black; the streaks on back narrow and inconspicuous; the
black of the throat confined to the jugulum, appearing in spots only
on anterior half. A young female (No. 53,376, East Humboldt Mountains,
August 10) is plain brownish-ash above, lacking entirely the streaks
on the back, and those on sides of crown extremely obsolete. There is
no black whatever on throat or jugulum, which, with the well-defined
supra-loral stripe and lower parts in general, are soiled white, more
brownish laterally. The other features, including the yellow spot over
the lores, with the wing and tail markings, are much as in the adult.
A young male (53,375), same locality and date, differs from the last
in having the sides of the crown black, and the throat-patch almost
complete, but much hidden by the broad white borders to the feathers.
An adult autumnal male (7,690, Calaveras River) is like the spring
adult, but the ash is overspread by brownish, nearly obliterating the
dorsal streaks, and dividing the black of the crown; the black
throat-patch is perfectly defined, but much obscured by white borders
to the feathers.

HABITS. The Black-throated Gray or Dusky Warbler, so far as is now
known, belongs to the Western and Middle Provinces, occurring
certainly as far to the south as San Diego, in California, and as far
to the north as Fort Steilacoom, in Washington Territory, penetrating
in winter into Mexico. The most easterly localities in which it has
been met with are in Arizona and New Mexico. The Smithsonian
Institution has received specimens also from Columbia River,
Calaveras, Cal., and Fort Defiance.

This species was first obtained and described by Mr. Townsend, who
found it abundant in the forests of the Columbia, where it breeds and
remains until nearly winter. Its nest, which he there met with,
resembles that of _Parula americana_, only it is made of the long and
fibrous green moss, or _Usnea_, peculiar to that region, and is placed
among the upper branches of oak-trees, suspended between two small

Mr. Nuttall states that it arrives on the Columbia early in May, and
from the manner in which its song was delivered at intervals, in the
tops of deciduous trees, he had no doubt that they were breeding in
those forests as early as May 23. This song he describes as delicate,
but monotonous, uttered as it busily and intently searches every leafy
bough and expanding bud for insects and their larvæ in the spreading
oak, in which it utters its solitary notes. Its song is repeated at
short and regular intervals, and is said by Mr. Nuttall to bear some
resemblance to _t-shee-tshāy-tshaitshee_, varying the feeble sound
very little, and with the concluding note somewhat slenderly and
plaintively raised. Dr. Suckley speaks of this bird as moderately
abundant near Fort Steilacoom, generally met with on oaks, and very
much resembling _Dendroica auduboni_ in its habits. Its arrival there
he gives as occurring in the first week in April, or a month earlier
than stated by Nuttall.

Dr. Cooper met with a pair at Puget Sound that appeared to have a
nest, though he sought for it in vain. He describes its note as faint
and unvaried.

Dr. Coues met with this Warbler in the vicinity of Fort Whipple,
Arizona. He speaks of it as common there as a spring and autumn
migrant. He thinks that a few remain to breed. It arrives in that
Territory about April 20, and is found until late in September. It is
most common among the pine-trees, and in its general habits is stated
to resemble the new species _D. graciæ_.

Dr. Heermann found a few birds of this species near Sacramento, and
also on the range of mountains dividing the Calaveras and the
Mokelumne Rivers. During the survey by Lieutenant Williamson’s party,
Dr. Heermann met with a single specimen among the mountains, near the
summit of the Tejon Pass. It was in company with other small birds,
migrating southward, and gleaning its food from among the topmost
branches of the tallest oaks. He states that its notes closely
resemble the sounds of the locust.

Dr. Cooper states that these birds appear at San Diego by the 20th of
April, in small flocks migrating northward, and then uttering only a
faint chirp. They frequent low bushes along the coast, but as they
proceed farther north they take to the deciduous oaks as the leaves
begin to expand, early in May, at which time they reach the Columbia
River. He has never met with any in California after April.

Mr. Ridgway observed this species only in the pine and cedar woods of
the East Humboldt Mountains, where, in all probability, they were
breeding. He observed numerous families of young birds following their
parents in the months of July and August. He met with them only among
the cedars and the woods of the nut-pine, and never among the
brushwood of the cañons and ravines. He states that the common note of
this bird greatly resembles the sharp chirp of the _Dendroica
coronata_, and is louder and more distinct than that of _D. auduboni_.

Mr. A. Boucard obtained specimens of these birds at Oaxaca, Mexico,
during the winter months.

Dendroica chrysopareia, SCL. & SALV.


  _Dendroica chrysopareia_, SCLATER & SALVIN, P. Z. S. 1860, 298.—IB.
   Ibis, 1860, 273 (Vera Paz, Guatemala).—IB. 1865.—DRESSER, Ibis,
   1865, 477.—BAIRD, Rev. Am. B. 1864, 183.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870,

SP. CHAR. (229, Salvin collection.) Head and body above black, the
feathers with olive-green edges, especially on the back, obscuring the
ground-color; rump clear black. Entire side of head (extending to
nostrils and on lower jaw), and the partially concealed bases of the
feathers on the median line of the forehead, yellow, with a narrow
black line from lores, through the eye, widening behind, but not
crossing through the yellow. Beneath, including inside of wings,
white; a large patch of black covering the chin and throat, and
occupying the entire space between the yellow patches of the two sides
of the head and neck, and extended along the sides in a series of
streaks. Feathers of crissum with black centres. Wings above ashy,
with two white bands across the coverts, the scapulars streaked with
blackish; first quill edged externally with white, the rest with gray.
Tail-feathers blackish, edged externally with ashy, the lateral with
white at the base. Outer tail-feather white on the inner web, except a
stripe along the shaft near the end; second similar, but the white not
reaching so far towards the base; third with a short patch of white in
the end. Bill and legs brownish-black. Bill unusually thick. Length,
4.50; wing, 2.50; tail, 2.40; tarsus, 2.75.

HAB. Vera Paz, Guatemala; San Antonio, and Medina River, Texas.

The capture of specimens of this species at San Antonio, Texas, by Dr.
Heermann, and on the Medina River by Mr. Dresser, entitles it to a
place in our fauna. The specimen described above is Mr. Salvin’s type.

HABITS. A single specimen is said to have been taken near San Antonio,
Texas, by Dr. Heermann. It is thought to be probably a bird belonging
to the fauna of Arizona and New Mexico, and is given hypothetically by
Dr. Cooper among the birds of California. In its appearance it
resembles _D. virens_, _D. townsendii_, and _D. occidentalis_. It was
originally described by Salvin from a single specimen obtained in
Guatemala. Another pair was afterward obtained by Mr. Salvin on the
highest point of the road between Salama and Tactic. In regard to its
habits, nothing is on record.

Dendroica virens, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla virens_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 985. _Sylvia virens_,
   LATH.; VIEILLOT; WILS. II; NUTT.; BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. IV, pl.
   cccxcix.—GÄTKE, Naumannia, 1858, 423 (Heligoland, Europe, an
   original description). _Sylvicola virens_, SW.; AUD. Birds Am. II,
   pl. lxxxiv.—REINHARDT, Vid. Med. for 1853, 1854, 72, 81
   (Greenland). _Rhimanphus virens_, CAB. Mus. Hein. Jour. III, 1855,
   474 (Cuba; winter).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 291 (Cordova).
   _Dendroica virens_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 267; Rev.
   182.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 1 (Guatemala).—SCLATER, P. Z. S.
   1859, 363 (Oaxaca?); 373 (Xalapa); Ibis, 1865, 89.—LAWRENCE, Ann.
   N. Y. Lyc. VII, 1861, 293 (Panama).—GUNDL. Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
   (Cuba).—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 232.—SAMUELS, 222. _Mniotilta virens_,
   REINHARDT, Ibis, III, 1861, 5 (Julianhaab, Greenland).

SP. CHAR. Male. Upper parts, exclusive of wing and tail, clear yellow
olive-green; the feathers of the back with hidden streaks of black.
Forehead and sides of head and neck, including a superciliary stripe,
bright yellow. A dusky olive line from the bill through the eye, and
another below it. Chin, throat, and forepart of the breast, extending
some distance along on the sides, continuous black; rest of under
parts white, tinged with yellow on the breast and flanks. Wings and
tail-feathers dark brown, edged with bluish-gray; two white bands on
the wing; the greater part of the three outer tail-feathers white.
_Female_ similar, but duller; the throat yellow; the black of breast
much concealed by white edges; the sides streaked with black. Length,
5 inches; wing, 2.58; tail, 2.30.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States; Greenland; Heligoland, Europe;
south to Panama R. R. In Mexico, Xalapa, Cordova, and Oaxaca? Cuba
alone in West Indies. Mexico (everywhere in winter, SUMICHRAST).

The autumnal male has the black of throat and breast obscured by
whitish tips. Females are yellowish-white beneath, tinged with grayish
towards the tail.

As shown in the generic chapter, _D. virens_ is the type of a section
of olivaceous Warblers with black chin and throat. The following more
elaborate diagnoses of the group may facilitate its study, the species
being quite closely related:—

COMMON CHARACTERS. Upper parts more or less olivaceous-green, with the
feathers streaked centrally with black (sometimes concealed). Sides of
head yellow. Chin and throat black; rest of the under parts, including
inside of wings, white, with or without yellow on breast. Wings with
two white bands. Inner web of lateral tail-feather almost entirely
white from the base.

  Above bright olive-green with concealed black streaks;
  tail-coverts ashy. Sides conspicuously streaked with black;
  crissum unspotted. Jugulum sometimes faintly tinged with
  yellowish. An obscure dusky-olive stripe through the eye, and a
  crescentic patch of the same some distance beneath it …

  Above olivaceous-ashy (rump pure ash), with more distinct black
  spots. Top and sides of head clear yellow, the feathers of the
  crown tipped with black, or clouded with dusky plumbeous. No
  dark markings or stripes on side of head. No distinct black
  streaks beneath; black of throat restricted to front of neck …

  Prevailing color of upper parts black, with olivaceous edgings
  on the back; rump and upper tail-covert pure black. Sides and
  crissum streaked with black. A simple black stripe through the
  eye; no patch beneath it …                          _chrysopareia_.

  Above olive-green. Upper tail-coverts ashy, with central black
  streaks. Feathers of head above black, with olive-green edges.
  A broad olivaceous black stripe through eye from lores,
  involving the ears, in which is a yellowish crescentic patch
  below the eye. Black feathers of throat and chin edged with
  yellow. Jugulum and sides of breast also yellow. Sides streaked
  with black. No distinct black streaks on crissum …    _townsendii_.

HABITS.—The Black-throated Green Warbler, like nearly all the members
of this highly interesting genus, has, to a very great degree, escaped
the closer observations of our older ornithologists. Wilson only
noticed it as it passed through Pennsylvania in its early spring
migrations. He mentions its frequenting the higher branches of forest
trees in search of the larvæ of the smaller insects that feed upon the
opening buds, and describes it as a lively, active bird, having only a
few chirping notes. All had passed on by the 12th of May. Their return
he was never able to notice, and he became afterwards satisfied that a
few remained all the summer in the higher grounds of that State,
having obtained several in June, 1809.

Audubon met with this bird from Newfoundland to Texas, but never found
it breeding. Nowhere abundant, there were large tracts of country
where he never met with it, or where it was of rare occurrence. He
found it most abundant in the vicinity of Eastport, Me. He also met
with it during summer, in New England generally, Northern
Pennsylvania, and New York, but not in Labrador. He describes its
habits as a mingling of those of the Warblers and of the Vireo, and
its notes as resembling those of the latter. In its search for food he
found it quite regardless of the near presence of man. In its spring
migrations it passes through the woods usually in pairs, in the fall
reappearing in flocks of six or seven. In breeding it occurs only in
single pairs, and each pair appropriates to itself a large tract of
territory within which no other is usually found. After October, all
have passed beyond the limits of the United States.

During the winter months it appears to be quite common in different
parts of Mexico and Central America. In the large collection of
Guatemalan skins collected by Dr. Van Patten, and purchased by the
Boston Natural History Society, this bird was one of the most abundant
of the migratory species. Specimens were taken by Mr. Boucard at Playa
Vicente, in the hot country of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Dr. Woodhouse found this Warbler common in the Indian Territory and in
Texas, and Lieutenant Couch met with it in Tamaulipas, Mexico, in
March, 1853. With these exceptions it has not been observed in any of
the government surveys, or found west of the valley of the Rio Grande.
Besides the points named, it has been obtained in Ohio, Illinois,
Missouri, and in the West Indies, in Central and in the northern
portions of South America. Reinhardt gives it as accidental in
Greenland. A single stray specimen was obtained in Heligoland, Europe,
October 19, 1858.

Mr. Paine, of Randolph, Vt., notes the arrival of this bird about the
10th of May. He speaks of it as a very sweet singer, and as usually
seen in the tops of tall trees, the hemlock being its favorite resort.
There it chants its sweet sad notes through even the heat of the day.
It continues in song nearly throughout the summer. Later in the season
it frequents the open fields, in which it is seldom seen in the
breeding-season. Its food, which it catches on the wing in the manner
of Vireos, consists of the smaller winged insects, caterpillars, and
other larvæ. In the fall, according to Mr. Audubon, it feeds upon
various kinds of small berries.

It reaches Massachusetts the first of May, and is most numerous about
the 15th, when the larger proportion pass farther north. In Western
Maine, Professor Verrill states it to be a summer but not a common
visitant; and near Calais, Mr. Boardman has found it breeding, but
does not regard it as at all common, though in the year 1867 he found
it quite abundant in the thick woods in that neighborhood during its
breeding-season. Dr. Bryant also speaks of it as one of the most
common of the Warblers observed by him near Yarmouth, N. S. A single
specimen was taken at Julianhaab, Greenland, in 1853, and sent to the
Royal Museum of Copenhagen.

In the vicinity of Boston, especially in the high grounds of Norfolk
and Essex Counties, it is a not uncommon species, and its nests are
found in certain favorite localities. Nuttall regards May 12 as the
average of their first appearance. Busy, quiet, and unsuspicious of
man, they were seen by him, collecting, in early October, in small
groups, and moving restlessly through the forests preparatory to
departing south. June 8, 1830, he found a nest of this species in a
solitary situation among the Blue Hills of Milton, Mass. The nest was
in a low and stunted juniper (a very unusual location). As he
approached, the female remained motionless on the edge of the nest, in
such a manner as to be mistaken for a young bird. She then darted to
the ground, and, moving away expertly, disappeared. The nest contained
four eggs, which he describes as white inclining to flesh-color,
variegated at the larger end with pale purplish points interspersed
with brown and black. The nest was formed of fine strips of the inner
bark of the juniper, and tough white fibrous bark of other plants,
lined with soft feathers and the slender tops of grass. The male
bird was singing his simple chant, resembling the syllables
_tē-dē-teritsé-a_, pronounced loud and slow, at the distance of a
quarter of a mile from the nest. He describes his song as simple,
drawling, and plaintive. He was constantly interrupting his song to
catch small flies, keeping up a perpetual snapping of his bill.

Several nests of this bird, given me by Mr. George O. Welch of Lynn,
have been found by him in high trees in thick woods on the western
borders of that city. They are all small, snug, compact structures,
built on a base of fine strips of bark, bits of leaves, and stems of
plants. The upper rims are a circular intertwining of fine slender
twigs, interwoven with a few fine stems of the most delicate grasses.
The inner portions of these nests are very softly and warmly bedded
with the fine down and silky stems of plants. They have a diameter of
three and a quarter inches, and a height of one and a half. The cavity
is two inches in diameter, and one and a half in depth. The eggs
measure .70 by .50 of an inch, have a white or purplish-white ground,
and are blotched and dotted with markings of reddish and purplish
brown, diffused over the entire egg, but more numerous about the
larger end. One end is much more pointed than the other.

Dendroica townsendi, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia townsendi_, “NUTTALL,” TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. VII, II, 1837,
    191.—AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, pl. cccxciii. _Sylvicola t._ BON.;
    AUD. Birds Am. II, 1841, pl. xcii. _Dendroica t._ BAIRD, Birds N.
    Am. 1858, 269; Rev. 185.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1858, 298 (Oaxaca; high
    lands in winter); 1859, 374 (Totontepec; winter); Ibis, 1865,
    89.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11 (Guatemala).—COOPER &
    SUCKLEY, P. R. R. XII, II, 1859, 179 (Cal.).—TURNBULL, Birds of
    East Penn., etc. 1869, 42.—SUNDEVAL, Ofvers. 1869, 610
    (Sitka).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 91.

SP. CHAR. _Spring male._ Above bright olive-green; the feathers all
black in the centre, showing more or less as streaks, especially on
the crown, where the black predominates. Quills, tail, and upper
tail-covert feathers dark brown, edged with bluish-gray; the wings
with two white bands on the coverts; the two outer tail-feathers white
with a brown streak near the end; a white streak only in the end of
the third feather. Under parts as far as the middle of the body, with
the sides of head and neck, including a superciliary stripe and a spot
beneath the eye, yellow; the median portion of the side of the head,
the chin and throat, with streaks on the sides of the breast, flanks,
and under tail-coverts, black; the remainder of the under parts white.
Length, 5 inches; wing, 2.65; tail, 2.25.

_Spring female._ Resembling the male, but the black patch on the
throat replaced by irregular blotches upon a pure yellow ground.

HAB. Western Province of United States, north to Sitka; Mexico, into
Guatemala. Migratory. Accidental near Philadelphia.

The autumnal adult male is much like the spring female, but the black
throat-patch is perfectly defined, though much obscured by the yellow
edges of the feathers, instead of broken into small blotches. The
young male in autumn is similar in general appearance, but there are
no streaks above, except on the crown, where they are mostly
concealed; the stripe on side of head is olivaceous, instead of black;
and nearly all the black on the throat is concealed.

A fine adult male of this species was taken near Philadelphia, Penn.,
in the spring of 1868, and is now in the collection of the late W. P.
Turnbull, Esq., of that city.

HABITS. In regard to the habits of this very rare Western Warbler very
little is as yet positively known, and nothing whatever has been
ascertained as to its nesting or eggs. The species was first met with
by Mr. Townsend, October 28, 1835, on the banks of the Columbia River,
and was named by Mr. Nuttall in honor of its discoverer. It is spoken
of by these gentlemen as having been a transient visitor only,
stopping but a few days, on its way north, to recruit and feed,
previous to its departing for the higher latitudes in which it spends
the breeding-season. It is, however, quite as probable that they
disperse by pairs into solitary places, where for a while they escape
observation. When the season again compels them to migrate, they
reappear on the same path, only this time in small and silent flocks,
as they slowly move toward their winter quarters. These birds also are
chiefly to be found in the tops of the loftiest firs and other
evergreens of the forests, where it is almost impossible to procure

Dr. Cooper observed one of this species at Shoalwater Bay, December
20, 1854. It was in company with a flock of Titmice and other small
birds. The following year, in November, he saw a small flock in
California, frequenting the willows in a low wet meadow, and was so
fortunate as to procure a pair.

Ridgway met with it in the East Humboldt Mountains, where it was
rather common in September, inhabiting the thickets of aspens, alders,
etc., along the streams.

Mr. P. L. Sclater obtained several fine specimens of this Warbler from
the west coast of Central America, and Mr. Salvin found it a winter
visitant at Duenas, where he met with it even more frequently than the
_Dendroica virens_, with which he found it associated. Skins were
found among the birds taken by Dr. Van Patten in Guatemala. A single
specimen has been taken in Pennsylvania.

Mr. A. Boucard obtained specimens of this species in the mountainous
district of Totontepec, in the State of Oaxaca, Mexico.

Dendroica occidentalis, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia occidentalis_, TOWNSEND, J. A. N. Sc. VII, ii, 1837, 190
    (Columbia River).—IB. Narrative, 1839, 340.—AUD. Orn. Biog. V, pl.
    lv. _Sylvicola occ._ BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. xciii.
    _Dendroica occ._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 268; Rev. 183.—COOPER &
    SUCKLEY, R. R. Rep. XII, ii, 1859, 178 (N. W. coast).—COOPER, Orn.
    Cal. 1, 1870, 92. _Dendroica chrysopareia_, SCLATER, P. Z. S.
    1862, 19 (La Parada, Mex.) (not of P. Z. S. 1860, 19); Ibis, 1865,
    89; 1866, 191. _Dendroica niveiventris_, SALVIN, P. Z. S. May 26,
    1863, 187, pl. xxiv, fig. 2 (Guatemala).

SP. CHAR. _Spring male._ Crown with sides of the head and neck
continuous bright yellow, feathers of the former edged narrowly with
black; rest of upper parts dark brown, edged with bluish-gray, so much
so on the back and rump feathers as to obscure the brown, and with an
olivaceous shade. Chin, throat, and forepart of breast (ending
convexly behind in a subcrescentic outline), with the nape, black;
rest of under parts white, very faintly streaked on the sides with
black. Two white bands on the wing, two outer tail-feathers, and the
terminal portion of a third, white; the shafts, and an internal streak
towards the end, dark brown. Bill jet-black; legs brown. Length, 4.70;
wing, 2.70; tail, 2.30.

_Spring female._ Similar, but duller gray above; the yellow of the
head less extended, and the throat whitish spotted with dusky.

HAB. Western Province of United States and Mexico (Moyapam, winter,
SUMICHRAST) to Guatemala. Not seen at Cape St. Lucas.

An autumnal adult male (30,681, Guatemala, December, received from Mr.
Salvin, and a type specimen of his “_niveiventris_”) is much like the
spring male, having the throat wholly black, the feathers, however,
faintly margined with whitish; there are no black spots on the crown,
but, instead, an olivaceous stain; the nape is olivaceous instead of
black, and the black centres to dorsal feathers more concealed; the
ash above is less pure, and there is no trace of streaks on the sides.
A female (autumnal?)—38,141—from Orizaba, Mexico, is grayish-olivaceous
above, including the whole top of the head, except beneath the
surface; the feathers on top of head have conspicuous black centres,
but there are none on the back; the sides of the head, and the bases
of the feathers on its top, are soiled yellow; the throat is dirty
white, with the feathers dusky beneath the surface; the breast and
sides have a strong brownish tinge. Another female, and an autumnal
one (probably of the year), is more brown above, the specks on the top
of the head exceedingly minute; there are also obscure streaks along
the sides, where there is a strong brownish tinge.

