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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/478

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Sylvia rubricapilla, Wils.

PLATE LXXXIX. Male and Female.

I have shot only three or four birds of this species, and these were all that I ever met with. I found them in Louisiana and Kentucky. A few specimens belonging to Mr Titian Peale of Philadelphia, and which he, with his usual kindness, lent me for a few days, to compare their colouring with my drawings and notes, were the only others that I have seen. It is probable he had procured them in Pennsylvania, although I cannot now recollect if this was really the case.

The flight of this little bird is short, light, and entirely similar to that of the numerous species of Sylvia already described. Its food consists of insects and larvæ, which it procures by searching diligently and actively amongst the leaves and buds of low trees. It does not pursue insects on wing. With the exception of a few low, eagerly repeated, creaking notes, I have not heard any sounds from them. While uttering these notes, which are all the species seem to have in lieu of song, the male stands erect and still. I am not aware of its nest having been discovered or described by any naturalist.

The plant on a twig of which two Nashville Warblers are represented, is usually called the Swamp Spice. It is a low bush, grows in the water, in swampy and muddy ground, and occurs from Georgia to New York. The berries, which are seldom eaten by birds, have little pulp, and consequently a large seed.

Sylvia rubricapilla, Ch. Bonaparte Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 87.

Sylvia rubricapilla, Nashville Warbler, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 120. Pl. 27, fig. 3.

Bill rather short, slender, tapering, nearly straight, as deep as broad at the base. Nostrils basal, lateral, elliptical, half-closed by a membrane. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body full. Feet of ordinary length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, anteriorly scutellate; toes free, scutellate above; claws slender, compressed, acute, arched.