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C. A. (Charles Alexander) Johns.

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narrow, approaching to cylindrical; upper mandible hooked; edges of
both mandibles armed with sharp teeth directed backwards; legs
short, placed far backward. _Page 201_




ORDER COLUMBÆ
(PIGEONS AND DOVES)


Bill swollen at tip, convex; the upper mandible covered at the base
with a soft membrane in which lie the nostrils, with a valve over
them; tarsi covered fore and rear with hexagonal scales.

The birds of this order have considerable powers of flight, and perch
freely on trees or rocks. Their food consists principally of grain,
seeds, and the leaves of herbaceous plants. The young are fed on a
milky fluid secreted in the crop of the old birds.


FAMILY COLUMBIDÆ

Tail with twelve feathers; hind toe with the skin prominently expanded
on the sides.

92. COLUMBA (Wood-pigeon, Stock-dove, Rock-dove). Bill moderate,
straight at base, compressed, point deflected; tail nearly even;
first primary much larger than _sixth_. _Page 203_

93. TURTUR (Turtle-dove). Bill rather slender, tip of upper mandible
gently deflected, that of lower scarcely exhibiting the appearance
of an angle; tail rather long, graduated. _Page 209_




ORDER PTEROCLETES


FAMILY PTEROCLIDÆ

94. SYRRHAPTES (Sand-grouse). Bill small, gradually decurved; nostrils
basal, hidden; wings long, pointed, first primary largest; tail of
sixteen feathers, cuneate, central pair long; tarsi short, strong;
feathered to toes; three toes, all in front; hallux obsolete; soles
rugose; claws broad and obtuse. _Page 211_




ORDER GALLINÆ


Bill short and stout; culmen arched, and overhanging the mandible.


FAMILY TETRAONIDÆ

95. TETRAO (Black Grouse, Capercaillie). Bill strong; eyebrows naked,
adorned with scarlet papillæ; tarsi feathered, without spurs; front
toes naked, with pectinated margins; hind toe larger than the nail.
_Page 212_

96. LAGÓPUS (Red Grouse, Ptarmigan). Front toes feathered, nearly
smooth at the margins; hind toe shorter than the nail; in other
respects like the last. _Page 215_


FAMILY PHASIANIDÆ

Nostrils never hidden by feathers; toes never pectinated.

97. PHASIÁNUS (Pheasant). Cheeks naked, adorned with scarlet papillæ;
tail very long, of eighteen feathers. _Page 219_

98. PERDIX (Partridge). Bill strong; orbits naked; tarsus naked, male
with a knob on the tarsus behind; tail of sixteen feathers, short,
bent down. _Page 222_

99. CÁCCABIS (Red-legged Partridge). Tail of fourteen feathers; tarsi
armed with blunt spurs in male. _Page 225_

100. COTÚRNIX (Quail). Bill slender; orbits feathered; wings with the
first primary longest; tail very short; almost concealed by the
tail-coverts. _Page 226_




ORDER FULICARIÆ
(RAILS AND COOTS)


FAMILY RALLIDÆ
(RAILS)

101. CREX (Corn-crake). Bill shorter than the head, thick at the base,
compressed, pointed; front toes entirely divided, not margined;
second and third primaries longest. Tail pointed, rectrices narrow.
_Page 228_

102. PORZANA (Spotted and Little Crakes). Bill shorter than head;
wings shorter than in Crex; second quill longest; secondaries
shorter than primaries by length of hind toe and claw. _Page 229_

103. RALLUS (Water-rail). Bill longer than head; wings moderate, third
and fourth quills longest. _Page 230_

104. GALLÍNULA (Moor-hen). Bill shorter than the head, stout,
straight, compressed; upper mandible expanding at the base and
forming a disc on the forehead; toes entirely divided, bordered by a
narrow entire membrane, middle toe longer than tarsus. _Page 231_

105. FÚLICA (Coot). Bill shorter than the head, straight, robust,
convex above, much compressed; upper mandible dilated at the base,
and forming a naked patch on the forehead; all the toes united at
the base, and bordered by a scalloped membrane. _Page 233_




ORDER ALECTORIDES


Angle of the mandible always truncated, hind toe generally raised
above level of others.


FAMILY GRUIDÆ

Nasal depression more than half as long as maxilla; rectrices twelve.

