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Ornithological Biography/Volume 1/Bay-breasted Warbler

69 Bay-breasted Warbler.jpg


Sylvia castanea, Wils.

PLATE LXIX. Male and Female.

This species does not breed in the United States, or if it does, must spend the summer in some of the most remote north-western districts, so that I have not been able to discover its principal abode. It merely passes through the better known portions of the Union, where it remains for a very short time. There is something so very uncommon in its appearance in different States, that I cannot refrain from briefly mentioning it. It is sometimes found in Pennsylvania, or the State of New York, as well as in New Jersey, as early as the beginning of April, but is only seen there for a few days. I have shot some individuals at such times, when I observed them employed in searching for insects and larvæ along the fences bordering our fields. At other times I have shot them late in June, in the State of Louisiana, when the cotton-plant was covered with blossoms, amongst which they were busily searching for food. The Bay-breasted Warbler, however, has so far eluded my inquiries, that I am unable to give any further account of its habits.

Sylvia castanea, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 80.
Bay-breasted Warbler, Sylvia castanea, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 97. Pl. 14, fig. 4.

Adult Male. Plate LXIX. Fig. 1.

Bill of ordinary length, nearly straight, subulato-conical, acute, as deep as broad at the base, with sharp edges. Nostrils basal, oval, half concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body ovate. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, acute behind, a little longer than the middle toe; toes free, scutellate above; claws arched, slender, compressed, acute.

Plumage loose, tufty. Wings rather long, the second quill longest. Tail of ordinary length, slightly emarginate, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill blackish above, greyish-blue beneath. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue, upper part of the head, the fore-neck, anterior part of the breast, and the sides, bright chestnut. Forehead and cheeks, including a small space over the eye, deep black, behind which is a transverse broad band of yellowish-white on the sides of the neck. Back and lesser wing-coverts yellowish-grey, spotted with blackish-brown. Larger coverts, quills and tail, blackish-brown, edged with light bluish-grey. Middle of the breast, abdomen, and under tail-coverts, white, tinged with reddish.

Length 5¼ inches, extent of wings 11; bill along the ridge nearly 512, along the gap 712; tarsus 56, middle toe ¾.

Adult Female. Plate LXIX. Fig. 2.

The female is somewhat less. The colours are similar to those of the male, and have the same distribution, but are much fainter, especially the chestnut of the head and under parts, which are converted into light brownish-red.

The Highland Cotton-plant.

, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. ii. p. 462.—Monadelphia Polyandria, Linn. Malvaceæ, Juss.

This species, commonly known in America, where it is cultivated, under the name of Highland Cotton, is distinguished by its five-lobed leaves and herbaceous stem.