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The Forked-tailed Flycatcher


The Forked-tailed Flycatcher


The definitive website on wildbirds & nature



Birds of America

By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.

VOLUME I.

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Family
Genus

THE FORKED-TAILED FLYCATCHER.
[Forked-tailed Flycatcher.]

MILVULUS TYRANNUS, Linn.
[Tyrannus savana.]

PLATE LII.--MALE.

In the end of June, 1832, I observed one of these birds a few miles below the city of Camden, New Jersey, flying over a meadow in pursuit of insects, after which it alighted on the top of a small detached tree, where I followed it and succeeded in obtaining it. The bird appeared to have lost itself: it was unsuspicious, and paid no attention to me as I approached it. While on the wing, it frequently employed its long tail, when performing sudden turns in following its prey, and when alighted, it vibrated it in the manner of the Sparrow-Hawk. The bird fell to the ground wounded, and uttering a sharp squeak, which it repeated, accompanied with smart clicks of its bill, when I went up to it. It lived only a few minutes, and from it the drawing transferred to the plate was made. This figure corresponds precisely with a skin shewn to me by my friend CHARLES PICKERING, at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, except in the general tint of the plumage his specimen, which he had received from South America, having been much faded.

Many years ago, while residing at Henderson in Kentucky, I had one of these birds brought to me which had been caught by the band, and was nearly putrid when I got it. The person who presented it to me had caught it in the Barrens, ten or twelve miles from Henderson, late in October after a succession of white frosts, and had kept it more than a week. While near the city of Natchez, in the state of Mississippi, in August 1822, I saw two others high in the air, twittering in the manner of the King-bird; but they disappeared to the westward, and I was unable to see them again. These four specimens are the only ones I have seen in the United States, where individuals appear only at long intervals, and in far distant districts, as if they had lost themselves. I regret that I am unable to afford any information respecting their habits.

FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Savana, Bonap. Amer. Orn., vol. i. p. 1.
MUSCICAPA SAVANA, Bonap. Syn., p. 6-7.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Savana, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 274.
FORKED-TAILED FLYCATCHER, Muscicapa Savana, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. p. 387.

Tail more than twice the length of the body; tipper part of head and cheeks deep black, the feathers of the crown bright yellow at the base; back ash-grey, rump bluish-black; wings and tail brownish-black, the lateral feathers of the latter with the outer web white for half its length; lower parts white.

Male, 14 1/4, 14.

GORDONIA LASIANTHUS, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. iii. p. 480. Pursch, Fl. Amer. Sept., vol. ii p. 451.--MONODELPHIA POLYANDRIA, Linn.

This beautiful small tree is met with in Georgia, South Carolina, and Florida, in moist lands near the coast, and never fails to attract the eye by its beautiful blossoms. The twig from which the drawing was made was procured from the garden of Mr. NOISETTE, who liberally afforded me all the aid in his power for embellishing my plates. The leaves are evergreen, lanceolate-oblong, shining and leathery; the flowers white, of the size of the common garden-rose, and placed on long peduncles; the capsules conical and acuminate.

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