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Full text of "British birds : descriptions of all the commoner species, their nests, and eggs"

fo Q 3 o 



UITISH BIRDS 




THE-PEOPLE'S -B OOKS 




BIOLOGY 
LIBRARY 

G 



BRITISH BIRDS 

DESCRIPTIONS OF ALL THE COMMONER 
SPECIES, THEIR NESTS AND EGGS 

BY F. B. KIRKMAN, B.A. OXON. 




ILLUSTRATIONS BY A. W. SEABY 



LONDON: T. C. & E. C. JACK 
67 LONG ACRE, W.C., AND EDINBURGH 
NEW YORK : DODGE PUBLISHING CO. 



PREFACE 



THE object of this book is to make as easy as limits of space 
permit the recognition of all the British species, their nests 
and eggs, except the rarest, The descriptions have been 
written with an eye to the requirements of the non-specialist 
observer, and, if the instructions on p. viii are followed, they 
should prove adequate for practical purposes. 

Descriptions of the female bird and of the young are given 
only when these differ markedly from the adult male. Like- 
wise seasonal changes of plumage are ignored unless marked 
enough to make a description necessary for identification. The 
descriptions and measurements of eggs follow for the most 
part those of the Rev. F. C. R. Jourdain in the British Bird 
Book. Complete descriptions of nests have yet to be written, 
the range of material used by particular species being much 
greater than the standard works would lead one to suppose. 
The descriptions here given will, however, suffice for purposes 
of identification. 

The short notes on migration and distribution, and other 
information as to time of laying, &c., are introduced solely to 
aid identification by showing when and where the species and 
their eggs are to be found. Limitations of space make it 
obviously impossible to give anything but the strict minimum 
of information necessary for this purpose. 

The scientific nomenclature adopted follows the Rules laid 
down by the Fifth International Zoological Congress as applied 
in the Hand-list of British Birds by Hartert, Jourdain, Tice- 
hurst, and Witherby (1912), except in so far as changes in the 
generic name involve changes in classification. Where this 

nomenclature differs from that of H. Saunders' Manual, 

iii 

263209 



iv PREFACE 

(2nd ed.), the latter is also given and placed second. Thus 
no inconvenience can arise. Where subspecies are clearly 
recognised trinomials are given, it being obviously incorrect, as 
a general rule, to give a description as specific which may in 
part not apply to the whole species but only to one or more of 
its local forms. 1 

The classification adopted follows generally that of Professor 
Hans Gadow in Bronn's Thier-Reich : Vb'gel II. 

My best thanks are due to the Rev. F. C. R. Jourdain and 
to W. Farren of Cambridge for revising the proofs and for 
valuable suggestions. 

All the illustrations are by Mr. A. W. Seaby, except those of 
the heads of the crow and rook, and one or two others, repro- 
duced from the British Bird Book. 

1 Binomial: Corvus corax. Trinomial : Corvus corax corax, the 
first name being that of the genus, the second of the species, the 
third of the subspecies, the last being added to distinguish various 
local forms or races: e.g. the typical Corvus corax corax from Corvus 
corax hispanus (Spain) ; Corvus corax varius (Faeroes), &c. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. Descriptions of Birds, &c. Descriptions of the rarer birds, ^ . 
and nests not given in the present work will be found in the British 
Bird Book, 4 vols., 1910-13 (ed. F. B. Kirkman), by F. C. R. Jour- 
dain and W. P. Py craft, and, up to 1899 since when, however, 
many species have been added to the British list in Howard 
Saunders' Manual of British Birds (2nd ed.). For eggs, F. C. R. 
Jourdain's Eggs of European Birds, or Dresser's Eggs of the Birds of 
Europe, may also be consulted. 

2. Geographical Distribution and Migration. There is no recent 
complete work on Distribution, but short notes up to date will be 
found both in the British Bird Book, and in the Hand-list of British 
Birds by Hartert, Jourdain, Ticehurst, and Witherby (1912). On 
Migration which, though properly coming under the head of 
Habits, may conveniently be associated with Distribution the most 
recent information is to be found in Eagle Clarke's Studies in Bird 
Migration, 2 vols., 1912, and the Annual Reports of the British 
Ornithological Club. Short notes will be found in the two general 
works above mentioned. A good short work on the general subject 
is T. A. Coward's Migration of Birds, 1912 (Cambridge Manuals of 
Science). 

3. Habits. The most recent and complete work on British Birds' 
habits and instincts is the British Bird Book. Of the older works 
Yarrell, History of Birds, 4th ed. (revised Newton and Saunders) ; 
and Macgillivray, History of Birds, are the best. Seebohm's History 
is of less value, and Morris's British Birds is not to be recommended. 
Among the smaller works the best is W. H. Hudson's British Birds. 
Of monographs, H. E. Howard's British Warblers stands as the 
model of what may be achieved. On the general subject of Animal 
Behaviour, with which the study of the behaviour of Birds must 
be associated if it is to be of scientific value, the best works are 
Lloyd Morgan's Animal Behaviour and Habit and Instinct; also 
Washburn, The Animal Mind, at the end of which a full biblio- 
graphy is given. From the great mass of general literature there is 
space to select for mention only the works of W. H. Hudson and 
E. Selous, and " lest we forget " the Natural History of Selborne. 

4. Structure and Classification. For general use W. P. Pycraft's 
History of Birds and F. E. Beddard's introduction to W. H. Hudson's 
British Birds will be found adequate. There are also excellent 
articles in Newton's Dictionary of Birds. More advanced is Beddard's 
Structure and Classification (1898). 

A comprehensive work on the general problems underlying the 
study of Birds is W. P. Pycraft's History of Birds (1910). 

5. Periodicals. The best for general use are the Zoologist, British 
Birds (ed. Witherby), and Wild Life (ed. D. English), the latter 
containing the best extant photographic work. 




* 



GUIDE TO THE DESCRIPTIONS 

THE best plan, when an unknown bird has been observed, is to 
note its characteristics always in the same order, beginning with 
the head, passing down the back to the tail, then round under the 
tail and along the under-parts up to the beak, ending with the wings 
and legs (see the Fig., p. vi). Then proceed as follows : 

1. Find the picture in the book which resembles most closely the 
bird's shape and markings. For most small birds see pp. 12-45. 

2. Note the length measurement. For purposes of comparison it 
is useful and easy to remember that the common house-sparrow is 
6 inches long, and the rook nearly 20 inches. All measurements are 
from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail. 

3. See if the bird is in the district at the time of year in which noted. 
For this see the information given just after the names of each 
species. The term resident means that the species or subspecies is 
present in the British Isles all through the year, though it may be 
represented by different birds at different times, some being winter 
visitors, others summer visitors, birds of passage or stationary. The 
summer visitors are those which arrive usually between the end of 
March and the end of May from winter quarters in Southern Europe 
and Africa, and depart south generally from September to November. 
During the latter period the winter visitors are arriving from Iceland, 
from Northern or Central Continental Europe, or from Greenland 
and other parts of the Arctic region. The winter visitors depart 
again north in the spring or early summer. The term bird of passage 
refers to the summer or winter birds that visit our shores in autumn 
and spring only on their way to other countries. The term stationary 
is applied to birds that remain with us throughout the year in the 
locality in which they breed. Local movements apply to movements 
from the breeding locality to other localities within our shores. A 
local species is one that is found in a certain number of scattered 
localities within its range. 

4. Pass to the description given of the bird, and, if still in doubt, 
verify, where possible, by the description of the nest and egg. 

When unknown nests and eggs are found, the safest is to wait 
for the bird to return. When waiting the essential is to keep 
motionless. If the bird cannot be noted, use the size of the nest 
and egg as a first means of recognition, if you have no other. It is 
well to remember that the eggs of birds of the same species vary 
more or less in size, shape, and coloration. The same applies to 
material and site of the nest. The time of laying also varies, this 
being later in the more northerly localities. 

viii 



BRITISH BIRDS 



I. ORDER: PASSERIFORMES 

(1) Family: Corvidce Crows 

1. Raven [Corvus corax corax Linnaeus]. More or less 
stationary in hilly or coast districts. 

Bird. Length 25 in. Black all over with purplish and blue 
gloss. Distinguished from the carrion-crow by its larger size 
and the more rounded end of the tail. 
Nest. Usually on sea cliffs, also 
in high trees, rarely in ruins. Out- 
side: sticks, roots, stems, sea-weed, 
earth. Inside : wool, fur, hair, fibres, 
grass, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Greenish, 
sometimes blue blotched and flecked 
with brown to black, and with under- 
lying markings of ash-grey. Av. 
size, 1-98 x 1'32 




rsj 



Fig. 1. 

in. Laying begins in Feb.-March. One 
brood. 

2. Carrion-crow [Corvus corone corone 
Linnseus]. Resi- 
dent, except in 

Ireland and the 
Isle of Man. Rare 
N. Scotland. 

Bird. Length 

19 in. All black with purple and 
green reflections. End of tail less 
round than raven's. Bill stouter than 
rook's. (Fig. 2.) 

Nest. Usually in trees or on cliffs. As 
raven. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Like raven's, but 
smaller. Av. size, 1 '71 x 1-18 in. Laying begins in April. 
One brood. 

3. Hooded-crow, Royston-crow, grey-crow [Corvus comix 




Fig. 2. 



10 



BRITISH BIRDS 




. ., 



comix Linnteusj. Moi'u or less stationary in Ireland, Isle of 
Man, N. Scotland, rarely England. Winter visitor and bird 
of passage E. and N. British counties. 

Bird. Length 19 in. Distinguished 
from the carrion-crow only by its 
grey mantle and under-parts. Hybrids 
between this and the carrion - crow 
show every gradation between the color- 
ation of the parent species. 
Nest. As carrion-crow's. 
Eggs. As carrion-crow's, but often 
greener. Laying begins usually in 
April. One brood. 
4. Rook [Corvus frugilegus frugilegus Linnaeus], Common 
resident throughout British Isles. 

Bird. Length 19 in. Black with bright violet and blue 
gloss. Distinguished from the carrion- 
crow by the shape of the bill (Tig. 4) 
and by the conspicuous bare whitish skin 
round its base. 
The statement 
that the two 
species can be dis- 
tinguished by the 
colour of the bases 

of the feathers is inexact ; these are 
normally grey in both. The young, up 
to the second autumn moult, lack the 
bare face, the base of the bill being feathered. 

Nest. The species nests in colonies usually in 
tree-tops, occasionally on chimney stacks, church 
spires, in ^ hedges, bushes. Outside : sticks, 
earth. Inside : moss, leaves, grass, wool, &c. 

Usually 3-5. Normally greenish with olive-brown 
markings. Size, 1 '6 x 1 '06 in. Laying 
begins in March-April. One brood. 
5. Jackdaw [Corvus monedula sper- 
mologus Vieillot]. See Rook. 

Bird. Length 14 in. Black with 
blue-green or purple gloss. Distin- 
guished from the preceding species, 
with which it is often seen, by its 
smaller size, quicker wing-beats, blue- 
white iris, and the grey on its nape, 
neck, and ear-coverts. 




Fig. 4. 




Fig. 5. 



Nest. In any convenient hole, usually in buildings, rocks, or 



CROWS 



11 




Material : 



Fig. 6. 



trees. Occasionally builds open and domed nests in trees. 
Material : sticks, lined with wool, dry grass, fur, &c. Species 
nests in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Shades of greenish-blue, marked with 
brownish-blacks and ash-grey. Av. size, 1'39 x 1 in. Laying 
begins end April. One brood. 

6. Magpie [Pica pica pica (Linnaeus) ; Pica rustica (Scopoli)]. 
Builds throughout British Isles, 

where not exterminated. Stationary. 

Bird. Length 18 in. Easily 
recognised by its black and white 
plumage and long wedge-shaped 
tail. 

Nest. Position : as a rule high up 
in a tree ; also in hedges and bushes, 
sticks and earth, lined usually with roots, and 
usually domed with thorny sticks. 

Eggs. Generally 5-8. Greenish - blue to 
greenish-yellow freckled with shades of greyish- 
brown. Av. size, 1*30 x '90 in. Laying begins in 
April. One brood. 

7. Jay [Garrulus glatidarius rufitergum Hart, and Garrulus 
glandarius hibernicus Witherby and Hartert]. More or less 
stationary in wooded districts, the first in Great Britain, the 
second in Ireland. 

Bird. Length 14 in. Distinguished by the reddish-fawn 
back, conspicuous white rump, and the patch of alternating 
white, black, and blue on the wing. The under-parts are pale 
brownish-buff, turning to rufous on the flanks. Tail mostly 
black. Erectile crest whitish striped with black. Iris blue. 
The Irish subspecies (G. g. hibernicus) is darker and more rufous 
than the British (G. g. rufitergum), the most striking differences 
being the " dark, rufous colouring of 
the sides of the head, ear-coverts, and 
under-parts, and the darker crest 7 ' 
(British Birds, Mag. iv. 235). 

Nest. Place: bush or tree, usually 
high up. Material : twigs and stem 
neatly lined with fine roots, and 
sometimes other material. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Pale brownish 
or greyish-green, speckled olive-green. 
Varieties have pinkish or blue ground 
colour. Av. size, 1*25 x *90 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One brood. 

8. Chough, Red*legged daw [Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax (Lin- 




Fig. 7. 



12 BRITISH BIRDS 

nseus) ; P. graculus (L.)]. More or less stationary in certain 
parts of our S. and W. Coasts and Ireland. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Black with blue, violet, and green 
gloss. Easily distinguished by the red legs and bill, the latter 
curved. The beak of the young is at first straight, and is 
coloured various shades of yellow and red till the first autumn 
moult, when the adult colour is assumed. 

