I obtained the bird represented in this plate opposite Cincinnati, in the State of Kentucky, in the year 1820, whilst in the company of Mr Robert Best, then Curator of the Western Museum. It was on the ground, amongst tall grass, and exhibited the usual habits of its tribe. Perceiving it to be different from any which I had seen, I immediately shot it, and the same day made an accurate drawing of it.
In naming it after the Rev. Professor Henslow of Cambridge, a gentleman so well known to the scientific world, and who has permitted me so to designate it, my object has been to manifest my gratitude for the many kind attentions which he has shewn towards me. Its history and habits are unknown. In appearance it differs so little from the Buntings, that, for the present, I shall refer it to that genus.
Bill short, robust, conical, acute; upper mandible straight in the dorsal outline, angular, and encroaching a little on the forehead, broader than the lower, acute and inflected on the edges; lower mandible also inflected at the edges; the gap-line deflected at the base. Head rather large, neck short, body full. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus scutellate before, acute behind; toes free, scutellate above; claws slightly arched, compressed, acute, that of the hind toe elongated.
Plumage compact, slightly glossed. Wings short, curved, the third and fourth quills longest, the secondaries nearly as long as the primaries, when the wing is closed. Tail short, graduated and deeply notched, of twelve rather narrow very acute feathers.
Bill flesh-colour, darker above. Iris dark-brown. Feet flesh-colour. The general colour of the upper parts is pale brown, the central part of the feathers brownish-black, the margins of those of the back bright red. Secondary coverts yellowish-red on the outer webs. Quills dark brown, externally margined with light yellowish-brown. Tail-feathers dusky, margined externally with yellowish-brown. The under parts pale yellowish-grey, the breast, sides, and throat, spotted with brownish-black.
Length 5 inches, bill along the ridge 1⁄3, along the gap nearly 1⁄2; tarsus 2⁄3, middle toe 2⁄3, hind toe the same.
The Indian Pink-root or Worm-grass.
- Spigelia marilandica, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 139. Fig. 1. of the Plate.—Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. Apocineæ, Juss.
Stem tetragonal, all the leaves opposite, ovate, acuminate. Flowers rich carmine, in a terminal spike. This plant is perennial, flowers in the summer months, and grows in rich soil by the margins of woods, in the Middle States. The roots are used as a vermifuge.
- Phlox aristata, Pursh, Fl. Amer. vol. i. p. 130. Fig. 2. of the Plate.—Pentandria Monogynia, Linn. Polemonia, Juss.
This species is characterized by its erect, feeble stem, its linear-lanceolate leaves, lax fastigiate panicle, twin pedicels, oboval segments of the corolla, pubescent curved tube, and long subulate calycine teeth. The corolla is rose-coloured, but varies in tint, being sometimes nearly white, and sometimes deep red. It is perennial, flowers in the summer months, and occurs in the Middle and Atlantic States.