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Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America

Plate XCVIII. Swallow-tailed kite. (Naucterus furcatus.),   p. 144

Page 144

Morelet's Finch. Little Seed-eater. (Sfpermoophila moreklii.)
Fig. 4
The range of this pretty little bird is from Mexico to Texas. It
is a rare species, and is admitted to our fauna by its being occa-
sionally met with on the Rio Grande. It was first described by
Prince Bonaparte, from a specimen in the Paris Museum, taken
near the Lake of Peten, in Guatemala, by M. Morelet.
Cactus Wren.  Brown-headed Creeper Wren.  (Campfyorhynchus
Fig. S.
This species is considered the largest of the family, and is found
to be common along the line of the Rio Grande, and the south-
western borders of the United States, especially in places where
the country presents a broken surface and a confused mass of vol-
canic rocks, covered with thorny bushes and cacti. It is a lively
bird, and occasionally utters a few trill ringing notes. Its food
consists of berries and insects. According to Dr. Heerman, the
nest is 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, are described as being of a 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.
Hepatio Tanager. Liver-colored Tanager. (Pyranga hepatica.)
Fig. 6.
This beautiful Tanager is met with in the Southern Rocky
Mountains of the United States, and in the mountainous regions of
Mexico. Dr. Woodhouse obtained the first specimen in the San
Francisco mountains of Arizona. It was a full grown female, and
is the only one known to have been discovered in the United States.
White-throated Swift. Rock Swift. (Panyptila saxatilis.)
Fig. 7.
Dr. Kennedy first discovered this species on Bill Williams' Fork,
New Mexico, in 1864. He speaks of it as a very curious and in-
teresting bird, found by him only among the canons of that stream,
and not observed elsewhere during their journey. Large flocks
could be seen at any time in the vicinity of those canons, flying
and circling around very high, and far beyond the reach of shot.
Toward the close of the day, when the sun had sunk behind the
hills, they occasionally descended lower. He only met with them
where the walls of the canons were very high, and consisted almost
of perpendicular masses of rock. At times they were seen to
sweep low down, and then to ascend nearly perpendicularly very
near the stones, as if examining them, in order to select a place for
their nests. The construction of these had obviously not then
commenced. Mr. Mollhausen was of the opinion that these birds
build in the holes and crevices of the cliffs. According to Mr.
Ridgway it is a very noisy species, having a vigorous chatter, re-
minding one somewhat of the notes of young Baltimore Orioles
when being fed by their parents.
Cassins Purple Finch. (Carpodacus cassixi.)
Fig. &
Rocky Mountains and valley of the Colorado to the Sierra Ne-
vada is the habitat of this species. It is similar in its habits to
the Purple Finch, represented on Plate XLVIII., fig. IO, and de-
scribed on page 69.
Mountain Song Sparrow. (Met.'pize v'exodia, var.fallax.)
Fig. 9-
This species is the Rocky Mountain variety of Song Sparrows,
distributed from the Atlantic to the Pacific. In habits and song it
is similar to the species represented on Pate IV., figs. 4 and S, and
described on page 4.
Canon Finch. Canon Bunting. Brown Towhee. Canon Towhee. (Pi.
pilo fuscus, var. mesoleucuv.)
Fig. Io.
This little species is met with in the valley of the upper Rio
Grande. It was first discovered by Dr. Kelnnedy, naturalist to
the Pacific Railroad expedition, on the 35th phrallel. He met wit&
it at Bill Williams' Fork, in Arizona, in I854. Its habits are sirm
ilar to those of Pipilo aberti.
Abert's Towhee. Abert's Finch. (Pipilo aberti.)
Fig. ii.
This is one of the most plainly colored, as well as perhaps thr
largest of our North American Finches. Dr. Cooper assigns the
base of the Rocky Mountains, in New Mexico, and the valleys of
the Gila and Colorado rivers, as the habitat of this species, and,
according to Dr. Coues, it is one of the most abundant and charac-
teristic birds of those two valleys, and also that it ranges north-
ward to within a few miles of Fort Whipple, but is not found in the
adjacent mountains. Like the Canon Bunting, it lives mostly on
the ground. The nest is usually built in thorny shrubs, and is
composed of coarse twigs, green herbs, interwoven with strips of
bark, grass, and leaves, and lined with horse-hair when it can be
Swallow-tailed Kite. (N*'ucterus furcatus.)
Fig. z.
This beautiful species is common in the South Atlantic and Gulf
States, and occasionally extends its migrations to the interior of the
State of Wisconsin. Regarding its habits, Dr. Coues says:
"t Marked among its kind by no ordinary beauty of form and
brilliancy of color, the Kite courses through the air with a grace
and buoyancy it would be vain to rival. By a stroke of the thin-
bladed wings and a lashing of the cleft tail, its flight is swayed to
this or that side in a moment, or instantly arrested. Now it swoops
with incredible swiftness, seizes without a pause, and bears its
struggling captive aloft, feeding from its talons as it flies; now it
mounts in airy circles till it is a speck in the blue ether and disap-
pears. All its actions, in wantonness or in sqverity of the chase,

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