HABITS. The Western or Hermit Wood Warbler, so far as known, is
limited in its distribution to the Pacific coast from Central America
to Washington Territory. Specimens procured from Volcan de Fuego,
Mexico, Arizona, and California, are in the collection of the
Smithsonian Institution. But little is positively known as to its
history or habits. Nuttall, who first met with it in the forests on
the banks of the Columbia, had no doubt that it breeds in the dark
forests bordering on that river. He described it as a remarkably shy
and solitary bird, retiring into the darkest and most silent recesses
of the evergreens, and apparently living among the loftiest branches
of the gigantic firs of that region. In consequence of its peculiar
habits it was with extreme difficulty that his party could get a sight
of this retiring species. Its song, which he frequently heard from
these high tree-tops at very regular intervals for an hour or two at a
time, he describes as a faint, moody, and monotonous note, delivered
when the bird is at rest on some lofty twig, and within convenient
hearing of its mate.

Mr. Townsend, who was one of the same party, shot a pair of these
birds near Fort Vancouver, May 28, 1835. They were flitting among the
tops of the pine-trees in the depths of the forest, where he
frequently saw them hanging from the twigs, in the manner of Titmice.
Their notes, uttered at different intervals, he describes as very
similar to those of the Black-throated Blue Warbler (_D.

Dr. Suckley obtained, June, 1856, two specimens at Fort Steilacoom. He
also describes them as very shy, feeding and spending most of their
time in the tops of the highest firs, so high up as to be almost out
of the reach of fine shot. The species he regards as not at all rare
on the Pacific coast, but only difficult of procuring, on account of
the almost inaccessible nature of its haunts.

Dr. Coues procured a single specimen of this species in Arizona early
in September. It was taken in thick scrub-oak bushes. He thinks it may
be a summer resident of that Territory, but, if so, very rare.

A single specimen was also obtained at Petuluma, Cal., by Mr. Emanuel
Samuels, May 1, 1856.

It was also observed, August 29, by Mr. Ridgway,
among the bushes of a cañon among the East Humboldt Mountains. He
describes its single note as a lisped _pzeet_.

Three individuals of this species were collected by Mr. Boucard in
Southern Mexico in 1862, and were referred by Dr. Sclater to _D.
chrysopœia_ (P. Z. S., 1862, p. 19). Subsequently Mr. Salvin described
as a new species, under the name of _D. niveiventris_, other
individuals of the _D. occidentalis_ obtained by him in Guatemala. The
true specific relations of the specimens both from Southern Mexico and
Central America have since been made clear by Dr. Sclater, Ibis, 1865,
p. 87, enabling us to give this species as a winter visitant of the
countries above named. Mr. Salvin states (Ibis, 1866, p. 191) that
these birds were found in most of the elevated districts where pines
abound. He procured specimens in the Volcan de Fuego, in the hills
above the Plain of Salama, and near the mines of Alotepeque.

Dendroica pinus, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia pinus_, WILS. Am. Orn. III, 1811, 25, pl. xix, fig. 4.—BON.;
    NUTT.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxi. _Thryothorus pinus_, STEPH.
    _Sylvicola pinus_, JARD.; RICH.; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. II, pl.
    lxxxii.—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 1859, 59 (abundant in Oct.).
    _Rhimanphus pinus_, BON. _Dendroica pinus_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 277; Rev. 190.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 31, no. 189.—COUES, Pr.
    A. N. Sc. 1861, 220 (Labrador coast).—SAMUELS, 229.—BRYANT, Pr.
    Bost. Soc. 1867, 67 (Inagua). _Sylvia vigorsii_, AUD. Orn. Biog.
    I, 1832, 153, pl. xxx. _Vireo vigorsii_. NUTT.

SP. CHAR. _Spring male._ Upper parts nearly uniform and clear
olive-green, the feathers of the crown with rather darker shafts.
Under parts generally, except the middle of the belly behind, and
under tail-coverts (which are white), bright gamboge-yellow, with
obsolete streaks of dusky on the sides of the breast and body. Sides
of head and neck olive-green like the back, with a broad superciliary
stripe; the eyelids and a spot beneath the eye very obscurely yellow;
wings and tail brown; the feathers edged with dirty white, and two
bands of the same across the coverts. Inner web of the first
tail-feather with nearly the terminal half, of the second with nearly
the terminal third, dull inconspicuous white. Length, 5.50; wing,
3.00; tail, 2.40. (1,356.)

_Spring female._ Similar, but more grayish above, and almost
grayish-white, with a tinge of yellow beneath, instead of bright
yellow. _Young._ Umber-brown above, and dingy pale ashy beneath, with
a slight yellowish tinge on the abdomen. Wing and tail much as in the
autumnal adult.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, north to Massachusetts;
winters in United States. Not recorded in West Indies or Middle
America (except Bahamas and Bermuda?).

Autumnal males are much like spring individuals, but the yellow
beneath is softer and somewhat richer, and the olive above overlaid
with a reddish-umber tint.

HABITS. The Pine-creeping Warbler is found more or less abundantly
throughout the United States from the Atlantic to the Valley of the
Mississippi. Dr. Woodhouse states that it is common in Texas and New
Mexico. It was not, however, met with by any other of the government
exploring parties. Dr. Gerhardt found it quite common in Northern
Georgia, where it remains all the winter, and where it breeds very
early in the season. On the 19th of April he found a nest of these
birds with nearly full-grown young. It has not been found in Maine by
Professor Verrill nor by Mr. Boardman, nor in Nova Scotia by
Lieutenant Bland. Mr. Allen has found it breeding abundantly in the
western part of Massachusetts, where it is one of the earliest
Warblers to arrive, and where it remains until October. In 1861 they
were abundant in the pine woods near Springfield as early as April 4,
although the ground at that time was covered with snow. During the
last weeks of April and the early part of May they frequent the open
fields, obtaining much of their food from the ground in company with
_D. palmarum_, the habits of which, at this time, it closely follows.
Later in the season they retire to the pine forests, where they remain
almost exclusively throughout the summer, chiefly on the tops of the
tallest trees. For a few weeks preceding the first of October they
again come about the orchards and fields. In its winter migrations it
does not appear to leave this country, and has not been found in any
of the West India Islands, in Mexico, nor in South or Central America.
It breeds sparingly in Southern Illinois.

Mr. Jones found these birds numerous in Bermuda late in September, but
they all disappeared a few weeks later. Dr. Bryant found them at
Inagua, Bahamas.

Wilson first noticed this Warbler in the pine woods of the Southern
States, where he found it resident all the year. He describes it as
running along the bark of pine-trees, though occasionally alighting
and feeding on the ground. When disturbed, it always flies up and
clings to the trunks of trees. The farther south, the more numerous he
found it. Its principal food is the seeds of the Southern pitch-pine
and various kinds of insects. It was associated in flocks of thirty in
the depths of the pine barrens, easily recognized by their manner of
rising from the ground and alighting on the trunks of trees.

Audubon also speaks of this bird as the most abundant of its tribe. He
met with them on the sandy barrens of East Florida on the St. John’s
River early in February, at which period they already had nests. In
their habits he regarded them as quite closely allied to the Creepers,
ascending the trunks and larger branches of trees, hopping along the
bark searching for concealed larvæ. At one moment it moves sideways
along a branch a few steps, then stops and moves in another direction,
carefully examining each twig. It is active and restless, generally
searching for insects among the leaves and blossoms of the pine, or in
the crevices of the bark, but occasionally pursuing them on the wing.
It is found exclusively in low lands, never in mountainous districts,
and chiefly near the sea.

Its nest is usually placed at considerable height, sometimes fifty
feet or more from the ground, and is usually fastened to the twigs of
a small branch. In Massachusetts it has but a single brood in a
season, but at the South it is said to have three.

The flight of this Warbler is short, and exhibits undulating curves of
great elegance. Its song is described as monotonous, consisting merely
of continuous and tremulous sounds. Mr. Audubon found none beyond New
Brunswick, and it has never been found in Nova Scotia so far as I am

Both old and young birds remain in Massachusetts until late in
October, and occasionally birds are seen as far to the north as
Philadelphia in midwinter. At this season they abound in the pine
forests of the Southern States, where they are at that time the most
numerous of the Warblers, and where some are to be found throughout
the year.

In the summer their food consists of the larvæ and eggs of certain
kinds of insects. In the autumn they frequent the Southern gardens,
feeding on the berries of the cornel, the box grape, and other small
fruit. Mr. Nuttall states that their song is deficient both in
compass and in variety, though not disagreeable. At times, he states,
it approaches the simpler trills of the canary; but is usually
a reverberating, gently rising or murmuring sound like
_er-r´-r´r´r´r´r´-ah_, or in the springtime like _twe twe-tw tw tw-tw
tw_, and sometimes like _tsh-tsh-tsh-tw-tw-tw-tw_, exhibiting a
pleasing variety in its cadences. The note of the female is not unlike
that of the Black and White Creeper.

On the 7th of June, Mr. Nuttall discovered a nest of this Warbler in a
Virginia juniper-tree in Mount Auburn, some forty feet from the
ground, and firmly fixed in the upright twigs of a close branch. It
was a thin but very neat structure. Its principal material was the old
and wiry stems of the _Polygonum tenue_, or knot-weed. These were
circularly interlaced and inter-wound with rough linty fibres of
asclepias and caterpillars’ webs. It was lined with a few bristles,
slender root-fibres, a mat of the down of fern-stalks, and a few
feathers. Mr. Nuttall saw several of these nests, all made in a
similar manner. The eggs in the nest described were four, and far
advanced towards hatching. They were white, with a slight tinge of
green, and were freely sprinkled with small pale-brown spots, most
numerous at the larger end, where they were aggregated on a more
purplish ground. The female made some slight complaint, but
immediately returned to the nest, though two of the eggs had been

Mr. Nuttall kept a male of this species in confinement. It at once
became very tame, fed gratefully from the hand, from the moment it was
caught, on flies, small earthworms, and minced flesh, and would sit
contentedly on any hand, walking directly into a dish of water offered
for drink, without any precautions, or any signs of fear.

Mr. J. G. Shute found a nest of these Warblers in Woburn as early as
May 8. It contained four eggs, the incubation of which had commenced.
Three other nests were also found by him in the same locality, all of
them between the 8th and the 24th of May, and all built on branches of
the red pine and near the top. Several nests of this Warbler, found in
Lynn, Mass., by Mr. George O. Welch, are alike in their mode of
construction, and differ in their materials from other accounts. They
are all somewhat loosely put together, and are composed externally of
fine strips of the bark of the red cedar, fine inner bark of several
deciduous trees, dry stalks of plants, the exuviæ of insects, and fine
dry grasses. The cavities of these nests, which are comparatively
large and deep, were lined with the fur of the smaller mammals, the
silky down of plants, and feathers. A few fine wiry roots were also
intermingled. These nests are about two and a half inches in height
and three in diameter.

The eggs of this Warbler are of a rounded oval shape, have an average
length of .72 of an inch, and a breadth of .55. They resemble in size
and appearance the eggs of the _D. castanea_, but the spots are more
numerous, and the blotches larger and more generally distributed. The
ground-color is a bluish-white. Scattered over this are subdued
tintings of a fine delicate shade of purple, and upon this are
distributed dots and blotches of a dark purplish-brown, mingled with a
few lines almost black.

Dendroica montana, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia montana_, WILS. Am. Orn. V, 1812, 113, pl. xliv, fig. 2
    (“Blue Mountains of Pennsylvania”).—AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 294
    (“California”!) _Sylvicola montana_, JARD.; AUD. Birds Am. II,
    1841, 69, pl. xcviii. _Dendroica montana_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 279; Rev. 190. _Sylvia tigrina_, VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II,
    1807, 34, pl. xciv (U. S. and St. Domingo).

SP. CHAR. This species is four inches and three quarters in length;
the upper parts a rich yellow-olive; front, cheeks, and chin yellow,
also the sides of the neck; breast and belly pale yellow, streaked
with black or dusky; vent plain pale yellow. Wings black; first and
second rows of coverts broadly tipped with pale yellowish-white;
tertials the same; the rest of the quills edged with whitish. Tail
black, handsomely rounded, edged with pale olive; the two exterior
feathers on each side white on the inner vanes from the middle to the
tips, and edged on the outer side with white. Bill dark brown. Legs
and feet purple-brown; soles yellow. Eye dark hazel. (Wilson.)

HAB. “Blue Mountains of Virginia.” St. Domingo?

This species is only known from the description of Wilson, Vieillot,
and Audubon, and we are not aware that a specimen is to be found in
any collection. If described correctly, it appears different from any
established species, although the most nearly related to _D. pinus_,
which, however, differs in the absence of a yellow frontlet, in having
a greener back, less distinct streaks beneath, and in the white of the
anal region.

HABITS. Whether the Blue Mountain Warbler is a genuine species or an
unfamiliar plumage of a bird better known to us in a different dress
is a question not altogether settled to the minds of some. It was
described by Wilson from a single specimen obtained near the Blue
Ridge of Virginia. Audubon found another in the collection of the
Zoölogical Society. From this he made his drawing. A third has also
been met with and described by Vieillot. We know nothing in regard to
its habits, except that its song is said to be a single _screep_,
three or four times repeated. Its breeding-habits, its manner of
migration, and the place of its more abundant occurrence, yet remain
entirely unknown.

Dendroica kirtlandi, BAIRD.


  _Sylvicola kirtlandi_, BAIRD, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. V, June, 1852, 217,
    pl. vi (Cleveland, Ohio).—CASSIN, Illust. I, 1855, 278, pl. xlvii.
    _Dendroica kirtlandi_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 286; Rev. 206.

SP. CHAR. Above slate-blue, the feathers of the crown with a narrow,
those of the middle of the back with a broader, streak of black; a
narrow frontlet involving the lores, the anterior end of the eye, and
the space beneath it (possibly the whole auriculars), black; the rest
of the eyelids white. The under parts are clear yellow (almost white
on the under tail-coverts); the breast with small spots and sides of
the body with short streaks of black. The greater and middle
wing-coverts, quills, and tail-feathers are edged with dull whitish.
The two outer tail-feathers have a dull white spot near the end of the
inner web, largest on the first. Length, 5.50; wing, 2.80; tail, 2.70.

HAB. Northern Ohio, and Bahamas.

In addition to the type which is in the collection of the Smithsonian
Institution, a second specimen was obtained by Dr. Samuel Cabot, of
Boston, taken at sea between the islands of Abaco and Cuba. It must,
however, be considered as one of the rarest of American birds.

HABITS. Kirtland’s Warbler is so far known by only a few rare
specimens as a bird of North America, and its biography is utterly
unknown. The first specimen of this species, so far as is known, was
obtained by Dr. Jared P. Kirtland, of Cleveland, O., in May, 1851. It
was shot by that naturalist in woods near that city, and was by him
given to Professor Baird, who described it in the Annals of the New
York Lyceum. It appears to be closely allied to both the _D. coronata_
and _D. auduboni_, and yet to be a specifically distinct bird. A
second specimen, in the cabinet of Dr. Samuel Cabot, Jr., of Boston,
was obtained at sea, between the islands of Cuba and Abaco. A third
specimen was obtained June 9, 1860, near Cleveland, and is in the
collection of Mr. R. K. Winslow, of that city. Another specimen is
also reported as having been obtained in the same neighborhood, but
not preserved; and Dr. Hoy, of Racine, Wis., is confident that he has
seen it in the neighborhood of that place. At present all that we can
give in regard to its history, habits, or distribution must be
inferred from these few and meagre facts.

Dendroica palmarum, BAIRD.


  _Motacilla palmarum_, GMEL. Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 951 (based on Palm
    Warbler, LATHAM, Syn. II, p. 498, no. 131, St. Domingo). _Sylvia
    p._ LATH.; VIEILLOT, II, pl. lxxiii.—BON.; D’ORB. Sagra’s Cuba,
    Ois. 1840, 61, pl. viii. _Sylvicola p._ SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857, 231
    (St. Domingo). _Dendroica p._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 288; Rev.
    207.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 33, no. 199.—IB. P. Z. S. 1861, 71
    (Jamaica; April).—BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1859 (Bahamas).—IB.
    1867, 91 (Hayti).—BREWER, Pr. Bost. Soc. 1867, 139.—GUNDLACH, Cab.
    Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very common).—SAMUELS, 240. _Sylvia
    petechia_, WILS. VI, pl. xxviii, fig. 4.—BON.; NUTT.; AUD. Orn.
    Biog. II, pl. clxiii, clxiv. _Sylvicola petechia_, SWAINS.; AUD.
    Birds Am. II, pl. xc. _Sylvicola ruficapilla_, BON. _Rhimanphus
    ruf._ CAB. Jour. III, 1855, 473 (Cuba; winter).

SP. CHAR. _Adult in spring._ Head above chestnut-red; rest of upper
parts brownish olive-gray; the feathers with darker centres, the color
brightening on the rump, upper tail-coverts, and outer margins of wing
and tail-feathers, to greenish-yellow. A streak from nostrils over the
eye, and under parts generally, including the tail-coverts, bright
yellow; paler on the body. A maxillary line; breast and sides finely
but rather obsoletely streaked with reddish-brown. Cheeks brownish (in
highest spring plumage chestnut like the head); the eyelids and a spot
under the eye olive-brown. Lores dusky. A white spot on the inner web
of the outer two tail-feathers, at the end. Length, 5 inches; wing,
2.42; tail, 2.25. Sexes nearly alike.

Autumnal males are more reddish above; under parts tinged with brown,
the axillars yellow.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America to Fort Simpson and Hudson’s
Bay; Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, and St. Domingo in winter. Not noted from
Mexico or Central America.

This species varies considerably in different stages, but can
generally be recognized. Immature specimens resemble those of _P.
tigrina_, but differ in the chestnut crown, browner back, less bright
rump, brighter yellow of under tail-coverts, smaller blotches on tail,
no white bands on the wings, etc., as well as in the shape of the

HABITS. The Red-Poll Warbler belongs, in its geographical
distribution, to that large class of birds which visit high northern
latitudes to breed, passing back and forth over a wide extent of
territory, from the West India Islands to the extreme northern
portions of the continent. Specimens have been procured from Cuba,
Jamaica, St. Domingo, and the Bahamas, in fall, winter, and spring,
where, at such times, they seem to be generally quite common. It has
not been observed in Mexico or in Central or South America. It has
been met with on the western shore of Lake Michigan, but nowhere
farther to the west. It has been found in the Red River Settlement,
Fort George, Fort Simpson, and Fort Resolution, in the Hudson Bay
Territory. It is not known, so far as I am aware, to breed south of
latitude 44°. Wilson and Nuttall both state that this bird remains in
Pennsylvania through the summer, but they were probably misinformed;
at least, there is no recent evidence to this effect. Wilson also
states that he shot specimens in Georgia, near Savannah, early in
February, and infers that some pass the entire winter in Georgia,
which is not improbable, as this bird can endure severe weather
without any apparent inconvenience.

There are several marked peculiarities in the habits of this Warbler
which distinguish it from every other of its genus. Alone of all the
_Dendroicæ_, so far as is known, it builds its nest on the ground, and
is quite terrestrial in its habits, and, notwithstanding the
statements of earlier writers, these are quite different from all
others of this genus. It has very little of the habits of the Creeper
and still less of the Flycatcher, while it has all the manners of the
true Ground Warbler, and even approximates, in this respect, to the

My attention was first called to these peculiarities by Mr. Downes of
Halifax, in the summer of 1851; and I was surprised to find it nesting
on the ground, and yet more to note that in all its movements it
appeared fully as terrestrial as the Maryland Yellow-Throat, or the
Towhee Finch. Since then Mr. Boardman and other naturalists have found
its nest, which is always on the ground.

Mr. MacCulloch, in the fourth volume of the Journal of the Boston
Natural History Society, has given an interesting paper upon the
terrestrial peculiarities of this species, showing them to be nearly
identical with those of the _seiuri_, with whom he thinks it should be
classed. In its terrestrial movements this bird is shown to be quite
at home, while other Warblers, when driven by necessity to feed upon
the ground, are awkward, and manifest a want of adaptation.

Dr. Henry Bryant, another very close and accurate observer, in his
notes on the birds of the Bahamas, referring to this Warbler, speaks
of it as extremely abundant, but confined to the sea-shore. “Its
habits,” he adds, apparently with some surprise, “are decidedly
terrestrial, and it approaches, in this respect, to the Titlarks. They
were constantly running along the edges of the road, or else hopping
amongst the low branches in the pastures. I did not see a single
individual seeking for food amidst the large trees. These birds could
be constantly seen running up and down in the market in search of
small flies. These they caught either on the ground or else by hopping
up a few inches, scarcely opening the wings, and alighting directly.”

Mr. J. A. Allen, in his Birds observed in Western Massachusetts, shows
that these peculiarities of habits in this Warbler had not escaped his
notice. He speaks of it as “frequenting, in company with _D. pinus_,
the edges of thickets, orchards, and open fields, _and is much on the

Mr. George A. Boardman, writing me from St. Stephen, March, 1867,
says: “The Yellow Red-Poll is one of our most common Warblers, and,
unlike most other Warblers, spends much of its time feeding upon the
ground. It is no uncommon thing to see a dozen or two on the ground in
my garden at a time, in early spring. Later in the season they have
more of the habits of other Warblers, and are in summer expert
flycatchers. In the fall we again see them mostly upon the ground,
feeding with the Blue Snowbirds (_Junco hyemalis_) and the Chipping
Sparrow. They breed in old brushy pastures, and very early, nesting
alongside of some little knoll, and, I think, always upon the ground.
The nest is very warmly lined with feathers.”

Mr. MacCulloch, in the paper already referred to, states that during
their autumnal migrations they seem invariably to exhibit the habits
of true _Sylvicolidæ_, gleaning among branches of trees for the
smaller insects, and not unfrequently visiting the windows of
dwellings in search of spiders and insects.

In their migrations through Massachusetts these Warblers are
everywhere quite abundant in the spring, but in their return in autumn
are not observed in the eastern part of the State, though very common
in the western from September into November, remaining long after all
the other Warblers are gone. None remain during the summer.

