Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Species 2. Sitta varia. Red-bellied nuthatch, pp. -56
SPECIES 2. SITTdI T4RI. RED-BELLIED NUTHATCH. [Plate II. -Fig. 4.] Sitta Canadensis, Briss. iII, p. 592.-Small Nathatch, LATH. I, 651.-Sitta Varia, BART. P. 289. THIs bird is much smaller than the last, measuring only four inches and a half in length, and eight inches in extent. In the form of its bill, tongue, nostrils, and in the colour of the back and tail-feathers, it exactly agrees with the former; the seconda- ries are not relieved with the deep black of the other species, and the legs, feet, and claws, are of a dusky greenish yellow; the upper part of the head is black, bounded by a stripe of white passing round the frontlet; a line of black passes through te eye to the shoulder; below this is another line of white; the chin is white; the other under parts a light rust colour; the primaries and whole wings a dusky lead colour. The breast and belly of the female is not of so deep a brown, and the top of the head less intensely black. This species is migratory, passing from the north, where they breed, to the southern states in October, and returning in April. Its voice is sharper, and its motions much quicker than those of the other, being so rapid, restless and small, as to make it a diffi- 6ult point to shoot one of them. When the two species are in the woods together, they are easily distinguished by their voices, the note of the least being nearly an octave sharper than that of its companion, and repeated more hurriedly. In other respects their notes are alike unmusical and monotonous. Approaching so near to each other in their colours and general habits, it is probable that their mode of building, &c. may be also similar.
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