Nest. Place: holes and crevices in cliffs, also fissures or 
ledges in caves. Occasionally holes in old buildings, lime- 
kilns, mine shafts. Material : sticks, stems, roots lined with 
wool, hair, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. White or cream to brownish marked 
with reddish-brown shades and underlying lilac blotches and 
spots. Av. size, 1*55x1 '10 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One brood. 

(2) Family: Fringillidce. Subfamily: Fringillinee Finches 

9. Greenfinch, green-linnet [Chloris Moris clitoris (Linnaeus) ; 
Ligurinus chloris (Linnseus)]. Resident and common in most 
parts. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Recognised by the yellowish-green 
of its plumage, the striking yellow on the wing quills and the 
base of the tail quills, and by the stout bill. The yellow 
parts are duller in the female, which has also the under-parts 
chiefly olive-grey and the upper-parts browner. The young 
have dark brown stripes both on olive-brown upper-parts and 
the pale yellowish-green under-parts. 

Nest. In shrubs, hedges, trees. Material: twigs, moss, 
roots, wool lined with roots, hair, feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Whitish or pale greenish-blue ground 
spotted with reddish-brown and with 
underlying markings of pale violet or light 
brown. Unmarked eggs occur. Av. size, 
*80 x '57 in. Laying begins April-May. 
Broods 2-4. 

10. Hawfinch [Coccothraustes coccothraus- 
tes coccothraustes (Linnseus) ; C. vulgaris 
Pallas]. Resident in woodland districts. 
Rare, Ireland. 

Bird (Fig. 8). Length 7 in. Recognised 
by the orange and ruddy browns of 
its plumage, the huge beak, the horny 
Fig. . pads inside it, the black throat and lores, 

and the shape of the tips of the inner 
primaries (Fig. 9). Wing quills black with glossy blue tips. 




FINCHES 



13 




Fig. 9. 



The female is distinguished by the ash-grey on the wing. 
The fledgling has no black on the throat, and has the under- 
parts spotted with dark brown. 

Nest. In bushes, trees, hedges. Usu- 
ally in orchards. Material : twigs, roots, 
bents, &c., lined with rootlets, hair, dry 
grass, and fibre. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Bluish or greyish- 
green boldly streaked and spotted with 
dark olive-brown and faint markings 
of purple-grey. Slate-grey and also 
buff ground colours occur. Av. size, 
94 x "68 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood. 

11. Chaffinch [Fringilla ccelebs Calebs Linnaeus]. Resident 
in most parts of British Isles. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Recognised by the conspicuous white 
patches on the wing-coverts, the slate- 
blue crown and nape, light chocolate 
coloured back, red throat and breast. 
The hen has the crown and nape 
greyish-brown, the back olive-brown, 
the throat and breast whitish-brown 
with a tinge of orange-red (sienna). 
The young are much like the hen. 

Nest. In hedges, bushes, trees, 
p. -Q Material: felted moss, wool, &c., 

decorated with lichens and lined with 
hair and feathers. One of the most beautiful nests. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Pale greenish spotted and streaked with 
purple-brown. Blue eggs with and without markings occur. 
Av. size, *76 x '57 in. Laying begins in April. Broods 1-2. 

12. Brambling [Fringilla montifringilla Linnaeus]. Winter 
visitor to most parts, and bird of passage. Accidental in 
summer. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Distinguished by the chestnut throat 
and breast, white rump conspicuous in flight, and the blue- 
black feathers of the head and mantle, ' 
which in winter have ruddy brown edg- 
ings. Belly dull white. The female is 
brownish-grey mottled with brownish on 
the head and mantlo, lacks the rich chestnut 
on throat and breast, and is generallyduller. 

13. Goldfinch [Carduelis carduelis britan- 
nica (Hartert) ; G. elegans Stephens]. 
Resident in most parts. 

Bird (Fig. 11). Length 5 in. Easily recognised by the 





Fig. 11. 



14 BRITISH BIRDS 

crimson, white, and black of the head and the yellow bar on 
the wing. Wing and tail quills black with white on the tips. 
Under-parts mostly grey-brown. Back brown. The young, 
known as grey-pates or branchers, lack the red, white, and 
black on the head, which is brownish, and have the upper- 
parts and breast streaked brown. 

Nest. Place : trees, shrubs, hedges. Material : neatly built 
of moss, lichen, roots, &c., lined usually with hair, wool, 
down. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Pale bluish spotted and streaked with 
deep red-brown, and marked faintly with red-grey. Av. size, 
67 x *50 in. Laying begins May. Two broods. 

14. Siskin [Carduelis spinus (Linnseus)]. Resident in Scot- 
land, Ireland, N. England, N. Wales. Elsewhere winter visitor 
and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 4J in. Recognised by the yellow and green 
plumage, black crown and chin, and dusky streaks on the 
back and flanks. For some time after the autumn moult 
the feathers on the nape and back have ash-grey tips. The 
hen is greyer and has the crown olive-green with dusky 
streaks, the chin dull white instead of black, and the under- 
parts all striped, except the belly. The young are still more 
striated. 

Nest. Place : usually high up in coniferous trees. Material : 
twigs, roots, dry grass, moss, lichen, lined with wool, down, 
hair, feathers, roots. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Pale blue marked with red-brown and 
fainter red-grey. Av. size, '64 x '47 in. Laying begins April- 
May. Two broods. 

15. Lesser-redpoll [Linota linaria cabaret (P. L. S. Miiller) ; 
Linota rufescens (Vieillot)]. Resident in most parts. 

Bird. Length 4^ in. Recognised by its small size, the rosy 
forehead, crown, breast, and rump, the dusky striated rufous- 
brown back, the black lores and chin, and the buff wing band. 
In winter the rose of the breast is obscured by brown. The 
female has the red on the forehead and crown only. The 
young lack it altogether, as well as the black on the lores and 
chin ; they have the upper-parts greyish with dusky striations, 
the under-parts greyish-white striated on the breast and flanks. 

Nest. In trees, also bushes, hedges, sometimes heather, 
furze, bracken. Material: twigs, stems, moss, wool, <fec., 
lined usually with down. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Dull greenish marked with purplish- 
brown. Av. size, *62 x *48 in. Laying begins April-May. 
Broods 1-2. 

16. Mealy - redpoll [Linota linaria linaria (Linnaeus)]. 



FINCHES 15 

Winter visitor and bird of passage chiefly to our East Coast 
districts. 

Bird. Length 5 in. Like the lesser-redpoll, which see, but 
is larger. Has the rump striated, and lacks the rufous tint in 
the brown of the back. 

17. Twite [Linota flavirostris flavirostris (Linnaeus)]. Resi- 
dent except in S. and B. England, where it is seen only as 
a winter visitor and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 5 in. Distinguished from the redpolls by 
having red on the rump only, conspicuous white on the inner 
primaries, the beak more or less yellow in summer as well as 
winter, to which fact it owes the name flavirostris, and no 
black on the chin and lores. Upper-parts brown with paler 
edgings. Breast and flanks bullish-white, striated brown. 
The hen and young have no red on the rump, which is 
striated. 

Nest. Place: variable bushes, heather, on the ground 
under stones, sods, &c., in grass, walls, crevices of cliffs, 
rabbit burrows. Material : roots, grass, stems, moss, twigs, 
lined with wool, hair, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Blue marked with dark red-brown. 
Av. size, "66 x *49 in. Laying begins May. Probably two broods. 

18. Linnet, brown-linnet [Linota cannabina cannabina 
(Linnaeus)]. Resident and common in most parts. 

Bird. Length 5^ in. Distinguished from redpolls and 
twite by the white margins of the tail-feathers. In summer 
the male has crimson on the crown, forehead, and breast, 
which in winter turns to grey. The back is chestnut, wing 
feathers dusky with white outer edges. The hen and young 
lack the crimson and are more striated. 

Nest. Usually in bushes, especially gorse, and in hedges. 
Material : roots, moss, grass, &c., lined with hair, wool, 
feathers, down. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Shades of pale or whitish-blue marked 
with purplish-red, and sometimes unmarked. Av. size, 
71 x -51 in. Laying begins April-May. Broods usually 2. 

19. House-sparrow [Passer domesticus domesticus (Linnaeus)]. 
Resident and common. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Distinguished by the white cheek 
patch, the black gorget, the ash-grey on the crown and rump, 
the bluish-black beak, and the chestnut of the mantle. The 
hen has the head and rump brown, mantle pale rufous streaked 
dusky brown. Buff eye-stripe, under-parts dull buflish-white, 
beak brown. The young are much like the hen. In winter 
the grey and black of the cock are obscured by brown, the 
white by a dull yellowish tinge, and the beak becomes brown. 




Fig. 12. 



16 BRITISH BIRDS 

Nest. Place : Any hole or crevice in buildings, rocks, 
stacks, &c. Also in the branches of trees. Material : straw, 
hay, &c., lined usually with feathers. A large untidy struc- 
ture, domed when in the open, and more or less so when 
under cover. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Pale bluish-white marked with varying 
shades of ash-grey and brown. Often one egg is lighter 
than the others. There is a reddish variety, also a white. 
Av. size, *86 x *61 in. Laying April-May or earlier. Broods 
2-3 or more. 

20. Tree-sparrow, mountain-sparrow [Passer montanus 

montanus (Linnseus)]. Resident in most 
parts, but rare in W. Scotland and Ire- 
land. Local. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Much like the 
house-sparrow, but easily distinguished 
by its ruddy brown crown and nape, 
triangular black patch in the white of the 
cheek, double wing bars of white, and 
more graceful appearance. The sexes are 
alike. 
Nest. Place : holes in trees, buildings, walls, cliffs, &c. 

Material : grass, straw, roots, wool, lined chiefly with feathers. 
Eggs. Usually 4-6. Resemble the house-sparrow's, but are 

smaller, more glossy, and more heavily marked. Often one or 

two eggs are lighter than the rest. Av. size, *77x'55 in. 

Laying begins usually May, sometimes April. Broods 2-3. 

21. Crossbill [Loxia curvirostra Linnaeus]. Two forms : 

(1) Loxia curvirostra scotica, which is confined to N. Scotland, 
where it breeds and is stationary except for local movements ; 

(2) the brighter-coloured Loxia curvirostra curvirostra, which 
is chiefly a winter visitor to most parts, some staying to 
breed. 

in. Recognised by the crossed tips of the 
bill. Male plumage mostly crimson, with 
a touch of orange. Wings and tail brown. 
Female yellowish-green. The young of 
both sexes are mostly brown above, dull 
white below, with dusky striations. The 
full adult male plumage is not attained 
till the third or fourth year, a yellowish 
and mixed yellow and red preceding the 
final red. 

Nest. Place : high up in conifers. Material : platform of 
larch or fir twigs, on which is placed dry grass, wool, moss, 
roots, with a lining of finer grasses, sometimes hair. 



Bird. Length 




Fig. 13. 



BUNTINGS 



17 



Eggs. Usually 3-4. Like large greenfinch's, but with fewer 
and darker markings. Greenish-white sparsely scrawled or 
spotted with dark purple-red. Sometimes unmarked, or only 
faintly so. Av. size, *83 x '62 in. Laying begins usually 
January-March. Broods 1-2. 

22. Bullfinch [Pyrrhula pyrrJiula pileata Macgillivray ; 
P. europcea Vieillot.J Resident in most parts. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Recognised by the black hood, red (rose- 
vermilion) breast, white rump which 
contrasts with the black tail and grey 
back and is conspicuous in flight. The 
hen has the white rump and black 
head, but differs in having the back 
brown and the under-part vinous brown. 
The young lack the black hood, but 
have the white rump; their whole 
upper-parts are grey-tinged brown, 
and the under-parts pale brown. 

Nest. In bushes, especially ever- 
greens, and hedges. Material : twigs 
and moss, lined usually with roots. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Greenish-blue 
streaked and spotted, chiefly at the thick end, with purplish- 
brown, with fainter under-markings. Rare white variety with 
reddish markings and without markings. Av. size, '77 x *57 
in. Laying begins usually May. Broods 1-2. 




Fig. 14. 



(3) Family: Fringillidce. Subfamily: Emberizince 
Buntings 

23. Corn-bunting [JSmberissa calandra Linnaeus ; E. milaria 
Linn.]. Resident in most parts. 

Bird. Length 7 in. Distinguished by its heavy build and 
thick bill. The latter is provided with a palatal knob. 
General hue ochreous-brown, upper-parts 
ochreous streaked with dusky brown, 
under-parts huffish-white streaked with 
dusky brown on the throat, forebreast, 
and flanks. Wing-coverts margined with 
buff, forming a bar. Tail dark brown, 
edged paler brown. Yellower in autumn 
and winter. The young resemble the 
parents in autumn plumage, with differences of which the 
chief are a distinctly rufous tint on the throat, and broad 




Fig. 15 




18 BRITISH BIRDS 

bright yellow margins to the inner secondaries and tail- 
feathers. 

Nest. Place : long grass, furze, or low bushes on commons 
or downs. Material : grass, roots, stalks, &c., lined with finer 
material, usually grass. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Rather variable in colour. Usually 
greyish or yellowish-white with lines, streaks, and spots of 
dark brown and under-markings of pale violet. Rare varieties 
are pure white or tinged reddish-brown. Av. size, *95 x "69 in. 
Laying begins June- July, sometimes May. Broods 1-2. 

