Birds of America
By John James Audubon, F. R. SS. L. & E.
PHALACROCORAX RESPLENDENS, Aud.
This Cormorant, the most beautiful hitherto found within the limits of the
United States, was obtained by Mr. TOWNSEND at Cape Disappointment, near the
entrance of the Columbia river. The specimen from which the figure in the plate
was taken, was transmitted to me by that zealous student of Nature. The
beautiful gloss of its silky plumage suggested the specific name which I have
given to it.
VIOLET-GREEN CORMORANT, Phalacrocorax resplendens, Aud. Orn. Biog.,vol. v. p. 148.
Female, 27; wing 10; tail 5 1/2.
Cape Disappointment, near Columbia river. Abundant.
Bill about the length of the head, slender, cylindrical, enlarged at the
base, and compressed toward the end, straight. Upper mandible with the dorsal
line very slightly concave, until on the unguis, where it is decurved, the ridge
convex, flattened toward the end, separated from the sides by a narrow groove,
the sides convex, the edges sharp and straight as far as the unguis, which is
decurved, convex above, acute, its tip not extending beyond the level of the
dorsal outline of the lower mandible. No external nostrils. Lower mandible
with the angle long and very narrow towards the end, filled up by an extensile
membrane which does not extend beyond the level of the eye, its very short
dorsal line considerably convex, the sides erect and very convex, the edges
sharp and inflected, the tip compressed and truncate.
Head small, oblong. Neck long and slender. Body rather full, elongated,
and depressed. Feet short, stout, placed far behind; tibia feathered in its
whole length; tarsus very short, strong, much compressed, covered all round with
scales, of which a series on the inner side anteriorly, and another on the
outer, are scutelliform, the posterior very small and roundish. Toes all placed
in the same plane, connected by reticulated webs, and covered above with
numerous broad but very short oblique scutella; first toe smallest, fourth
longest. Claws rather small, strong, compressed, acute, convex above, arched,
that of the third toe pectinated on its inner edge.
Plumage silky, being very soft, blended, and highly glossed. Feathers of
the head and neck oblong, of the other parts ovate and rounded. The small gular
sac, and the space before and beneath the eye, with the eyelids, bare. Wings
rather small, broad; primaries curved; in the only individual in my possession,
in which they are not fully developed, the first is an inch and four and a half
twelfths shorter than the second, which is longest, but exceeds the third only
by a twelfth; secondaries broadly rounded. Tail of moderate length, very
narrow, much rounded or cuneate, lateral feathers being an inch and ten-twelfths
shorter than the middle; the feathers, twelve in number, are narrow, with very
Bill dusky, gular sac and bare skin about the eyes orange. Iris light
green. Feet black. The general colour of the plumage is deep green, seeming
black in some lights, and bright green and purple in others. Along the sides of
the neck and the hind part of the sides of the body, are scattered numerous
white piliform feathers, terminated by a pencil of filaments. The quills and
tail-feathers are brownish-black, and less glossy.
Length to end of tail 27 inches; bill along the ridge 1 10/12, along the
edge of lower mandible 2 8/12; wing from flexure 10; tail 5 1/2; tarsus 1 9/12;
hind toe 10/12, its claw (5 1/2)/12; second toe 1 7/12, its claw (8 1/4)/12;
third toe 2 1/4, its claw 9/12; fourth toe 3 2/12, its claw 7/12.