Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
[Dark-eyed Junco (see also Common Snow-Bird).]
NIPHAEA OREGONA, Towns.
PLATE CLXVIII.--MALE AND FEMALE.
This species, which is so nearly allied to our Common Snow-bird, is another
of those recently added to our Fauna by Mr. TOWNSEND, from whom I purchased
several specimens. All that I know of its habits is derived from the following
notice given me by Mr. NUTTALL. "It was first seen by us in the woods of the
Columbia, in the autumn and winter, flitting about in small flocks, always in
the forest, never in the open fields, or on the way-sides. At this time they
rarely utter an occasional chirp, or remain wholly silent. We afterwards saw
them inhabiting the same woods throughout the summer, in diminished numbers, or
in pairs, but I do not recollect hearing them utter any song, though they are
probably not silent in the season of breeding. With the nest, eggs, and young I
am not acquainted."
I have represented the male and female from specimens procured by Mr.
TOWNSEND on the Columbia river, on the 5th of October, 1834.
Columbia river. Common. Migratory.
FRINGILLA OREGONA, Oregon Snow-Finch, Towns., Jour. Acad. Nat. Sc.
Philadelphia, vol. vii. p. 188.
OREGON SNOW-FINCH, Fringilla Oregona, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 68.
Bill short, rather small, conical, considerably compressed, acute; upper
mandible a little broader than the lower, its dorsal line straight, slightly
declinate at the tip, the sides convex, the edges slightly inflected, but
overlapping; the gap-line straight; lower mandible with the angle short and
rounded, the dorsal line straight, the sides convex, the edges a little
inflected, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers.
Head rather large, broadly ovate; neck short; body full. Feet of moderate
length; tarsus rather short, stout, with seven anterior scutella, of which the
upper are blended, sharp-edged behind; toes rather strong, the first stout, the
middle one considerably longer than the lateral, which are equal; claws rather
long, arched, compressed, laterally grooved, tapering to a fine point.
Plumage very soft and blended. Wings shortish, curved, rounded, the first
quill three and a half twelfths of an inch shorter than the second, which is
half a twelfth shorter than the third, and about the same length as the fourth;
the secondaries rounded. Tail rather long, slightly emarginate.
Bill reddish-white, the tip dusky. Iris hazel. Feet and claws
flesh-coloured. The head, neck all round, and a portion of the breast black,
the feathers faintly margined with grey; the rest of the lower parts white,
excepting the sides, which are tinged with brown. The fore part of the back is
dark reddish-brown, the hind parts dull grey. The smaller coverts, secondary
coverts and inner secondaries are dusky, with broad light-brown margins; the
primary coverts and the rest of the quills brownish-black, narrowly edged with
brownish-white. The tail is of the same dark colour as the wings, excepting the
two outer feathers on each side, which are white; the second, however, having a
part of the outer web dusky, and the third having a white streak on the inner
web toward the end.
Length to end of tail 6 1/4 inches; bill along the ridge (4 3/4)/12; wing
from flexure 3 1/12; tail 2 (7 1/2)/12; tarsus 10/12; hind toe 4/12, its claw
(4 1/2)/12; middle toe (7 1/2)/12, its claw (3 3/4)/12.
The female has the bill and feet coloured like those of the male. The head
and neck are blackish-grey, the feathers edged with paler; the back and
wing-coverts dull reddish-brown; the wings and tail as in the male; the breast
and abdomen white, the sides pale reddish-brown.
Length to end of tail, 5 3/4 inches; bill along the ridge 5/12; wing from
flexure 3; tail 2 7/12; tarsus (9 1/2)/12; hind toe and claw (6 1/2)12; middle
toe and claw (9 1/2)/12.