The plant on which a pair of Prairie Warblers are represented, is commonly called Buffalo Grass, and is found all along the edges of our extensive prairies, in the barrens of Kentucky, and in Louisiana, excepting in the swamps, it being more inclined to grow in dry soil and stiff grounds.
Sylvia discolor, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 83.
Prairie Warbler, Sylvia minuta, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 87. Pl. 25. fig. 4. Male.
Adult Male. Plate XIV. Fig. 1.
Bill of ordinary length, slender, nearly straight, acute, as deep as broad at the base, slightly declinate at the tip. Nostrils oval, basal, lateral, half closed by a membrane. Head rather small, elongated. Neck and body slender. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly by a few scutella, the upper long; toes scutellate above, the inner free, the hind toe of moderate size; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.
Plumage soft, blended, tufty. A few short bristles at the base of the upper mandible. Wings of ordinary length, the second quill longest. Tail longish, rounded.
Bill brown, paler at the margin. Iris dark hazel. Feet and claws dark brown. The upper parts are light olive, the back spotted with brownish-red. The under parts, a line over the eye, and the cheeks, dull ochrey yellow, the sides of the neck and breast spotted with brownish-black. Lore, and a curved streak under the eye, black. Quills and tail-feathers deep brown, the former margined with pale yellow; larger coverts margined and tipped with the same, the second row almost entirely yellow, the three outer tail-feathers with a broad oblique band of white.
Length 5 inches, extent of wings 7; beak along the ridge ⅓, along the gap ½; tarsus ⅔, middle toe ½.
Adult Female. Plate XIV. Fig. 2.
The female is nearly of the same size, and is coloured in the same manner, but wants the black markings about the eye, and has only two of the lateral tail-feathers white in the middle. The spots on the sides of the neck and breast are also much paler.