In Western Maine, Mr. Verrill states, it is quite common both in
spring and in fall, arriving in April, earlier than any other Warbler,
and again becoming abundant the last of September.

I found it plentiful in the vicinity of Halifax, where it occurs
throughout the summer from May to September.

Mr. Ridgway gives this species as perhaps the most numerous of the
transient visitants, in spring and fall, in Southern Illinois. It is
very terrestrial in its habits, keeping much on the ground, in
orchards and open places, and its movements are said to be wonderfully
like those of _Anthus ludovicianus_.

In the vibratory motions of its tail, especially when upon the ground,
these birds greatly resemble the Wagtails of Europe. They have no
other song than a few simple and feeble notes, so thin and weak that
they might almost be mistaken for the sounds made by the common

The Red-Poll usually selects for the site of its nest the edge of a
swampy thicket, more or less open, placing it invariably upon the
ground. This is usually not large, about three and a half inches in
diameter and two and a half in depth, the diameter and depth of the
cavity each averaging only half an inch less. The walls are compactly
and elaborately constructed of an interweaving of various fine
materials, chiefly fine dry grasses, slender strips of bark, stems of
the smaller plants, hypnum, and other mosses. Within, the nest is
warmly and softly lined with down and feathers.

Mr. Kennicott met with a nest of this bird at Fort Resolution, June
18. It was on the ground, on a hummock, at the foot of a small spruce,
in a swamp. When found, it contained five young birds.

Their eggs are of a rounded-oval shape, and measure .70 of an inch in
length by .55 in breadth. Their ground-color is a yellowish or
creamy-white, and their blotches, chiefly about the larger end, are a
blending of purple, lilac, and reddish-brown.

Dendroica discolor, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia discolor_, VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, 37, pl. xcviii.—
    BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. xiv; NUTT.—LEMBEYE, Aves Cuba, 1850,
    32, pl. vi, fig. 2. _Sylvicola discolor_, JARD.; RICH.; BON.; AUD.
    Birds Am. II, pl. xcvii.—GOSSE, Birds Jam. 1847, 159. _Rhimanphus
    discolor_, CAB. Jour. III, 1855, 474 (Cuba; winter). _Dendroica
    discolor_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 290; Rev. 213.—NEWTON, Ibis,
    1859, 144 (St. Croix).—BRYANT, Pr. Bost. Soc. VII, 1859
    (Bahamas).—IB. 1866 (Porto Rico); 1867, 91 (Hayti).—GUNDLACH, Cab.
    Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba; very common).—SAMUELS, 241. _Sylvia
    minuta_, WILSON, III, pl. xxv. fig. 4.

SP. CHAR. _Spring male._ Above uniform olive-green; the interscapular
region with chestnut-red centres to feathers. Under parts and sides of
the head, including a broad superciliary line from the nostrils to a
little behind the eye, bright yellow, brightest anteriorly. A
well-defined narrow stripe from the commissure of the mouth through
the eye, and another from the same point curving gently below it, also
a series of streaks on each side of the body, extending from the
throat to the flanks, black. Quills and tail-feathers brown, edged
with white; the terminal half of the inner web of the first and second
tail-feathers white. Two yellowish bands on the wings. _Female_
similar, but duller. The dorsal streaks indistinct. Length, 4.86;
wing, 2.25; tail, 2.10.

First plumage of the young not seen.

HAB. Atlantic region of United States, north to Massachusetts; South
Illinois; in winter very abundant throughout all the West India
Islands, as far, at least, as the Virgin Islands. Not recorded from
Mexico or Central America.

Autumnal specimens have the plumage more blended, but the markings not
changed. A young male in autumnal dress is wholly brownish olive-green
above, the whole wing uniform; the forehead ashy, the markings about
the head rather obsolete, the chestnut spots on the back and the black
ones on the sides nearly concealed.

HABITS. The Prairie Warbler, nowhere an abundant species, is pretty
generally, though somewhat irregularly, distributed through the
eastern portion of the United States from Massachusetts to Georgia
during its breeding-season. The Smithsonian Museum embraces no
specimens taken west of Philadelphia or Washington. I have had its
nest and eggs found in Central New York. Mr. Audubon speaks of its
occurring in Louisiana, but his accounts of its nesting are so
obviously inaccurate that we must receive this statement also with
misgivings. Wilson, however, obtained specimens in Kentucky, and gave
to it the inappropriate name of _Prairie_ Warbler. Nuttall regarded it
as rare in New England, which opinion more careful observations do not
confirm. They certainly are not rare in certain portions of
Massachusetts. In Essex County, and, according to Mr. Allen, in the
vicinity of Springfield, they are rather common. The Smithsonian
possesses specimens from the Bahamas, Jamaica, St. Croix, St. Thomas,
and other West India islands. Dr. Gundlach speaks of it as common in
Cuba. In the Bahamas, Dr. Bryant found these Warblers more abundant
than he had ever known them in the United States. In January all the
males were in winter plumage, some not having changed by April to
their summer costume. He regarded them as constant residents of those
islands. They had all paired off by the middle of April.

In the island of St. Croix, Mr. Edward Newton observed these Warblers
from the 10th of September to the 27th of March. They were present on
the island about two thirds of the year, and while they were found
were very common.

In Jamaica, according to Mr. March, they are numerous throughout the
entire year, though less abundant during the summer months. They were
always plentiful in the gardens about the _Malpighia glabra_,
capturing small insects from the ripe fruit.

Mr. Gosse, on the contrary, regarded it as only a winter visitant of
that island, appearing by the 18th of August, and disappearing by the
11th of April. He observed them among low bushes and herbaceous weeds,
along the roadside, near the ground, examining every stalk and twig
for insects. Others flew from bushes by the wayside to the middle of
the road, where, hovering in the air, a few feet from the ground, they
seemed to be catching small dipterous insects. Their stomachs were
filled with fragments of insects.

Wilson found them usually in open plains and thinly wooded tracts,
searching most leisurely among the foliage, carefully examining every
leaf or blade of grass for insects, uttering, at short intervals, a
brief _chirr_. They did not appear to be easily alarmed, and he has
known one of these birds to remain half an hour at a time on the lower
branch of a tree, and allow him to approach the foot, without being in
the least disturbed. He found their food consisted of winged insects
and small caterpillars.

In 1858, Mr. John Cassin wrote me: “The Prairie Warbler certainly
breeds in New Jersey, near Philadelphia. I have seen it all summer for
the last twelve years, and have seen the young just able to fly, but
never found the nest. It has a very peculiar note, which I know as
well as I do the Catbird’s, having often followed and searched it out.
It frequents cedar-trees, and I suspect breeds in and about them.”

Dr. Coues found the Prairie Warbler mostly a spring and autumn
visitant in the vicinity of Washington, being quite abundant during
those seasons. A few were observed to remain during the
breeding-season. They arrive earlier than most of this family of
birds, or about the 20th of April. He found them frequenting, almost
exclusively, cedar-patches and pine-trees, and speaks of their having
very peculiar manners and notes.

Both Wilson and Audubon were evidently at fault in their descriptions
of the nest and eggs. These do not correspond with more recent and
positive observations. Its nest is never pensile. Mr. Nuttall’s
descriptions, on the other hand, are made from his own observations,
and are evidently correct. He describes a nest that came under his
observation as scarcely distinguishable from that of the _D. æstiva_.
It was not pensile, but fixed in a forked branch, and formed of strips
of the inner bark of the red cedar, fibres of asclepia, and
caterpillars’ silk, and thickly lined with the down of the
_Gnaphalium plantagineum_. He describes the eggs as having a white
ground, sharp at one end, and marked with spots of lilac-purple and of
two shades of brown, more numerous at the larger end, where they
formed a ring. He speaks of their note as slender, and noticed their
arrival about the second week of May, leaving the middle of September.

At another time Mr. Nuttall was attracted by the slender, filing notes
of this bird, resembling the suppressed syllables _’tsh-’tsh-’tsh-’tshea_,
beginning low and gradually growing louder. With its mate it was
busily engaged collecting flies and larvæ about a clump of
locust-trees in Mount Auburn. Their nest was near, and the female,
without any precautions, went directly to it. Mr. Nuttall removed two
eggs, which he afterwards replaced. Each time, on his withdrawal, she
returned to the nest, and resorted to no expedients to entice him away.

Several nests of this Warbler have been obtained by Mr. Welch in Lynn.
One was built on a wild rose, only a few feet from the ground. It is a
snug, compact, and elaborately woven structure, having a height and a
diameter of about two and a half inches. The cavity is two inches wide
and one and a half deep. The materials of which the outer parts are
woven are chiefly the soft inner bark of small shrubs, mingled with
dry rose-leaves, bits of vegetables, wood, woody fibres, decayed stems
of plants, spiders’ webs, etc. The whole is bound together like a web
by cotton-like fibres of a vegetable origin. The upper rim of this
nest is a marked feature, being a strongly interlaced weaving of
vegetable roots and strips of bark. The lining of the nest is composed
of fine vegetable fibres and a few horse-hairs. This nest, in its
general mode of construction, resembles all that I have seen; only in
others the materials vary,—in some dead and decayed leaves, in others
remains of old cocoons, and in others the pappus of composite plants,
being more prominent than the fine strips of bark. The nests are
usually within four feet of the ground. The eggs vary from three to
five, and even six.

The late Dr. Gerhardt found this bird the most common Warbler in
Northern Georgia. There its nests were similar in size, structure, and
position, but differed more or less in the materials of which they
were made. The nests were a trifle larger and the walls thinner, the
cavities being correspondingly larger. The materials were more
invariably fine strips of inner bark and flax-like vegetable fibres,
and were lined with the finest stems of plants, in one case with the
feathers of the Great Horned Owl. In that neighborhood the eggs were
deposited by the 15th of May.

In Massachusetts the Prairie Warbler invariably selects wild
pasture-land, often not far from villages, and always open or very
thinly wooded. In Georgia their nests were built in almost every kind
of bush or low tree, or on the lower limbs of post-oaks, at the height
of from four to seven feet. Eggs were found once as early as the 2d of
May, and once as late as the 10th of June. The birds arrived there by
the 10th of April, and seemed to prefer hillsides, but were found in
almost any open locality.

In Southern Illinois, Mr. Ridgway cites this species as a rather rare
bird among the oak barrens where it breeds. He also met with it in
orchards in the wooded portions, in April, during the northward
migration of the _Sylvicolidæ_.

The eggs are of an oval shape, pointed at one end, and measure .68 by
.48 of an inch. They have a white ground, marked with spots of lilac
and purple and two shades of umber-brown.



The diagnosis of the subfamily will be found on page 178. The
_Seiureæ_, as there stated, have the wings pointed, and rather longer
than the nearly even tail, which is unspotted. The genera differ in
proportion rather than absolutely, _Oporornis_ having longer wings and
larger claws. The coloration, however, is always distinctive, as

  Under part white or whitish, thickly streaked …          _Seiurus._
  Beneath yellow, without spots …                        _Oporornis._


  _Seiurus_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. III, 1827, 171. (Sufficiently
    distinct from _Sciurus_.) (Type, _Motacilla aurocapilla_, L.)
  _Henicocichla_, GRAY, List of Genera, 1840.

  [Line drawing: _Seiurus aurocapillus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill rather sylvicoline, compressed, with a distinct notch.
Gonys ascending. Rictal bristles very short. Wings moderate, about
three quarters of an inch longer than the tail; first quill scarcely
shorter than the second. Tail slightly rounded; feathers acuminate.
Tarsi about as long as the skull, considerably exceeding the middle
toe. Under tail-coverts reaching within about half an inch of the end
of the tail. Color above olivaceous; beneath whitish, thickly streaked
on the breast and sides. Wings and tail immaculate. Nests on the
ground, often arched or sheltered by position or dry leaves. Eggs
white, marked with red, brown, and purple.

This genus is decidedly sylvicoline in general appearance, although
the spots on the breast resemble somewhat those of the Thrushes. The
three species may be grouped as follows:—

A. Middle of crown brownish-orange, bordered by blackish. No
white superciliary streak …                        _S. aurocapillus._

B. Crown like the back. A well-defined superciliary light

  Thickly streaked beneath, including crissum. Ground-color and
  superciliary stripe yellowish. Bill small …    _S. noveboracensis._

  Sparsely streaked beneath; throat and crissum immaculate.
  Ground-color and superciliary stripe white. Bill very large …
                                                   _S. ludovicianus._

Seiurus aurocapillus, SWAINS.


  _Motacilla aurocapilla_, LINN. S. N. I, 1766, 334. _Turdus aur._
    LATH.; WILS. Am. Orn. II, pl. xiv, fig. 2.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl.
    cxliii. _Sylvia aur._ BON. _Seiurus aur._ SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour.
    III, 1827, 171.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 260; Rev. 214.—MOORE, P.
    Z. S. 1859, 55 (Honduras).—MAX. Cab. Jour. 1858, 177.—JONES, Nat.
    Bermuda, 27. _Henicocichla aur._ SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 25, no.
    159.—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba). _Seiurus aur._ D’ORB.
    Sagra’s Cuba, 1840, 55.—DALL & BANNISTER, Tr. Chic. Ac. I, 1869,
    278 (Alaska).—SAMUELS, 218. _Turdus coronatus_, VIEILL. Ois. II.
    1807, 8.
  Other localities quoted: _Cordova_, SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 293. _St.
    Domingo_, SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857, 231. _Guatemala_, SCLATER &
    SALVIN, Ibis, I, 1859, 10. _Santa Cruz_ (winter), NEWTON, Ibis,
    1859, 142. _Cuba_ (winter), Cab. Jour. III, 471. _Jamaica_, GOSSE,
    Birds, 152.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1861, 70. _Costa Rica_, CAB. Jour.
    1861, 84. _Orizaba_ (winter), SUMICHRAST. _Yucatan_, LAWR.
    _Chiriqui_, SALV.

SP. CHAR. Above uniform olive-green, with a tinge of yellow. Crown
with two narrow streaks of black from the bill, enclosing a median and
much broader one of brownish-orange. Beneath white; the breast, sides
of the body, and a maxillary line, streaked with black. The female and
young of the year are not appreciably different. Length, 6.00; wing,
3.00; tail, 2.40.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, north to English River, H. B.
T., and Alaska; west to mouth of Platte, and Denver City, Colorado;
Mazatlan; whole West Indies; Eastern Mexico; Honduras, Guatemala, and
Costa Rica; Bermuda in autumn and winter (JONES).

  [Illustration: _Seiurus aurocapillus._]

HABITS. The Golden-crowned Thrush, or Oven-Bird, as in some portions
of the country it is exclusively called, inhabits the whole of eastern
North America, as far to the west as the Great Plains, and to the
north at least as far as English River. In the winter season it has
been found in Mexico, St. Domingo, Jamaica, Cuba, and other West India
islands, and in Central America is also very common. Mr. Sumichrast
also speaks of it as common at Orizaba during the same season, and it
has been found in the Bermudas and the Bahamas. In all these places it
usually appears early in the autumn and remains until the ensuing
spring. It breeds as far to the north as it has been known to go.
Richardson met with its nest on the banks of the Saskatchewan, and was
convinced that it bred at even still higher latitudes. Among some
memoranda I received from the late Mr. Kennicott is one stating that
he met with this Thrush breeding near English River, July 15. These
birds arrive in the fur country about the first of May. How far to the
south they breed we have no positive information. I have never
received its eggs from any point south of Philadelphia, nor did I ever
meet with it or hear its notes in summer in the vicinity of
Washington. Audubon was of the opinion that a few remain to breed even
in Louisiana, and states that he found them abundant in Texas in the
middle of May, but he may have confounded this species with the
Louisiana Thrush.

In Jamaica, where its habits have been carefully studied by Mr. Gosse,
it arrives in September and leaves about the 20th of April. Mr.
Würdemann obtained specimens at Cape Florida, September 24 and 25. Mr.
Audubon mentions their appearing in Louisiana as early as the first of
March. Wilson never noticed it in Louisiana before the last of April,
nor after September. The Smithsonian possesses no specimen obtained
earlier than May 1, except some procured April 25 from the mouth of
Platte River. Mr. Allen notes its arrival in Western Massachusetts May
10. Mr. Verrill gives the early part of May as the time of its
reaching Western Maine, and Mr. Boardman May 1 for the vicinity of

Though not found on the California coast, specimens of this bird have
been taken in winter near Mazatlan, Mexico, showing probably that in
their migrations they cross the mountains of Northern Mexico, as do
the _Mniotilta varia_ and a few other of our Eastern species.

In Eastern Massachusetts it usually appears from the 1st to the 10th
of May, just as the first leaves of the trees are expanding, and is to
be found only in thick woods, often near their edges. Occasionally
found perched on the low limbs of trees, it is quite terrestrial in
its habits, keeps a good deal on the ground, running about among the
fallen leaves, more in the manner of a small quadruped than a bird.
Mr. Audubon speaks of its frequenting shady woods, watered by creeks
and rivulets. I have found them rather more abundant in woods upon
high and dry ground, usually upon slopes of wooded hillsides. In this
respect it appears to differ in a marked manner from its near of kin,
the Water Thrush (_S. noveboracensis_).

This bird, and indeed all of this genus, have the peculiar vibratory
motions of the tail noticed in the Wagtail of Europe, and also
observed in our own Red-poll Warbler, and in the Titlarks. In
consequence of these peculiarities this species is known, in Jamaica,
as _Land Kickup_, and the _noveboracensis_ as the _Water Kickup_. Mr.
Gosse found in its stomach gravel, various seeds, mud-insects,
caterpillars, and small turbinate shells.

The usual and more common song of this species is a very peculiar and
striking one, unlike that of any other of our birds. It is said to
somewhat resemble the song of the _Accentor modularis_ of Europe. It
is loud and clear, enunciated with great rapidity, and uttered with
great emphasis at its close. It is characterized by energy and power,
rather than variety or sweetness, yet it is not unpleasing. Audubon
calls it a “simple lay,” and again “a short succession of simple
notes,”—expressions that would give one who had never heard its song
an altogether incorrect idea of its true character. Wilson is still
more in error when he states that this bird has no song, but an
energetic twitter, when, in fact, it has two very distinct songs, each
in its way remarkable. Nuttall describes its song as “a simple, long,
reiterated note, rising from low to high, and shrill”; Richardson
speaks of it as “a loud, clear, and remarkably pleasing ditty”; and
Mr. Allen calls it “a loud, echoing song, heard everywhere in the deep
woods.” In reference to the songs of this bird, and the injustice that
has been done by writers to this and other species of our birds, Mr.
Boardman of St. Stephen has written me the following just

     “Many of our common Warblers, Thrushes, and other birds,
     have rare songs they reserve for some extra occasions, and
     many of our common birds do not get credit for half their
     real power of song. Once last spring, as I was watching for
     some birds, I heard a new and very pretty warble, something
     like the trill of a Winter Wren, and found that it came from
     our common slate-colored Snowbird (_Junco hyemalis_), a bird
     that I see every day that I go to the woods, and yet these
     notes I had never heard before. It is the same with the
     Golden-crowned Thrush. When it gets into the top of a tall
     tree, its strain is so rare and beautiful that but few know
     it as from that bird. The same is true of the Water Thrush,
     and also of both _Turdus pallasi_ and _Turdus swainsoni_.”

The Oven-Bird always nests on the ground, and generally constructs
nests with arched or domed roofs, with an entrance on one side, like
the mouth of an oven, and hence its common name. This arched covering
is not, however, universal. For a site this species usually selects
the wooded slope of a hill, and the nests are usually sunk in the
ground. When placed under the shelter of a projecting root, or in a
thick clump of bushes, the nest has no other cover than a few loose
leaves resting on, but forming no part of it.

A nest from Racine, Wis., obtained by Dr. Hoy, is a fine typical
specimen of the domed nests of this species. The roof is very perfect,
and the whole presents the appearance of two shallow nests united at
the rim, and leaving only a small opening at one side. This nest was
five inches in diameter from front to back, six inches from side to
side, and four inches high. The opening was two and a quarter inches
wide, one and three quarters high. The cavity was two inches deep,
below the brim. At the entrance the roof recedes about an inch,
obviously to allow of a freer entrance and exit from the nest.
Externally this nest is made of wood, mosses, lichens, and dry leaves,
with a few stems and broken fragments of plants. The entrance is
strongly built of stout twigs, and its upper portion is composed of a
strong framework of fine twigs, roots, stems, mosses, dry plants,
etc., all firmly interwoven, and lined with finer materials of the

On the 7th of June, 1858, I came accidentally upon a nest of this bird
of a very different style of structure. It was in a thick wood in
Hingham. The nest was built in a depression in the ground at the foot
of some low bushes, and its top was completely covered by surrounding
vines and wild flowers. It would probably have escaped notice had not
my daughter, then a child of four years, attempted to gather some wild
flowers growing directly over its entrance. This flushed the mother,
who until then had remained quiet, although we were standing with our
feet almost upon the nest, and the bird fluttered and tumbled about at
our feet with well-feigned manœuvres to distract our attention. The
child in great glee sought to catch it, but it eluded her grasp, and,
running off like a mouse, disappeared. The nest contained six eggs,
was entirely open, and with no other cover than the wild plants that
clustered above it. As to its identity there was no doubt, as the
parent was afterwards snared upon its nest. This nest was somewhat
loosely constructed of skeleton leaves, dry slender stalks, grasses,
and pine-needles, and was lined with a few slender grasses and leaves.
It had a diameter of six inches, and was two and a half inches deep.
The cup had a diameter of three and a half inches and a depth of two,
being very large for the size of the bird, probably owing to the shape
of the cavity in which it was sunk.

The nest of this bird seems to be a favorite place of resort for the
Cow Blackbird to deposit its egg. In one nest, found by Mr. Vickary in
Lynn, no less than three eggs of these parasites had been placed.

The eggs of the Golden-crowned Thrush are subject to considerable
variations. Their markings differ in their colors and shades, and yet
more in number, size, and manner of distribution. The eggs are oval in
shape, one end being but very slightly smaller than the other. Their
average length is .82 of an inch, and their breadth is .55 of an inch.
Their ground-color is a beautiful creamy-white. They are marked,
usually principally about the larger end, with dots and blotches,
intermingled, of red, reddish-brown, lilac, darker purple, and
ferruginous. Occasionally these make a beautiful crown around the
larger end, leaving the rest of the surface nearly free from spots.

