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Black-Headed Goldfinch

Black-Headed Goldfinch

The definitive website on wildbirds & nature

Birds of America

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


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[Hooded Siskin.]

[Carduelis magellanica.]


While residing at Henderson, on the Ohio, I, one cold morning in December, observed five males of this species on the heads of some sunflowers in my garden, and, after watching them for a little time, shot two of them. The rest rose high in the air, and were soon out of sight. Considering the birds very nearly allied to our Common American Goldfinch, I was surprised to find the head black at that season. Their notes resembled those of the Pine Finch, Linaria pinus, but in their manner of feeding, as well as in their flight, they precisely resembled the American Goldfinch, Carduelis tristis. All my subsequent endeavours to meet with this species failed, and I am unacquainted with the female.

Five seen in winter at Henderson in Kentucky, of which I procured two.

BLACK-HEADED SISKIN, Fringilla magellanica, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 46.

Adult Male.

Bill short, conical, compressed toward the end, very acute; upper mandible a little broader than the lower, with the dorsal outline slightly convex, the sides convex, the edges a little inflected and overlapping, the tip slightly declinate; the gap-line straight, but a little deflected at the base; lower mandible with the angle short and rounded, the dorsal line straight, the sides convex, the tip acute. Nostrils basal, roundish, concealed by the feathers.

Head of moderate size, roundish-ovate. Neck short. Body rather full. Legs of moderate length; tarsus short, compressed, slender, covered anteriorly with seven scutella, and thin-edged behind; toes slender, compressed, scutellate, the first large and stouter, the lateral nearly equal; claws long, compressed, moderately curved, very acute.

Plumage soft and blended. Wings rather long, pointed; the first and second quills equal, the third one-twelfth shorter, the other primaries rapidly graduated; the outer secondaries emarginate. Tail rather short, emarginate.

Male, 4 3/4, wing 2 10/12.

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