24. Yellow-bunting or Yellow-hammer [Emberiza citri- 
nella Linnaeus]. Resident and common. 

Bird. Length 6*50 in. Distinguished by the lemon-yellow 
head, neck, and under-parts, and by the chestnut rump. The 
yellow on the head, neck, and forebreast 
is banded with dark greenish-yellow 
(Fig. 16). The under-parts are streaked 
with chestnut. Mantle and wing-coverts 
dull red, striped black. The two outer 
tail-feathers on each side have white 
patches. Female and young much less 
brilliant, and have the crown dull olive- 
brown, streaked black. 

Nest. Place : usually on or near the ground in hedges, 
bushes, or banks. Occasionally in hay-stacks. Material: 
grasses, bents, a little moss or leaves, lined with horse-hair. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. Pale purplish-white scrawled and 
streaked with dark brown, with a few fainter violet markings. 
Rare varieties have a white, also a reddish ground. Av. size, 
83 x '62 in. Laying begins April-May. Broods 2-3. 

25. Girl-bunting [Emberiza cirlus Linnseus]. In England 
and Wales local and more or less stationary. Absent N. Eng- 
land. Very rare in Scotland and Ireland. 

Bird. Length 6J in. Like the yellow-hammer, but distin- 
guished by the black throat and lores, and the olive-green 
rump. Below the black of the throat is a bright yellow band, 
followed by a sage-green band^ and reddish-brown stripes on 
the flanks. Belly yellow. Crown and nape olive-green with 
black streaks, mantle chestnut. The female has the throat 
pale yellow striated with black. Distinguished from the 
female yellow-hammer by the olive-green rump. 

Nest. As the yellow-hammer. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. Pale bluish or greenish-white with the 
markings bolder and darker, as a rule, than those of the yellow- 
hammers, which they sometimes resemble very closely. Av. 
size, "83 x *63 in. Laying begins in May. Broods 1-2. 




LARKS 19 

26. Reed-bunting, reed-sparrow [Embenza slwsniclus sho&- 
niclus (Linnaeus)]. Generally resident in marshy localities or 
reed-beds. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Recognised by the black head and 
throat with intersecting white stripe, and 
the ash-grey rump tinged and striped with 
brown. Uiider-parts white, the flanks 
striated with brown. Mantle black mar- 
gined chestnut. Tail dusky with con- 
spicuous white on the outer quills. The 
hen has the head reddish-brown, striated 
dusky with yellowish- white stripe below 
and above the eye. In autumn the male 
loses the black, which becomes yellowish- 
brown ; the female becomes browner. Fig. 17. 
The young are much like the hen. 

Nest. Place : usually near the ground in marshy ground. 
Material : grasses, bents, lined with finer grasses, hair, or 
reed-flowers. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Olive, pale greenish or buff spotted and 
streaked with black-brown and fainter violet-grey. Av. size, 
'76 x '56 in. Laying begins April. Broods 2-3. 

27. Snow-bunting [Plectrophenax nivalis (Linnseus) ; Passerina 
nivalis (Linn.)]. Winter visitor chiefly to coast districts. A 
few breed in the Highlands. 

Bird. Length 7 in. Distinguished from all the other 
buntings by the large amount of white on the wings and their 
greater length. The male, in the breeding season, is white 
except on the back, middle tail-quills, and wings, the black on 
the latter mixed with white. In autumn the upper-parts 
become mostly chestnut or tawny, and the under-parts more or 
less tinged with rufous buff. The hen differs chiefly in having 
the upper-parts greyish-brown flecked with black ; in autumn 
she resembles the male more closely. The young are much like 
the female. 

Nest. Place : usually crevices among boulders on a mountain- 
side ; also in sea cliffs in Shetland. Material : usually grass 
lined with feathers, fine grass, hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. White to pale bluish or greenish 
marked with red-brown and fainter violet. Av. size, '86 x '63 
in. Laying May-June. One brood. 

(4) Family: Alaudidce Larks 

28. Skylark [Alauda arvensis arvensis Linnaeus]. Resident 
and common in most parts. 




20 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length 7 in. Upper-parts buffish-brown streaked 
darker brown. Under-parts pale buff with brown streaks. 
Wings mostly brown. White edges to 
outer tail-feathers. Erectile crest. Bufl* 
stripe over eye. Recognised in flight by 
broad buff hinder margin of the pointed 
wings. 

Nest. On the ground, usually in grass 
or growing crops. Material : grass, bents, 
lined with finer grasses and generally 
hair. 

Eggs. Usually 3-4. Greyish, greenish, or 
brownish-white mottled thickly with olive- 
Fig. 18. brown and grey. Av. size, "91 x '66 in. 
Laying begins April-May. Broods 2-3. 

29. Wood-lark [Alauda arborea arborea Linnaeus]. Resident 
in England and Wales. Local. 

Bird. Length 5J in. In general coloration like the sky- 
lark, but distinguished from it chiefly by its smaller size, 
shorter tail, smaller bill, arid the absence of white on the outer 
tail-feathers. 

Nest. On or near ground often sheltered by bracken, heath, 
or grass. Material : grass, moss, lined with finer grasses, 
sometimes hair. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Dirty white spotted with browns and 
fainter greys. Av. size, '83x'61 in. Laying begins March- 
April. Broods 2-3. 

(5) Family 3 Motacillidce Wagtails and Pipits 

30. Pied-wagtail [Motacilla alba lugubris Temminck]. Resi- 
dent nearly all parts. 

Bird. Length 7*30 in. Both this and the white-wagtail 
are easily recognised by the black, 
white, and grey plumage, and the 
long black tail with white outer 
feathers. In summer the cock 
pied-wagtail is distinguished from 
the hen by his black upper-parts 
(except the white forehead), hens 
being dark grey mottled with black. 
After the autumn moult the sexes 
are much alike ; both have grey backs and white throats 
instead of black. The summer black on the upper breast is 
retained to form a band. The young have olive-brown on the 
upper-parts and greyish instead of black gorget and crown. 




WAGTAILS 21 

Nest. Place : usually recesses in walls or banks ; also 
thatches, burrows, old nests, ivy, and elsewhere. Material : 
moss, roots, twigs, leaves, &c., lined with grasses, hair, 
feathers, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Greyish-white marked with leaden 
brown and grey spots. Av. size, *79 x "59 in. Laying begins 
April-May. 

31. White - wagtail [Motacilla alba alba Linnaeus]. A 
summer visitor breeding sparingly chiefly on the south and 
east of England. Also a bird of passage seen mostly on our 
western seaboard. 

Bird. See pied-wagtail. The male white-wagtail differs in 
the breeding season from the male pied-wagtail in having the 
back and rump grey instead of black. Otherwise the two 
forms are not easily distinguished. The female has grey in 
the white of the forehead and black of the crown. After the 
autumn moult both sexes resemble the pied form at the same 
season, but the white form has grey instead of black tail- 
coverts. 

Nest and Eggs. As pied-wagtail. 

32. Grey-wagtail {Motacilla boarula boarula Linnaeus ; M. 
melanope Pallas]. Resident in hilly districts, but not common. 

Bird. Length 7*25 in. Distinguished from other wagtails 
by the uniform slate-blue of the upper-parts and longer tail. 
The male, in breeding plumage, has the throat black, white 
stripes above and below the eye, sulphur-yellow under-parts, 
white on the outer tail-feathers. The female differs chiefly in 
having little or no black on the throat. After the autumn 
moult both sexes have the throat white and the eye-stripe 
buff. 

Nest. Place: bank, wall, or rocky ledge, usually near 
streams. Material : moss, twigs, &c., lined usually with hair. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Buffish faintly marked with pale brown. 
Av. size, '74 x '56 in. Laying begins April-May. Broods 1-2. 

33. Yellow-wagtail [Motacilla flava rayi (Bonaparte)]. A 
summer visitor chiefly to the English and Scottish lowlands. 

Bird. Length 6-30 in. Distinguished from the preceding 
species by the olive-green of the upper-parts and bright 
yellow ^ eye-stripe, and' from the rarer allied blueheaded- 
wagtail [M. flava flava Linnaeus], by having the crown yellow 
instead of blue, the eye-stripe yellow instead of white. The 
under-parts are bright yellow, wings and tail chiefly dusky 
brown, the outer tail-feathers white. 

Nest. Usually on the ground in meadows or fields, or in 
a bank. Material : grasses, stems, &c., lined usually with fine 
grass and hair. 




22 BRITISH BIRDS 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Whitish, mottled often very thickly, 
with pale brown. Av. size, '75 x *55 in. Laying usually begins 
May. One brood, if not two. 

34. Tree- pipit [Anthus trivialis (Linnaeus)]. Summer visitor 
and bird of passage. Rare N. Scotland. Absent Ireland. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Resembles the meadow-pipit, with 
which it is often confused. It may be 
distinguished from it by its larger size, 
by having the claw of the hind toe not 
so long as the toe itself, and the three 
outer primaries about equal and longer 
than the fourth. The meadow-pipit has 
the claw of the hind toe longer than the 
toe, and the four outer primaries of equal 
length. Sexes almost alike. The upper- 
g 20 parts brownish, with darker striations, 

except on the rump. Belly white, rest of 
under-parts buff with black striations. "White on the two 
outer tail-feathers on each side. Wings chiefly brown and 
blackish. After the autumn moult both sexes have the whole 
body tinged with rich buff. 

Nest. Place : in woodland on the ground, or in a bank in a 
tuft of grass or hollow. Material : dry grass, stems, moss, 
lined chiefly with finer grass. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Eggs vary greatly in coloration, but 
those in a nest are of the same type. Ground-colour 
may be bluish, greenish, pinkish, brownish, or grey, thickly 
spotted, or blotched and streaked with shades of brown. 
Av. size, *79 x '59 in. Laying begins May. One brood, pos- 
sibly two. 

35. Meadow-pipit, tit-lark [Anthus pratensis (Linnreus)]. 
Resident throughout the British Isles. 

Bird. See tree-pipit. Length 5| in. Sexes alike. Young 
duller. After the autumn moult the plumage is tinged with 
buff. 

Nest. On pasture-land, marsh, and moorland ; on the ground, 
or a bank, in the shelter of a tussock, heather, &c. Material : 
as tree-pipit. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Greyish-white thickly marked with 
brown, so as sometimes to hide the ground colour. Often a 
black hair streak. Variations with pink and bluish grounds. 
Av. size, '76 x "55 in. Smaller than tree-pipits. Laying begins 
April-May. Broods 1-2. 

36. Rock-pipit [Anthus spinoletta obscurus (Latham)]. 
Resident on our rocky coasts. 

Bird. Length 6*25 in. Distinguished from other pipits 



TREE-CREEPERWREN 23 

except the related subspecies, the Scandinavian rock-pipit 
(A. spin, littoralis), which is a rare visitor to Great Britain by 
the almost complete absence of white on the outer tail- 
feathers. Sexes alike. Upper-parts olive-brown with darker 
striations. Under-parts dull white mostly striated dull brown. 
After the autumn moult the upper-parts have a greenish and 
the under-parts a yellowish hue. 

Nest. Usually in a crevice of a rocky cliff. Material : dry 
grass, bents, lined with finer grass and hair. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Greyish to brownish, speckled thickly 
with shades of brown. Av. size, -83 x '62 in. Laying begins 
April-May. Two broods. 

(6) Family : Certhiidce Tree-creepers 

37- Tree-creeper [Certhia familiaris britannica Ridgway ; 
C. familiaris (Linnaeus)]. More or less stationary 
in most woodland districts. 

Bird. Length 5*5 in. Usually seen creeping up 
and round the trunks of trees. Distin- 
guished by the slender curved beak, long 
pointed tail-feathers, and silky white 
under-parts. The upper-parts are 
mostly brown with paler streaks. 
Rump rust colour. Wings brown 
with buffi sh bar. 

Nest. Place : usually behind loose 
bark on the trunk of a tree, also be- 
hind ivy stems or in suitable crevices 
in walls, outbuildings, &c. Material : 
twigs, moss, roots, grasses, &c., lined 
with feathers, wool, down, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. White, marked generally at the large 
end with reddish spots. Av. size, '61 x *47 in. Laying begins 
April-May. 

(7) Family: Troglodytidce Wrens 

38. Wren [Troglodyte? troglodytes troglodytes (Linnaeus); 
Troglodytes parvulus K. L. Koch]. Resident and common. 
Two other forms, the St. Kilda wren (T. t. hirtensis Dixon) 
and the Shetland wren (T. t. zetlandicus Hartert) are con- 
fined to the islands after which they are named. 

Bird. Length 3J in. The species is easily recognised by 
its small body, short tail, and characteristic shape. (See 
Fig. 22.) The common form has the upper-parts gener- 




BRITISH BIRDS 



ally rufous-brown, more 




or less barred, chiefly on the 
rump, with dark brown. Bars also on 
tail and wings. White spots on the 
median coverts. Under-parts whitish to 
brownish, more or less barred with dusky 
shades on the belly and flanks. Pale 
stripe above eye. The St. Kilda wren is 
larger, greyer, and has the bars on the 
primaries white and dark grey instead 
of white and dark brown or black. The 
Shetland wren is darker, especially on 
' the under-parts. 
Fig. 22. Nest. In almost any convenient recess, 

in a wall, bank, tree-trunk, &c., or in a 

thick bush or creepers. A domed structure with hole at the 
side and usually well concealed, and matching the site. 
Material : various bracken, moss, lichens, leaves, &c., lined 
with feathers. Unlined nests are built (as far as is known) 
by the cock and are not used for eggs unless subsequently 
lined. 