Seiurus noveboracensis, NUTT.


  _Motacilla noveboracensis_, GMELIN, S. N. I, 1788, 958. _Sylvia nov._
    LATH.; VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. II, pl. lxxxii. _Seiurus nov._
    NUTT.; BON.; AUD. Birds Am. III, pl. cxcix.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am.
    1858, 261, pl. lxxx, fig. 1; Rev. 215.—MAX. Cab. Jour. 1858,
    121.—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—SAMUELS, 220. _Henicocichla nov._
    CAB. Schom. Guiana, III, 666; Jour. 1860, 324 (Costa
    Rica).—SCLATER (Tobago).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba).
    _Mniotilta nov._ GRAY. _?? Motacilla fuscescens_, GMELIN, S. N.
    984 (based on _Ficedula jamaicensis_, BRISSON, III, 512, Jamaica).
    _Turdus aquaticus_, WILS.; AUD. Orn. Biog. 1839, 284, pl.
    ccccxxxiii. _Sylvia anthoides_, VIEILLOT, Nouv. Dict. XI, 1817,
    208. _Seiurus tenuirostris_, SW. 1827; GAMB. _Seiurus_
    _sulfurascens_, D’ORBIGNY, Sagra’s Cuba, 1840, 57, pl. vi.
    _Seiurus gosse_, BON. Consp. 1850, 306 (Jamaica). _? Anthus
    l’herminieri_, LESS. Rev. Z. 1839, 101 (Colombia).
  Other localities quoted: _Xalapa_, SCLATER. _Guatemala_, SCLATER &
    SALVIN. _Panama_, LAWRENCE. _Carthagena_, CASSIN. _Santa Cruz_
    (winter), NEWTON. _Cuba_, CAB. _Jamaica_, GOSSE.; SCL.
    _Venezuela_, SCL. & SALV. _Yucatan_, LAWR. _St. Bartholemy_, SUND.
    _Veragua_, SALV.

SP. CHAR. Bill, from rictus, about the length of the skull. Above
olive-brown, with a shade of green; beneath pale sulphur-yellow,
brightest on the abdomen. Region about the base of the lower mandible,
and a superciliary line from the base of the bill to the nape,
brownish-yellow. A dusky line from the bill through the eye; chin and
throat finely spotted. All the remaining under parts and sides of the
body, except the abdomen, and including the under tail-coverts,
conspicuously and thickly streaked with olivaceous-brown, almost black
on the breast. Length, 6.15; wing, 3.12; tail, 2.40. Bill, from
rictus, .64. Sexes similar.

HAB. Eastern Province of North America, north to Arctic Ocean and
Yukon (westward along northern border of United States to Cascade
Mountains); Fort Bridger, (DREXLER); Arizona (COUES); whole West
Indies; Southeastern Mexico; all Central America; Panama and Eastern
South America (Bogota; Carthagena; Brazil).

A very young bird (22,619, Fort Simpson, August 10) is very different
from the adult in coloration. The upper parts are fuliginous-black,
each feather with a broad terminal bar of pale ochraceous,
wing-coverts tipped with the same, forming two distinct bands; streaks
below as in the adult, but broader and less sharply defined.

HABITS. This species has a general distribution, at certain seasons,
throughout the whole of eastern North America as far to the north as
the Arctic Ocean. North of the United States it is also found on the
Pacific coast as far south as the Cascade Mountains. In the winter it
is quite common in all the West India Islands, in Southeastern Mexico,
Central America, Panama, and the eastern part of South America to
Brazil. From about latitude 43° northward it breeds throughout all
North America. Sir John Richardson met with it at the Carlton House,
where it was found frequenting the moist and thickly wooded banks of
the river. These birds made their first appearance in May, and the
greater portion soon after disappeared, as if proceeding still farther
north to breed.

Among other memoranda given me by the late Mr. Kennicott was one
furnished him by Mr. Lockhart, to the effect that, at Yukon River,
June 21, 1859, he had shot a female Water Thrush as she flew from her
nest. This contained five eggs, and was concealed under a small pile
of drift, close to the river, but under large willow-trees. This was
not lined with down. At the same locality another nest with six eggs
was also obtained. This also was on the ground at the foot of some
willows near the water. It was made of moss, and lined with very fine

All that has been given by our earlier authors as to the habits of
this species must be received with more or less uncertainty. The
difference between this bird and that known as the Louisiana Thrush
has not been sufficiently clear to these writers to enable us always
to determine which of the two they had in view. And even now the
distribution in summer of the _ludovicianus_ is hardly definable with

Wilson describes the habits of those he observed in Pennsylvania as
evincing a remarkable partiality for brooks, rivers, ponds, and the
vicinity of water generally, wading in shallow pools in search of
aquatic insects, and giving, as it moves it along, an almost
continuously vibratory motion to its tail. He speaks of it as very
shy, darting away with signs of alarm whenever approached, and
uttering a sharp cry. In all other respects his account of this bird
probably refers to the Louisiana species.

This is also, without doubt, true of nearly all Audubon gives in
connection with the history of this Thrush, which in all probability
does not breed in Louisiana, nor remain there through April, being at
that time well on its way to more northern regions.

Mr. Gosse, in his notes on the birds of Jamaica, states that this bird
reappears in that island about the end of August. He noticed them
about the muddy margins of ponds, and they soon became abundant.
Individuals were also to be seen running on the road, especially near
the sea-shore, and by the edges of morasses. They ran rapidly, often
waded up to their tibiæ in water, or ran along the twigs of a fallen
tree at the brink, and now and then flew up into the branches of a
pimento or an orange-tree. Whether running or standing, they were
continually flirting up their tails, after the manner of the European
Wagtail. During its winter residence in Jamaica it has no song, only a
monotonous cry, a sharp _chip_. Its stomach was found to contain
water-insects and shells. Mr. March has noticed their arrival in
Jamaica as early as August 5. They all leave by the first of April.

Mr. Allen found these birds not uncommon both in spring and in fall in
the vicinity of Springfield. He thinks a few breed there, as he has
met with them in the months of June, July, and August, very sparingly
however. They arrive about the 12th of May. I have once, at least, met
with its nest and eggs near Boston.

Dr. Coues says this bird is quite common, both in the spring and fall,
near Washington, and breeds sparingly, having been found there in
July. They arrive about the first of May, are eminently aquatic,
frequent swampy thickets and thick dark woods interspersed with pools,
where they associate with the Solitary Tatler.

In Southern Illinois this species, Mr. Ridgway states, is found only
during its migrations and in mild winters. He never met with it in the
breeding-season, when the _S. ludovicianus_ is so abundant. But it
returns early from the North, and he has shot numbers of them in
August. During the whole fall they are common about all swampy places,
or the margin of creeks in the woods; and in mild winters a few are
found in the swamps of the bottom-lands, where the dense forest
affords them comfortable shelter. On warm days in December and
January, he has heard them singing with all the vigor of spring in
such localities. In notes, as well as in manners, Mr. Ridgway has
noticed little difference between this species and _S. ludovicianus_.
The song, however, is decidedly weaker, though scarcely less sweet,
and the two are very easily distinguished at sight by one familiar
with them.

These birds breed, though they are not very abundant, in the vicinity
of Calais, and also in the western part of Maine. Professor Verrill
states that they reached the neighborhood of Norway, Me., about the
first of May, a fortnight earlier than Mr. Allen noted their arrival
in Springfield. Mr. Verrill demonstrated the fact of their breeding in
Western Maine, by finding, June 8, 1861, a nest and eggs in a dense
cedar swamp near Norway. This was built in an excavation in the side
of a decayed moss-covered log, the excavation itself forming an arch
over the nest in the manner of, yet different from, that of the
Golden-crowned. The nest itself was an exceeding beautiful structure,
four and a half inches in diameter, but only an inch and a half in
depth, being very nearly flat, the cavity only half an inch deep. The
entire base was made of loose hypnum mosses, interspersed with a few
dead leaves and stems. The whole inner structure or lining was made up
of the fruit-stems of the same moss, densely impacted. The outer
circumference was made up of mosses and intertwined small black
vegetable roots.

This nest contained five eggs, the brilliant white ground of which,
with their delicately shaded spots of reddish-brown, contrasted with
the bright green of the mossy exterior, and set off to advantage by
the conspicuous and unique lining, produce a very beautiful effect.

Mr. George A. Boardman of Calais, Me., an observing and accurate
naturalist, has furnished me with the following interesting account of
the habits of this species and its congener, the _aurocapillus_, in a
letter dated St. Stephen, March 23, 1867. “Did you ever notice their
walk on the ground? You know that most of our birds are hoppers. These
two, _S. noveboracensis_ and _S. aurocapillus_, have a beautiful
gliding walk, and of all our other birds I only remember two that are
not hoppers, the _Anthus ludovicianus_ and _Molothrus pecoris_. I do
not think that a naturalist should ever say, as Wilson was constantly
doing, that any bird has no note or song whatever, unless he is well
acquainted with them, at all times, especially while breeding. Many
birds seem really to have nothing to say except when mating. I think
that our little walker, the Water Thrush, has been particularly ill
used by writers in this respect, for I regard him as one of our
liveliest singers. Its note is very high and clear, begins with a
sudden outburst of melody, so as almost to startle you, is very clear
and ringing, as if the bird had just found its mate after a long
absence. It then keeps falling until you can hardly hear it. Its note
is very sweet, and can be heard when you are in a canoe or boat a very
long ways. Like most of our Warblers and Thrushes, when singing, they
do not like intrusion, and it was a long while before I could make out
the bird that uttered these notes. I could only do it by going in a
boat or canoe. They hide in thick trees, over the water, where it is
impossible to walk up to them. I almost always find them on some
island, in a river, that, has been overflowed, and always very near
the water.”

Their eggs vary in length from .81 to .87 of an inch, and in breadth
from .65 to .69. They have an oblong-oval shape, tapering to a point
at one end and rounded at the other. Their ground is a clear
crystal-white, and they are more or less marked with lines, dots, and
dashes of varying shades of umber-brown. These markings are more
numerous around the larger end, and are much larger and bolder in some
than in others, in many being mere points and fine dots, and in such
cases equally distributed over the whole egg. In others a ring of
large confluent blotches is grouped around the larger end, leaving the
rest of the egg nearly unmarked.

Seiurus ludovicianus, BONAP.


  _Turdus ludovicianus_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1832, 99, pl. xix. _Seiurus
    ludovicianus_, BON.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 262, pl. lxxx, fig.
    2; Rev. 217.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1859, 363 (Xalapa); 373 (Oaxaca);
    1861, 70 (Jamaica).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1860, 273
    (Guatemala).—SAMUELS, 579. _Henicocichla lud._ SCLATER, Catal.
    1861, 25, no. 161 (Orizaba). _? Turdus motacilla_, VIEILL. Ois.
    Am. Sept. II, 1807, 9, pl. lxv (Kentucky). _Seiurus motacilla_,
    BON. 1850. _Henicocichla mot._ CAB. Jour. 1857, 240
    (Cuba).—GUNDLACH, Jour. Orn. 1861, 326. _Henicocichla major_, CAB.
    Mus. Hein. 1850 (Xalapa).

SP. CHAR. Bill longer than the skull. Upper parts olive-brown with a
shade of greenish. A conspicuous white superciliary line from the bill
to the nape, involving the upper lid, with a brown one from the bill
through the eye, widening behind. Under parts white, with a very faint
shade of pale buff behind, especially on the tail-coverts. A dusky
maxillary line; the forepart of breast and sides of body with
arrow-shaped streaks of the same color. Chin, throat, belly, and under
tail-coverts, entirely immaculate. Length, 6.33; wing, 3.25; tail,
2.40; bill, from rictus, .75. Sexes similar. Young not seen.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States as far north as Carlisle,
Penn., and Michigan; Cuba and Jamaica; Southern Mexico (Colima) to

  [Line drawing: _Seiurus ludovicianus_, Bonap.]

  [Line drawing: _Seiurus noveboracensis_, Nutt.

Autumnal specimens have a more or less strong wash of ochraceous over
the flanks and crissum, and the brown above rather darker and less
grayish than in spring birds.

This species is very similar to _S. noveboracensis_, although readily
distinguishable by the characters given in the diagnoses. The
differences in the bill there referred to are illustrated in the
accompanying diagram.

HABITS. The Water Thrush described by Wilson as most abundant in the
lower part of the Mississippi Valley, as well as that given by Audubon
as the Louisiana Water Thrush, though its position as a genuine
species was afterwards abandoned, are undoubtedly referable to a
closely allied but apparently distinct _Seiurus_, now known as the
Louisiana Water Thrush. This bird has a very close resemblance to the
_noveboracensis_, differing chiefly in size and in having a larger
bill. Although its distribution is not yet fully determined, it seems
to belong rather to the South and Southwestern States, and only
accidentally to be found north of the Middle States. Still a single
specimen has been obtained in Massachusetts, and it has been several
times found in Michigan and Missouri. Specimens of this bird have also
been procured in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Tamaulipas, Mexico, Cuba,
Jamaica, and Guatemala.

Its recognition as a distinct species from the common Water Thrush is
so recent, and the two species so closely resemble each other, that as
yet its habits and history are imperfectly known. Wilson refers to the
birds he had met with in Mississippi and Louisiana, which we presume
to have been the same, as being there in abundance, and eminently
distinguished by the loudness, sweetness, and expressive vivacity of
their notes. These he describes as beginning very high and clear, and
as falling with an almost imperceptible gradation until they are
scarcely articulated,—a description that would also answer very well
for the song of the true Water Thrush. During their song, he adds,
they are perched on the middle branches of a tree over the brook or
river-bank, pouring out a charming melody, so loud and distinct that
it may be heard at the distance of nearly half a mile. The voice of
this bird appeared to him so exquisitely sweet and expressive that he
was never tired of listening to it.

It is also quite probable that nearly all of Audubon’s accounts of the
habits of the Water Thrush were derived from his observation of this
species, and not of its Northern congener. He describes its song as
fully equal to that of the Nightingale, its notes as powerful and
mellow, and at times as varied. He states that it is to be found at
all seasons in the deepest and most swampy of the canebrakes of
Mississippi and Louisiana. Its song is to be heard even in the winter,
when the weather is calm and warm.

He describes its flight as easy and continued, just above the brakes,
or close to the ground. When on the ground, it is continually
vibrating its body, jerking out its tail and then closing it again. It
walks gracefully along the branches or on the ground, but never hops.
He states that it feeds on insects and their larvæ, and often pursues
the former on the wing.

He describes the nest as placed at the foot and among the roots of a
tree, or by the side of a decayed log, and says they are often easily
discovered. They are commenced the first week of April. The outer
portions are formed of dry leaves and mosses, the inner of fine
grasses, with a few hairs or the dry fibres of the Spanish moss.

The eggs, four in number, are described as flesh-colored, sprinkled
with dark red at the larger end. They are hatched in fourteen days.
The young leave the nest in about ten days, and follow the parent on
the ground from place to place. When disturbed on her nest in the
earlier periods of incubation, she merely flies off; but later, or
when she has young, she tumbles about on the ground, spreads her wings
and tail, utters piteous cries, and seems as if in the last agonies of
despair. This species Mr. Audubon never met with farther east than
Georgia, nor farther north than Henderson, Ky.

Of late years, or since attention has been more drawn to the specific
difference between this species and the Water Thrush, it has
apparently become more numerous, and has been obtained in considerable
numbers in the vicinity of Washington. In that neighborhood, once
considered so rare, it was found by Dr. Coues to be not at all
uncommon at certain seasons and in particular localities. From the
10th of April to the 20th of May it was always to be met with among
the dense laurel-brakes that border the banks of and fill the ravines
leading into Rock Creek and Piney Branch. He believes they breed
there, but they were not observed in the fall. They were usually very
shy, darting at once into the most impenetrable brakes, but were at
other times easily approached. He always found them in pairs, even as
early as the 20th of April. Their call-note was a sparrow-like chirp,
as if made by striking two pebbles together. They also had a loud,
beautiful, and melodious song, the singularity of which first drew his
attention to the bird.

Mr. Ridgway informs me that in the Wabash Valley this bird, familiarly
known as the “Water Wagtail,” is an abundant summer sojourner. It
inhabits the dampest situations in the bottom-lands, the borders of
creeks, lagoons, and swamps, living there in company with the
Prothonotary Warbler (_Protonotaria citrea_). In its movements it is
one of the quickest as well as the most restless of the _Sylvicolidæ_,
though it is eminently terrestrial in its habits. It is usually seen
upon the wet ground, in a horizontal position, or even the posterior
part of its body more elevated, and its body continually tilting up
and down; if it fancies itself unobserved, it runs slyly beneath the
brushwood overhanging the shore; but if startled, it flies up suddenly
with a sharp and startling chatter. He adds that in early spring (from
the latter part of February to the beginning of April) its rich loud
song may be heard before the trees are in leaf, for it is one of the
earliest of the Warblers to arrive. When singing, it is usually
perched upon the lower branches of a tree overhanging the water, but
he has frequently seen it among the topmost branches. Wilson and
Audubon have not exaggerated the merits of the song of this bird, for
among all its family there is certainly not one of our North American
species that compares with it. In richness and volume of its very
liquid notes it is almost unrivalled, though the song itself may not
be considered otherwise remarkable.

Mr. Salvin met this species in different portions of Guatemala in the
months of August, September, and November, 1859. A dry watercourse in
the forest, or in the bottom of a barranco, seemed to be its favorite
resort, while its near congener, the _noveboracensis_, was observed to
seek rather the more open streams.


  _Oporornis_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 246. (Type, _Sylvia agilis_,

  [Line drawing: _Oporornis formosus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill sylvicoline, rather compressed; distinctly notched at
tip; rictal bristles very much reduced. Wings elongated, pointed, much
longer than the tail; the first quill nearly or quite the longest.
Tail very slightly rounded; tail-feathers acuminate, pointed; the
under coverts reaching to within less than half an inch of their tip.
Tarsi elongated, longer than the head; claws large, the hinder one as
long as its digit, and longer than the lateral toes. Above
olive-green; beneath yellow; tail and wings immaculate. Legs yellow.

This group of American Warblers is very distinct from any other. The
typical species is quite similar in color to _Geothlypis
philadelphia_, but is at once to be distinguished by much longer
wings, more even tail, and larger toes and claws. It is also very
similar to _Seiurus_, differing chiefly in the longer wings, larger
claws, and absence of spots beneath.

  Throat and crown ash-color; a white ring round the eye. No
  black on the side of the head …                        _O. agilis._

  Throat and superciliary stripe yellow; top of the head and a
  streak beneath the eye black …                       _O. formosus._

Oporornis agilis, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia agilis_, WILS. Am. Orn. V, 1812, 64, pl. xxxix, fig. 4.—AUD.
    Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxxviii; BON. _Sylvicola ag._ JARD.; AUD.
    Birds Am. II, pl. xcix. _Trichas ag._ NUTT. _Oporornis ag._ BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 246, pl. lxxix, fig. 2: Rev. 218. _? Trichas
    tephrocotis_, NUTT. Man. 2d ed. 1840, 462 (Chester Co., Penn.; top
    of head pure ash).—SAMUELS, 208.

SP. CHAR. _Spring male._ Upper parts and sides of the body uniform
olive-green, very slightly tinged with ash on the crown. Sides of the
head ash, tinged with dusky beneath, the eye. (Entire head sometimes
ash.) Chin and throat grayish-ash, gradually becoming darker to the
upper part of the breast, where it becomes tinged with dark ash. Sides
of the neck, breast, and body olive, like the back; rest of under
parts light yellow. A broad continuous white ring round the eye. Wings
and tail-feathers olive (especially the latter), without any trace of
bars or spots. Bill brown above. Feet yellow. Length, 6 inches; wing,
3.00; tail, 2.25. _Female._ The olive-green reaching to the bill, and
covering sides of head; throat and jugulum pale ashy-buff. _Young_ not
seen. Nesting unknown.

Autumnal specimen nearly uniform olive above; the throat tinged with
brownish so as to obscure the ash.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States.

  [Illustration: PLATE XV.

   1. Oporornis agilis, _Wils._ ♂ Ill., 35031.
   2.     “        “       “    ♀.
   3.     “     formosas, _Wils._ ♂ Ill., 60873.
   4. Geothlypis macgillivrayi, _Aud._ ♂ Oreg., 1861.
   5.     “            “          “    ♀.
   6.     “      philadelphia, _Wils._ ♂ Pa., 689.
   7.     “      trichas, _Linn._ ♂ D. C., 26024.
   8.     “        “         “    ♀ Pa., 385.
   9.     “      philadelphia, _Wils._ ♀ Pa., 1037.
  10. Myiodioctes mitratus, _Gm._ ♂ Pa., 2226.
  11.    “          “         “   ♀ Pa., 2228.
  12. Icteria virens, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 2260.]

A specimen in the collection of the Philadelphia Academy, killed by
Mr. Krider, has the darker ash of the jugulum of a decided sooty

A peculiarity in the history of this species is shown in the fact that
it is quite abundant in Illinois, Wisconsin, etc., in the spring, and
very rare in the autumn; precisely the reverse being the case near the
Atlantic border, where only two or three spring specimens have been
announced as captured by collectors. It is possible that they go north
in spring, along the valley of the Mississippi, and return in autumn
through the Atlantic States. Their summer abode and breeding-place are
as yet unknown.

  [Illustration: _Oporornis agilis._]

HABITS. Of the history of this rare and beautiful species but little
is as yet known. It was first met with by Wilson, in the State of
Connecticut, and he afterwards obtained two other specimens near
Philadelphia. Others have since been procured at Carlisle, Penn., at
Washington, Loudon County, Va., near Chicago, Racine, and in Southern
Illinois. September 25 to October 1, and May, from the 15th to the
28th, appears to be the epoch of their fall and spring occurrence.
They are more frequently noticed in the autumn. It is supposed to be a
migratory bird, going north to breed.

