Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
PICUS LINEATUS, Linn.
A specimen of a Woodpecker sent from the Columbia river by Dr. MEREDITH
GAIRDNER to Professor JAMESON of Edinburgh, who kindly lent it to me for the
purpose of being described, I found to be the Picus linealus of LINNAEUS, a
species which appears to be very extensively distributed, being, according to
various authors, plentiful in Cayenne, Guiana, Brazil, and even Paraguay. The
specimen, which was shot near Fort Vancouver, is an adult male, but has been
injured in the wings. Along with it were specimens of Picus Harrisii and Picus
ruber, shot in the same neighbourhood. I hope to be able to give a figure of
this species at the end of the present work.
PICUS LINEATUS, Linn. Syst. Nat., vol. i. p. 174.
LINEATED WOODPECKER, Picus linealus, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 315.
Male, 15, wing, 7 2/12.
Bill nearly as long as the head, straight, strong, angulate, depressed at
the base, compressed toward the end, which is truncate, and laterally worn so as
to be wedge-shaped. Upper mandible with the dorsal line slightly convex, the
ridge very narrow and prominent, the sides concave at the base, the lateral
angles nearer the ridge than the edges, which are sharp and direct; the point
with two slight ridges on each side; lower mandible with the angle long and
narrow, the dorsal line ascending and straight, the ridge narrow, the sides
erect at the base, afterwards sloping outwards and convex, the tip narrow;
gap-line straight. Nostrils elliptical, covered by a tuft of reversed bristly
Head rather large, ovato-oblong; neck rather long and slender. Feet short,
stout; tarsus very short, scutellate before, scaly on the sides; two toes
before, two behind, the fourth being directed backwards; the first very small,
the third a little longer than the fourth, all scutellate above; claws strong,
much curved, much compressed, deep, broadly grooved on the sides, very acute.
Plumage blended; feathers on the upper and hind part of the head linear,
glossy, stiffish, with separated barbs, forming a broad occipital crest an inch
in length. Wings long, much rounded; the outer six quills with the inner web
cut out: the first very small, being only an inch and three-quarters long; the
second two inches and five-twelfths longer; the third eleven-twelfths longer;
the fourth two and a half twelfths shorter than the fifth, which is longest; the
fourth a little shorter than the sixth; the third and seventh nearly equal; the
second shorter than the eighth. Tail rather long, cuneate, acuminate, of twelve
feathers, the lateral only an inch and three-quarters long, slender and unworn,
the rest pointed; the middle feathers exceeding the second outer feathers by an
inch and eight-twelfths.
Bill horn-coloured, bluish toward the end, dusky at the point. Feet
greyish-blue, claws brownish. The upper part of the head, including the
forehead and occiput, vivid scarlet; a narrow dusky line from the nostril to the
eye; a patch, including the eyelids and ear-coverts, leaden-grey; a narrow band
down the hind part of the neck gradually enlarging, the back, wings, and tail
deep black; a band from the nostrils obliquely descending over the side of the
head, passing backwards behind the ear, then much enlarged, and running down the
side of the neck to the shoulder, a large oblique patch at the commencement of
the wing, including the outer scapulars, the small feathers on the edge of the
wing under the alula, the lower wing-coverts, and the inner webs of the quills
for about half their length, pure white. There is an elongated oblong crimson
patch at the base of the lower jaw; the chin or fore part of the throat is
yellowish-white, longitudinally streaked with dusky, the rest of the fore neck
and a part of the breast black; the lower parts and sides brownish-white,
transversely barred with black.
Length to end of tail 15 inches; bill along the ridge 1 5/12, along the
edge of lower mandible 1 10/12; wing from flexure 7 2/12; tail 5 1/12; tarsus
1/12; hind toe (4 1/2)/12, its claw (3 1/4)/12; second toe 9/12, its claw 8/12;
third toe 1 1/12, its claw (9 1/2)/12; third toe (10 1/2)/12, its claw 8/12.