Eggs. Usually 5-8. White, more or less speckled with 
reddish-brown. Av. size, *64 x '49 in. St. Kilda wren's egg,, 
'71 x '54 in. Laying begins April-May. Broods 1-2. 

(8) Family: Cinclidce Dippers 

39. Dipper or Water-ouzel [Cinclus cinclus britannicus 
(Tschusi); G. aquaticusTtQchstein]. Breeds by quick running rocky 
streams chiefly in N. and W. England, in Scotland, and Wales. 
Stationary except for movements to open water in time of 
frost. The black-bellied dipper [G. cinclus 
cinclus (Linn.)] is an occasional visitor to 
the east coast. The Irish form [G. c. hiber- 
nicus Hartert] is confined to Ireland. 

Bird. Length 7 in. The British form 
is recognised by the dusky plumage con- 
trasting with the white front and by the 
short tail and wings. Below the white is 
a patch of chestnut followed by black. 
Upper-parts mostly lead-grey, but sooty- 
brown on the head. Young differ chiefly 
Fig. 23. i n having the under-parts cream colour, 

mottled grey. The Irish form differs in 
being darker on the upper-parts and less chestnut on the 
breast. The black-bellied form has little or no chestnut. 
Nest. Place: usually near running water, under a bridge, 




THRUSHES 25 

in the bank, under a waterfall, on stumps or boulders, &c. 
The nest is generally a rough ball of felted moss with a hole 
at the side ; it contains a round nest made chiefly of dry 
grasses lined with leaves. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. White. Av. size, l'03x*71 in. Laying 
usually begins March- April. Broods 2-3. 

(9) Family: Turdidce. Subfamily: Turdince Thrushes 

40. Mistle-thmsh, missel-thrush [Turdus viscivorus viscivorus 
Linnaeus]. Resident in most parts. 

Bird. Length 10'5 in. Distinguished from the following 
species by its large size, spotted flanks, and the white 
spots on the tail-feathers, often conspicuous in flight. Upper- 
parts mostly greyish-brown, under-parts buff turn to white 
on the belly. Spots on throat and neck fan-shaped, on the 
breast and flanks oval. 

Nest. Place : usually in the fork of a tree. Material : grass, 
moss, &c., with an inner cup of mud lined with dry grasses. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Usually tawny or greenish-white with 
reddish-brown and violet markings. Av. size, l'16x'87 in. 
Laying begins March- April, sometimes earlier. Two broods. 

41. Song -thrush [Turdus philomelus clarkei Hartert; 
Turdus musicus Linnaeus]. Resident and common. The 
Continental form [ T. ph. philomelus Brehm] is a winter visitor 
and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 9 in. Recognised by the olive-brown back, 
fan-shaped black spots on the whitish under- 
parts, except on the flanks, which are striated. 
Distinguished from the Continental form by 
the more reddish-brown of the upper-parts 
and a deeper, somewhat rufous-buff on the 
breast. 

Nest. In bushes, hedges, trees, banks, ivy, 
rarely on the ground. Material : grass, moss, 
twigs, &c., lined with a smooth plaster com- 
posed of one or more of the following materials : 
decayed wood or vegetable matter, mud, dung, 
chips of straw, or stems. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Blue with black spots. j?ig. 24. 
Av. size, l'llx'82 in. Laying begins Feb.- 
March. Broods 2-3. 

42. Redwing [Turdus musicus Linnaeus (1758) ; Turdus iliacus 
Linnaeus (1766)]. Common winter visitor and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 8'5 in. Distinguished from the preceding 
forms by the rich red on the flanks not on the wing as the 





Fig. 25. 



26 BRITISH BIRDS 

name implies and in having the breast striated as well as 
the flanks. Upper-parts olive-brown, a broad white streak 
over the eye. Ground colour of the under-parts white except 
for the buff breast and red flanks. 

43. Fieldfare, blue-felt [Turdus pilaris Linnseus], Common 
winter visitor and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 10 in. Nearly as large as the mistle-thrush, 
and easily recognised by the chestnut- 
brown back contrasting with the grey 
head and neck above and the grey rump 
below. The latter contrasts with the 
dark tail, especially in flight. The black 
lores are noticeable. Throat and upper 
breast buff, lower breast and belly 
white. Throat striated black, the stria- 
tions giving place to various shaped spots 
on the breast and flanks. 

44. Blackbird [Turdus merula merula Linnseus]. Resident 
nearly everywhere. 

Bird. Length 10*5 in. Easily recognised by the black 
plumage, orange beak, and yellow eye-rim. The female is 
mostly amber-brown or dusky, varying probably according to 
age. The throat paler with rufous striations, a rufous tinge 
on the fore-breast. The young have the upper-parts brown 
streaked on the crown and mantle with rufous, and the under- 
parts tawny-yellow, more or less barred with black. 

Nest. Is found in same positions as that of the song- 
thrush, but more frequently upon the ground ; and the out- 
side is built of the same materials. Is lined with mud, upon 
which is placed a further lining of dry grass. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Bluish-green or bluish. Spotted or 
blotched with red-brown and grey. 
Av. size, 1*14 x *84 in. Laying begins 
March-April. Broods 2-3. 

45. Ring-ouzel [Turdus torquatus 
torquatus Linnaeus]. Summer visitor 
to hilly districts and bird of passage. 
Occasionally remains through winter. 
Bird. Length 10'5 in. Recognised 
by the dusky plumage and the white 
crescent on the breast. The female 
is brown, with a narrower and much 
duller crescent. The young differ 
chiefly in having the throat feathers 
white tipped, the forebreast mottled black and brown, and the 
rest of the under-parts spotted and barred with black and white. 




Fig. 26. 



THRUSHES 27 

Nest. On the ground among rocks or heather, rarely in 
bushes. Material : as blackbird^ except that, as might be ex- 
pected, bracken and heather are more often used for the 
outside. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Like the blackbird, but generally with 
bolder markings. Av. size, 1*19 x "84 in. Laying begins 
April-May. Broods 1-2. 

46. Wheatear [CEnanthe cenanthe cenanthe (Linnaeus) ; 
Saxicola cenanthe cenanthe Linnaeus]. Summer visitor and bird 
of passage. Local. The related subspecies, the Greenland 
wheatear [0. csnanthe leucorrhoa (Gmelin)], is a bird of passage 
only. 

Bird. Length 6 in. Recognised by the conspicuous white 
on rump. The male has the upper parts mostly grey, a white 
stripe passing round the forehead and 
over each eye, lores and ear-coverts 
black, wings mostly dark brown, under- 
parts buff except the belly, which is 
white. The female has the upper-parts 
and ear-coverts brown, and the under- 
parts all buff. After the autumn moult 
the male resembles the female. The 
young differ chiefly in having the back 
greyish-brown, and the feathers on the 
throat and forehead tipped brown so as 
to form indistinct bars. 

Nest. Place : on warrens, downs, stony 
open country, in rabbit -bur rows, under 
rocks or stones, or any suitable crevice. 
Material : dry grass lined with hair, fur, wool, &c. Many pairs 
may be found nesting near together. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Pale blue, sometimes speckled with 
dark red-brown. Av. size, '81 x "61 in. Laying begins April- 
May. Broods 1-2. 

47. Whinchat [Saxicola rubetra rubetra (Linnaeus) ; Pratin- 
cola rubetra rubetra (Linnaeus)]. Summer visitor to most parts 
and bird of passage. Exceptional in 

winter. Local. 

Bird. Length 5j in. Distinguished 
at all seasons from the stonechat by the 
white oa the basal part of the tail and 
its slighter build. The male has the 
upper-parts brown with black markings. 
The throat and breast is tinged with 
rufous ; the rest of the under-parts white. A broad white 
stripe over the eye and two white patches on the wing, the 




Fig. 27. 




Fig. 28. 




Fig. 29. 



28 BRITISH BIRDS 

smaller sometimes absent. Female duller, with yellow buff 
eye-stripe. In autumn the male is much like the female. 

Nest. Place : usually commons or heaths, on or near the 
ground in grass, or at the bottom of a bush. Material : 
grasses, moss, &c., with lining of finer grass or hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Greenish-blue spotted rust colour. 
Av. size, '73 x "56 in. Laying begins in May. Broods 1-2. 

48. Stone chat [Saxicola torquata hibernans (Hartert) ; Pratin- 
cola rubicola (Linnseus)]. Resident and local. 

Bird. Length 5J in. The male has the head and back, chiefly 
black, contrasted with white patch on the 
tail-coverts (not tail itself as whinchat), 
wing, and neck. Under-parts mostly chest- 
nut and buff. Female differs conspicuously, 
having the head and upper-parts brown 
with darker markings, little or no white 
on the neck, and the under-parts duller. 
In winter the black of the male becomes 
brown. The young are much like the 
female. 
Nest. Place : usually commons or heaths, in heather, grass, 

or at the foot of a bush. Material: moss, grass, &c., lined 

usually with finer grass and hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Pale bluish-green with rusty brown spots. 

Av. size, '74 x -57 in. Laying begins March-April. Broods 1-2. 

49. Redstart Phcenicurus phcenicurus phcenicurus (Linnseus) ; 
Ruticilla phcenicurus (Linnaeus)]. Summer visitor to most 
woodland districts. Rare in Ireland. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 5J in. The male, in summer, is recognised by 
the white forehead contrasting with the 
jet black of the sides of the face, the 
throat, and the neck. Lower rump and 
tail-coverts chestnut, tail the same but 
duller. Rest of the upper-parts slate- 
grey. Breast and flanks chestnut. The 
female differs in having the upper-parts a 
uniform brownish-grey. Under-parts dull 
white, except the forebreast and flanks, 
which are buff with a rufous tinge. Tail, tail-coverts, and 
rump as in male. The young resemble female, but have the 
upper- and under-parts mottled. 

Nest. Place : hole in a tree or wall, sometimes on the ground 
under cover, also in odd places, flower-pots, &c. Material : dry 
grasses, rootlets, &c., lined with horse-hair and feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 5-7. Pale blue, occasionally spotted with 
red-brown. Av. size, f 79 x '55 in. Laying begins in May. 




Fig. 30. 



THRUSHES 29 

50. Redbreast, robin [Erithacus rubecula melophilus (Har- 
tert)]. Generally resident and common. The autumn and 
spring birds of passage from and to N. Europe belong to the 
paler-hued subspecies, E. rubecula rubecula. 

Bird. Length 5| in. Distinguished at all seasons by the 
orange-red of the throat and breast which is margined blue- 
grey. Upper-parts olive-brown. Belly white. The fledg- 
lings have no red ; both their upper- and urider-parts are 
mainly brown, spotted and streaked with buff. 

Nest. Place : in banks, or holes in trees and walls, and almost 
any position that affords some cover. Material : dead leaves, 
moss, grass, &c., lined usually with hair and a feather or so. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Dull white more or less spotted with 
red. Av. size, *78 x '61 in. Laying begins March- April. 
Broods 2-3. 

51. Nightingale [Luscinia megarhyncha megarhyncha (Brehm) ; 
Daulias luscinia (Linnaeus)]. A summer visitor to mid and 
south England and to the eastern borders of Wales. Rarely in 
the northern counties. 

Bird. Length 6J in. Recognised by the russet-brown of 
the upper-parts and the pale chest- 
nut tail. Under-parts white, except 
the forebreast and flanks, which 
are greyish-brown. Sexes alike. 
The young have the chestnut tail, 
but the upper-parts are rufous with 
buff spots, and the under-parts 
chiefly white or huffish-white with 
darker edgings forming more or less 
defined bars. 

Nest. Place : usually on or near _^_ 
the ground among herbage, in -p,. 

hedge bottoms and undergrowth 
in woods. Material : usually dead leaves and grass lined with 
finer material, grasses, leaves, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Olive-brown. Rarely blue. "Some 
clutches show distinct fine brown mottling, tending to form a 
cap on a blue-green ground n (Jourdain). Av. size, *81 x *6l in. 
Laying begins in May. One brood. 



(10) Family : Turdidce. Subfamily : Sylviince Warblers 

52. Whitethroat [Sylvia communis communis Latham ; Sylvia 
cinerea Bechstein], Widely distributed summer visitor Bird 
of passage. 





30 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird Length 5| in. Distinguished by the rust-coloured 
edgings of the wing-coverts and 
secondaries. The male, in breeding 
plumage, has the head ash-grey, 
upper-parts brown tinged with ochre 
(clay yellow), the under-parts whitish, 
except the forebreast which has a 
rosy tint, and the throat which is 
-p. o 2 pure white. Wing and tail chiefly 

brown or rust brown, but the outer 
tail-feathers are mostly white. The female differs chiefly in 
having the head brown, and being duller. Young are like 
the female, but browner. 

Nest. Usually near the ground, in tangled herbage, small 
bushes or hedges. Material: grasses and roots loosely put to- 
gether and lined with horse-hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5. Greenish with ochreous or lead-hued 
markings. Sometimes white or bluish with or without 
markings, also pink with reddish markings. Av. size, *75 x '54 
in. Laying begins in May. Usually one brood. 

53. Lesser-whitethroat [Sylvia curruca curruca (Linnaeus)]. 
Summer visitor to England and Wales, rare in the south-west, 
northern counties, and Welsh seaboard. Not proved to breed 
in Scotland and Ireland. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Distinguished from the preceding by 
the grey head, the absence of chestnut on the wing, and 
smaller size. Sexes alike, but female duller. Upper-parts 
mostly greyish-brown. Tail brownish-grey. Outer web of 
outermost tail-feathers white. Under-parts whitish, with 
throat pure white, forebreast tinged with pinkish-buff, flanks 
with buflish-brown. Wings brownish-grey with brown edgings 
in parts. 