It was found by Wilson, in every case, among low thickets, and seemed
to be more than commonly active, not remaining for a moment in the
same position. Mr. Audubon obtained only two specimens, a pair,
opposite Philadelphia in New Jersey. When he first observed them they
were hopping and skipping from one low bush to another, and among the
tall reeds of the marsh, emitting an oft-repeated _tweet_ at every
move. They were chasing a species of spider that ran nimbly over the
water, and which they caught by gliding over it. Upon dissecting them,
he found a number of these spiders in their stomachs, and no other
food. These two birds were not at all shy, and seemed to take very
little notice of him, even when close to them.

Mr. Trumbull, in his list of the birds of Eastern Pennsylvania, marks
it as a summer resident of that State, which is probably not the fact.
Mr. Lawrence includes it in his list of birds found near New York
City. It is not given by Mr. Verrill or Mr. Boardman as occurring in
any part of Maine, and has not been detected in Western Massachusetts
by Mr. Allen, though it has been occasionally met with in the eastern
part of the State by Dr. Cabot, Mr. Maynard, and others. More
recently, in the fall of 1870, and again in that of 1871, this species
has been found quite abundant in a restricted locality in the eastern
part of that State. It was first observed by Mr. H. W. Henshaw,
a promising young naturalist, in the early part of September, 1870,
among the Fresh Pond marshes in Cambridge. They appeared to be quite
numerous, and several specimens were obtained. He communicated the
discovery to his friend, Mr. William Brewster, and more than fifty
specimens of this rare Warbler were obtained during that season. In
the following autumn, in September and during the first few days of
October, these birds were observed in the same locality, apparently in
greater numbers, and more specimens were obtained.

Mr. Henshaw writes me that he first saw this species, September 7,
1870, when he obtained a single specimen. From that time until
September 27 it was very common throughout the Fresh Pond swamps, to
which locality it seemed to be restricted. It again made its
appearance in 1871, and at about the same time, and remained until
October 5. It was in even greater numbers than during the preceding

Their habits, while with us in the fall, appear to be very different
from those of the individuals observed by Wilson and Audubon, which
were described as being of a remarkably lively disposition, and hence
the name of _agilis_. Mr. Henshaw found them almost constantly engaged
in seeking their food upon the ground. When startled, they would fly
up to the nearest bush, upon which they would sit perfectly
motionless, in a manner closely resembling the Thrushes. If not
further disturbed, they immediately returned to the ground and resumed
the search for food among the leaves. If greatly startled, they took a
long flight among the bushes, and could rarely be found again. The
only note he heard them utter was a single sharp chirp, emitted
occasionally, when surprised. They were all remarkably fat, so much so
as to make it difficult to obtain a good specimen.

About sunset, standing on the skirts of the swamp, he has repeatedly
observed these birds alight, in great numbers, on the edge, and
immediately pass in, evidently intending to remain there over night.
He judged that they migrate entirely by day. On only one or two
occasions did he observe these birds feeding in the tops of
willow-trees. At such times they appeared equally lively in their
movements with the _Dendroica striata_, in company with which they
were associated. The birds he saw were nearly all in immature plumage,
adults being comparatively rare.

Dr. Coues states that the Connecticut Warbler is found near Washington
in the month of October, but that it is rather uncommon. He did not
meet with it in spring. He speaks of its frequenting old buckwheat and
corn fields, searching for food among the dry, rank weeds, and also in
swampy places among low thickets.

Oporornis formosus, BAIRD.


  _? Sylvia æquinoctialis_, VIEILL. Ois. Am. Sept. II, 1807, 26, pl.
    lxxxi, Penn. (not of GMELIN). _Sylvia formosa_, WILS. Am. Orn.
    III, 1811, 85, pl. xxv, fig. 3.—NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl.
    xxxviii. _Sylvicola formosa_, JARD.; RICH.; BON.; MAX.
    _Myiodioctes formosus_, AUD. Syn.—IB. Birds Am. II, pl.
    lxxiv.—LEMBEYE, Av. Cuba, 1850, 37. GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
    (Cuba). _Oporornis formosus_, BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 247; Rev.
    218.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, I, 1859, 10 (Guatemala).
  Other localities cited: _Mexico_, SCLATER. _Isthmus Panama_,
    LAWRENCE. _Veragua_, SALV. _Costa Rica_, LAWR.

SP. CHAR. _Adult male._ Upper parts and sides dark olive-green. Crown
and sides of the head, including a triangular patch from behind the
eye down the side of the neck, black, the feathers of the crown
narrowly lunulated at tips with dark ash. A line from nostrils over
the eye and encircling it (except anteriorly), with the entire under
parts, bright yellow. No white on the tail. _Female_ similar, with
less black on the head. Length, 5 inches; wing, 2.95; tail, 2.25.
_Young_ not seen.

The adults in autumn are exactly the same as in spring.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, north to Washington and
Chicago; west to Republican Fork of Kansas River (Coues). Cuba,
Guatemala, and Isthmus Panama. Not recorded from West Indies except

HABITS. The Kentucky Warbler is an abundant species in the Southern
and Southwestern States, and has been found, though more rarely, as
far to the north as Southern New York in the east and to Southern
Wisconsin in the west. It has also been obtained at Fort Riley, in
Kansas. Its nest and eggs have been procured near Cleveland, O., by
Dr. J. P Kirtland, and also in Chester County, Penn., by Mr. Norris.
It is a winter inhabitant in Mexico, Panama, Guatemala, and Cuba.

Wilson speaks of having met with this bird in abundance from Kentucky
to the mouth of the Mississippi, everywhere quite common, but most
especially so in the States of Tennessee and Kentucky. At the Balize
he several times heard it twittering among the high rank grass of
those solitary morasses. He found it frequenting low damp woods, and
building its nest either in the middle of thick tufts of rank grass,
in the fork of a low bush, or on the ground. The materials of which
these nests were made were loose dry grass, mixed with the pith of
wood, and lined with hair. He found the eggs from four to six in
number, pure white, sprinkled with reddish specks. He met with the
female sitting upon her eggs as early as May. These birds, he adds,
are seldom seen among high branches, but prefer to frequent low bushes
and canebrakes. In their habits they are very lively and sprightly.
The song is loud, comprising three notes, and resembles
_tweedle-tweedle-dweedle_. It makes its appearance in Kentucky from
the South about the middle of April, and leaves the region about New
Orleans on the approach of cold weather. Wilson was assured that it
never remains there during the winter.

Wilson characterizes these birds as a reckless fighting species,
almost always engaged in pursuing its fellows.

Mr. Audubon states that this Warbler is the most common and abundant
species that visits the State of Louisiana and the whole region about
the Mississippi River, but is not so common in Kentucky or Ohio. He
describes it as an extremely lively and active bird, found in all the
low grounds and damp places near watercourses, and generally among the
tall rank weeds and low bushes growing in rich alluvial soil. It is
continually in motion, hopping from stalk to stalk, and from twig to
twig, preying upon insects, larvæ, or small berries, rarely pursuing
an insect on the wing. He describes its song as agreeable and
emphatic. He has never known this species fly farther than a few yards
at a time. Its flight is low, and is performed in a gliding manner. It
makes its first appearance about the middle of March, and remains
until the middle or last of September. He states that it rears two
broods in a season. His description of its nest, as “small,
beautifully constructed, and attached to several stems of rank weeds,”
etc., does not agree in position, size, or appearance with any that I
have ever seen.

According to Mr. Audubon, it feeds largely upon spiders, which it
obtains by turning over the withered leaves on the ground. The young
birds resemble their mother until the following season, when the males
attain the full beauty of their plumage. They remain with their
parents until they migrate.

The late Dr. Alexander Gerhardt, an accurate and observing naturalist
of Northern Georgia, informed me, by letter, that the nest of the
Kentucky Warbler is usually built on the ground, under a tuft of
grass, often on a hillside and always in dry places. The eggs are
deposited from the 4th to the 15th of May. Nearly all the nests he met
with were made externally of a loose aggregation of dry oak and
chestnut leaves, so rudely thrown together as hardly to possess any
coherence, and requiring to be sewed to be kept in place. The interior
or inner nests were more compactly interwoven, usually composed of
fine dark-brown roots. Instead of being small, they are large for the
bird, and are inelegantly and clumsily made. They measure four inches
in their diameter, three in height, and two in the depth of their
cavity. One nest, the last received from Dr. Gerhardt, obtained by him
at Varnell’s Station, in Northern Georgia, June 5, 1860, is large and
peculiar in its construction. It is nearly spherical in shape, with an
entrance partially on one side and nearly arched over. The periphery
of this nest is composed exclusively of partially decayed deciduous
leaves, impacted together, yet somewhat loosely. Within this outer
covering is a fine framework of stems, twigs, and rootlets, and within
this a snug, compact lining of hair and finer rootlets and fibres.
This nest is six inches in diameter and five in height. It contained
four eggs.

These eggs have an average length of .69 of an inch and a breadth of
.56 of an inch. They have an oblong-oval shape, a crystalline-white
ground, and the entire surface is sprinkled over with fine dots of red
and reddish-brown. These, though most abundant about the larger end,
are nowhere confluent, and do not form a crown.

A nest of this bird from Chester County, Penn., is a very flat
structure, evidently built in a bed of fallen leaves. It has a
diameter of six inches and a height of only two. The cup is a mere
depression only half an inch in depth. Its base is loosely constructed
of dried leaves, upon which is interwoven a coarse lining of long,
dry, and wiry rootlets and stems of plants. It was given to Mr. J. P.
Norris, from whom I received it, and it is now in the Boston

Mr. Robert Ridgway furnishes the following valuable information in
regard to the abundance and general habits of this species as observed
in Southern Illinois: “It is a very common summer bird in Southern
Illinois, where it arrives in the Wabash Valley towards the last of
April. It is a wood-loving species, and of terrestrial habits, like
the _Seiurus aurocapillus_, but generally frequents rather different
situations from the latter bird, liking better the undergrowth of
‘bottom’ woods than that of dry forests. In all its manners it closely
resembles the _Seiuri_, especially the two aquatic species,
_ludovicianus_ and _noveboracensis_, having the same tilting motion of
the body, and horizontal attitude when perching, so characteristic of
these birds. The nest I have never found, though well aware of its
actual situation. I knew of one somewhere among the ‘top’ of a fallen
tree, but it was so well concealed that the closest search did not
enable me to discover it. In most cases the nest is probably on the
ground, among the rubbish of fallen tree-tops, or low brushwood.

     “The usual note of this Warbler is a sharp _tship_, almost
     precisely like that of the Pewee (_Sayornis fuscus_),
     uttered as the bird perches on a twig near the ground,
     continually tilting its body, or is changed into a sharp
     rapid twitter as one chases another through the thicket.
     Their song is very pretty, consisting of a fine whistle,
     delivered very much in the style of the Cardinal Grosbeak
     (_Cardinalis virginianus_), though finer in tone, and

Dr. Coues found this Warbler rare at Washington, and chiefly in low
woods with thick undergrowth, and in ravines. They were very silent,
but not shy, and a few breed there.



  _Trichas_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Journ. III, July, 1827, 167 (not of
    Gloger, March, 1827, equal to _Criniger_, Temm.).
  _Geothlypis_, CABANIS, Wiegmann’s Archiv, 1847, I, 316, 349.—IB.
    Schomburgk’s Reise, Guiana, 1848.

GEN. CHAR. Bill sylvicoline, rather depressed, and distinctly notched;
rictal bristles very short or wanting. Wings short, rounded, scarcely
longer than the tail; the first quill shorter than the fourth. Tail
long; much rounded or graduated. Legs stout; tarsi elongated, as long
as the head. Olive-green above, belly yellow. Tail-feathers
immaculate. Legs yellow.

Synopsis of Species.

  Throat yellow …                                         _Series I._
  Throat ash …                                           _Series II._

_Series I._

A. Black mask extending beneath the eye and on the auriculars.

  1. G. trichas. Black mask bordered along its posterior edge
  with pale ashy or whitish; maxillæ black. Sexes dissimilar. ♀.
  Olive-brown above; throat only, distinctly yellow; no black
  mask. _Juv._ Without either black or pure yellow; above
  olive-brown, like ♀, beneath pale ochraceous-buff.

    Abdomen almost always whitish; occiput russet-olive. Bill,
    from nostril, .30;. tarsus, .70; wing, 2.25; tail, 2.15.
    _Hab._ Whole of United States; in winter most of West Indies,
    and Middle America, north to Guatemala …          var. _trichas_.

    Colors similar; abdomen yellow. Bill, .45; tarsus, .90; wing,
    2.50; tail, 2.50. _Hab._ Nassau; New Providence; Bahamas …
                                                 var. _rostrata_.[52]

    Abdomen bright yellow; occiput whitish-ash tinged with
    yellow. Bill, .32; tarsus, .75; wing, 2.45; tail, 2.50.
    _Hab._ Eastern Mexico (Jalapa?) …            var. _melanops_.[53]

  2. G. æquinoctialis. Black mask not bordered posteriorly by
  ashy or whitish; much narrower on forehead than on auriculars;
  maxillæ yellow. Sexes similar.

    Black of the auriculars bordered posteriorly by the
    olive-green of the neck. Bill, .17 deep; wing, 2.50; tail,
    2.35. _Hab._ Northeast South America (Cayenne, Trinidad,
    etc.) …                                 var. _æquinoctialis_.[54]

    Black of the auriculars bordered posteriorly by the ash of
    the crown. Bill, .14 deep; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.50. _Hab._
    Brazil …                                       var. _velata_.[55]

B. Black mask not extending underneath the eye, but confined to
lores and frontlet.

  3. G. poliocephala. Bill much as in _Granatellus_. Above
  olive-green; the crown light ash; beneath yellow. Sexes

    Eyelids white; nape and auriculars olive-green; abdomen
    whitish. Bill, .30, .15 deep; wing, 2.20; tail, 2.50. _Hab._
    West Mexico (Mazatlan) …                 var. _poliocephala_.[56]

    Eyelids black; nape and auriculars ashy; abdomen wholly
    yellow. Bill, .35, .18 deep; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.50. _Hab._
    Guatemala (Retaluleu) …                     var. _caninucha_.[57]

_Series II._

  4. G. philadelphia. Head all round ashy; lores only, black.
  Sexes nearly similar.

    Eyelids dusky (except in ♀); a black patch on jugulum of ♂.
    ♀. Throat tinged with yellow. _Hab._ Eastern Province of
    North America; in winter south to Panama …   var. _philadelphia_.

    Eyelids white; no black patch on jugulum. ♀. Throat not
    tinged with yellow. _Hab._ Western and Middle Province of
    United States; in winter south to Costa Rica (Western Coast) …
                                                var. _macgillivrayi_.

Geothlypis trichas, CABAN.


  _Turdus trichas_, LINN. S. N. 1766, 293. _Sylvia trichas_, LATH.;
    AUD., etc. _Geothlypis trichas_, CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850, 16.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 241; Rev. 220.—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326
    (Cuba).—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 27, no. 167.—MARCH, Pr. A. N. Sc.
    1863, 293.—LORD, Pr. R. Art. Inst. Woolwich, IV, 1864, 115 (N. W.
    Boundary).—JONES, Nat. Bermuda, 29.—SAMUELS, 205.—COOPER, Orn.
    Cal. 1, 1870, 95. _Sylvia marilandica_, WILSON. _Trichas mar._
    BON. _Regulus mystaceus_, STEPHENS. _Trichas personatus_,
    SWAINSON. _Sylvia roscoe_, AUD. _Trichas brachydactylus_, SWAINS.
  Other localities quoted: _Xalapa_, _Oaxaca_, _Cordova_, SCL.
    _Guatemala_, SCL. & SALV. _Bahamas_, BRYANT. _Costa Rica_, CAB.;
    LAWR. _Orizaba_ (autumn), SUM. _Yucatan_, LAWR.
  Figures: VIEILL. Ois. II, pl. xxviii, xxix.—AUD. Orn. Biog. I,
    II, V, pl. xxiii, cii, ccxl.—WILS. I, pl. vi, fig. 1.—BUFFON, Pl.
    enl. 709, fig. 2.

  [Line drawing: _Geothlypis trichas._

SP. CHAR. (No. 26,024 ♂.) Wings a little shorter than the somewhat
graduated tail. Bill slender, the depth contained about two and a half
times in distance from nostrils to tip. First quill about equal to
seventh. Forehead to above the anterior edge of the eye, and across
the entire cheeks, ears, and jaws, and ending in an angle on sides of
neck, black, with a suffusion of hoary bluish-gray behind it on the
crown and sides of neck; the occipital and nuchal region
grayish-brown, passing insensibly into the olive-green of the upper
parts. Chin, throat, jugulum, edge of wing and crissum rich yellow
(the latter paler); rest of under parts, with lining of wings,
yellowish-white, the sides tinged with brownish; outer primary edged
with whitish, the others with olive-green. Bill black; legs yellowish.
Total length, 4.40; wing, 2.15; tail, 2.30; graduation, .25; width of
outer tail-feather, .28; difference between first and third quills,
.15; length of bill from forehead, .52; from nostril, .30; along gape,
.60; tarsus, .75; middle toe and claw, .66; claw alone, .18; hind toe
and claw, .48; claw alone, .26.

Male in winter, and the female, without the black mask; the forehead
tinged with brown, the yellow of the throat less extended, the eyelids
whitish, and a yellowish superciliary line.

HAB. The whole United States, from Atlantic to Pacific, and south to
Costa Rica; Bermuda (October); Bahamas; Cuba; Jamaica.

The young bird is brownish-olive above, becoming more virescent on the
rump and tail; eyelids, and whole lower parts, soft light buff, with a
faint tinge of yellow on the breast and lower tail-coverts.

  [Illustration: _Geothlypis trichas._]

There is very much variation manifested in a large series (containing
more than one hundred and thirty specimens, principally North
American), though but very little that accords with any distinctions
of habitat. As a rule, however, those from the Atlantic States are the
smallest of the series, and have most white on the abdomen, the yellow
being restricted to the throat and jugulum, and the lower
tail-coverts. In most specimens from the Mississippi Valley the yellow
beneath is quite continuous, and the size considerably larger than in
the series above mentioned, in these respects approaching the _G.
melanops_ from Eastern Mexico, in which the yellow pervades the whole
surface beneath; but in this the whitish border above the black mask
is extended over the whole crown, leaving the nape only distinctly
brownish, and the size larger than the average of the series alluded
to. However, No. 61,135 ♂, Liberty County, Ga., has even more white on
top of the head, the whole occiput being of this color; while No.
7,922 ♂, from Racine, Wis., is quite as long as the type of _melanops_
(the tail only, shorter), and there is nearly as much yellow beneath.
The Georgia specimen, however, in other respects, is most like the
Atlantic style. Specimens from the Pacific coast have just appreciably
longer tails than Eastern ones, and the olive-green above is brighter.
Jamaican and Guatemalan specimens are identical with many from the
United States. The _G. rostratus_ of Bryant, from the Bahamas, appears
to be merely a gigantic insular race of the common species.

HABITS. This well-known and beautiful little Ground Warbler is a
common, abundant, and widely diffused species, occurring throughout
the United States from ocean to ocean, and from the Gulf of Mexico to
Canada and Nova Scotia. It is found, during the winter months, in
Cuba, Jamaica, Mexico, Yucatan, Guatemala, Costa Rica, the Bahamas,
and, in the fall, in Bermuda. On the Pacific coast it has been found
from Cape St. Lucas to the British territories. It breeds from
Northern Georgia to Halifax, inclusive.

In Central America, Mr. Salvin states that this Warbler is by far the
most common of the _Mniotiltidæ_, but is wholly migratory. It was
usually found in the neighborhood of water, frequenting the reeds that
surrounded Lake Duenas, and the bushes on the banks of its outlet. It
was also taken by Mr. Boucard at Totontepec, among the mountains of
Oaxaca, Mexico.

It was observed as far to the north as Lake of the Woods, by Mr.
Kennicott. Several were there observed, both males and females, May
29. It is everywhere quite common, and is, I think, as numerous in New
England as in the Middle States.

For the most part it seems to prefer wild lands, especially those
overgrown with briers and low bushes, to open or cultivated grounds.
Yet this preference is not exclusive, as I have known a pair, or their
offspring, to visit the same garden nine or ten successive summers. It
is also more generally found in low lands than in high, and is
probably attracted to moist thickets of briers and underbrush by the
greater abundance of its favorite food. This Warbler is eminently
terrestrial in its habits, never being found among higher limbs, but
always either on the ground or among the lower branches of bushes,
vines, and weeds. It is a diligent rather than an active or nimble
bird, is always on the move, and incessantly in search of its food.
This consists of insects in all their forms, but more particularly of
larvæ, small beetles, and spiders. They are of great service in the
destruction of several forms of injurious grubs, and but that their
mode of life exposes them to destruction by prowling cats, I doubt not
they would readily adapt themselves to living in our gardens.
Occasionally they are found in fields of grain, where their presence
is due to the abundance of destructive insects.

The Yellow-Throat appears shy and retiring because it prefers to move
back and forth among low shrubs and brambles, where it most readily
procures its food, but it is not a timid bird. They are unsuspecting,
and will as readily permit as fly from the near presence of man. I
have frequently had them approach within a few feet, especially when
at rest; and even when in motion they will continue their lively song,
as they move about from twig to twig. Though able to capture an insect
on the wing, they are not expert fly-catchers, and chiefly take their
prey when it is at rest.

Their song is a very lively and agreeable refrain, easily recognized,
though exhibiting at times marked differences, and occasionally
closely resembling the song of the Summer Yellow-Bird. The same brief
series of notes, usually sounding like _whi-ti-tēē-tēē_, is constantly
repeated at short intervals, while the singer continues his perpetual
hunt for insects.

The male is very affectionate and devoted to both mate and offspring.
The pair are never far apart, and during incubation the male is
assiduous in the collection of food, feeding its mate, and afterwards
assisting in collecting for their young. They rely upon concealment
for the protection of their nest, and rarely show any open solicitude
until it is discovered. Then they will make the most vehement
demonstrations of alarm and distress, flying about the intruder and
fearlessly approaching him to within a few feet. In Massachusetts they
rarely, if ever, have more than one brood in a season. The young are
able to take care of themselves early in July. At that time the song
of the male ceases, or is abbreviated to a single _whit_, and parents
and young form a family group and together hunt in the more secluded
thickets, the edges of woods, and other retired places, for their
food. Early in September they take their departure.

