Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
SITTA PYGMEA, Vigors.
The figures of this species were drawn from a specimen kindly lent me by
the Council of the Zoological Society of London. It was procured by Captain
BEECHEY in Upper California, and is therefore entitled to a place in our Fauna.
Nothing is known of the habits of this bird, nor do I even know the sex of the
CALIFORNIAN NUTHATCH, Sitta pygmaea, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 163.
Adult, 3 10/12, wing, 3 5/12.
Bill of moderate length, rather slender, subconical, compressed, the tip
depressed; upper mandible slightly convex in the dorsal outline, the sides
sloping, the edges sharp and overlapping; lower mandible with the angle short
and rather narrow, the dorsal line ascending and slightly convex. Nostrils
basal, lateral, oblong.
Head rather large, ovate; neck short; body short. Feet rather short and
strong; tarsus compressed, anteriorly scutellate, behind sharp; toes free,
scutellate above, the hind toe very large and strong; claws arched, much
compressed, laterally grooved, acute, that of the hind toe much larger.
Plumage soft and blended. Wings of ordinary length; the first quill very
small, the second considerably shorter than the third, the fourth longest. Tail
very short, even, of twelve rounded soft feathers.
Bill bluish-black. Feet and claws reddish-brown. The upper part of the
head and the hind neck are dull greyish-brown; the upper parts of the body dull
leaden-grey; the quills and tail-feathers dusky, margined with light grey, the
two lateral tail-feathers on each side with a white band toward the base; the
lower parts brownish-white.
Length to end of tail 3 10/12 inches; bill along the ridge (6 1/2)/12; wing
from flexure 3 5/12; tail 1 1/4.