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Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/309

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281
PAINTED FINCH.

on the edge of the fences, where briars are convenient. It raises two broods each season. The eggs are four or five, of a beautiful pearly, rather bluish colour, speckled with blackish, and are deposited in a simply constructed nest, lined with fine fibrous roots or horse-hair, and externally formed of fine grass. They readily breed in confinement, if their prison is rendered tolerably comfortable. The young are fed at first in the manner of Canaries, but at the end of ten or twelve days are taught to swallow grains of rice, insects or berries. No sooner are figs or grapes ripe than these birds attack them, feeding for some time almost entirely upon them. Towards evening, they also pursue insects on wing.

Some persons give the name of Nonpareil to this species, but it is more commonly known by the name of Pape, which, in fact, is a general appellation given by the inhabitants of Louisiana to all the smaller species of thick-billed birds.

The Painted Finches do not proceed far eastward, nor, indeed, up the Mississippi, being seldom seen above the City of Natchez, on that river, or farther to the east than the Carolinas. It retires southward in the beg-inning; of October.

The Chickasaw Wild Plum, on a twig of which I have represented a group of these birds, is found growing abundantly in the country where the birds occur. It is a small shrub, the fruit of which is yellow when ripe, and excellent eating.


Fringilla ciris, Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 107.

Emberiza Ciris, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. p. 313—Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 416.

Painted Bunting, Lath. Synops. vol. iii. p. 206—Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 68. PI. xxiv. fig. 1. Male; Fig. 2. Female.


Adult Male, in full plumage. Plate LIII. Fig 1.

Bill short, robust, conical, somewhat bulging, straight, acute; upper mandible broader, slightly declinate at the tip; gap-line a little declinate at the base. Nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by the frontal feathers. Head and neck rather large. Body full. Feet of moderate length; tarsus a little longer than the middle toe; toes free, the lateral ones nearly equal; claws compressed, arched, acute.

Plumage blended, tufty, somewhat compact on the head and back. Wings of ordinary length, the third quill longest. Tail shortish, even, of twelve rounded feathers.