The Yellow-Throat is distributed, in suitable localities, over a large
area, and wherever found is apparently equally common. Dr. Gerhardt
found it quite abundant in Northern Georgia. Wilson and Audubon
thought it more common in the Middle States than farther north, but I
have found it quite as numerous about Halifax and Eastport as I have
at Washington. Dr. Cooper speaks of it as “very common” in Washington
Territory, though not so abundant as MacGillivray’s Warbler. The same
writer also states it to be a “very common bird” in California. Their
earliest arrival at San Diego was on the 17th of April, about the time
they reach Pennsylvania. They appear in New England early in May.

Their nest is almost invariably upon the ground, usually in a thick
bed of fallen leaves, a clump of grass or weeds, at the roots of low
bushes or briers, or under the shelter of a brush-pile. Occasionally
it has been found among high weeds, built in a matted cluster of
branches, four or five feet from the ground. Sometimes it is sunk in a
depression in the ground, and often its top is covered by loose
overlying leaves. I have never found this top interwoven with or
forming any part of the nest itself.

The nest is usually both large and deep for the size of the bird, its
loose periphery of leaves and dry sedges adding to its size, and it
often has a depth of from five to six inches from its rim to its base.
The cavity is usually three inches deep and two and a quarter wide.
Generally these nests are constructed on a base of dry leaves. An
external framework, rudely put together, of dry grasses, sedge leaves,
strips of dry bark, twigs, and decaying vegetables, covers an inner
nest, or lining, of finer materials, and more carefully woven. At the
rim of the nest these materials sometimes project like a rude palisade
or hedge. Usually the lining is of fine grasses, without hair or
feathers of any kind.

In some nests the outer portion and base are composed almost entirely
of fine dry strips of the inner bark of the wild grape.

The eggs vary from four to six in number, and also differ greatly in
their size, so much so that the question has arisen if there are not
two species, closely resembling, but differing chiefly in their size.
Of this, however, there is no evidence other than in these marked
variations in the eggs.

In the Great Basin, Mr. Ridgway found this bird abundant in all the
bushy localities in the vicinity of water, but it was confined to the
lower portions, never being seen high up on the mountains, nor even in
the lower portions of the mountain cañons.

Their eggs exhibit a variation in length of from .55 to .72 of an
inch, and in breadth from .48 to .58 of an inch; the smallest being
from Georgia, and the largest from Kansas. They are of a beautiful
clear crystalline-white ground, and are dotted, blotched, and marbled
around the larger end with purple, reddish-brown, and dark umber.

Geothlypis philadelphia, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia philadelphia_, WILS. Am. Orn. II, 1810, 101, pl. xiv; AUD.;
    NUTT. _Trichas philadelphia_, JARD.—REINHARDT, Vidensk. Meddel.
    for 1853, and Ibis, 1861, 6 (Greenland). _Geothlypis phila._
    BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 243, pl. lxxix, fig. 3; Rev.
    226.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 27 (Orizaba).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc.
    1861, 322 (Panama).—SAMUELS, 207.—DRESSER, Ibis, 1865, 476.
  Figures: WILS. Am. Orn. II, pl. xiv.—AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. ci.

SP. CHAR. Wings but little longer than the tail, reaching but little
beyond its base. _Adult male._ Head and neck all round, with throat
and forepart of breast, ash-gray, paler beneath. The feathers of the
chin, throat, and fore breast in reality black, but with narrow ashy
margins more or less concealing the black, except on the breast. Lores
and region round the eye dusky, without any trace of a pale ring.
Upper parts and sides of the body clear olive-green; the under parts
bright yellow. Tail-feathers uniform olive; first primary, with the
outer half of the outer web, nearly white. _Female_ with the gray of
the crown glossed with olive; the chin and throat paler centrally, and
tinged with fulvous; a dull whitish ring round the eye. Length, 5.50;
wing, 2.45; tail, 2.25. _Young_ not seen.

HAB. Eastern Province of United States to British America; Greenland;
Southeastern Mexico, Panama R. R., and Colombia. Not recorded from
West Indies or Guatemala. Costa Rica (LAWR.).

Specimens vary in the amount of black on the jugulum, and the purity
of the ash of the throat. The species is often confounded with
_Oporornis agilis_, to which the resemblance is quite close. They may,
however, be distinguished by the much longer and more pointed wings,
and more even tail, shorter legs, etc., of _agilis_. The white ring
round the eye in the female _philadelphia_ increases the difficulty of

The adult male in autumn is scarcely different from the spring bird,
there being merely a faint olive-tinge to the ash on top of the head,
and the black jugular patch more restricted, being more concealed by
the ashy borders to the feathers; the yellow beneath somewhat deeper.

HABITS. The Mourning Warbler was first discovered and described by
Wilson, who captured it in the early part of June, on the borders of a
marsh, within a few miles of Philadelphia. This was the only specimen
he ever met with. He found it flitting from one low bush to another in
search of insects. It had a sprightly and pleasant warbling song, the
novelty of which first attracted his attention. For a long while
Wilson’s single bird remained unique, and from its excessive rarity
Bonaparte conjectured that it might be an accidental variety of the
Yellow-Throat. At present, though still of unfrequent occurrence, it
is by no means a doubtful, though generally a comparatively rare
species. Audubon mentions having received several specimens of this
Warbler, procured in the neighborhood of Philadelphia, New York, and
Vermont, all of which were obtained in the spring or summer months. He
met with a single specimen in Louisiana, and thinks its habits closely
resemble those of the Maryland Yellow-Throat.

Nuttall met with what he presumes to have been one of these birds in
the Botanical Garden at Cambridge. It had all the manners of the
Yellow-Throat, was busy in the search of insects in the low bushes,
and, at intervals, warbled out some very pleasant notes, which partly
resembled the lively chant of the _Trichas_, and in some degree the
song of the Summer Yellow-Bird.

Professor Reinhardt states that two individuals of this species have
been taken in Greenland,—one in Fiskenæsset, in 1846, and the other at
Julianhaab, in 1853.

Mr. Turnbull gives it as still quite rare in Eastern Pennsylvania,
arriving there in the middle of May on its way farther north. Mr.
Lawrence includes it in his list of the birds of New York. Mr. Dresser
obtained five specimens early in May, in Southern Texas.

It has been met with as far to the north as Greenland by Reinhardt,
and in Selkirk Settlement by Donald Gunn. It has been procured in
Eastern Mexico, in Panama, in Carlisle, Penn., Southern Illinois,
Missouri, Nova Scotia, and various other places. It has been known to
breed in Waterville, Me., and is not uncommon in Northwestern and
Northern New York. A single specimen of this bird was obtained at
Ocana, in Colombia, South America, by Mr. C. W. Wyatt.

Late in May, 1838, I have a note of having met with this species in
Mount Auburn. The bird was fearless and unsuspecting, busily engaged,
among some low shrubbery, in search of insects. It suffered our near
presence, was often within a few feet, and was so readily
distinguishable that my companion, with no acquaintance with birds, at
once recognized it from Audubon’s plates. Its habits were the exact
counterpart of those of the Yellow-Throat. We did not notice its song.

Mr. Maynard states that, May 21, 1866, Mr. William Brewster shot a
male of this species in Cambridge, on the top of a tall tree. Another
specimen was taken at Franconia Mountains, New Hampshire, August 3,
1867. It was in company with four fully fledged young, which it was
feeding. The young were shy, and could not be procured. The old bird
was catching flies, after the manner of Flycatchers. Mr. Maynard has
met this species but once in Massachusetts, and then in May, among low
bushes and in a swampy place. He has since found it rather common at
Lake Umbagog, Maine, in June, where it breeds. He states that it
frequents the bushes along fences, stone walls, and the edges of
woods. The male often perches and sings in the early morning on the
top rail of a fence, or the dead branch of a tree. Its song he speaks
of as loud and clear, somewhat resembling that of the _Seiurus

Mr. Paine considers this Warbler to be very rare in Vermont. He once
observed a pair, with their young, at Randolph. The male was singing a
quite pleasing, though somewhat monotonous song.

Mr. George Welch met with these birds in the Adirondack region, New
York, in June, 1870. They seemed rather abundant, and were evidently
breeding there. He obtained a single specimen.

Mr. John Burroughs, of Washington, was so fortunate as to obtain the
nest and eggs of this Warbler near the head-waters of the Delaware
River, in Roxbury, Delaware County, N. Y. “The nest,” he writes me,
“was in the edge of an old bark-peeling, in a hemlock wood, and was
placed in some ferns about one foot from the ground. The nest was
quite massive, its outer portions being composed of small dry stalks
and leaves. The cavity was very deep, and was lined with fine black
roots. I have frequently observed this Warbler in that section. About
the head of the Neversink and Esopus, in the northwest part of Ulster
County, New York, they are the prevailing Warbler, and their song may
be heard all day long. Their song suggests that of the Kentucky Ground
Warbler, but is not so loud and fine.” Mr. Burroughs states elsewhere
that “the eggs, three in number, were of light flesh-color, uniformly
speckled with fine brown specks. The cavity of the nest was so deep
that the back of the sitting bird sank below the edge.”

Their eggs are of an oblong-oval shape, pointed at one end. They
measure .75 by .55 of an inch. Their ground-color is a pinkish-white,
and they are marked with dots and blotches, of varying size, of dark

Geothlypis macgillivrayi, BAIRD.


  _Sylvia macgillivrayi_, AUD. Orn. Biog. V, 1839, 75, pl. cccxcix.
    _Trichas macg._ AUD. _Geothlypis macg._ BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858,
    244, pl. lxxix, fig. 4; Rev. 227.—SCLATER, Catal. 1861, 27 (Jalapa
    and Guat.).—IB. P. Z. S. 1859, 363, 373 (Xalapa, Oaxaca).—CAB.
    Jour. 1861, 84 (Costa Rica).—COOPER & SUCKLEY, P. R. R. Rep. XII,
    II, 1859, 177.—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 96. _Sylvicola macg._
    MAX. Cab. Jour. VI, 1858, 118. _Sylvia tolmiæi_, TOWNS. J. A. N.
    Sc. 1839. _Trichas tolmiæi_, NUTT. Man. I. _Trichas vegeta_
    (LICHT.), BP. Consp. 1850, 310; _fide_ Cab. Jour. 1861, 84

SP. CHAR. _Adult male._ Head and neck all round, throat and forepart
of the breast, dark ash-color; a narrow frontlet, loral region, and
space round the eye (scarcely complete behind), black. The eyelids
above and below the eye (not in a continuous ring) white. The feathers
of the chin, throat, and fore breast really black, with ashy-gray tips
more or less concealing the black. Rest of upper parts dark
olive-green (sides under the wings paler); of lower, bright yellow.
_Female_ with the throat paler and without any black. Length of male,
5 inches; wing, 2.45; tail, 2.45. _Young_ not seen.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of United States, to northern
boundary; east to Fort Laramie; south to Costa Rica.

The white eyelids of this species distinguish its males from those of
_G. philadelphia_, in which there is a black jugular patch not seen in
the present species. The females can only be known by the slenderer
bill and more rounded wing, the first quill being intermediate between
the fifth and sixth, instead of being considerably longer than the

The autumnal adult male is as described above, except that there is a
faint tinge of green on the crown, and the ashy borders to feathers of
throat and jugulum broader, concealing more the black. The adult
female in autumn is considerably more dully colored than in spring.

HABITS. This comparatively new Warbler was first met with by Townsend,
and described by Audubon in the last volume of his Ornithological
Biography. It has since been found to have a wide range throughout the
western portion of North America, from Cape St. Lucas to British
America, and from the Plains to the Pacific. It has also been obtained
at Choapan in the State of Orizaba, Mexico, by Mr. Boucard, and in
Guatemala by Mr. Salvin, who states that throughout the district
between the volcanoes of Agua and Fuego this was a common species,
frequenting the outskirts of the forests and the edges of the
clearings. It breeds in abundance in Utah, Montana, Idaho, Oregon,
Washington Territory, and probably also in Northern California.

Townsend first met with it on the banks of the Columbia. He states
that it was mostly solitary and extremely wary, keeping chiefly in the
most impenetrable thickets, and gliding through them in a cautious and
suspicious manner. Sometimes it might be seen, at midday, perched upon
a dead twig, over its favorite places of concealment, at such times
warbling a very sprightly and pleasant little song, raising its head
until its bill is nearly vertical.

Mr. Nuttall informed Mr. Audubon that this Warbler is one of the most
common summer residents of the woods and plains of the Columbia, where
it appears early in May, and remains until the approach of winter. It
keeps near the ground, and gleans its subsistence among the low
bushes. It is shy, and when surprised or closely watched it
immediately skulks off, often uttering a loud _click_. Its notes, he
states, resemble those of the _Seiurus aurocapillus_. On the 12th of
June a nest was brought to Mr. Nuttall, containing two young birds
quite fledged, in the plumage of the mother. The nest was chiefly made
of strips of the inner bark of the _Thuja occidentalis_, lined with
slender wiry stalks. It was built near the ground in the dead,
moss-covered limbs of a fallen oak, and was partly hidden by long
tufts of _usnea_. It was less artificial than the Yellow-Throat’s
nest, but was of the same general appearance. On his restoring the
nest to its place, the parents immediately approached to feed their

Dr. Suckley found this Warbler very abundant between the Cascade
Mountains and the Pacific coast. Like all Ground Warblers it was
entirely insectivorous, all the stomachs examined containing
coleoptera and other insects. He did not find them shy, but as they
frequented thick brush they were very difficult to procure.

Dr. Cooper found this species very common about Puget Sound,
frequenting the underbrush in dry woods, occasionally singing a song
from a low tree, similar to that of the Yellow-Throat. He found its
nest built in a bush, a foot from the ground. It was of straw, loosely
made, and without any soft lining. Dr. Cooper found this species as
far east as Fort Laramie, in Wyoming. They reach the Columbia River by
the 3d of May.

The same writer noticed the first of this species at Fort Mojave,
April 24. He regarded their habits as varying in some respects from
those of the _Trichas_, as they prefer dry localities, and hunt for
insects not only in low bushes but also in trees, like the
_Dendroicæ_. Dr. Cooper twice describes their eggs as white, which is
inaccurate. He thinks that some of them winter in the warmer portions
of California. He regards them as shy, if watched, seeking the densest
thickets, but brought out again by their curiosity if a person waits
for them, and the birds will approach within a few feet, keeping up a
scolding chirp.

The nests of this species obtained by Dr. Kennerly from Puget Sound
were all built on the ground, and were constructed almost exclusively
of beautifully delicate mosses, peculiar to that country. They are
shallow nests, with a diameter of four and a height of two inches, the
cavity occupying a large proportion of the nest. Its walls and base
are of uniform thickness, averaging about one inch. The nests are
lined with finer mosses and a few slender stems and fibres.

Mr. Ridgway found these Warblers breeding in great numbers, June 23,
1869, at Parley’s Park, Utah, among the Wahsatch Mountains. One of
these nests (S. I., 15,238) was in a bunch of weeds, among the
underbrush of a willow-thicket along a cañon stream. It was situated
about eight inches from the ground, is cuplike in shape, two inches in
height, three in diameter, and somewhat loosely constructed of slender
strips of bark, decayed stalks of plants, dry grasses, intermixed with
a few fine roots, and lined with finer materials of the same. The
cavity is one and a half inches in depth, and two in diameter at the

The eggs, four in number, are .75 of an inch in length and .50 in
breadth. Their ground-color is a pinkish-white, marbled and spotted
with purple, lilac, reddish-brown, and dark brown, approaching black.
The blotches of the last color vary much in size, in one instance
having a length of .21 of an inch, and having the appearance of
hieroglyphics. When these spots are large, they are very sparse.

“This species,” Mr. Ridgway writes, “inhabits exclusively the
brushwood along the streams of the mountain cañons and ravines. Among
the weeds in such localities numerous nests were found. In no case
were they on the ground, though they were always near it; being fixed
between upright stalks of herbs, occasionally, perhaps, in a brier,
from about one to two feet above the ground. The note of the parent
bird, when a nest was disturbed, was a strong _chip_, much like that
of the _Cyanospiza amæna_ or _C. cyanea_.” He also states that it was
abundant in the East Humboldt Mountains in August and in September,
and also throughout the summer. A pair of fully fledged young was
caught on the 21st of July.



In this section there are two American genera; one found in the United
States, the other not. The diagnoses are as follows:—

  Size large (about 8 inches). Lower jaw not deeper than upper
  anterior to nostrils. Tail moderate. Partly yellow beneath,
  olive-green above …                                      _Icteria_.

  Size smaller (about 6 inches). Lower jaw deeper than upper.
  Tail almost fan-shaped. Partly red beneath, plumbeous-blue
  above …                                          _Granatellus_.[58]


  _Icteria_, VIEILLOT, Ois. Am. Sept. I, 1807, iii and 85. (Type,
    MUSCICAPA VIRIDIS, GM. _Turdus virens_, LINN.)

  [Line drawing: _Icteria virens._

GEN. CHAR. Bill broad at base, but contracting rapidly and becoming
attenuated when viewed from above; high at the base (higher than broad
opposite the nostrils); the culmen and commissure much curved from
base; the gonys straight. Upper jaw deeper than the lower; bill
without notch or rictal bristles. Nostrils circular, edged above with
membrane, the feathers close to their borders. Wings shorter than
tail, considerably rounded; first quill rather shorter than the sixth.
Tail moderately graduated; the feathers rounded, but narrow. Middle
toe without claw about two thirds the length of tarsus, which has the
scutellæ fused externally in part into one plate.

The precise systematic position of the genus _Icteria_ is a matter of
much contrariety of opinion among ornithologists; but we have little
hesitation in including it among the _Sylvicolidæ_. It has been most
frequently assigned to the _Vireonidæ_, but differs essentially in the
deeply cleft inner toe (not half united as in _Vireo_), the partially
booted tarsi, the lengthened middle toe, the slightly curved claws,
the entire absence of notch or hook in the bill, and the short,
rounded wing with only nine primaries. The wing of _Vireo_, when much
rounded, has ten primaries,—nine only being met with when the wing is
very long and pointed.

Of this genus only one species is known, although two races are
recognized by naturalists, differing in the length of the tail.

I. virens. Above olive-green; beneath gamboge-yellow for the
anterior half, and white for the posterior. A white stripe over the

    Length of tail, 3.30 inches. _Hab._ Eastern United States to
    the Plains; in winter through Eastern Mexico to Guatemala …
                                                       var. _virens_.

    Length of tail, 3.70 inches. _Hab._ Western United States
    from the Plains to the Pacific; Western Mexico in winter …
                                                   var. _longicauda_.

Icteria virens, BAIRD.


  _Turdus virens_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. 1758, 171, no. 16 (based
    on _Œnanthe americana_, _pectore luteo_, Yellow-breasted Chat,
    CATESBY, Carol. I, tab. 50). _Icteria virens_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. B.
    1864, 228. _Muscicapa viridis_, GMELIN, Syst. Nat. I, 1788, 936.
    _Icteria viridis_, BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxxvii.—BAIRD,
    Birds N. Am. 1858, 248. _Icteria dumecola_, VIEILL. _Pipra
    polyglotta_, WILS. _? Icteria velasquezi_, BON. P. Z. S. 1837, 117
    (Mexico).—SCLATER & SALV. Ibis, I, 1859, 12 (Guatemala).
  Localities quoted: _Costa Rica_, CABAN. _Orizaba_ (winter), SUM.
    _Yucatan_, LAWR.

SP. CHAR. Third and fourth quills longest; second and fifth little
shorter; first nearly equal to the sixth. Tail graduated. Upper parts
uniform olive-green; under parts, including the inside of wing,
gamboge-yellow as far as nearly half-way from the point of the bill to
the tip of the tail; rest of under parts white, tinged with brown on
the sides; the outer side of the tibiæ plumbeous; a slight tinge of
orange across the breast. Forehead and sides of the head ash, the
lores and region below the eye blackish. A white stripe from the
nostrils over the eye and involving the upper eyelid; a patch on the
lower lid, and a short stripe from the side of the lower mandible, and
running to a point opposite the hinder border of the eye, white. Bill
black; feet brown. Female like the male, but smaller; the markings
indistinct; the lower mandible not pure black. Length, 7.40; wing,
3.25; tail, 3.30. Nest in thickets, near the ground. Eggs white,
spotted with reddish.

_Hab._ Eastern United States, west to Arkansas; rare north of
Pennsylvania; south to Eastern Mexico and Guatemala. Not noticed in
West Indies.

  [Illustration: _Icteria virens._]

Both sexes in winter apparently have the base of lower mandible
light-colored, the olive more brown, the sides and crissum with a
strong ochraceous tinge. It is this plumage that has been recognized
as _I. velasquezi_.

HABITS. The Yellow-breasted Chat is found throughout the Eastern
United States, from Massachusetts to Florida, and as far to the west
as Fort Riley and Eastern Kansas. Mr. Say met with it among the Rocky
Mountains as far north as the sources of the Arkansas. It is not very
rare in Massachusetts, but a few breed in that State as far north as
Lynn. It has been found in Mexico and Guatemala, but not, so far as I
am aware, in the West Indies.

Probably no one of our birds has more distinctly marked or greater
peculiarities of voice, manners, and habits than this very singular
bird. It is somewhat terrestrial in its life, frequenting tangled
thickets of vines, briers, and brambles, and keeping itself very
carefully concealed. It is noisy and vociferous, constantly changing
its position and moving from place to place.

It is not abundant north of Pennsylvania, where it arrives early in
May and leaves the last of August. The males are said always to arrive
three or four days before their mates.