106. GRUS (Crane). Upper mandible deeply channelled; nostrils medial;
wings moderate; third primary longest. _Page 234_


FAMILY OTIDIDÆ
(BUSTARDS)


Bill flattened and obtuse; no hind toe; tarsi unarmed; wings very
short; rectrices sixteen to twenty.

107. OTIS (Bustard). Legs long, naked above the knee; wings moderate,
hind quill longest. _Page 236_




ORDER LIMICOLÆ
(WADERS)


Leg and tarsus long, the lower portion of the former generally
destitute of feathers; bill long or moderate; toes three or four, more
or less connected by a membrane at the base, sometimes lobated.
Primaries eleven; fifth secondary wanting; after shaft to contour
feathers present.

Adapted by structure for feeding in marshes, on the muddy or sandy
sea-shore, or on the banks of lakes and rivers. Some, which feed on
fish, have unusually long legs and powerful bills; others, owing to
their length of bill and legs, are able to search muddy places for
worms and insects, without clogging their feathers; and others, again,
are decidedly aquatic, and have considerable swimming powers, thus
approaching the next order; the majority have great power of flight,
and lay their eggs on the ground.


FAMILY GLAREOLIDÆ

108. GLARÉOLA (Pratincole). Bill short, convex, compressed towards the
point; upper mandible curved throughout half its length; nostrils
basal, oblique; legs feathered nearly to the knee; tarsus long;
three toes in front, one behind, the latter joined on the tarsus;
wings very long; first primary longest. _Page 238_


FAMILY CHARADRIIDÆ

Hind toe absent in most species; tarsus usually reticulate, sometimes
scutellate.

109. OEDICNÉMUS (Thick-knee). Bill stout, straight, longer than the
head, slightly compressed towards the end; nostrils in the middle of
the bill, narrow, with the aperture in front, pervious; toes three,
united by a membrane as far as the first joint; wings as in the
last. _Page 239_

110. CURSORIUS (Courser). Bill shorter than the head, depressed at the
base, slightly curved, pointed; nostrils basal, oval, covered by a
little protuberance. Legs long, slender; toes three, very short,
divided nearly to the base, inner toe half the length of the middle
one; its claw serrated; claws very short; wings moderate; first
primary nearly as long as the second, which is the longest in the
wing. _Page 240_

111. CHARÁDRIUS (Plover). Bill shorter than the head, slender,
straight, compressed, somewhat swollen towards the tip; nasal
channel reaching from the base through two-thirds of the bill,
covered by a membrane; nostrils basal, very narrow; tarsi moderate,
slender; toes three, the outer and middle connected by a short
membrane; wings moderate; first primary longest. _Page 240_

112. SQUATÁROLA (Grey Plover). Bill shorter than the head, straight,
swollen and hard towards the tip; nostrils basal, narrow, pierced in
the membrane of a long groove; legs slender; outer and middle toe
connected by a short membrane, hind toe rudimentary, jointed on the
tarsus, not touching the ground; wings long, pointed; first primary
longest. _Page 242_

113. EUDROMIAS (Dotterel). Bill shorter than head, slender,
compressed; nasal channel reaching about half length of bill. Wings
moderate; inner secondaries much longer than in Charádrius.
_Page 244_

114. ÆGIALITIS (Ringed and Kentish Plovers). Bill much shorter than
head, slender, straight to end of nasal channel, which extends
beyond middle of bill, then slightly raised, but decurved at tip;
wings long, pointed. _Page 245_

115. VANELLUS (Lapwing). Wings large, quills broad and rounded, the
fourth and fifth primaries longest. In other respects resembling
Squatárola. _Page 247_

116. HÆMÁTOPUS (Oyster Catcher). Bill longer than the head, stout,
straight, forming a wedge; legs moderate, stout; toes three,
bordered by a narrow membrane; wings long; first primary longest.
_Page 248_

117. STRÉPSILAS (Turnstone). Bill short, thickest at the base and
tapering; nostrils basal, narrow, pervious; legs moderate; three
front toes connected at the base by a membrane, fourth rudimentary,
jointed on the tarsus, touching the ground with its tip. _Page 250_


FAMILY SCOLOPACIDÆ
(SNIPES, ETC.)

Bill long and slender; toes four, the hind one weak and elevated, very
rarely wanting.

