Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
HELINAIA CHRYSOPTERA, Linn.
PLATE CVII.--MALE AND FEMALE.
Although I have met with this species entering the United States from the
Texas in the month of April, and have procured several specimens in Kentucky and
Louisiana, as well as a single one in New Jersey, I never had the good fortune
to find its nest. When it first makes its appearance in Louisiana or Kentucky,
it usually resorts to the higher branches of trees, where, amid the opening
leaflets and blossoms, it actively searches for its insect food, occasionally
following its prey on wing to some distance, and moving by short leaps among the
twigs, in the manner of Helinaia carbonata, which, in its elongated and slender
shape, it in some measure resembles. The flight of this species is, unlike that
of the Cape May Warbler, Sylvicola maritima, elevated, swift, and irregularly
undulated, until it is about to alight, when it dives toward the spot selected
by it, as most Warblers are wont to do. I never saw a bird of this species in
autumn, and therefore infer that its southward journey must be accomplished in a
very secret and careful manner, or by night. A male and a female are figured in
their perfect spring plumage.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, Sylvia crysoptera, Wils. Amer. Orn., vol. ii.p. 113.
SYLVIA CHRYSOPTERA, Bonap. Syn., p. 87.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, Sylvia chrysoptera, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 411.
GOLDEN-WINGED WARBLER, Sylvia chrysoptera, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 154.
Male in spring.
Bill shorter than the head, slender, conical, compressed toward the end,
tapering to an acute point; upper mandible with the dorsal line almost perfectly
straight, being very slightly convex toward the end, the ridge narrow, the sides
sloping at the base, rounded toward the end, the edges a little inflected,
without notch, the tip acuminate; nostrils basal, oblong, operculate; lower
mandible with the angle rather short and obtuse, the dorsal line straight, the
sides convex, the edges inflected, the tip acuminate, the gape-line nearly
Head of moderate size, ovate; neck rather short; body slender. Feet of
moderate length, slender; tarsus longer than the middle toe, much compressed,
covered anteriorly by seven scutella, posteriorly by two plates meeting so as to
form a very thin edge; toes small, much compressed; hind toe comparatively
large, lateral toes nearly equal, middle toe much longer; claws moderate, well
curved, much compressed, laterally grooved, acute.
Plumage very soft and blended. Wings of moderate length, the second quill
longest, the third scarcely shorter, the first and fourth about equal, the first
with the outer web narrowed in its whole length, the next three toward the end;
secondaries long, rather narrow, rounded. Tail rather long, nearly even, the
middle feathers being scarcely a twelfth of an inch shorter than the lateral.
Bill and feet black; iris brown. The general colour of the upper parts is
light ash-grey, of the lower white; the upper part of the head, and a patch on
the wing, formed by the first row of small coverts and the secondary coverts,
bright yellow; a band from the bill to the eye, continued under it, and
enlarging behind, so as to include the ear-coverts, together with the throat, to
the extent of about an inch, black; a white band from over the eyes to behind
the ears, and another from the lower mandible down the side of the neck,
enlarging as it proceeds; the sides under the wings very pale ash-grey. The
quills and tail-feathers are brown, edged with ash-grey; the outer three
feathers of the tail have a large portion of the inner web white.
Length to end of tail 4 1/4 inches, to end of wings 3 7/8; extent of wings
7 5/8; bill along the ridge (5 3/4)/12, along the edge of lower mandible
(7 1/2)/12; wing from flexure 2 8/12; tail 2 1/4; tarsus (8 1/2)/12; hind toe
3/12, its claw 3/12, middle toe 5/12, its claw 2/12.
The female resembles the male, but has the tints less bright, the sides of
the head and the throat grey instead of black, and the white bands on the head
narrower and less extended.
Length to end of tail 4 inches, to end of wings 3 5/8; extent of wings