This species is described by Wilson as very much attached to certain
localities where they have once taken up their residence, appearing
very jealous, and offended at the least intrusion. They scold
vehemently at every one who approaches or even passes by their places
of retreat, giving utterance to a great variety of odd and uncouth
sounds. Wilson states that these sounds may be easily imitated, so as
to deceive the bird itself, and to draw it after one; the bird
following repeating its cries, but never permitting itself to be seen.
Such responses he describes as constant and rapid, and strongly
expressive both of anger and anxiety, their voice, as it shifts,
unseen, from place to place, seeming to be more like that of a spirit
than a bird. These sounds Wilson compares to the whistling of the
wings of a duck, being repetitions of short notes, beginning loud and
rapid, and falling lower and lower. Again a succession of other notes,
said to closely resemble the barking of young puppies, is followed by
a variety of hollow, guttural sounds, each eight or ten times
repeated, at times resembling the mewing of a cat, only hoarser,—all
of these, as he states, uttered with great vehemence, in different
keys and with peculiar modulations, now as if at a considerable
distance, and the next moment as if close by your side; so that, by
these tricks of ventriloquism, one is utterly at a loss to ascertain
from what particular quarter they proceed. In mild weather this
strange melody of sounds is kept up throughout the night during the
first of the pairing-season, but ceases as soon as incubation

They construct their nest about the middle of May. These are placed
within a few feet of the ground, in the midst of low brambles, vines,
and bushes, generally in a tangled thicket. They build a rude but
strongly woven nest, the outer portions more loosely made of dry
leaves; within these are interwoven thin strips of the bark of the
wild grape, fibrous roots, and fine dry grasses.

The eggs, four or five in number, are usually hatched out within
twelve days, and in about as many more the young are ready to leave
their nest.

While the female is sitting, and still more after the young are
hatched, the cries of the male are loud and incessant when his nest is
approached. He no longer seeks to conceal himself, but rises in the
air, his legs dangling in a peculiar manner, ascending and descending
in sudden jerks that betray his great irritation.

The food of this bird consists chiefly of beetles and other insects,
and of different kinds of berries and small fruit, and it said to be
especially fond of wild strawberries.

Audubon states that in their migrations they move from bush to bush by
day, and frequently continue their march by night. Their flight at all
times is short and irregular. He also states that when on the ground
they squat, jerk their tails, spring on their legs, and are ever in a
state of great activity. Although the existence of this bird north of
Pennsylvania is generally disputed, I have no doubt that it has always
been, and still is, a constant visitor of Massachusetts, and has been
found to within a score of miles of the New Hampshire line. Among my
notes I find that a nest was found in Brookline, in 1852, by Mr.
Theodore Lyman; in Danvers, by Mr. Byron Goodale; in Lynn, by Messrs.
Vickary and Welch; and in many other parts of the State. It certainly
breeds as far south as Georgia on the coast, and in Louisiana and
Texas in the southwest. On the Pacific coast it is replaced by the
long-tailed variety, _longicauda_.

A nest of this species from Concord, Mass., obtained by Mr. B. P.
Mann, and now in the collection of the Boston Natural History Society,
has a diameter of four inches and a height of three and a half. The
cavity has a depth of two and a quarter inches, and is two and a half
wide. This is built upon a base of coarse skeleton leaves, and is made
of coarse sedges, dried grasses, and stems of plants, and lined with
long, dry, and wiry stems of plants, resembling pine-needles. Another
from Pomfret, Conn., obtained by Mr. Sessions, is a much larger nest,
measuring five inches in diameter and three and three quarters in
height. The cup is two and a half inches deep by three in width. It is
made of an interweaving of leaves, bark of the grapevine, and stems of
plants, and is lined with fine, long wiry stems and pine-needles.

Their eggs are of a slightly rounded oval shape, vary in length from
.85 to .95 of an inch, and in breadth from .65 to .70. They have a
white ground with a very slight tinge of yellow, and are marked with
reddish-brown and a few fainter purplish and lilac spots.

Icteria virens, var. longicauda, LAWR.


  _Icteria longicauda_, LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. VI, April, 1853,
    4.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 249, pl. xxxiv, fig. 2; Rev.
    230.—SCLATER, Catal. 42, no. 253.—FINSCH, Abh. Nat. Brem. 1870,
    331 (Mazatlan).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 98. _? Icteria
    auricollis_ (LICHT. Mus. Berl.), BON. Consp. 1850, 331.

SP. CHAR. Similar to var. _virens_. Fourth quill longest; third and
fifth shorter; first shorter than the seventh. Above ash-color, tinged
with olive on the back and neck; the outer surface of the wings and
tail olive. The under parts as far as the middle of the belly bright
gamboge-yellow, with a tinge of orange; the remaining portions white.
The superciliary and maxillary white stripes extend some distance
behind the eye. Outer edge of the first primary white. Length, 7
inches; wing, 3.20; tail, 3.70.

_Young_ (8,841, Loup Fork of Platte, August 5; F. V. Hayden). Above
light grayish-brown; beneath yellow on anterior half as in adult, but
yellow less pure; rest of under parts (except abdomen) ochraceous;
markings on head obsolete, the eyelids only being distinctly white.

HAB. Western and Middle Provinces of United States, east to Missouri
River and Texas; Cape St. Lucas and Western Mexico.

The most tangible difference between this bird and typical _virens_
consists in the longer tail. In addition, the upper plumage is
grayish, with hardly any olive tinge, and the white maxillary stripe
extends farther back; the bill is not so deep as that of the Eastern
bird. All these differences, however, are in strict accordance with
various laws; the more grayish cast of plumage is what we should
expect in birds from the Middle Province, while the restriction of the
yellow from the maxillæ we see also in Western specimens of
_Helminthophaga ruficapilla_; the longer tail, also, is a well-known
characteristic of Western birds, as distinguished from Eastern of the
same species.

Upon the whole, therefore, taking into consideration the absolute
identity of their habits and notes, we can only consider the _I.
longicauda_ and _I. virens_ as restricted, as being merely
geographical races of one species.

This variety, as well as the Eastern, has in autumn and winter a
slightly different plumage. A pair (53,348 ♂, and 53,347 ♀, West
Humboldt Mountains, Nevada) obtained September 4 differ in the
following respects from spring adults: the upper plumage is decidedly
brown, with even a russet tinge,—not gray, with a greenish wash; the
lores are less purely black, and the sides and crissum are deep
cream-color, instead of pure white; the female has a shade of olive
across the jugulum; both male and female have the lower mandible
almost wholly white, and the commissure broadly edged with the same.

No. 38,402 ♂, Laramie Peak, June, has the throat and jugulum strongly
stained with deep cadmium-orange.

HABITS. The Western or Long-tailed Chat has an exclusively Western
distribution, and has been found from Mexico and Cape St. Lucas to
Oregon, on the Pacific coast, and as far to the east as the Upper

According to Dr. Cooper, these birds appear in San Diego and at Fort
Mojave in the latter part of April. They are said to inhabit chiefly
the warmer valleys near streams and marshes, rarely on the coast. At
Fort Mojave, Dr. Cooper found a nest of this bird May 19, built in a
dense thicket of algarobia. It contained three eggs, and one of the
_Molothrus_. The nest was built of slender green twigs and leaves,
lined with grass and hair. The eggs were white, sprinkled with
cinnamon, somewhat in the form of a ring near the larger end, and
measured .75 by .64 of an inch.

These nests were usually very closely concealed, but one that he found
at Santa Cruz, near the coast, was in a very open situation, only two
feet above the ground. When the nest is approached, the old birds are
very bold, keeping up a constant scolding, and almost flying in the
face of an intruder. At other times they are very shy. The notes and
sounds uttered by the Western bird Dr. Cooper states to be the same as
those of the Eastern species, and with the same grotesqueness. They
leave the State of California on or before the first of September.

Dr. Gambel states that the Chat appears in California about the middle
of April, resorting to the hedges, vineyards, and bushy portions of
gardens to breed.

Mr. Xantus found a nest of this bird (S. I., 896) at Fort Tejon,
California, in May. It is a very symmetrical and exactly circular
nest, six inches wide and three in height. The cavity has a diameter
of three inches at the brim, and a depth of two. It is built of soft
strips of bark, large stems, and branches of dry plants, leaves,
twigs, and other vegetable substances. These are very neatly and
compactly interwoven. The nest is elaborately lined with finer stems
and flexible grasses. Another nest (S. I., 1816), obtained at Neosho
Falls, Kansas, by Mr. B. F. Goss, is of irregular shape. Its height is
four inches, and its diameter varies from three and three quarters to
five inches. It was built in a depression in the ground, and its shape
adapted to its location. The base is composed entirely of leaves,
impacted when in a moist and decaying condition. Within these is
interwoven a strong basket-like structure, made of long and slender
stems, strips of bark, and fine rootlets, lined with finer grasses and
stems of plants.

A nest of this species from Sacramento is composed, externally, of
fine strips of inner bark of the grape and of deciduous trees, coarse
straws, stems of plants, twigs, and dried remains of weeds, etc. It is
lined with finer stems and long wiry roots, resembling hair. This nest
has a diameter of four inches and a height of three. The cavity has a
diameter of three inches at the rim, and a depth of two.

In regard to this variety Mr. Ridgway writes: “In no respect that I
could discover does this Western bird differ from the Eastern in
habits, manners, or notes. The nesting-habits are exactly the same.”

The eggs of this species are, for the most part, larger than are those
of the _virens_. They vary in length from .95 to 1.00 of an inch, and
have an average breadth of .70 of an inch. Their markings do not
differ essentially in shadings from those of the common species.


GEN. CHAR. Sylvicoline birds with the characters of Flycatchers; the
bill notched at tip, depressed and broad at the base, though quite
deep; the rictus with well-developed bristles reaching beyond the
nostrils, sometimes to the end of the bill. First quill rather less
than the fourth, or still shorter. Size of the species rarely
exceeding six inches. Colors red, yellow, and olive.

The species of this section resemble the small Flycatchers of the
family _Tyrannidæ_ in the structure of the bill, etc., and in the
habit of capturing insects more or less on the wing, though they are
more restless in their movements, seeking their prey among trees or in
bushes, rapidly changing their place, instead of occupying a perch and
returning to it after pursuing an insect through the air. The yellow
or orange crown found in many species also carries out the analogy;
but the strictly Oscine characters of the tarsal scutellæ and the nine
primaries will serve to distinguish them.

The _Setophaginæ_ have their greatest development in Middle and South
America, no less than nine genera and subgenera being on record, of
which only two extend into the United States. Of one of these,
_Setophaga_, we have only a single species of the many described; the
other, _Myiodioctes_, has no members other than those found in the
United States.

The following diagnosis is prepared to distinguish our genera from the
South American:—

A. Wings pointed; the first quill longer than the fifth; the
third as long as or longer than the fourth. Tail nearly even, or
slightly rounded (the difference of the feathers less than .20);
the feathers broad and firm; the outer webs of exterior feathers
narrow at base, but widening to nearly double the width near the

    1. Bill from gape nearly as long as skull, broad at base and
    much depressed; rictal bristles reaching half-way from
    nostrils to tip. Culmen and commissure nearly straight. Wings
    equal to the tail. Tarsi long; toes short; middle toe without
    claw, about half the tarsus …                        _Setophaga_.

    2. Bill from gape nearly as long as skull, broad at base, but
    deep and more sylvicoline; rictal bristles reaching but
    little beyond nostrils. Culmen and commissure straight to the
    tip. Wings longer than the almost even tail. Middle toe
    without claw, three fifths the tarsus …            _Myiodioctes_.

    3. Bill from gape much shorter than head, wide at base, but
    compressed and high; the culmen and commissure much curved
    from base, scarcely notched at tip; rictal bristles reaching
    nearly half-way from nostrils to tip. Wings about equal to
    the almost even tail. Middle toe without claw, about three
    fifths the rather short tarsus …                    _Cardellina_.

B. Wings rounded; the first quill shorter than in the preceding
section; always less than the fifth. South American genera.[59]

Several species of _Setophaginæ_ have, on not very well established
grounds, been assigned to the southern borders of the United States.
They are as follows:—

  Cardellina rubra, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1865, 264. (_Setophaga
    rubra_, SWAINSON.) _Parus leucotis_, GIRAUD, Birds Texas.
    _Hab._ Mexico. Rich carmine-red. Wing and tail-feathers
    brown. Ear-coverts silvery white. Length, 4.70; wing, 2.40;
    tail, 2.55.

  Basileuterus culicivorus, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1865, 246. (_Sylvia
    culicivora_, LICHT.) _Muscicapa brasieri_, GIRAUD, Texas
    Birds. _Hab._ Southern Mexico; Guatemala and Costa Rica. Top
    of head with two black stripes enclosing a median of yellow.
    Back olivaceous-ash. Beneath entirely yellow. No rufous on
    side of head. Length, 4.90; wing, 2.40; tail, 2.25.

  Basileuterus belli, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1865, 247. _Muscicapa
    belli_, GIRAUD, Texas Birds. _Hab._ Mexico and Guatemala. Top
    of head and face chestnut. A yellow superciliary stripe
    bordered above by dusky. Back olive; beneath yellow. Length,
    5.10; wing, 2.28; tail, 2.50.


  _Myiodioctes_, AUDUBON, Synopsis, 1839, 48. (Type, _Motacilla
    mitrata_, GM.)—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 291.
  _Wilsonia_, BONAP. List. 1838 (preoccupied in botany).
  _Myioctonus_, CABANIS, Mus. Hein. 1850, 18. (Type, _Motacilla mitrata_.)

  [Line drawing: _Myiodioctes mitratus._

GEN. CHAR. Bill broad, depressed; the lateral outlines a little
concave; the bristles reaching not quite half-way from nostrils to
tip. Culmen and commissure nearly straight to near the tip. Nostrils
oval, with membrane above. Wings pointed, rather longer than the
nearly even but slightly rounded tail; first quill shorter than the
fourth, much longer than the fifth; the second and third quills
longest. Tarsi rather lengthened, the scutellar divisions rather
indistinct; the middle toe without claw, about three fifths the

This genus is distinguished from _Setophaga_, mainly by stouter feet
and longer toes; shorter and more even tail, narrower bill, etc. The
species are decidedly muscicapine in general appearance, as shown by
the depressed bill with bristly rictus. The type _M. mitratus_ is very
similar in character of bill to _Dendroica castanea_, but the wings
are much shorter; the tail longer and more graduated; the legs and
hind toe longer, and the first primary shorter than the fourth (.15 of
an inch less than the longest), not almost equal to the longest. The
species are plain olive or plumbeous above, and yellow beneath. They
may be grouped as follows:—

A. Tail with white patches on the inner feathers.

  1. M. mitratus. Head and neck black. Front, cheeks, and under
  parts yellow. Back olive-green. _Hab._ Eastern Province of
  United States, south to Panama and West Indies.

  2. M. minutus. Olive above; yellowish beneath. Two white
  bands on the wings. _Hab._ Eastern United States.

B. Tail without white patch on the outer feathers.

  3. M. pusillus. Crown black. Forehead, cheeks, and under
  parts yellow. Back olive.

    Yellow of forehead without an orange tinge; upper parts dull
    olive-green; pileum with very dull steel-blue lustre. _Hab._
    Eastern Province and Rocky Mountains of North America, south
    to Costa Rica …                                  var. _pusillus_.

    Yellow of forehead with an orange cast; upper parts bright
    yellowish-green; pileum with a bright steel-blue lustre.
    _Hab._ Pacific Province of North America, from Sitka to Costa
    Rica …                                          var. _pileolata_.

  4. M. canadensis. Streaks on the crown, stripes on sides of
  head and neck, with pectoral collar of streaks, black. Rest of
  under parts, and line to and around the eye, yellow. Back
  bluish. _Hab._ Eastern Province of United States, south to

Myiodioctes mitratus, AUD.


  _Motacilla mitrata_, GMELIN, S. N. I, 1788, 293. _Sylvia m._ LATH.;
    VIEILL.; BON.; NUTT.; AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cx. _Sylvicola m._
    MAX. _Sylvania m._ NUTTALL, Man. I, 1840, 333. _Setophaga m._
    JARD. _Wilsonia m._ BON. 1838.—ALLEN, Pr. Essex Inst. 1864.
    _Myiodioctes m._ AUD. Syn. 1839, 48.—IB. Birds Am. II, pl.
    lxxi.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 291 (Cordova); 1858, 358
    (Honduras).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 292; Rev. 239.—JONES, Nat.
    Bermuda, 1859, 26 (March).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11
    (Guatemala).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc. VIII, 63 (Panama R.
    R.).—GUNDLACH, Cab. Jour. 1861, 326 (Cuba).—SAMUELS, 245.
    _Myioctonus m._ CAB. Mus. Hein. 1851.—IB. Jour. Orn. III, 1855,
    472 (Cuba). _Muscicapa cucullata_, WILSON, III, pl. xxvi, fig. 3.
    _Muscicapa selbyi_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. ix.

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Bill black; feet pale yellow. Head and neck all
round and forepart of the breast black. A broad patch on the forehead
extending round on the entire cheeks and ear-coverts, with the under
parts, bright yellow. Upper parts and sides of the body olive-green.
Greater portion of inner web of outer three tail-feathers white.

_Female_ similar, but without the black; the crown like the back; the
forehead yellowish; the sides of the head yellow, tinged with olive on
the lores and ear-coverts. Throat bright yellow.

Length, 5.00; wing, 2.75; tail, 2.55. (Skin.)

HAB. Eastern Province of United States, rather southern; Bermuda;
Cuba; Jamaica; Eastern Mexico; Honduras and Guatemala to Panama R. R.
Orizaba (autumn, SUMICHRAST); Yucatan (LAWRENCE).

A young male in second year (2,245, Carlisle, Penn., May) is similar
to the female, but the hood is sharply defined anteriorly, though only
bordered with black, the olive-green reaching forward almost to the
yellow; there are only very slight indications of black on the throat.
Apparently the male of this species does not attain the full plumage
until at least the third year, as is the case with _Setophaga

  [Illustration: _Myiodioctes pusillus._]

HABITS. This beautiful and singularly marked Warbler is a Southern
species, though not exclusively so. It is more abundant in South
Carolina than any other State, so far as I am aware. It is, however,
found as far to the north as Northern New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and
Southern New York, and, farther west, as far north as the shores of
Lake Erie. It has also been found in Bermuda, Cuba, Jamaica, Eastern
Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala. Throughout Central America it appears
to be abundant during the winter.

Mr. Audubon also states that it abounds in Louisiana and along the
banks of the Mississippi and the Ohio. It occurs on the Hudson to some
distance above New York. It appears from the South early in March, and
has young already hatched, in Louisiana, early in May.

It is said to be one of the liveliest of its tribe, and to be almost
constantly in motion. It is fond of secluded places, and is equally
common in the thick canebrakes, both of the high and the low lands,
and in the tangled undergrowth of impenetrable swamps. It has a
peculiarly graceful manner of closing and opening its broad tail, that
at once distinguishes it from every other bird, as it gambols from
tree to tree, now in sight, and now hid from the eye, but ever within

Mr. Audubon adds that its call-note so closely resembles that of the
_Spiza ciris_ that it requires a practised ear to distinguish them.
But its song is very different. This consists of three notes, and is
loud, lively, and pleasing. This song is said to be made of sounds
resembling the syllables _weet, weet, weetēē_. Extremely vocal in the
early spring, it becomes nearly silent as soon as its brood is
hatched. It resumes its song when its mate is again sitting on her
eggs, as they have more than one brood in a season.

They are described as expert flycatchers, full of activity and spirit,
flying swiftly after their insect prey; and catching the greater part
on the wing. Their flight is low, gliding, and often protracted.

Mr. Bachman narrates a striking instance of its courage and conjugal
devotion. While a pair of these Warblers were constructing a nest, a
Sharp-shinned Hawk pounced upon and bore off the female. The male
followed close after the Hawk, flying within a few inches and darting
at him in all directions, and so continued until quite out of sight.

Wilson states that it builds a very neat and compact nest, generally
in the fork of a small bush. It is formed of moss and flaxen fibres of
plants, and lined with hair or feathers. The eggs, five in number, he
describes as of a grayish-white, with red spots at the larger end. He
noticed its arrival at Savannah as early as the 20th of March. Mr.
Audubon adds that these nests are always placed in low situations, a
few feet from the ground.

The late Dr. Gerhardt, of Varnell’s Station, Georgia, informed me, by
letter, that the Hooded Warbler deposits her eggs about the middle of
May, laying four. The nest is not unlike that of the _Spiza cyanea_,
but is larger. It is constructed of dry leaves and coarse grass on the
outside, and within of dry pine-needles, interwoven with long yellow
grasses and sometimes with horsehair. They are built, for the most
part, in the neighborhood of brooks and creeks, in oak bushes, four or
five feet from the ground. The female sits so closely, and is so
fearless, that Dr. Gerhardt states he has sometimes nearly caught her
in his hand.

In another letter Dr. Gerhardt describes a nest of this species as
measuring three inches in height, three in external diameter, and an
inch and a quarter in the depth of its cavity. Externally it was built
of dry leaves and coarse grasses, lined inside with horsehair, fine
leaves of pine, and dry slender grasses. It was constructed on a small
oak growing in low bottom-land, and was three feet from the ground.
The complement of eggs is four.

Mr. Ridgway states that this species is a common summer resident in
the bottom-lands along the Lower Wabash, in Southern Illinois,
inhabiting the cane-brakes and the margins of bushy swamps.

The eggs of this Warbler are oval in shape, with one end quite
pointed. They measure .70 by .50 of an inch. Their ground-color is a
beautiful bright white, when the egg is fresh, strongly tinged with
flesh-color. The spots are of a fine red, with a few markings of a
subdued purple.

Myiodioctes minutus, BAIRD.


  _Muscicapa minuta_, WILSON, Am. Orn. VI, 1812, 62, pl. 1, fig. 5.—
    AUD. Orn. Biog. V, pl. ccccxxxiv, fig. 3.—IB. Birds Am. I, pl.
    lxvii. _Sylvia minuta_, BON. _Wilsonia m._ BON. List, 1838.
    _Myiodioctes minutus_, BAIRD, Rev. Am. Birds, 1864, 241. _Sylvania
    pumilia_, NUTT. Man. I, 1840, 334.

SP. CHAR. Wings short, the second quills longest. Tail of
moderate-length, even. General color of upper parts light
greenish-brown; wings and tail dark olive-brown, the outer feathers of
the latter with a terminal white spot on the inner web; a narrow white
ring surrounding the eye; two bands of dull white on the wings; sides
of the head and neck greenish-yellow; the rest of the lower parts pale
yellow, gradually fading into white behind. Male, 5 inches long;
extent, 8.25 inches.