Nest. Place : thick bushes, hedges, tangle, usually near ground. 
Material : stalks, grasses, lined with rootlets, fine grasses, and 
hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Creamy or white with a zone or cap of 
brown and grey marking at the big end. Av. size, "65 x '49 in. 
Laying begins jn May. One brood, possibly two. 

54. Blackcap [Sylvia atricapilla (Linnaeus)]. Summer 
visitor, generally distributed in woodland districts, but local. 
Scarce in Ireland and N. Scotland. Bird of passage. Winters 
occasionally in S.W. England. 

Bird. Length 5| in. Distinguished from our other warblers 
by the cap black in the male, brown in the female and young. 
There is no white in the tail. The upper-parts, wing-coverts, 
and tail are ash-grey with olive-brown tinge on the back, and 



WARBLERS 



31 




Fig. 33. 



Rare in 



olive-brown margins to tail-feathers. Wing quills dull grey. 
Under-parts mostly pale grey. 

Nest. In undergrowth, bushes, 
hedges. Material : chiefly grass, lined 
with finer grasses and horse-hair. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Creamy-white 
marked yellowish-brown and some- 
times with dusky spots and streaks. 
Occasionally salmon-pink with reddish 
markings. Also white marked and un- 
marked. Av. size, '76 x *57 in. Lay- 
ing begins in May. Broods 1-2. 

55. Garden -warbler [Sylvia borin 
(Boddaert); Sylvia hortensis (Bechstein)]. 

Summer visitor generally distributed, but local. 
Ireland. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 5| in. Recognised by uniform olive-brown 
of upper-parts, wing, and tail. Sexes alike. There may be 
a pale buff stripe over the eye. Under-parts greyish-white 
with dull buff tinge on throat, forebreast, and flanks. 

Nest. Place : bushes in gardens, on wood-edges, in hedges 
or herbage. Material : grass stalks loosely put together, lined 
with finer grasses and hair. 

Eggs. Usually 5. Like those of blackcap, but glossier and 
more distinctly marked. Occasionally almost white, with 
" faint yellowish cloudings or zones of small spots " ( Jourdain). 
Av. size, "79 x '58 in. Laying begins in May. One brood usual. 

56. Dartford- warbler [Sylvia undata dartfordiensis Latham]. 
Stationary, chiefly in the southern English counties, on gorse 
commons and heaths. 

Bird. Length 5 in. Recognised by the dark brown 
of the upper-parts and the long 
fan-shaped tail. The male has the 
under-parts mostly dark chestnut- 
red. Wing quills sepia-brown. Tail 
dark brown with a white margin to 
the outermost feathers. Iris dark 
red. Female and young paler. With 
the autumn moult white spots appear 
on the throat of both sexes, but dis- 
appear during the winter. 

Nest. Place : usually in gorse or rough heather. Material : 
usually grass stems, &c., lined with finer grasses and a little 
hair, wool, or feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 4. "Much like the whitethroats, but 
smaller, less greenish, with a whiter ground and more 




Fig. 34 




32 BRITISH BIRDS 

distinct markings of amber-brown and lavender" (Jourdain). 
Av. size, *69 x '52 in. Laying begins March-April. Broods 1-2. 
57- Gold-crest [Regulus regulus anglorum Hartert ; Regulus 
cristatus K. L. Koch]. Generally resident in our conifer woods. 
The lighter Continental form, Regulus 
vegulus regulus (Linnseus), is a winter 
visitor and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 3^ in. Recognised 
by the brilliant lemon crest, that of 
the male having, in addition, a patch 
of orange-red, and by the olive-green of the 
upper-parts. The crest is bounded by black. 
The male has the under-parts dull white, 
tinged on the throat and flanks with green. 
The female has the under-parts dull buff. 
Fig. 35. The young lack the yellow crest. 

Nest. Place : usually suspended beneath 
the end of the bough of some conifer, also in ivy, furze, 
creepers. Material : green moss and spider webs, sometimes 
lichens, lined with feathers, also hair or wooL 

Eggs. Usually 7-10. White or ochreous, with ochreous or 
reddish-brown markings. Av. size, "53 x '40 in. Laying begins 
in April. Broods 1-2. 

58. CMffchaff [Phylloscopus collybita collybita (Vieillot); Phyllo- 
scopus rufus (Bechstein)]. A summer visitor to our wooded dis- 
tricts. Scarce in Scotland. Also bird of passage. A few winter. 

Bird. Length 4^ in. Distinguished by the blackish legs 
from the willow-wren, which it resembles. The best means 
of identification is the song, that of the chiffchaff giving it its 
name : chiffj chaff, these two notes being repeated as many as 
ten or more times. The song of the willow-wren, a much 
commoner species, is a plaintive rippling warble. Upper-parts 
olive-green. Wing and tail brown, edged olive-green. Under- 
parts mostly dull white. A pale buff stripe over the eye. 

Nest. Place : usually not far from large trees, some feet 
from the ground, occasionally on or near it. Built in mixed 
tangles of brambles, herbage, and the like ; in bushes, creepers. 
Domed with opening at the side. Material: usually dead 
leaves, grass, moss, and other material lined with feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 6. White spotted purplish-brown with 
fainter violet marks. Av. size, '61 x *47 in. Laying begins in 
May. One brood usually. 

59. Willow-warbler, also inaptly called willow-wren. 
[Phylloscopus trochilus trochilus (Linnaeus)]. Very common and 
widely distributed. Summer visitor. Bird of passage. Occa- 
sionally winters. 




WARBLERS 33 

Bird. Length 4'9 in. Distinguished by the pale brown 
legs from the chiffchaff, which see. 

Nest. Unlike the chiffchafFs it is 
usually on or near the ground, in 
grass and other herbage, or in bank 
sides, and may be found either in 
woodland or on commons, away from < 
trees. Domed with entrance at the 
side. Material: grass, moss, leaves, 
and other material lined with feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 6-7. White spotted 
with reddish - brown. Occasionally 
freckled and rarely blotched with 
light chestnut. Underlying marks violet-grey. Av. size, 
*60 x '48 in. Laying begins April-May. Usually one brood. 

60. Wood-warbler [Phylloscopus sibilatrix sibilatrix (Bech- 
stein)]. Summer visitor to woodland districts, but local. 
Scarce in Ireland. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Distinguished from the chiffchaff and 
willow-wren by its larger size, longer wings, sulphur-yellow 
eye-stripe, throat, and flanks, and generally brighter hues. 
The male, in summer, has the upper-parts yellowish-green. 
Under-parts whitish, except throat and flanks, which are 
sulphur-yellow. Tail and wings brown with yellowish-green 
edgings and whitish tips. Female duller. 

Nest. Usually on or near the ground in dead bracken or 
mixed herbage. Material : bracken, grass, leaves, &c., with 
a lining of finer grasses and hair but not feathers, in which 
this nest differs from that of the two above. Domed. 

Eggs. Usually 6-7. White spotted dark red-brown, in- 
clining to purplish-red. Av. size, '62 x *34 in. Laying begins 
in latter half of May. One brood. 

61. Reed-warbler [Acrocephalus streperus streperus (Vieillot)]. 
Summer visitor to most parts of England and Wales. Absent 
from Scotland and Ireland. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Almost impossible to distinguish from 
the much rarer marsh-warbler. The best means of identifica- 
tion is provided by the nesting-habits, eggs (see below), 
and by the very superior song of the marsh-warbler, which 
song has been described as " more silvery, high-pitched, sweet, 
and varied than that of any other species of warbler with which I 
am acquainted " (Warde Fowler). " It gave me the impression 
of the song of a reed-warbler with the voice and execution of 
a blackcap " (W. Farren). Its alarm-note is " a kind of musical 
crake " (Warde Fowler). In the reed-warbler the upper-parts 
are olive-brown inclining to rufous, especially on the rump. 

C 



34 BRITISH BIRDS 

The marsh-warbler lacks this rufous tinge. Under-parts of 
both species are greyish or rufous-buff", except the throat and 
belly which are white. Wing quills and tail greyish-brown 
with olive-brown margins. Fledglings more rufous. 

Nest. The reed-warbler's nest is usually attached to the 
stems of reeds over water, in which it differs from the marsh- 
warbler's, but, like the latter, may also be found in rank vege- 
tation, osiers and other trees, even at some distance from water. 
The nest is deep. Material various : grasses, reed-flowers, wool, 
&c., lined with the same or feathers and hair. The marsh- 
warbler's nest, placed usually among mixed herbage, meadow- 
sweet, willow-herb, willows, osiers, and the like, is not nearly so 
deep as the reed-warbler's, or compact. The " main attachment 
is to two or three, generally two, large stems ; that part of the 
upper rim of the nest which passes round these stems is stretched 
and separated from the main rim of the nest. The loops thus 
formed have been most aptly described by Mr. Warde Fowler as 
' basket-handles ' " (W. Farren). Material : green stems and the 
like with a little moss, wool, &c., lined with hair and rootlets. 

Eggs. Those of the reed-warbler number usually 4-5 and 
are greenish-white, thickly blotched, and marbled with olive- 
brown and ashy-grey, with occasional blackish spots. Occa- 
sionally white. The marsh-warbler's eggs usually 4-5 have 
" a bluish or greenish-white ground, boldly blotched with olive 
and violet-grey, and numerous fine olive specks, as well as a 
few blackish markings" (Jourdain). Av. size, practically the 
same for both species : reed-warbler -71 X *53 in. ; marsh-warbler 
*74 x '53 in. The reed- warbler begins laying in May-June ; the 
marsh-warbler in June. One brood is usual. 

62. Marsh - warbler [Acrocephalus palustris (Bechstein)]. 
Summer visitor to south and mid England. Local, but may be 
more plentiful than thought. 

Bird. Length 5J in. See Reed-warbler (No. 61). 
Nest. See Reed-warbler (No. 61). 
Eggs. See Reed-warbler (No. 61). 

63. Sedge- warbler [Acrocephalus schwnob&nus (Linnaeus) ; 
Acrocephalus phragmitis (Bechstein)]. Summer visitor. Rare 
in north Scotland. Bird of passage. 

Bird (Fig. 37). Length 5 in. Recognised by the conspicuous 
buff eye-stripe, black stripes on the russet head and back, and 
the markedly rufous or rust-brown rump. Under-parts whitish 
with buff on neck and forebreast, brownish on flanks. Wings 
and tail dark brown with paler brown edgings. 

Nest. Place : in mixed herbage, bushes, hedges, usually near 
water or marshy ground. Material : grasses, moss, &c., lined 
usually with hair, also with feathers and other soft material. 




WARBLERS 35 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Thickly speckled, or mottled ochreous 
or yellowish-brown on a paler ground. Not unlike 
the yellow- wag tail's. Black hair streaks common. 
There are rare white and pink varieties. Av. 
length *70 x *52 in. Laying begins in May- June. 
One brood usual. 

64. Grasshopper - warbler [Locustella ncevia 
ncevia (Boddaert)]. Summer visitor to suitable 
localities moorland, commons, marsh. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Distinguished by the 
slight barring on the tail. It may further be 
distinguished from other British species by the 
curious " reeling " note not unlike the continuous 
chirping of the grasshopper, whence its name. Fig. 37. 
The upper-parts are reddish-brown with black- 
brown markings, more or less in the form of longitudinal lines. 
Faint eye-stripe. Under-parts pale brownish with a few darker 
streaks on the breast. 

Nest. Place : heather, low down in bushes, undergrowth, 
and tanglecl herbage. Material : coarse grass, leaves, moss, 
&c., lined with finer grass. 

Eggs. Usually 6. Thickly speckled with fine red-brown 
spots, " which occasionally form a zone, and in rare instances 
are replaced by bold blotches on a creamy-white ground " 
(Jourdain). Av. size, *69 x *53 in. Laying begins in May. 
Usually one brood. 

(11) Family : Accentoridce Accentors 

65. Dunnock or Hedge-sparrow [Accentor modularis occi- 
dentalis Hartert ; also described as Prunella modularis 
occidentalis (Hartert)]. Resident throughout our Isles. The 
Continental and lighter-coloured form \_A. m. modularis] is a 
fairly numerous winter visitor to our east coasts. 

Bird. Length 5J in. Distinguished by the slate-grey head, 
neck,andforebreaststreakedwith brown. The male has the back 
streaked with brown on a rufous tinge. Below the slate-grey the 
breast is dull greyish-white. Flanks palebrownstreaked amber- 
brown. Wings, quills, and tail dusky brown with paler brown 
margins. Beak comparatively slender and entirely different 
from the thick beak of the house-sparrow. Female duller. 

Nest. Place : usually in bushes, hedges, creepers, banks. 
Material : usually twigs, moss, grass, lined with hair, wool, 
moss, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Unspotted blue. Rarely white. Av. 
size, -78 x '58 in. Laying begins in* March- April. Broods 2-3. 




