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Columbia Magpie, or Jay


Columbia Magpie, or Jay


The definitive website on wildbirds & nature



Birds of America

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

VOLUME IV.

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Family
Genus

COLUMBIA MAGPIE, OR JAY.
[Black-throated Magpie-Jay.]

PICA BULLOCKII, Wagler.
[Calocitta colliei.]

PLATE CCXXIX.--ADULT MALES.

Were I to relate to you, good reader, the various accounts which I have heard respecting this splendid bird, I should have enough to say; but as I have resolved to confine myself entirely to the results of my own observation, I must for the present remain silent on the subject.

The specimen from which the drawings were taken was presented to me by a friend who had received it from the Columbia river. I adjoin a notice respecting it, with which I have been favoured by my friend the Prince of MUSIGNANO. "Le superbe geai, dont vous me parlez, est sans doute l'oiseau que WAGLER a fait connaitre le premier, sous le nom de Pica Bullockii, et que TEMMINCK a figure dans ses planches coloriees, sous cellui de Garrula Gubernatrix. Son nom legitime, suivant mes principes, sera Garrulus Bullockii, mais vous avez raison de dire qu'il ne se trouve pas dans mon Synopsis: ce n'est que par votre lettre que j'ai appris qu'il se trouvait dans le territoire des Etats-unis. Jusqu'a present on ne l'avait trouve qu'au Mexique et a la Californie. Il n'est pas etonnant qu'il se retrouve sur la riviere Columbia. Mais comment l'avez-vous obtenu, et avez-vous pu le dessiner vivant? Trois autres especes de geais, qui ne sont pas dans mon Synopsis, habitent l'extremite nord de l'Amerique, et il est probable, qu' outre votre superbe geai commandeur, plusieurs autres des especes Mexicaines se retrouvent dans sa partie occidentale."

COLUMBIA JAY, Garrulus Bullockii, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 220.

COLUMBIA JAY, Corvus Bullockii, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. i. p. 483.

Male, 31, 26.

Woody portions of North California.

Bill of ordinary length, straight, robust, compressed; upper mandible with the dorsal outline straightish at the base, declinate and convex towards the tip, which is deflected, the sides convex, the edges rather sharp; lower mandible with the dorsal outline slightly concave towards the base, convex and ascending towards the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, partly concealed by short bristly feathers. Proportions of parts ordinary. Feet of ordinary length, rather strong; tarsus compressed, about the length of the middle toe, anteriorly scutellate, covered behind with two longitudinal plates, meeting at an acute angle; toes free, scutellate above; claws of ordinary size, arched, convex above, canaliculate beneath.

Plumage compact, glossy. Feathers of the head elongated into a crest, the posterior ones recurvate. Wings longish, the third and fourth quills longest, the first short. Tail very long, graduated, of twelve feathers, of which the two central are slightly curved, and greatly exceed the rest in length.

Bill and feet brownish-black. Iris hazel. The general colour of the plumage is bright blue, with purple reflections. The fore neck and anterior part of the breast black; the rest of the under parts white. The inner webs of the quills dusky, the four outer feathers of the tail white towards the tip.

Length 31 inches, extent of wings 26; bill along the ridge 1 1/3, tarsus 2, middle toe 2.

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