118. RECURVIROSTRA (Avocet). Bill very long, slender, weak, much
curved upwards, pointed; legs long, slender; front toes connected
as far as the second joint; hind toe very small. _Page 252_

119. PHALÁROPUS (Phalarope). Bill as long as the head, slender, weak,
depressed and blunt; front toes connected as far as the first joint,
and bordered by a lobed and slightly serrated membrane; hind toe not
bordered. _Page 253_

120. SCÓLOPAX (Woodcock). Bill long, compressed, superior ridge
elevated at base of mandible, prominent. Legs rather short, anterior
toes almost entirely divided. _Page 254_

121. GALLINÁGO (Snipe). Bill very long; legs rather long and slender;
anterior toes divided to the base. _Page 256_

122. CALIDRIS (Sanderling). Bill as long as the head, slender,
straight, soft, and flexible, dilated towards the end; nostrils
basal, narrow, pierced in the long nasal groove which reaches to the
tip; legs slender; toes three, scarcely connected by a membrane;
wings moderate; first primary longest. _Page 260_

123. TRINGA (Sandpiper, Knot, Dunlin, Stint). Bill as long as the head
or a little longer, straight or slightly curved, soft and flexible,
dilated, and blunt towards point; both mandibles grooved along
sides; nostrils lateral wings moderately long, pointed, first quill
longest; legs moderately long; three toes in front, divided to
origin; one behind, small, articulated upon tarsus. _Page 361_

124. MACHÉTES (Ruff). Bill straight, as long as the head, dilated and
smooth at the tip; nasal channel reaching to nearly the end of the
bill; nostrils basal; first and second primaries longest; toes four,
the outer and middle connected as far as the first joint; neck of
the male in spring furnished with a ruff. _Page 266_

125. TÓTANUS (Redshank, Sandpiper). Bill moderate, slender, soft at
the base, solid at the end; both mandibles grooved at the base,
upper channelled through half its length; nostrils pierced in the
groove; legs long, slender; toes four. _Page 267_

126. LIMÓSA (Godwit). Bill very long, slender, curved upwards, soft
and flexible throughout, dilated towards the tip, and blunt; upper
mandible channelled throughout its whole length; nostrils linear,
pierced in the groove, pervious; legs long and slender; toes four,
the outer and middle connected as far as the first joint; wings
moderate; first primary longest. _Page 272_

127. NUMENIUS (Curlew, Whimbrel). Bill much larger than the head,
slender, curved downwards. _Page 273_




ORDER GAVIÆ


Front toes entirely connected by webs. Primaries, ten large and
visible, one minute and concealed.


FAMILY LARIDÆ
(GULLS, TERNS, SKUAS)


_SUB-FAMILY STERNINÆ_

Bill straight, rather slender; mandibles of about equal length.

128. HYDROCHELIDON (Black, White-winged, and Whiskered Terns). Tail
feathers rounded or slightly pointed; tail short, less than half
length of wing. _Page 275_

129. STERNA (Other Terns). Outer tail feathers longest, pointed;
tarsus short; tail at least half length of wing; bill compressed
and slender; tarsus never exceeds length of middle toe with claw.
_Page 276_


_SUB-FAMILY LARINÆ_

Bill with upper mandible longer and bent over tip of under one.

130. LARUS (Gull). Bill moderate, strong, sharp-edged above,
compressed, slightly decurved; hind toe high on the tarsus; first
primary nearly equal to the second, which is longest; tail even, or
but slightly forked. _Page 281_

131. RISSA (Kittiwake). Bill rather short and stout, considerably
decurved; hind toe minute and usually obsolete; first primary
slightly exceeding second; tail perceptibly forked in young, nearly
square in adult. _Page 287_


_SUB-FAMILY STERCORARIINÆ_

Bill with a cere; claws large, strong, hooked.

132. STERCORARIUS (Skua). Bill moderate, strong, rounded above,
compressed towards the tip, which is decurved; nostrils far forward,
diagonal, pervious; hind toe very small, scarcely elevated; the
middle tail-feathers more or less elongated. _Page 288_




ORDER PYGOPODES


Wings short


FAMILY ALCIDÆ
(AUKS)

Bill much flattened vertically (compressed); wings short; legs placed
at the extremity of the body; feet three-toed, palmated; tail short.
Food, mostly fish, and captured by diving.