HAB. Eastern United States.

HABITS. All that is known in regard to this species we receive from
Wilson and Audubon, and there is a decided discrepancy in their
several statements. Wilson states that his figure was taken from a
young male shot on the 24th of April, but in what locality he does not
mention. He adds that he afterwards shot several individuals in
various parts of New Jersey, particularly in swamps. He found these in
June, and has no doubt they breed there.

Audubon claims that Wilson’s drawing was a copy from his own of a bird
shot by him in Kentucky on the margin of a pond. He throws a doubt as
to the correctness of Wilson’s statement that they have been found in
New Jersey, as no one else has ever met with any there. That may be,
however, and Wilson’s statement yet be correct. The same argument
carried out would reject the very existence of the bird itself, as no
well-authenticated records of its occurrence since then can be found.
They are at least too doubtful to be received as unquestionable until
the genuine bird can be produced. Mr. Nuttall, it is true, states that
Mr. Charles Pickering obtained a specimen of this bird many years ago,
near Salem, Mass., and that he had himself also seen it in the same
State, at the approach of winter. In the fall of 1836, when the writer
resided in Roxbury, a cat caught and brought into the house a small
Flycatcher, which was supposed to be of this species. It was given to
Mr. Audubon, who assented to its correct identification, but
afterwards made no mention of it. The presumption, therefore, is that
we may have been mistaken.

In regard to its habits, Wilson represents it as “remarkably active,
running, climbing, and darting about among the opening buds and
blossoms with extraordinary agility.” Audubon states that in its
habits it is closely allied with the _pusillus_ and the _mitratus_,
being fond of low thick coverts in swamps and by the margin of pools.
He also attributes to it a song of rather pleasing notes, enunciated
at regular intervals, loud enough to be heard at the distance of sixty
yards. These peculiarities seem to separate it from the true
Flycatchers and to place it among the Warblers.

Myiodioctes pusillus, BONAP.


  _Muscicapa pusilla_, WILSON, Am. Orn. III, 1811, 103, pl. xxvi,
    fig. 4. _Wilsonia pus._ BON. _Sylvania pus._ NUTT. _Myiodioctes
    pus._ BON. Consp. 1850, 315.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1856, 291
    (Cordova); 1858, 299 (Oaxaca Mts.; Dec.); 1859, 363 (Xalapa);
    373.—IB. Catal. 1861, 34, no. 203.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 293
    (in part); Rev. 240 (in part).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11
    (Guatemala).—SAMUELS, 246. _Myioctonus pus._ CAB. M. H. 1851,
    18.—IB. Jour. 1860, 325 (Costa Rica). _Sylvia wilsoni_, BON.;
    NUTT. _Muscicapa wilsoni_, AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl. cxxiv.
    _Setophaga wilsoni_, JARD. _Myiodioctes wilsoni_, AUD. Birds Am.
    II, pl. lxxv. _Sylvia petasodes_, LICHT. Preis-Verz. 1830.

SP. CHAR. Forehead, line over and around the eye, and under parts
generally, bright yellow. Upper part olive-green; a square patch on
the crown lustrous-black. Sides of body and cheeks tinged with olive.
No white on wings or tail. Female similar, the black of the crown
replaced by olive-green. Length, 4.75; wing, 2.25; tail, 2.30.

HAB. Eastern portions of United States, west to the Snake and Humboldt
Rivers; north to Alaska, south through Eastern Mexico and Guatemala to
Costa Rica; Chiriqui (SALVIN).

HABITS. Wilson’s Black-Cap is found throughout the United States from
ocean to ocean, and as far to the north as Alaska and the Arctic
shores, where, however, it is not common. Mr. Dall shot a specimen,
May 30, on the Yukon River, where it was breeding. Mr. Bischoff
obtained others with nests and eggs at Sitka, and afterwards found it
more abundant at Kodiak. On the Pacific coast Dr. Suckley found it
very abundant in the neighborhood of Fort Steilacoom, where it
frequented thickets and small scrub-oak groves, in its habits
resembling the _Helminthophaga celata_, flitting about among the dense
foliage of bushes and low trees in a busy, restless manner. He
describes its cry as a short _chit-chat_ call. In California, Dr.
Cooper notes their first arrival early in May, and states that they
migrate along the coast, up at least to the Straits of Fuca. At Santa
Cruz he noted their arrival, in 1866, about the 20th of April. They
were then gathering materials for a nest, the male bird singing
merrily during his employment. As they have been observed in Oregon as
early as this, it has been conjectured that some may remain all winter
among the dense shrubbery of the forests.

This bird winters in large numbers in Central America, where it is
apparently very generally distributed. Mr. Salvin found it very common
at Duenas. It was taken at Totontepec, among the mountains of Oaxaca,
Mexico, by Mr. Boucard.

Mr. Ridgway found it very common during the summer and autumn months
among the willows of the fertile river valleys, and among the rank
shrubbery bordering upon the streams of the cañons of the higher
interior range of mountains. It was found in similar situations with
the _Dendroica æstiva_, but it was much more numerous. During
September it was most abundant among the thickets and copses of the
East Humboldt Mountains, and in Ruby Valley, at all altitudes,
frequenting the bushes along the streams, from their sources in the
snow to the valleys.

Wilson first met with and described this species from specimens
obtained in Delaware and New Jersey. He regarded it as an inhabitant
of the swamps of the Southern States, and characterized its song as “a
sharp, squeaking note, in no wise musical.” It is said by him to leave
the Southern States in October.

Audubon states that it is never found in the Southern States in the
summer months, but passes rapidly through them on its way to the
northern districts, where it breeds, reaching Labrador early in June
and returning by the middle of August. He describes it as having all
the habits of a true Flycatcher, feeding on small insects, which it
catches on the wing, snapping its bill with a sharp clicking sound. It
frequents the borders of lakes and streams fringed with low bushes.

Mr. Nuttall observed this species in Oregon, where it arrived early in
May. He calls it a “little cheerful songster, the very counterpart of
our brilliant and cheerful Yellow-Bird.” Their song he describes as
like _’tsh-’tsh-’tsh-tshea_. Their call is brief, and not so loud. It
appeared familiar and unsuspicious, kept in bushes busily collecting
its insect fare, and only varied its employment by an occasional and
earnest warble. By the 12th of May some were already feeding their
full-fledged young. Yet on the 16th of the same month he found a nest
containing four eggs with incubation only just commenced. This nest
was in a branch of a small service-bush, laid very adroitly, as to
concealment, upon a mass of _Usnea_. It was built chiefly of hypnum
mosses, with a thick lining of dry, wiry, slender grasses. The female,
when approached, slipped off the nest, and ran along the ground like a
mouse. The eggs were very similar to those of _Dendroica æstiva_, with
spots of a pale olive-brown, confluent at the greater end.

A nest found by Audubon in Labrador was placed on the extremity of a
small horizontal branch, among the thick foliage of a dwarf fir, a few
feet from the ground and in the very centre of a thicket. It was made
of bits of dry mosses and delicate pine twigs, agglutinated together
and to the branches and leaves around it, from which it was suspended.
It was lined with fine vegetable fibres. The diameter of the nest was
three and a half and the depth one and a half inches. He describes the
eggs, which were four, as white; spotted with reddish and brown dots,
the markings being principally around the larger end, forming a
circle, leaving the extremity plain.

In this instance the parents showed much uneasiness at the approach of
intruders, moving about among the twigs, snapping their bills, and
uttering a plaintive note. In Newfoundland these birds had already
begun to migrate on the 20th of August. He met with them in
considerable numbers in Northern Maine in October, 1832. Mr. Turnbull
mentions it as a rather abundant bird of Eastern Pennsylvania,
appearing there early in May, _in transitu_, and again in October.

Mr. T. M. Trippe has observed this species at Orange, N. J., from the
19th to the 30th of May. It is said to keep low down in the trees, and
is fond of haunting thickets and open brush fields. Occasionally he
has heard it utter a loud chattering song, which it repeats at short

A nest of this species from Fort Yukon (Smith. Coll., 13,346),
obtained May 20, by Mr. McDougal, contained four eggs. These varied
from .60 to .63 of an inch in length, and from .45 to .49 in breadth.
They were obovate in shape, their ground-color was a pure white; this
was finely sprinkled round the larger end with brownish-red and lilac.
No mention is made of the position of the nest, but it is probable
this bird builds on the ground.

Myiodioctes pusillus, var. pileolatus, RIDGWAY.

  _Motacilla pileolata_, PALLAS, Zoög. Rosso Asiat. I, 1831, 497
    (Russian America). _Myiodioctes pusillus_, var. _pileolata_,
    RIDGWAY, Report U. S. Geol. Expl. 40th Par. _Myiodioctes
    pusillus_, AUCT. (all citations from Pacific coast of North and
    Middle America).—LORD, Pr. R. Art. Inst. Woolw. IV, 1864, 115 (Br.
    Col.).—DALL & BANNISTER (Alaska).—COOPER, Orn. Cal. 1, 1870, 101.

SP. CHAR. Similar to var. _pusillus_, but much richer yellow, scarcely
tinged with olive laterally, and deepened into an almost orange shade
on the front and chin. Above much brighter and more yellowish
olive-green. The black pileum with a brighter steel-blue gloss. Bill
much narrower, and deep, light brown above, instead of nearly black.
Measures (4,222 ♂, San Francisco, Cal.), wing, 2.15; tail, 2.00.

HAB. Pacific coast region of North America, from Kodiak (Alaska);
south through Western Mexico (and Lower California) to Costa Rica.

This is an appreciably different race from that inhabiting the eastern
division of the continent; the differences, tested by a large series
of specimens, being very constant.

A Costa-Rican specimen before me is almost exactly like specimens from

HABITS. The remarks, in the preceding article relative to specimens
from the Pacific coast belong to this variety.

Myiodioctes canadensis, AUD.


  _Muscicapa canadensis_, LINN. Syst. Nat. I, 1766, 327. (_Muscicapa
    canadensis cinerea_, BRISSON, II, 406, tab. 39, fig.
    4.)—GMELIN.—WILSON, III, pl. xxvi, fig. 2.—AUD. Orn. Biog. II, pl.
    ciii. _Setophaga can._ SWAINS.; RICH.; GRAY. _Myiodioctes can._
    AUD. Birds Am. II, pl. ciii.—BREWER, Pr. Bost. Soc. VI, 5 (nest
    and eggs).—SCLATER, P. Z. S. 1854, 111 (Ecuador; winter); 1855,
    143 (Bogota); 1858, 451 (Ecuador).—IB. Catal. 1861, 34, no.
    204.—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 11 (Guatemala).—LAWRENCE, Ann.
    N. Y. Lyc. VI, 1862.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 294; Rev.
    239.—SAMUELS, 247. _Euthlypis can._ CAB. Mus. Hein. 1850, 1851,
    18; Jour. Orn. 1860, 326 (Costa Rica). _Sylvia pardalina_, BON.;
    NUTT. _Sylvicola pardalina_, BON. _Myiodioctes pardalina_, BON. _?
    Muscicapa bonapartei_, AUD. Orn. Biog. I, 1831, 27, pl. v.
    _Setophaga bon._ RICH. _Wilsonia bon._ BON. _Sylvania bon._ NUTT.
    _? Myiodioctes bon._ AUD. Syn.—IB. Birds Am. II, 1841, 17, pl.
    xvii.—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 295. _Setophaga nigricincta_,
    LAFR. Rev. Zoöl. 1843, 292; 1844, 79.

SP. CHAR. Upper part bluish-ash; a ring around the eye, with a line
running to the nostrils, and the whole under part (except the
tail-coverts, which are white), bright yellow. Centres of the feathers
in the anterior half of the crown, the cheeks, continuous with a line
on the side of the neck to the breast, and a series of spots across
the forepart of the breast, black. Tail-feathers unspotted. _Female_
similar, with the black of the head and breast less distinct. In the
_young_ obsolete. Length, 5.34; wing, 2.67; tail, 2.50.

HAB. Whole Eastern Province of United States, west to the Missouri;
north to Lake Winnipeg; Eastern Mexico to Guatemala, and south to
Bogota and Ecuador (SCLATER). Not noted from West Indies.

HABITS. This is a migratory species, abundant during its passage, in
most of the Atlantic States. It breeds, though not abundantly, in New
York and Massachusetts, and in the regions north of latitude 42°. How
far northward it is found is not well ascertained, probably as far,
however, as the wooded country extends. It was met with on Winnepeg
River, by Mr. Kennicott, the second of June. It winters in Central and
in Northern South America, having been procured at Bogota, in
Guatemala, and in Costa Rica, in large numbers.

Mr. Audubon states that he found this bird breeding in the mountainous
regions of Pennsylvania, and afterwards in Maine, New Brunswick, Nova
Scotia, Newfoundland, and Labrador. Although he describes with some
minuteness its nests, yet his description of their position and
structure is so entirely different in all respects from those that
have been found in Massachusetts, that I am constrained to believe he
has been mistaken in his identifications, and that those he supposed
to belong to this species were really the nests of a different bird.

“In Vermont,” Mr. Charles S. Paine, of Randolph, informs me, “the
Canada Flycatcher is a summer visitant, and is first seen about the
18th of May. They do not spread themselves over the woods, like most
of our small fly-catching birds, but keep near the borders, where
there is a low growth of bushes, and where they may be heard
throughout the day singing their regular chant. A few pairs may
occasionally be found in the same neighborhood. At other times only a
single pair can be found in quite a wide extent of territory of
similar character. They build their nests, as well as I can judge,
about the first of June, as the young are hatched out and on the wing
about the last of that month, or the first of July. I have never found
a nest, but I think they are built on the ground. They are silent
after the first of July, and are rarely to be seen after that period.”
The song of this bird is a very pleasing one, though heard but seldom,
and only in a few localities in Massachusetts.

Near Washington Dr. Coues found the Canada Flycatcher only a spring
and autumnal visitant, at which seasons they were abundant. They
frequented high open woods, and kept mostly in the lower branches of
the trees, and also in the more open undergrowth of marshy places.
They arrive the last week in April and remain about two weeks,
arriving in fall the first week in September, and remaining until the
last of that month.

The first well-identified nest of this bird that came to my knowledge
was obtained in Lynn, Mass., by Mr. George O. Welch, in June, 1856. It
was built in a tussock of grass, in swampy woods, concealed by the
surrounding rank vegetation, in the midst of which it was placed. It
was constructed entirely of pine-needles and a few fragments of
decayed leaves, grapevine bark, fine stems, and rootlets. These were
so loosely interwoven that the nest could not be removed without great
care to keep its several portions together. Its diameter was three and
a half inches, and it was very nearly flat. Its greatest depth, at the
centre of its depression, was hardly half an inch. It contained four
young, and an unhatched egg.

Another nest found in June, 1864, by the same observing naturalist,
was also obtained in the neighborhood. This was built in a tussock of
meadow-grass, in the midst of a small boggy piece of swamp, in which
were a few scattered trees and bushes. The ground was so marshy that
it could be crossed only with difficulty, and by stepping from one
tussock of reedy herbage to another. In the centre of one of these
bunches the nest was concealed. It measures six inches in its larger
diameter, and has a height of two and a quarter inches. The cavity of
this nest is two and three quarters inches wide, and one and three
quarters deep. It is very strongly constructed of pine-needles,
interwoven with fine strips of bark, dry deciduous leaves, stems of
dry grasses, sedges, etc. The whole is firmly and compactly interwoven
with and strengthened around the rim of the cavity by strong, wiry,
and fibrous roots. The nest is very carefully and elaborately lined
with the black fibrous roots of some plant. The eggs, which were five
in number, measure .72 of an inch in length by .56 in breadth. Their
ground-color is a clear and brilliant white, and this is beautifully
marked with dots and small blotches of blended brown, purple, and
violet, varying in shades and tints, and grouped in a wreath around
the larger end.


  _Setophaga_, SWAINSON, Zoöl. Jour. III, Dec. 1827, 360. (Type,
    _Muscicapa ruticilla_, L.)—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 297.
    _Sylvania_, NUTTALL, Man. Orn. I, 1832. (Same type.)

  [Line drawing: _Setophaga ruticilla_, SW.]

GEN. CHAR. Bill much depressed, the lateral outlines straight towards
tip. Bristles reach half-way from nostril to tip. Culmen almost
straight to near the tip; commissure very slightly curved. Nostrils
oval, with membrane above them. Wings rather longer than tail,
pointed; second, third, and fourth quills nearly equal; first
intermediate between fourth and fifth. Tail rather long, rather
rounded; the feathers broad, and widening at ends, the outer web
narrow. Tarsi with scutellar divisions indistinct externally. Legs
slender; toes short, inner cleft nearly to base of first joint, outer
with first joint adherent; middle toe without claw, not quite half the

The genus _Setophaga_ is very largely represented in America, although
of the many species scarcely any agree exactly in form with the type.
In the following diagnosis I give several species, referred to,
perhaps erroneously, as occurring in Texas.

  Belly white. End of lateral tail-feathers black. Sexes

    Ground-color black, without vertex spot. Sides of breast and
    bases of quills and tail-feathers reddish-orange in male,
    yellowish in female …                                _ruticilla_.

  Belly vermilion or carmine red. Lateral tail-feathers,
  including their tips, white. Sexes similar.

    Entirely lustrous black, including head and neck. No vertex
    spot. A white patch on the wings …                   _picta_.[60]

    Plumbeous-ash, including head and neck. A chestnut-brown
    vertex spot. No white on wings …                   _miniata_.[61]

Setophaga ruticilla, SWAINS.


  _Motacilla ruticilla_, LINN. Syst. Nat. 10th ed. 1758, 186 (Catesby,
    Car. tab. 67). _Muscicapa ruticilla_, LINN.; GMELIN;
    VIEILLOT; WILS.; BON.; AUD. Orn. Biog. I, pl. xl. _Setophaga
    rut._ SWAINS. Zoöl. Jour. III, 1827, 358.—BON.; AUD. Birds
    Am.—SCLATER, P. Z. S. (Ecuador, Bogota, Cordova, Oaxaca, City
    of Mexico).—SCLATER & SALVIN, Ibis, 1859, 12
    (Guatemala).—BAIRD, Birds N. Am. 1858, 297; Rev. 256.—MAX.;
    SALLÉ, P. Z. S. 1857 (St. Domingo).—NEWTON, Ibis, 1859, 143
    (St. Croix; winter).—CAB. Jour. 1856, 472 (Cuba); 1860, 325
    (Costa Rica).—GUNDLACH, IB. 1861, 326 (Cuba).—BRYANT, Pr.
    Bost. Soc. VII, 1859 (Bahamas).—LAWRENCE, Ann. N. Y. Lyc.
    1861, 322 (Panama R. R.).—SAMUELS, 249. _Sylvania rut._
    NUTTALL, Man. I, 1832, 291 (type of genus). _Motacilla
    flavicauda_, GMELIN, I, 1788, 997 (♀).

  [Illustration: PLATE XVI.

   1. Setophaga ruticilla, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 984.
   2. Myiodioctes minutus, _Aud._ (Copied from Aud.)
   3.      “      pusillus, _Wils._ ♂ Cal., 7683.
   4.      “         “         “    ♀ Pa., 2325.
   5. Setophaga ruticilla, _Linn._ ♀ Pa., 2281.
   6. Myiodioctes canadensis, _Linn._ ♂ Pa., 945.
   7. Progne subis, _Linn._ ♀ 40704.
   8. Tachycineta bicolor, _Vieill._ ♂ Pa., 2896.
   9. Hirundo horreorum, _Bart._ ♂ Pa., 1452.
  10. Progne subis, _Linn._ ♂.
  11. Tachycineta thalassina, _Swains._ ♂ Oreg., 1895.
  12. Stelgidopteryx serripennis, _Aud._ ♂ 32269.
  13. Petrochelidon lunifrons, _Say._ ♂ 6622.
  14. Cotyle riparia, _Linn._ ♂ 20641.]

SP. CHAR. _Male._ Prevailing color black. A central line on the
breast, the abdomen, and under tail-coverts white; some feathers in
the latter strongly tinged with dark brown. Bases of all the quills
except the inner and outer, and basal half of all the tail-feathers
except the middle one, a patch on each side of the breast, and the
axillary region, orange-red, of a vermilion shade on the breast.
_Female_ with the black replaced by olive-green above, by
brownish-white beneath, the red replaced by yellow; the head tinged
with ash; a grayish-white lore and ring round the eye. Length, 5.25;
wing, 2.50; tail, 2.45.

HAB. Eastern and in part Middle Provinces of North America to Fort
Simpson, west to Great Salt Lake; Fort Laramie; Denver City; most of
the West Indies; Mexico to Ecuador.

The young male in early autumn greatly resembles in plumage the adult
female, but has the upper tail-coverts and tail deep black, sharply
contrasted with the olive of the rump, instead of having the upper
tail-coverts olive, the tail simply dusky; in addition the back is
more greenish-olive, and the abdomen and crissum pure white. The male
does not obtain the perfect adult plumage until about the third year.

  [Illustration: _Setophaga ruticilla._

HABITS. The so-called Redstart has an extended distribution from the
Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, and from Florida to high northern
latitudes, having been found breeding at Fort Simpson by Mr. Ross, and
at Fort Resolution by Mr. Kennicott and Mr. Lockhart. It is generally
abundant in suitable localities, and probably breeds wherever found
north of the Potomac. It winters in large numbers in Guatemala and in
other parts of Central America, as well as in the West Indies. It is
common in St. Croix in the spring, and is especially seen about
houses, according to Newton. It remains there until the end of April.

Richardson found this species abundant on the Saskatchewan, as far to
the north as the fifty-eighth parallel. It appeared there the last of
May, and left early in September. He found it frequenting moist, shady
lands, flitting about among the moss-grown and twisted stems of the
tall willows that skirt the marshes. It was easily recognized by the
red lining of its wings as it flitted through the gloomy shades in
pursuit of mosquitoes and other winged insects.

Among the memoranda of the late Mr. Kennicott, we find two to