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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/420

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392
VIRGINIAN PARTRIDGE.

ground, along with which they pick up a quantity of sand or gravel. Towards autumn, when the young have nearly attained their full size, their flesh becomes fat, juicy and tender, and being moreover white and extremely agreeable to the palate, is in much request. Twenty years ago, they were commonly sold at twelve cents the dozen; but now they are more commonly sold at fifty cents. They suffer greatly in the Middle Districts during severe winters, and are killed in immense numbers.

This bird has been introduced into various parts of Europe, but is not much liked there, being of such pugnacious habits as to drive off the common Grey Partridge, which is considered a better bird for the table.

In the Plate I have represented a group of Partridges attacked by a Hawk. The different attitudes exhibited by the former cannot fail to give you a lively idea of the terror and confusion which prevail on such occasions.


Perdix virginiana, Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. ii. p. 650—Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 124.

Tetrao virginianus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 277.

Quail or Partridge, Perdix virginiana, Wils. Americ. Ornith. vol. vi. p. 21. Pl. 47. fig. 2. Male.


Adult Male. Plate LXXVI. Fig. 1, 1, 1, 1.

Bill short, robust, rather obtuse, the base covered by feathers; upper mandible with the dorsal outline curved, the sides convex, the edges overlapping, the tip declinate; under mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, arched on the edges, the sides convex. Nostrils concealed among the feathers. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body short and bulky. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus anteriorly scutellate, a little compressed, spurless; toes scutellate above, pectinate on the sides; claws arched, obtuse.

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the upper part of the head erectile into a tuft. Wings short, broad, much curved and rounded, the fourth quill longest. Tail short, rounded, of twelve rounded feathers. Bill dark brown. Iris hazel. Feet greyish-blue. The forehead, a broad line over each eye and the throat and fore-neck, white. Lore, auricular coverts, and a broad irregular semilunar band on the fore-neck, more or less black. Upper part of the head, hind and lower part of the neck all round, reddish-brown. Upper back and wing-coverts