133. ALCA (Razor-bill). Bill large, sharp-edged, the basal half
feathered, the terminal part grooved laterally; upper mandible much
curved towards the point; nostrils nearly concealed by a feathered
membrane; tail pointed. _Page 291_

134. ÚRIA (Guillemot). Bill strong, nearly straight, sharp-pointed, of
moderate length; nostrils basal, partly covered by a feathered
membrane; first primary longest. _Page 292_

135. MÉRGULUS. (Little Auk). Bill strong, conical, slightly curved,
shorter than the head; nostrils basal, partly covered by a feathered
membrane; first and second primaries equal. _Page 294_

136. FRATERCULA (Puffin). Bill shorter than head, higher than long,
ridge of upper mandible higher than crown; both mandibles much
curved throughout, transversely furrowed, notched at tip; nostrils
basal, almost closed by a naked membrane. _Page 295_


FAMILY COLYMBIDÆ
(DIVERS)

Bill slightly compressed, not covered with a membranous skin; edges of
the mandibles unarmed, or but slightly toothed; wings short; legs
placed far behind; tarsi very much compressed; toes four. Food, fish
and other aquatic animal substances obtained by diving. Females
smaller than males.

137. COLYMBUS (Diver). Bill forming a pointed cylindrical cone; front
toes entirely palmated; tail very short. _Page 297_


FAMILY PODICIPEDIDÆ
(GREBES)

Hallux raised above level of other toes; toes with wide lateral lobes,
united at base. Tail vestigial.

138. PÓDICIPES (Grebe). Bill forming pointed cylindrical cone;
secondaries, if any, very little shorter than primaries. _Page 300_




ORDER TUBINARES


External nostrils are produced into tubes; anterior toes fully webbed;
hallux small or absent.


FAMILY PROCELLARIIDÆ

Nostrils united exteriorly above culmen.

139. FULMARUS (Fulmar). Bill not so long as head; upper mandible of
four portions divided by indentations, the whole large, strong,
curving suddenly to point; under mandible grooved along sides, bent
at end; edges of mandibles sharp; nostrils prominent, united,
enclosed, somewhat hidden in tube with single external orifice;
wings rather long, first quill longest; tarsi compressed, feet
moderate. _Page 304_

140. PUFFINUS (Shearwaters). Bill rather longer than head, slender;
mandibles compressed, decurved; nasal tube low, both nostrils
visible from above, directed forwards and slightly upwards; wings
long, pointed, first quill slightly the longest; tail graduated;
tarsi compressed laterally. _Page 305_

141. PROCELLARIA (Storm and Fork-tailed Petrels). Bill small, robust,
much shorter than head, straight to nail, which is decurved; wings
long, narrow, second quill longest, slightly exceeding third, first
shorter than fourth; tail moderate, slightly rounded; legs moderate,
claws rather short. _Page 307_


* * * * * * *




ORDER PASSERES


FAMILY TURDIDÆ


SUB-FAMILY TURDINÆ

THE MISTLE (OR MISSEL) THRUSH
TURDUS VISCIVORUS

Upper plumage ash brown; space between the bill and eye
greyish white; wing-coverts edged and tipped with greyish
white; under parts white, faintly tinged here and there with
reddish yellow, marked all over with deep brown spots, which
on the throat and breast are triangular, in other parts oval,
broader on the flanks; under wing-coverts white; three lateral
tail feathers tipped with greyish white. Length eleven inches;
breadth eighteen inches. Eggs greenish or reddish white,
spotted with brownish red. Young spotted on the head and back
with buff and black.

