University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Digital Library for the Decorative Arts and Material Culture

Page View

Edwards, George, 1694-1773. / A natural history of birds : most of which have not been figured or described, and others very little known, from obscure or too brief descriptions without figures, or from figures very ill designed
Part II (1747)

[The whip-poor-will, or lesser goat-sucker],   pp. [Plate] 63-63


Page 63

( 63 )
The WHIP-POOR-WILL, or lefer GOAT-SUCKER.
TH -I S Bird, for Shape, Colour, and Agreement in mofl Particulars, is like
the Bird
T    called in England the Night-Hawk, or Goat-Sucker, except that it bath
fome Marks
different, and is a third Part lefs. It is called in Virginia, Whip-Poor-[
ili, from its Cry,
which nearly resembles thofe Words; the Figure reprefents it of its natural
Size.
The Bill is very fmall, of a Black Colour, yet the Mouth is very wide, the
Angles or
Corners of it extending under and beyond the Eyes; the Sides of the Head
round the
Eyes are of a light Brown, inclining to Afh-colour; on the Throat it hath
a Half-Moon,
like Spots of White, the Corners of which turn up towards the Ears ; the
Top of the
Head, upper Side of the Neck, Back, upper Coverts of the Wings and Tail,
are cover'd
with dark brown Feathers, tranfverfly barred, and Sprinkled with a lighter
Brown,'
and fome little Mixture of Afh-colour, mixed and blended in an irregular
Manner; fi-om
the Bill there paffes over the Eyes down the Sides of the Neck fome bright
Spots of
Orange-colour; and on the upper Coverts of the Wing are fome pretty diftint-
Spots of light Brown; the Quills are Dusky, or near Black; the five firft
have a white
Spot paffes through them, which paffes through both Webs and Shafts, except
the outer
Web, and the Shaft of the outermoft Quill; this Spot appears within and without
Side
of the Wings; the covert Feathers within Side of the Wings are White, with
a Cloud of
Orange barred a-crofs with tranfverfe dusky Lines; the whole under Side,
and covert
Feathers under the Tail are White, with fome Mixture of faint Orange, regularly
croffed
with Lines of dusky Black; the lower Part of the white Spot on the Throat
is tindtured
with Orange-colour; the Legs and Feet are very fmall, feather'd a little
below the
Knees, of a Flefh-colour; the outer and middle Toes are joined a little way
by a Mem-
brane; the two Middle Claws are toothed within-fide; the Tail hath on each
Side to-
wards the End a white Spot in the Feathers.
Mr. Mark Catesby obliged me with this Bird; it was brought from Virginia,
and there
was another brought with it, which compared in all its Marks, but more obfcure,
which
I flippofe to be the Female.
To illuftrate this Hiftory, I fhall add a Quotation from a Letter Mr. Catesby
received
with thefe Birds from a Gentleman in America. " They come to Virginia
about the
" Middle of April, from which Time, till the End of /une, they are
heard
every Night,
beginning about Dusk, and continuing till Break of Day; but it is chiefly
in the upper
or Weftern Parts that they are fo frequent: I never heard but one in the
Maritime
Parts; but near the Mountains in the Month of May, within a few Minutes after
Sun
fet, they begin, and make fo very loud and fhrill a Noife all Night, which
the Ecchoes
"from the Mountains increafe to fuch a Degree, that the firft Time
I
lodged there I
" could hardly fleep: They are feldom feen in theDay-time. The Indians
imagine thefe
" Birds are the Souls of their Anceftors formerly flaughtered by
the
EnglZh, and fay,
that they never appeared in their Country before that Slaughter. Many People
here
s look on them as Birds of Ill-omen. I have been informed they lay two Eggs
of a dark
' Green, fpotted and fcrolled with Black, in the plain beaten Paths, without
any Sign
of a Neft, upon which they fit very clofe, and will fuffer a near Approach
before they
fly off."l


Go up to Top of Page