Wilson, Alexander, 1766-1813. / American ornithology; or The natural history of the birds of the United States
Species 9. Falco pennsylvanicus. Slate-coloured hawk, pp. -88
SPE"CIES 9. FdLCO PENNSYL VdNIC U8 SLATE-COLO) URED HAWK. * [Plate XLVI.-Fig 1.] THIS elegant and spirited little Hawk is a native of Pennsyl- vania, and of the Atlantic states generally; and is now for the first time introduced to the notice of the public. It frequents the more settled parts of the country, chiefly in winter; is at all times a scarce species; flies wide, very irregular, and swiftly; preys on lizards, mice and small birds, and is an active and da- ring little hunter. It is drawn of full size, from a very beauti- ful specimen shot in the neighbourhood of Philadelphia. The bird within his grasp is the Tanagra rubra, or Black-winged Red-bird, in its green or first year's dress. In the spring of the succeeding year the green and yellow plumage of this bird be- comes of a most splendid scarlet, and the wings and tail deepen into a glossy black. The great difficulty of accurately discriminating between dif- ferent species of the Hawk tribe, on account of the various ap- pearances they assume at different periods of their long lives, at first excited a suspicion that this might be one of those with which I was already acquainted, in a different dress, namely, the Sharp-shinned Hawk, figured in plate XLV of this work; for such are the changes of colour to which many individuals I By comparing this bird with the Sharp-shinned Hawk, it will be obvious that Wilson had good reason for his first opinion, that they are identical; al- though he subsequently came to a contrary conclusion. It is probable that they will be found to be the same, and that this is the adult, and the Sharp- shinned Hawk the young bird. If this be the case, the name velox, which was first given to this species by Wilson, must be retained; unless indeed it should prove to be identical with the P. fuscus of authors, as asserted by Prince Musig- nano; in which event this latter name must of course, having the priority, be adopted.
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