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Studer, Jacob Henry, 1840-1904. / Birds of North America
(1903)

Plate CXII. Dusky seaside finch. (Ammodromus maritimus, var. nigrescens.),   pp. 169-170


Page 170


170  SKIMMER-PLOVER-TERN-HERONS-GODWIT-WOODCOCK-GALLINULE, ETC.
fig. 1, page I36. The Green Ibis is met with on the Pacific Coast
of America from California to Chili. The Whitefaced, in the
whole of tropical America, and middle province of United States;
from Chili and Buenos Ayres to the Columbia river.
Black Skimmer; Cut-water. (Rhynchops nigra.)
Fig. to.
Dr. Coues once saw a single specimen of this bird on the Poto-
mac river, near Washington. Otherwise, his personal observations
were confined, up to the present time, to the coast of North Caro-
lina, where the birds are plentiful. There he noticed them late in
the summer and during the autumn. In September they become
plentiful, and so continue until the latter part of November, some
doubtless remaining later. In examining large numbers of speci-
mens, he found a great difference in size, and particularly in the
bill. Some individuals are fully a third heavier than others. The
bill varies over an inch in length, and especially in the length
of the under mandible. Sometimes the difference between the two
mandibles is hardly a third of an inch, at others over an inch.
The oblique striae on the under one are sometimes obsolete. In
high condition, the bill is bright red (vermilion) and black; other-
wise, orange and black, or even mostly dusky, only yellowish at
base. The young in the fall are curiously variegated with dusky
and whitish above, few specimens being exactly alike. The note
of this species is instantly distinguished from that of any of our
other species of this family by its deep guttural intonation, more
like the croaking of some Herons than the cries of the Gulls and
Terns. The bird also differs from its allies in going in true flocks,
as distinguished from the gatherings, however large, in commun-
ity of interest, that occur with the Gulls and Terns. The birds
move synchronously, which is not the case with any of the others.
They feed chiefly by night, or at any rate in the dusk of the
evening, at which time, in passing over the harbor, one may
hear their hoarse notes on every hand, and see the birds
gliding swiftly along just over the water, either singly or in small
flocks. During the daytime, when the Gulls and Terns are busy
fishing, the Skimmers are generally seen reposing on the sand-
bars. They never drop on their prey on the wing, like their allies.
Their mode of feeding is not exactly made out, but it is believed
they skim over the surface with the body inclined downward, the
bill open, and the under mandible in the water, so they really take
their prey in a manner analogous to the feeding of whales.
Missouri Piping Plover. (_Agialitis melodus, var. circumcinctus.)
Fig. xI.
This variety is a resident on the plains between the Missouri
River and the Rocky Mountains. Its habits are supposed to be
similar to the typical bird, represented on Plate XL, fig. 4, page 56.
Bridled Tern. (Sterna anxstheta.)
Fig. 12.
The Bridled Tern is met with in the warmer portions of North
America. Habits supposed to be similar to other members of this
family.
Florida Heron. (Ardea courdemanuii.)
Fig. 13.
This species is considered the handsomest of all our American
Herons. It is met with in Southern Florida, and is very similar,
in appearance and habits, to the Great glue Heron, represented on
Plate LXXX, fig. I, page i24.
White-tailed, or White-rumped Godwit. (Limosa uropygialis.)
Fig. Ix
This is an European species, met with at Alaska. It is usually
met with near the muddy banks of rivers or of sea-inlets, or wher-
ever there is found a rich supply of worms,-molluscs, and aquatic
animals, upon which they subsist. Their movements on the wing
are very powerful.
Reddish Egret; Peale's Egret; Heron. (Ardea rufa.)
Fig. 15.
This bird is very closely allied to the European Heron. It was
first obtained by Mr. Titian Peale, in Florida. It is an abundant
maritime species along the Gulf States.
European Woodcock. (Scolopax rusticola.)
Fig. x6.
This bird, which is evidently a stranger to this country, from
Europe, where it has an extended range, has been met with in
Rhode Island and New Jersey. Upon the ground, this Woodcock
is not considered an expert. It walks slowly, with a roundabout,
tripping step, and never ventures any distance on foot.  During
the day, it remains comparatively quiet; but toward evening it
exhibits activity and briskness. It is very shy, and prefers shady
and retired situations. The call of the male consists of a hum-
ming note; the female utters a piping cry. Its food consists of
insects, worms, and larvae.
Purple Gallinule. (Porplhyrio martinica.)
Fig. 17.
This is a beautiful bird that is often met with along the coasts of
the South Atlantic and Gulf States, and is casually met with as
far north as the New England States. Its habits are very similar
to the Florida Gallinule, represented on Plate XLII, page 58.
Green-shank. (Glottis chloropzus.)
Fig. ,8.
An European bird, of which a straggler was obtained by Audu-
bon, in Florida, which is the only reason for its appearing as a
North American species.
Western Semi-palmated Sandpiper. (Ereunetespuslus, var. occidentatis.)
Fig. 19.
A Pacific coast variety of the typical birid, represented on Plate
XI, fig. 2, page 12.
Thick-billed Sandpiper. (Fringa crassirostris.)
Fig. 20.
According to Mr. Dale (Am. Nat., vol. 7, 634), a specimen of
this species was obtained in the Aleutian Islands, with an incom-
plete set of eggs. He says it is a species hitherto known only from
Eastern China, and Japan.


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