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SPECIES 9. PICUS TORQUATUS.
[Plate XX.-Fig. 3.]
PEALE's Museum, No. 2020.
Of this very beautiful, and singularly marked, species, I am unable to give any farther account than as relates to its external appearance. Several skins of this species were preserved; all of which I examined with care; and found little or no difference among them, either in the tints or disposition of the colours.
The length of this was eleven inches and a half; the back, wings, and tail, were black, with a strong gloss of green; upper part of the head the same; front, chin, and cheeks, beyond the eyes, a dark rich red; round the neck passes a broad collar of white, which spreads over the breast, and looks as if the fibres of the feathers had been silvered; these feathers are also of a particular structure, the fibres being separate, and of a hair-like texture; belly deep vermilion, and of the same strong hair-like feathers, intermixed with silvery ones; vent black; legs and feet dusky, inclining to greenish blue; bill dark horn colour.
For a more particular, and, doubtless, a more correct account of this, and the two preceding species, * the reader is referred to General Clark's History of the Expedition, now preparing for the press. The three birds I have here introduced, are but a small part of the valuable collection of new subjects in natural history, discovered, and preserved, amidst a thousand dangers and difficulties, by those two enterprising travellers, whose intrepidity was only equalled by their discretion, and by their active and laborious pursuit of whatever might tend to render
Wilson here alludes to Clark's Crow, and the Louisiana Tanager, both of which are figured in the same plate with Lewis's Woodpecker.
their journey useful to science and to their country. It was the request, and particular wish, of Captain Lewis, made to me in person, that I should make drawings of such of the feathered tribes as had been preserved, and were new. That brave soldier, that amiable and excellent man, over whose solitary grave in the wilderness I have since shed tears of affliction, having been cut off in the prime of his life, I hope I shall be pardoned for consecrating this humble note to his memory, until a more able pen shall do better justice to the subject.
[Plate VII.-Fig. 2.]
Picus Carolinus, Linn. Syst. I, 174, 10.–Pic varie de la Jamaique,
Buffon, vii, 72, Pl. Enl. 597.- l'icus varius medius Jamaicensis, Sloan. Jam. 299, 15.-Jamaica Woodpecker, Edw. 244. -Catess. I, 19, fig. 2.--Arct. Zool. II, No. 161.-Lary. Syn. 11, 570, 17. Id. 571, 17. A. Id. B.-Pic raye de la Louisiane, BUFF. VII, 73. Fl. Enl. 692.-Peale's Museum, No. 1944.
This species possesses all the restless and noisy habits so characteristic of its tribe. It is more shy, and less domestic, than the Red-headed Woodpecker, (P. erythrocephalus,) or any of the other spotted Woodpeckers. It is also more solitary. It prefers the largest, high-timbered woods, and tallest decayed trees of the forest; seldom appearing near the ground, on the fences, or in orchards, or open fields; yet where the trees have been deadened, and stand pretty thick, in fields of Indian corn, as is common in new settlements, I have observed it to be very numerous; and have found its stomach sometimes completely filled with that grain. Its voice is hoarser than any of the others; and its usual note, chow, has often reminded me of the barking of a little lap-dog. It is a most expert climber, possessing extraordinary strength in the muscles of its feet and claws, and moves about the body, and horizontal limbs, of the trees, with equal facility in all directions. It rattles, like the rest of the tribe, on the dead limbs, and with such violence as to be heard, in still weather, more than half a mile off; and listens to hear the insects it has alarmed. In the lower side of some lofty branch, that makes a considerable angle with the horizon, the male and female, in conjunction, dig out a circular cavity for their nest, sometimes out of the solid wood, but more generally
into a hollow limb, twelve or fifteen inches above where it becomes solid. This is usually performed early in April. The female lays five eggs, of a pure white, or almost semi-transparent; and the young generally make their appearance towards the latter end of May, or beginning of June, climbing up to the higher parts of the tree, being as yet unable to fly. In this situation they are fed for several days, and often become the prey of the Hawks. From seeing the old ones continuing their caresses after this period, I believe that they often, and perhaps always, produce two broods in a season. During the greater part of the summer, the young have the ridge of the neck and head of a dull brownish ash; and a male of the third year has received his complete colours.
The Red-bellied Woodpecker is ten inches in length, and seventeen in extent; the bill is nearly an inch and a half in length, wedged at the point, but not quite so much grooved as some others, strong, and of a bluish black colour; the nostrils are placed in one of these grooves, and covered with curving tufts of light brown hairs, ending in black points; the feathers on the front stand more erect than usual, and are of a dull yellowish red; from thence along the whole upper part of the head and neck, down the back, and spreading round to the shoulders, is of the most brilliant golden glossy red; the whole cheeks, line over the eye, and under side of the neck, is a pale buff colour, which on the breast and belly deepens into a yellowish ash, stained on the belly with a blood red; the vent and thigh feathers are dull white, marked down their centres with heartformed, and long arrow-pointed, spots of black. The back is black, crossed with transverse curving lines of white; the wings are also black, the lesser wing-coverts circularly tipt, and the whole primaries and secondaries beautifully crossed with bars of white, and also tipt with the same; the rump is white, interspersed with touches of black; the tail-coverts white near their extremities; the tail consists of ten feathers, the two middle ones black, their interior webs or vanes white, crossed with diagonal spots of black; these, when the edges of the two fea
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thers just touch, coincide, and form heart-shaped spots; a narrow sword-shaped line of white runs up the exterior side of the shafts of the same feathers; the next four feathers, on each side, are black, the outer edges of the exterior ones barred with black and white, which, on the lower side, seems to cross the whole vane as in the figure; the extremities of the whole tail, except the outer feather, are black, sometimes touched with yellowish or cream colour; the legs and feet are of a bluish green, and the iris of the eye red. The tongue, or os hyoides, passes up over the hind-head, and is attached by a very elastic retractile membrane, to the base of the right nostril; the extremity of the tongue is long, horny, very pointed, and thickly edged with barbs, the other part of the tongue is worm-shaped. In several specimens, I found the stomach nearly filled with pieces of a species of fungus, that grows on decayed wood, and in all with great numbers of insects, seeds, gravel, &c. &c. The female differs from the male, in having the crown, for an inch, of a fine ash, and the black not so intense; the front is reddish as in the male, and the whole hind-head, down to the back, likewise of the same rich red as his. In the bird, from which this latter description was taken, I found a large cluster of minute eggs, to the number of fifty or upwards, in the beginning of the month of March.
This species inhabits a large extent of country, in all of which it seems to be resident, or nearly so. I found them abundant in Upper Canada, and in the northern parts of the state of New York, in the month of November; they also inhabit the whole Atlantic states as far as Georgia, and the southern extremity of Florida; as well as the interior parts of the United States, as far west as Chilicothe, in the state of Ohio, and, according to Buffon, Louisiana. They are said to be the only Woodpeckers found in Jamaica; though I question whether this be correct; and to be extremely fond of the capsicum, or Indian pepper.* They are certainly much hardier birds, and capable of subsisting on coarser, and more various fare, and of sustaining a greater de