36 BRITISH BIRDS 

(12) Family : Sturnidce Starlings 

66. Starling [Sturnus vulgaris Linnaeus], Resident and 
common. 

Bird. Length 8 J in. Individuals vary greatly, some having 
more green about the head, others more purple, a fact which 
has given rise to the unfounded view that our Isles are 
frequented by two forms, a purple-headed 
and a green-headed, and to the per- 
sistent myth that they are visited by 
the Siberian-starling, which has rarely 
been recorded in Europe. Distinguished 
by the glossy spangled plumage and 
reddish-brown legs. The male, in summer, 
Fig. 38. nas a Bright yellow beak, and the plumage 

mostly a glossy black with metallic re- 
flections of purples and greens and blues. The feathers of the 
upper-parts are tipped with buff, those of the flanks and 
belly spotted whitish. The dusky wing quills have rufous-buff 
margins. Female more spotted and with less metallic gloss. 
After the autumn moult the metallic hues tend to be obscured 
and the bill is blackish. The young are easily distinguished 
from their parents by the uniform greyish-brown of the upper- 
parts, flanks, and forebreast, and the whitish throat and belly. 
Nest. In any convenient hole, or what will do duty for 
such. Material : straw, grass, leaves, &c., lined usually with a 
scant lining of feathers, hair, and other material. 

Eggs. Usually 5-7. Glossy blue, some almost white. 
Marked occasionally with traces of reddish spots. Av. size, 
1-19 x '84 in. Laying begins in mid April. One brood, some- 
times two. 

(13) Family: ParidceTits 

67. Longtailed-tit [&githalos caudatus roseus (Blyth) ; Acredula 
rosea (Blyth)]. Generally distributed and more or less stationary. 

Bird. Length 5| in Distinguished by the long tail and the 
black and rose-colour in the plumage. 
The head is mostly white, streaked 
black. A ring of orange-yellow 
round the eye. Back black mixed 
rose-colour. Under-parts white with 
a few dusky striations on the throat 
and forebreast, the rest mostly tinged 
"Fis. 39 rosy. Wing quills and tail black, 

the latter with some conspicuous 

white streaks. The inner secondaries have white margins. 

The rose-colour is wanting in the young. 




TITS 



37 




Fig. 40. 



Nest. Place : thick bushes and hedges, also in trees. 
Material : moss, lichen, cobwebs, hair, wool felted to form a 
domed nest with the opening at the side near the top. Lined 
with feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 8-12. White spotted light red, sometimes 
unspotted. Av. size, '55 x "43 in. Laying begins in April. 
Broods 1-2. 

68. Great-tit,ox-eye [Parus major L.]. Resident and generally 
distributed. Some are winter visitors to our eastern seaboard, 
but these, owing to the greater size of the beak, have been sepa- 
rated as Parus major major Linnaeus. If this distinction is main- 
tained the breeding form becomes Parus major newtoni Prazak. 

Bird. Length 5| in. Distinguished from the other tits by 
its distinctly larger size and by the broad 
black band which runs from the black 
throat down the centre of the under-parts. 
Head and throat glossy blue-black with a 
striking white patch on the cheek. Upper- 
parts yellowish-green, passing into bluish- 
grey on the rump and tail. Outer tail- 
feathers mostly white. A white spot on the 
nape. Under-parts mostly sulphur-yellow. 
Wings chiefly greyish-blue and brown with a white bar. 

Nest. Place : usually in some kind of hole, also in thickset 
twigs or old nests of other species. Material : moss, grass, 
wool, &c., lined usually with hair or fur. 

Eggs. Usually 6-11. White spotted with shades of red- 
brown ; also unspotted. Av. size, *70 x '53 in. Laying begins 
April-May. Usually 1 brood. 

69. British coal-tit [Parus ater britannicus Sharpe and 
Dresser]. Confined, as far as known, to Great Britain, but its 
winter movements may extend to Ireland. 

Bird. Length 4J in. Recognised by the conspicuous large 
white patch on the nape. See also marsh- 
tit and willow-tit. Head and throat 
glossy blue-black with a white patch on 
each cheek. Upper-parts and wings 
mostly olive-grey with two white bars on 
the latter. A rufous tinge on the rump. 
Under-parts dull white with reddish-buff 
on the flanks. 

Nest. Place : a hole, usually in an old 
stump or wall. Material : moss, lined usually with hair, fur, 
or wool. 

Eggs. Usually 7-11. White with red spots. Av. size, 
*59 x '45 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood is usual. 




Fig. 41. 




38 BRITISH BIRDS 

70. Irish coal-tit [Parus ater hibernicus Ogilvie Grant]. 
Recognised in 1910. Confined to Ireland. 

Bird. Resembles preceding, but distinguished by the 
sulphur-yellow on the cheek patches, nape, breast, and belly. 

Nest and Eggs. Like those of the British form, as far as 
known. 

71. Marsh-tit [Parus palustris dresseri Stejneger]. This 
subspecies is confined to England and Wales, but is absent 
from Scotland. 

Bird. Length 4J in. About the size of the coal-tit, but has 
no white patch on the nape. Head 
and throat glossy black, except the 
sides of the head, which are dull white 
inclining to rufous. Upper-parts 
mostly olive-brown. Wings and tail 
mostly ash-brown. Under-parts dull 
white with buff on the flanks. 

Nest. Place: usually in holes in 
decayed trees. Material : moss lined 
,,. ~ . with fur, hair, or down. 

Eggs. Usually 7-8. White spotted 

with reddish. Av. size, '61 x *48 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One brood usual. 

72. Willow-tit [Parus atricapillus Kleinschmidti (Hellmayr)]. 
Recognised in 1900. Subspecies confined apparently to Great 
Britain, but distribution still uncertain. Breeds both in 
Scotland and England. 

Bird. Distinguished from the marsh-tit by lack of gloss 
in the black of head and neck, and by rounded end of 
tail, when partly closed, that of the marsh-tit being straight 
or nearly so. Sexes alike (?). The willow-tit's notes are 
distinct from those of the marsh-tit, but the difference has 
yet to be clearly defined. 

Nest. Place : hole in decayed wood. Said to be excavated 
by the bird, and in this to be different from the marsh-tit's. 
Requires verification. Material : said to be scanty. 

Eggs. Differ, as far as known, little from those of the 
marsh-tit. The markings said to be bolder and richer. 
Number, size, &c., the same or nearly so. 

73. Blue-tit, torn-tit [Parus cwruleus obscurus Prazak]. 
Subspecies confined to the British Isles. Not known to 
emigrate. The blue-tits that come as winter visitors to our 
east coast belong no doubt to the Continental form, Parus 
cwruleus coeruleus, which is larger and of brighter coloration. 

Bird. Length 4J in. The adults readily distinguished by 
the blue of the cap, tail and wings, the green back, and 



NUTHATCH 39 

yellow under-parts. Cheeks white. Throat blue-black. White 
wing bar. Black stripe running backward and forward from 
the eye corners. 

Nest. Place : a hole in a tree or elsewhere. Material : moss 
and dry grass lined with hair, wool, and feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. White speckled reddish-brown. Some- 
times unspotted. Av. size, '60 x '46 in. Laying begins April- 
May. Usually one brood. 

74. Crested-tit [Parus cristatus scoticus (Prazak)]. The 
British subspecies is rarely found outside the Spey valley in 
Scotland. 

Bird. Length 4J in. Recognised by the crest : the long 
black, white-tipped'feathers of the crown. The male has the 
sides of the head white enclosing a black more or less semi- 
circular band. The lower side of the white area is bordered 
with a black band which passes into the black throat. Back, 
wings, and tail mostly brown or grey. Breast and belly white. 
Flanks buff. The female has the crest shorter and is duller hued. 

Nest. Place : hole or crevice, usually of a decayed pine-tree. 
Material : moss, lined usually with hair and fur. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. White, boldly marked chestnut-red. Av. 
size, *63 x *49 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood 
usual. 

(14) Family: Sittidce Nuthatches 

75. Nuthatch [Sitta europcea britannica Hartert ; Sitta 
ccesia Wolf]. More or less stationary in the woodland districts 
of Great Britain, but rare on the western side, and to the 
north of Cheshire and Yorks. 

Bird. Length 5| in. Easily distinguished from all 
British tree-creeping species, and indeed all 
other British species by its shape (see picture), 
the blue-grey upper-parts, the rich rufous- 
buff on the under-parts, and the short tail. 
The throat and the sides of the head are white, 
this area being bordered above by a black band 
running from the corners of each eye back- 
ward and forward. The flanks are chestnut- 
red. The outer tail-feathers are patched with 
white. 

Nest. Place : hole or crevice, usually in 
a tree. When too large, the entrance is 
plastered round till the hole is just large 
enough to admit the bird. The lining is composed generally 
of dry leaves or shredded fir-bark, also dry grass. 

Eggs. Usually 5-8. White, spotted and blotched with red- 




40 BRITISH BIRDS 

brown and a few underlying violet marks. Unspotted or 
finely spotted eggs occur. Av. size, '75 x '56 in. Laying 
begins April-May. One brood usual. 

(15) Family : Panuridm 

76. Bearded-tit [Panurus biarmicus biarmicus (Linnseus)]. 
Stationary in the Norfolk Broad district, and rarely occurs 
outside it except in one or two places. 

Bird. Length 6| in. Recognised at all seasons by the long 
rounded tail, the deep tawny hue of the upper-parts and flanks, 
and the small yellow beak. The male has the head bluish-grey 
with a pointed tuft or " moustache " of black feathers depend- 
ing from between the eye and the beak. The outer tail- 
feathers have white ends. Undor-parts mostly greyish-white 
with a rosy tinge. Under tail-coverts black. The female lacks 
the " moustache " and the black under tail-coverts ; her head 
is tawny, passing below into greyish-white, and her back more 
or less lined with black. 

Nest. Place : reed-bed or marsh, usually among the stems 
of reed-mace, reed, or sedge. Material : generally reed-blades 
lined with the flowering heads of the reed, and occasionally 
feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 5-7. White " with streaks, scrawls, or spots 
of liver brown." Av. size, '67 x '54 in. Laying begins in April. 
Broods 3-4. 

(16) Family : Laniidce Shrikes 

77. Redbacked- shrike, butcher-bird [Lanius collurio collurio 
Linnseus]. Summer visitor, chiefly to south and central 
England and Wales. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 7 in. Only the adult male has the back red, 
that of the female being dullbrownish- 
chestnut, and that of the young 
barred with black on red or reddish- 
grey. The male has the top of the 
head and neck grey, and a conspicuous 
black band running backwards and 
forwards from the corner of the eyes. 
The rump is ash-grey. The tail has 
the centre feathers black, the outer 
black and white. The under-parts 
-p. 44 are white with a rosy-buff tint on the 

breast. The wing quills mostly dark 
brown. Bill thick and hooked. The female is much less 
brilliant. The back as above stated. The under-parts are dull 




FLYCATCHERS 41 

white with a buff tint on the forebreast and flanks, and are 
conspicuously barred with semicircular black markings. 

Nest. Place : bushes, hedges, tangled growth of brambles, 
&c. Material : moss with stalks and other material, lined with 
rootlets, grasses, wool, hair, down. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Ground-colour may be white, cream, 
pink, brownish, or greenish, sometimes bluish, reddish, or bright 
green. Spotted or blotched usually at the larger end, with 
brown or reddish and fainter underlying lead tints. Av. size, 
87 x '64 in. Laying begins in May. One brood. 

(17) Family: Muscicapidce Flycatchers 

78. Spotted-flycatcher [Muscicapa striata striata (Pallas) ; 
Muscicapa grisola Linnseus]. Summer visitor, scarce in 
N. Scotland. Bird of passage (E. Clarke). 

Bird. Length 5 in. A small brown spotted bird that 
perches on the tops of fences, posts, and 
the like, from which it makes excursions 
into the air, flitting here and there on 
quick, graceful pointed wings in pursuit 
of flies, is almost sure to be the spotted 
flycatcher. The upper-parts mostly ash- 
brown with darker brown streaks on the 
head. Under-parts whitish with dark 
brown streaks. Gape provided with 
bristles. The young are conspicuously 
mottled whitish or buff on the upper- 
parts. 

Nest. Place : a large variety of situa- 
tions, such as beams, holes in walls, hay- 
stacks, &c., where the trunk and some 
large branch of an old tree meet, rock 
ledges, deserted nests, creepers, spouts, &c. 
Material : grass, rootlets, &c., lined with hair, wool, and other 
soft material. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Generally " Bluish-green at first, 
which often fades to yellowish-white, sometimes closely 
freckled with reddish-brown and at other times boldly 
blotched with chestnut and underlying purplish-brown" 
( Jourdain). Blue eggs occasional. Av. size, '72 x *54 in. 
Laying begins in late May or early June. Broods 1-2. 

79. Pied-flycatcher [Muscicapa atricapilla Linnseus. By 
rule of strict priority should be Muscicapa hypoleuca hypoleuca 
(Pallas)]. Summer visitor to Great Britain, chiefly to N. Wales 
and N. England. Rare elsewhere. Bird of passage. 




Fig. 45. 




2 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length 5 in. The adult male has the upper-parts 
black, with greyish rump and white 
forehead. Under-parts white. Tail 
all black or black with more or less 
white on the outer feathers. A white 
patch on the wing. The female is 
olive-brown above, including the fore- 
head. Under-parts bufnsh with white 
throat and belly. Wing patch whitish 
or buff. The young are like those of 
the pied-flycatcher, but may be dis- 
^^ 46 tinguished by their whitish or buff 

wing patches. 

Nest. Place: generally in a hole in a tree or building. 
Materials : leaves, moss, grass, &c., lined with grasses, rootlets, 
hair, feathers, wool. 

Eggs. Usually 6-7. Pale blue. Occasionally speckled red. 
Av. size, -68 x -52 in. Laying begins latter half of May or 
early June. One brood. 