The largest British song bird, distinguished from the Song Thrush not
only by its superior size, but by having white under wing-coverts, and
the whole of the under part of the body buffish-white, spotted with
black. It is a generally diffused bird, and is known by various local
names; in the west of England its popular name is Holm Thrush, or Holm
Screech, derived most probably, not, as Yarrell surmises, from its
resorting to the oak in preference to other trees, but from its
feeding on the berries of the holly, or holm; the title 'Screech'
being given to it from its jarring note when angry or alarmed, which
closely resembles the noise made by passing the finger-nail rapidly
along the teeth of a comb. Its French name, 'Draine', and German,
'Schnarre', seem to be descriptive of the same harsh '_churr_'. In
Wales, it has from its quarrelsome habits acquired the name of Penn y
llwyn, or, master of the coppice. Another of its names, Throstle Cock,
expresses its alliance with the Thrushes, and its daring nature; and
another Storm Cock, indicates 'not that it delights in storms more
than in fine weather, but that nature has taught it to pour forth its
melody at a time of the year when the bleak winds of winter roar
through the leafless trees'. The song of the Mistle Thrush is loud,
wild, and musical, Waterton calls it 'plaintive', Knapp 'harsh and
untuneful'. I must confess that I agree with neither. This note,
generally the earliest of the Spring sounds (for the Redbreast's song
belongs essentially to winter), is to my ear full of cheerful promise
amounting to confidence - a song of exultation in the return of genial
weather. The bird sings generally perched on the topmost branch of
some lofty tree, and there he remains for hours together out-whistling
the wind and heeding not the pelting rain. This song, however, is not
continuous, but broken into passages of a few notes each, by which
characteristic it may be distinguished alike from that of the Thrush
or the Blackbird, even when mellowed by distance to resemble either.
The Mistletoe Thrush is essentially a tree-loving bird. During winter
its food mainly consists of berries, among which those of the Mountain
Ash and Yew have the preference, though it also feeds on those of the
Hawthorn, Ivy, Juniper, and the strange plant from which it derives
its name.[1] Towards other birds it is a very tyrant, selfish and
domineering in the extreme; to such a degree, indeed, that even when
it has appeased its appetite it will allow no other bird to approach
the tree which it has appropriated for its feeding ground. I have seen
it take possession of a Yew-tree laden with berries, and most
mercilessly drive away, with angry vociferations and yet more
formidable buffets, every other bird that dared to come near. Day
after day it returned, until the tree was stripped of every berry,
when it withdrew and appeared no more.

As soon as the unfrozen earth is penetrable by its beak, it adds to
its diet such worms and grubs as it can discover; and, if it be not
belied, it is given to plunder the nests of other birds of their eggs
and young. It may be on this account that Magpies, Jays, and other
large woodland birds, robbers themselves, entertain an instinctive
dislike towards it. Certainly these birds are its better enemies; but
in the breeding season it eludes their animosity by quitting the
woods, and resorting to the haunts of man. Its harsh screech is now
rarely heard, for its present object is not defiance, but immunity
from danger. Yet it takes no extraordinary pains to conceal its nest.
On the contrary, it usually places this where there is little or no
foliage to shadow it, in a fork between two large boughs of an apple,
pear, or cherry tree, sometimes only a few feet from the ground, and
sometimes twenty feet or more. The nest is a massive structure,
consisting of an external basket-work of twigs, roots, and lichens,
within which is a kind of bowl of mud containing a final lining of
grass and roots. The bird is an early builder. It generally lays five
eggs and feeds its young on snails, worms, and insects. The range of
the Mistle Thrush extends as far as the Himalayas. In Great Britain it
is a resident species.

[1] That this thrush feeds on the berries of the mistletoe was
stated by Yarrell, but it is not now generally believed to
be a fact.


[Illustration:

Missel Thrush Song Thrush

Redwing

Fieldfare

[_face p. 2_]]


[Illustration:

Blackbird [M] _imm._

Blackbird [F] [M]

Ring Ouzel [M] [F]]


THE SONG THRUSH
TURDUS MÚSICUS

Upper parts brown tinged with olive; wing-coverts edged and
tipped with reddish yellow; cere yellowish; throat white in
the middle, without spots; sides of neck and breast reddish
yellow with triangular dark brown spots; abdomen and flanks
pure white with oval dark brown spots; under wing-coverts pale
orange yellow; bill and feet greyish brown. Length, eight
inches and a half, breadth thirteen inches. Eggs blue with a
few black spots mostly at the larger end.

The Thrush holds a distinguished place among British birds, as
contributing, perhaps, more than any other to the aggregate charms of
a country life. However near it may be, its song is never harsh, and
heard at a distance its only defect is, that it is not nearer. It
possesses, too, the charm of harmonizing with all other pleasant
natural sounds. If to these recommendations we add that the Thrush
frequents all parts of England, and resorts to the suburban garden as
well as the forest and rocky glen, we think we may justly claim for it
the distinction among birds, of being the last that we would willingly
part with, not even excepting its allowed master in song himself, the
Nightingale. Three notes are often repeated: Did he do it? Shut the
gate, Kubelik.

The food of the Thrush during winter consists of worms, insects, and
snails. The first of these it picks up or draws out from their holes,
in meadows and lawns; the others it hunts for among moss and stones,



Online LibraryC. A. (Charles Alexander) JohnsBritish birds in their haunts → online text (page 3 of 39)