(18) Family: Hirundinidce Swallows and Martins 

80. Swallow [Ghelidonrusticariistica(LiuiiSdus)- t Hirundo rwtica 
Linnseus]. Widely distributed summer visitor. Bird of passage. 
Bird. Length 7 '5 in. Often confused with the house-martin ; 
but the latter is at once distinguished, 
when in flight, from the swallow by 
the shorter tail and wings and the 
broad white patch on the lower part 
of the back, just above the root of 
the tail. Other marked differences 
are the chestnut-red on the forehead 
and throat of the swallow, and the 
white feathered legs and toes of the 
house-martin. (See also nest differ- 
ences.) The swallow's upper plumage 
is glossy steel blue. The tail dull 
metallic green, with white spots, and 
a long streamer on each side. (See 

Fig.) Under-parts mostly bufnsh with a blue band bordering 
the chestnut of the throat. The young are distinguished by 
the absence of the tail streamers. 

Nest. Place : usually under cover in a shed, porch, or cave. 
Also in chimneys, and all sorts of odd places. Shape either 
round and of varying depth, or like a half saucer, according to 
position. Material : mud mixed with grass stems and straw, 
and lined with grass and feathers. 





MARTINS 43 

Eggs. Usually 5. White with reddish-brown and grey 
markings. Av. size, -77 x '54 in. Laying begins in May. 
Two broods usual. 

81. House-martin [Hirundo urbica urbica Linnaeus ; Cheli- 
don urbica (Linnaeus)]. Generally distributed. Summer visitor. 
More local than swallow. Bird of passage. 

Bird. See 80. Length 5 J in. Sexes alike. Upper-parts glossy 
dark blue except the rump, which is 
white. Wings and tail brown with 
green reflections. Under-parts all 
white. 

Nest. Place : outside under eaves 
or under a ledge on a cliff face. 
Sometimes, like the swallow's, under 
cover in caves or outbuildings. 
Built usually against a wall with 
the top against the eave or ledge, 
thus forming a closed nest, an en- 
trance hole being left on one side 
at the top. Material: mud with 
little admixture of grass, lined mainly 
with feathers. The species breeds 
in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. White. Av. size, '74 x '54 in. Laying 
begins end May to early June. Broods 2-3. 

82. Sand-martin [Riparia riparia riparia (Linnaeus) ; Cotile 
riparia (Linnaeus)]. Summer visitor. Bird of passage. Local. 

Bird. Length 4*8 in. Easily distinguished from the two 
preceding by the pale or sandy brown of the upper-parts. 
Under-parts white with pale brown on the flanks and across 
the breast. Wings and tail dark brown. 

Nest. Place : in a rounded hole at the end of a burrow, 
usually 2-3 feet long, bored by the birds in the face of a 
sand-pit, cutting, steep bank, or the like. Occasionally in 
holes in walls, trees and elsewhere. Material : chiefly feathers. 
The species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. White. Av. size, '68 x '49 in. Laying 
begins May. Two broods usual. 

II. ORDER: CORACIIFORMES 

(1) Family : Picidce Woodpeckers 

83. Green-woodpecker [Picus viridus pluvius (Hartert) ; 
Gecinus viridis (Linnaeus)]. Subspecies confined to the British 
Isles in woodland districts. Rare in Scotland and Ireland. 




44 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length 12 J in. Recognised by the bright green 
on the upper-parts, greyish-green under- 
parts and the rich crimson crown and nape. 
Toes two before and two behind. The male 
has a large black patch on the side of 
the head enclosing a patch of crimson. 
Rump yellow. Tail black with greenish 
bars. Outer wing quills chequered white. 
The female lacks the red in the black cheek 
patch. The young are distinguished by the 
barring on the rump and under-parts. 

Nest. Place : hole in a tree, almost always 
bored by the bird. Material : chips of wood. 
'Eggs. Usually 5-7. Glossy white, some- 
Fig 49 times stained by the wood. Av. size, 1*24 
x '91 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood. 

84. Great spotted-woodpecker [Dryobates major anglicus 
(Hartert) ; Dendrocopus major (Linnaeus)]. Subspecies confined 
to Great Britain. Found in woodland districts. 

Bird. Length 10 in. Recognised by the black upper-parts, 
the white patches on the cheek, sides of the neck and 
scapulars, and the red on the belly and under tail-coverts. 
Is about 2J in. shorter in length than the green-woodpecker. 
Toes two before and two behind. The male has a band of 
crimson on the nape which is lacking in the female. Wings 
black barred with white spots. Under-parts dull buff except for 
the red. Centre tail-feathers black, others barred dull whitish 
and black. The young have the crown of the head crimson. 

Nest. Place : hole in a tree bored by the bird. Material : 
chips of dead wood. 

Eggs. Usually 5-6. Glossy white, sometimes creamy. Av. 
size, 1*03 x "76. Laying begins May. One brood. 

85. Lesser spotted-woodpecker [Dryobates minor com- 
minutus (Hartert) : Dendrocopus minor (Linnaeus)]. More or 
less stationary in the woodlands of England and Wales. Ex- 
ceptional in Scotland and Ireland. 

Bird. Length 6 in. More than a third shorter in length than 
the great spotted form, and has most of the back whitish barred 
black. Wings as No. 84. Toes two before and two behind. The 
male has the crown crimson, the female dull whitish. Both have 
white patchesonthecheeksandsides of neck. Centre tail-feathers 
black, others barred black and white. Under-parts whitish, 
streaked black on the flanks. Young have more or less crimson 
on the crown, and buff under-parts with short brown streaks. 

Nest. As great spotted-woodpecker, but smaller. 

Eggs. Av. size, *73 X '56 in. Otherwise as great spotted form. 



WRYNECK SWIFT 45 

(2) Family : lyngince Wrynecks 

86. Wryneck [lynx torquilla torquilla Linnaeus]. Summer 
visitor. Rare except in wooded 
districts of S.E. England. Bird of 




Bird. Length 7 in. Recognised 
by the variegated pattern of its 
plumage. The toes, two in front 
and two behind. The upper-parts 
are mostly covered with an intricate 
pattern of grey mixed with brown, 

buff, and whitish, heavily marked with dusky streaks. The 
erectile crown is barred with chestnut and spotted white. 
The brown wing quills are spotted with chestnut to form a 
chess-board pattern. Irregular dusky bars on the greyish 
tail. Under-parts chiefly buff, deeper on the throat and breast, 
with dusky bars and V-shaped striations. The young lack the 
heavy dusky streaks on the back. 

Nest. Place : usually a hole in a tree not bored by the 
bird. Also holes in banks. Material : none. 

Eggs. Usually 7-8. White. Av. size, -80 x '60 in. Laying 
begins May-June. One brood. 

(3) Family : Cypselidce Swifts 

87- Swift [Apus apus apus (Linnseus) ; Cypselus apus (Lin- 
naeus)]. Summer visitor, scarce in N. Scotland. Bird of 
passage (E. Clarke). 

Bird. Length 7 in. Differs from the Swallows, 
Martins, and all other Passerine birds in having all four 
toes directed forward. It may further be distinguished 
from the swallow and the martin by its 
larger size, and the long, narrow, scythe- 
shaped wings equal to the body in length. 
Plumage sooty black, except the throat, 
which is dull white. Faint bronze-green 
gloss on upper side of body. 

Nest. Place : under eaves, in holes or 
crevices of buildings ; occasionally in 
crevices of rocks and quarries. Material : 
a scanty lining of straw, feathers, and other material picked up 
by the bird on the wing and cemented together with its saliva. 

Eggs. Usually 2-3. White. Av. size, '98 x *63 in. Laying 
begins end May or early June. One brood. 




BRITISH BIRDS 



Bird. Length 10J in. 
enormous gape with its 




Fig. 52. 



(4) Family : Caprimulgidce Nightjars 

88. Nightjar, inaptly called goatsucker, nighthawk [Capri- 
mulgus europceus europceus Linnaeus]. Summer visitor, gener- 
ally distributed in open woodlands and waste lands. Bird of 
passage (E. Clarke). 

Recognised by the flattened head, 
bristles, the intricate variegated 
pattern of its plumage, and its 
habit of flying in the twilight. 
The general coloration is ash or 
silvery - grey closely spotted, 
streaked and barred with brown, 
chestnut, and buff. A buff bar 
across the wing. The male has a 
white spot on the three outer 
primaries (2nd, 3rd, 4th) of each wing, and white tips to the 
two outermost tail-feathers. Otherwise the sexes are alike or 
nearly so. 

Nest. None, though there is some evidence that the bird 
makes a scrape. The eggs are laid on the ground among dead 
stick, leaves, &c., usually among bracken, on waste land or in 
open woodland. 

Eggs. Usually 2. A beautiful creamy- or greyish- white, 
mottled and streaked with shades of brown and underlying 
lilac-grey markings. Av. size, 1-24 x '87 in. Laying begins 
end May to early June. One brood, possibly two. 

(5) Family: Strigidce Owls 

89. Barn-owl, white-owl, screech-owl [Tyto alba alba 

(Scopoli) ; Strix flammea]. Found in most parts ; 
scarce in Wales, N. Scotland, and Ireland. 
Stationary more or less. 

Bird. Length 13 J in. Distinguished from 
other British owls by its buff and white colora- 
tion. The orange-buff of the upper-parts 
and wing coverts is delicately patterned 
with white, brown, and grey. The facial 
discs are white, with rufous round the eye. 
Under-parts white with a buff tinge on the breast. 
Legs covered with white bristle-like feathers. 

Nest. None made. The eggs are laid in a 
crevice or hole in a building, tree, or rocks. 
Eggs. Usually 4-6. White without gloss. A v. size, 1'59 x 1 '25 
in. Laying may begin from end March to May. Broods 1-2. 




Fig. 53. 



OWLS 



47 
Resident in 




54. 



90. Longeared-owl [Asio otus otus (Linnaeus)], 
many woodland districts. 

Bird. Length 14 in. Distinguished by the 
long so-called "ears" (1| in.). Sexes much 
alike except that the female is larger. Iris 
yellow, in which this owl differs from the tawny 
and barn-owls, which have the irides dark brown. 
Upper-parts buff with dusky streaks and 
vermiculations and paler mottlings. Wing and 
tail quills have dusky bars. Under-parts mainly 
buff' with dusky striations, bars and vermicula- 
tions. 

Nest. None made. The eggs are usually laid 
in the deserted nest of Crows or Hawks and 
other large species, and in squirrels' dreys ; als>o 
on the ground. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. White. Av. size, l'58x 1'62. Laying 
begins March- April, exceptionally earlier. One brood usual. 

91- Shorteared-owl [Asio flammeus flammeus (Pontop- 
pidan) ; Asio accipitrinus (Pallas)]. Resident chiefly on the 
northern moors. Exceptional in Ireland. Also winter visitor 
and bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 14 J in. Distinguished from the 
longeared by the short " ears," the absence of 
bars on the under-parts, which are pale buff 
streaked with brown, and by its habitat, which 
is the open country, moors, fens, and the like, that 
of the longeared being woodland. The female is 
larger and is somewhat darker. Upper parts buff 
blotched and streaked with brown. Disc brownei 
than that of the longeared form. Wings and tail 
pale buff barred with dark brown. Irides yellow. 

Nest. None made, except it be a scratch in the 
ground. The eggs are laid on the ground in a 
marsh, on moorland, sand-dunes, or pasture. 

Eggs. Usually 4-7. White. Av. size, 1*57 x 1-21. Laying 
begins March- April, exceptionally earlier. Broods 1-2, some- 
times 3. 

92. Tawny-owl, brown-owl, wood-owl [Strix aluco aluco 
Linnaeus ; Syrnium aluco (Linnseus)]. Stationary in wooded 
districts of Great Britain. Absent Ireland. 

Bird. Length 15-18 in. Distinguished from the barn-owl 
by its brownish plumage, and the familiar note or hoot, the tu- 
whit, to-who of Shakespeare. The coloration varies between 
two distinct types the grey and the red. The grey type has 
the body plumage grey streaked, mottled, and more or less 




Fig. 55. 



48 



BRITISH BIRDS 




barred with shades of brown. In the red type the upper parts 
are reddish-brown with the pattern much 
as in the grey type, and the under-parts chiefly 
dull white with dusky streaks and paler bars. 
The wing quills and tail are brown barred 
chiefly with shades of the same colour. The tail 
is tipped with white. The female is the larger. 
Nest. None made. The eggs are laid 
usually in the hole of a tree, also in recesses 
or crevices in buildings and cliffs, old nests of 
other species, such as Hawks and Crows, among 
the exposed roots of trees, and in burrows. 

Eggs. Usually 2-4. White. Av. size, T84 
Fig. 56. , x 1*52 in. Laying begins generally in March. 

'One brood, possibly two occasionally. 

93. Little-owl [Athene noctua noctua (Scopoli)]. Resident 
and on the increase, owing to introduction by Lord Lilford 
and others. Breeds only in England and Wales. Exceptional 
vagrant to Scotland and Ireland. Possibly an occasional 
visitor from the Continent. 

Bird. Length 9-9J in., the female the larger. Distinguished 
from the other British owls described in this book by its much 
smaller size, and by the white spots on the brown of the upper- 
parts, forming lines and bars. Under-parts mostly dull white 
with brown streaks. Wing quills and tail brown with paler 
bars. Irides pale yellow. 

Nest. None made. Eggs laid in a hole in a tree, building, 
or elsewhere, or in a burrow. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. White. Av. size, 1*34x1 -13. Laid 
April-May. One brood usual. 

(6) Family: Alcedinidce Kingfishers 

94. Kingfisher [Alcedo ispida isp'ida 
Linnseus]. Rare in N. Scotland and 
Ireland. Elsewhere local and more or less 
stationary. 

Bird. Length 7-| in. Recognised by 
the prevailing brilliant blues of the back, 
wings, and tail, by the chestnut of the 
under-parts and the relatively long black 
beak. Throat white, bordered above on 
each side of the neck and head by a blue 
band, above which is a patch of white 
passing into a patch of chestnut behind 
the eye. Female has under mandible red. 





Fig. 58. 



CUCKOO PIGEONS 49 

Nest. Usually in a circular chamber at the end of a hole 
2-3 ft. long, burrowed in a bank of earth, generally near a 
stream. Sometimes in holes of walls. Material : fish-bones, 
accumulated usually after lying in the form of " pellets " dis- 
gorged by the birds. 

Eggs. Usually 67. Glossy white and nearly round. Av. 
size, *89 x *73 in. Laying begins March- April, possibly earlier. 
Broods 1-2. 

HL ORDER: CUGUUFORMES 

Family : Cuculidce Cuckoos 

95. Cuckoo [Cuculus canorus canorus Linnaeus]. Generally 
distributed. Summer visitor. Bird of passage (E. Clarke). 

Bird. Length 14 in. Recognised by the bluish colour of 
the upper-parts of throat and upper 
breast, the long dark bluish and white- 
spotted tail, the white black-barred 
breast, the toes, two directed for- 
ward and two back, and the well- 
known note. Wings dark bluish 
with brownish-black quills. Female 
smaller, with more or less rufous on 
the forebreast or neck. The young are mainly rufous-brown 
with dusky bluish bars, and with a more or less white patch on 
the forehead and nape. 

Nest. None made. The hen deposits the eggs in the nest 
of other species, the hedge-sparrow, Pipits, Wagtails, robin, 
Warblers, wren, Finches, Redstart, Chats, and many more. 

Eggs. Vary greatly in coloration, and sometimes resemble 
those of the foster-species. Av. size of 626 eggs, *88 x '65 in. 
(Rey). The eggs are therefore usually somewhat larger than 
those laid by the foster-species. 



IV. ORDER: CHARADRII- 
FORMES 

(1) Family: Golumbidce Pigeons 

96. Wood - pigeon, ring - dove, 
cushat [Columba palumbus palumbus 
Linnaeus]. Resident and generally 
distributed. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Distinguished 
from other British pigeons by the 
white patch on the neck and white 
band across the wing, visible in 




Fig. 59. 



50 BRITISH BIRDS 

flight. The head, neck, lower back, rump, and tail-coverts 
bluish-grey. Purple and green reflections on the nape and 
neck. Mantle and wing-coverts greyish-brown. Tail dusky. 
Under-parts, vinous-purple on the breast and bluish-grey on 
the flanks and belly. The young lack the white patch on the 
neck. 

Nest. Place : usually high up in trees or tall hedges. Often 
in old nests of other species, or in ivy on walls, &c. Rarely 
on or near the ground. A flimsy structure of twigs. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Glossy white. Av. size, 1*68 x 1*15 in. 
Laying begins April or earlier. Broods 2-3. 

97. Stock-dove [Colurriba, anas Linnaeus]. Resident and 
somewhat local. 

Bird. Length 13 J in. Readily distinguished from the pre- 
ceding form by its smaller size, and from both this and the 
rock-dove by the absence of white in its plumage. The upper- 
parts bluish or slate-grey. Green and purplish reflections on 
the sides of the neck. Patches of black on the wing form 
broken bars. Under-parts : throat and breast vinous purple, 
rest greyish. The young have no reflections on the neck. 

Nest. Place: usually a hole or recess in a tree, building, 
ground, or old nest. Material : little or none ; twigs, leaves, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Creamy-white. Av. size, l'53xl*13. 
Laying may begin in March. Broods 2, possibly 3. 

98. Rock-dove [Golumba lima livia Gmelin]. Frequents 
sea-cliffs, chiefly on W. coasts and Ireland. 

Bird. Length 13 J in. Distinguished by the large patch of 
white on the rump. Head, neck and tail dark blue, the tail 
with a black terminal bar, and with white on the outermost 
feathers. A patch of metallic green on the neck. Mantle and 
under-parts blue-grey. Axillaries and under-wing coverts 
white, conspicuous in flight ; those of the stock-dove are grey. 

Nest. Place : ledge or crevice in a sea-cave, or crevice in a 
cliff. Roughly constructed of grasses, roots, heather, sea-weed 
and other material. 

Eggs. Two. White. Av. size, 1*54 x 1'15 in. Laying 
begins as early as January- February, and may go on to 
October. Broods 2-3 or more. 

99. Turtle-dove [Turtur turtur turtur (Linnseus) ; Turtur 
communis Selby]. Summer visitor. Chiefly in the wooded 
southern parts of Great Britain ; elsewhere scarce. Bird of 
passage. 

Bird. Length 11*25 in. Markedly different from the three 
preceding both in shape, size, and coloration. It is smaller, 
more slender, and has the feathers of the wing-coverts and 
scapulars a rich reddish-brown with black centres, and the 



AUKS 



51 




black side-feathers of the large tail broadly tipped with white. 

On the side of the neck a conspicuous patch 

of alternating bars of black and white, 

which is lacking in the young. Prevailing 

hue of the head and back bluish-grey with 

intermixture of dull rufous or buff margins. 

Under-parts pale vinous purple passing to 

white on the belly. 

Nest. Place: tree, bush, or tall hedge. 
Flimsy structure of twigs. 

Eggs. Two. Creamy-white. Av. size, 
1*18 x "88 in. Laying begins end of May to 
early June. Broods 1-2. 

(2) Family: AlcidceAuks 

100. Razorbill [Aka torda Linnaeus]. Salt-water species 
present throughout the year, and breeding on our sea-cliffs. 

Bird. Length 17 in. Distinguished at once from the guille- 
mot by the deep curved and grooved beak 
withits conspicuous narrow white band (see 
Fig.), by the darker upper-parts and the 
stouter neck. Sexes alike. In the breeding 
season the upper-parts are mostly black 
with greenish gloss. A white bar on the 
wing, and a white line from beak to eye. 
Throat and fore-neck brown, rest of under-parts white. Outside 
the breeding season the throat, fore-neck, and part of the sides 
of the head are white. 

Nest. None made. The egg is laid on the bare rock, preferably 
in a crevice or under a ledge (cf. the guillemot) ; occasionally 
under boulders. Species breeds in colonies, often with 
guillemots. 

Egg. One. Less pear-shaped than the guillemots. Ground 
colour white, buff, brownish, reddish, and occasionally bluish- 
green, blotched, spotted, and streaked with dark brown or black. 
Av. size, 2- 95 x 1*86. Laying begins in May. One chick reared. 

101. Guillemot \Uria, troille troille (Linnaeus)]. As razorbill, 
and often breeds on the same cliffs. 

Bird. Length 18 in. At once distinguished from the razorbill 
by its much more slender and longer beak and slenderer neck 
and paler upper-parts. Sexes alike. Many individuals have 
a white circle round the eye with a backward white crease, 
and are known as "bridled" or "ringed." In summer the 
upper-parts, head, and neck are slaty-grey, turning to smoke 
brown as the season advances. The under-parts are mostly 




61. 




52 BRITISH BIRDS 

white. A white bar on the wing. In winter the throat 
and part of the sides of the neck and head 
become white. 

Nest. None made. The egg is laid on the 
bare rock on open ledges, or tops of stacks. 
(See razorbill, No. 100.) Species breeds in 
colonies. 

Egg. One. Pear-shaped. Av. size, 3*04 x 1*94 
in. Coloration very varied. Ground colour 
may be various shades r of white, yellow, brown, 
blue, green, or pink, spotted, blotched and lined 
with reds, browns, blacks, yellows, greens. 
Fig. 62. Some eggs unmarked. Laying begins May, later 
than with the razorbill. One chick reared. 

102. Black-guillemot [Gepphus grylle grylle (Linnseus)]. 
Salt-water species more or less stationary on the coasts of 
Scotland, Ireland, and the Isle of Man. Exceptional further 
south. 

Bird. Length 11 in. Distinguished by the vermilion-red of 
the legs and the large white patch on the wings. Sexes alike. 
Plumage, black with green reflections, except for the white 
areas both on the upper and under-side of the wing. In winter 
the feathers of the upper-parts of the body are mostly edged 
with white. Under-parts white. The young have a mottled, 
barred white-and-black appearance. 

Nest. None made. The eggs are laid on the bare rock, 
usually under boulders at the foot of cliffs or in crevices in the 
cliff, exceptionally in holes of ruins. Species nests singly or in 
relatively small colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Whitish, marked with dark brown and 
ash-grey. The ground colour may have a tinge of bluish-green. 
Av. size, 2-32 x 1 '56 in. Laying begins in May- June. One brood. 

103. Little-auk [Alle alle (Linnseus) ; Mergulus alle 
(Linnseus)]. Irregular winter visitor, mostly off our north and 
east coasts. 

Bird. Length 7J in. Recognised by its small size. In 
winter the upper-parts are mostly black, with white margins 
to the upper scapulars and secondaries, and a white spot over 
the eye. The under-parts are white, including the sides of the 
neck, except for a more or less incomplete collar of black. 
Immature birds lack the white spot over the eye. In spring 
the throat and neck become black. 

104. Puffin [Fratercula arctica arctica (Linnseus)]. Sea-water 
species breeding on all the coasts of the British Isles. Uncommon 
near shore in winter. 

Bird. Length 13 in. Recognised by the large grooved and 




TERNS 53 

strikingly coloured beak, and the deep orange legs. Sexes 
alike. In summer the fore-part of 
the beak is red, the hinder-part slate- 
blue, the two areas being divided by a 
yellow line. In winter the yellow 
line and the slate-blue horny plate 
disappear, together with the cream- 
coloured fillet at the base of the bill, 
the orange-yellow rosette at the 
gape, and the slate-coloured append- 
ages above and below the eye. No 
noticeable seasonal change in the 
plumage. Upper-parts black. Sides of the head pale greyish. 
Under-parts white, except black band round under the throat. 
The young have the beak much smaller. 

Nest. In a burrow in the soil on the top or sides of an isle 
or cliff, also under boulders and in crevices. Material : usually 
a little grass and feathers. Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. One. Dirty white, with more or less faintly marked 
shades of brown or violet. Av. size, 2-39x1 '67. Laying 
begins in May. One brood. 

(3) Family: Laridce. (a) Subfamily: Sternince Terns 

105. Sandwich-tern [Sterna sandvicensis sandvicensis Latham ; 
Sterna cantiaca Gmelin]. Summer visitor to our coasts. Local. 
Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 16'5 in. The Terns are sometimes called sea- 
swallows owing to their general re- 
semblance to the swallow tribe in 
appearance, allowance being made for 
the much larger size and the grey 
coloration. The present form may be 
distinguished from the following by 
its black relatively long beak with j,. * 

yellow tip, black legs, and the striking 
velvety black mane-shaped crest and its habit of nesting in 
close packs. In flight its stouter build, longer beak and 
shorter tail aid recognition ; also its distinctive note a sharp 
Kirr-whit. Top of head and nape black. Upper-parts and wings 
mostly pearl-grey, but rump and tail white. Under-parts white 
with a not very apparent salmon-pink tinge. The young show 
black or dusky markings on the upper-parts. 

Nest. Place: usually near the sea on sand among marram 
grass and the like, in shingle, also on mud-banks. The nest 
scrape is either unlined or more or less lined with grass and odds 
and ends picked up on the shore. Species breeds in colonies. 




54 



BRITISH BIRDS 




Fig. 65. Arctic-tern's primary. 



Eggs. Usually 2. Greyish to deep buff, spotted and blotched 
with shades of brown and underlying ash or brown. Av. size, 
2 '03 x 1*42 in. Laying begins in the first half of May. One 
brood. 

106. Common-tern [Sterna hirundo Linnaeus; Sterna 
fluviatilis Naumann]. Summer visitor, and found breeding 
usually on the sea-coast in the British Isles. 

Bird. Length 14J in. See Sandwich-tern. Easily confused 

with the Arctic-tern, which 
it closely resembles. Both 
have the upper-part of the 
head and nape black, the 
rest of the plumage mostly 
a silvery-grey, the white 
rump, throat, and upper 
and under-tail coverts ex- 
cepted ; legs red. They 
may be distinguished most 
surely by the relative 
breadth of the dark inner 
band on the outer primaries 
and the coloration of the 
bill, which is blood-red to 
the tip in the Arctic and 
in the common-tern, coral 
red on the basal two-thirds, 
dusky on the third from 
the tip. The Arctic form 
has shorter legs. The rare 
roseate-tern differs from both 
in having the breast rosy tinted, the beak black, the tail longer, 
the inner webs of the primaries all white. In autumn all three 
species have white on the crown and are paler on the under- 
parts. Fledglings may be easily recognised by their buff- 
coloured markings. 

Nest. Place : shingle bed, sand with or without vegetation, 
turf, bare rock, usually near the sea in the British Isles. The 
nest-scrape may be either unlined or lined with dry grass and 
other vegetable matter picked up near by, also pebbles, shells, 
and sometimes rabbit bones. Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. More often 3 than 2. Dull greyish, cream or deep 
buff, blotched and spotted with shades of brown and ash. 
Rare varieties with blue and red grounds. Av. size, 1*61 x 
1*19 in. Laying begins end of May to early June. One brood. 

107. Arctic-tern [Sterna paradiscea Brtinnich ; Sterna 
macrura Naumann]. Summer visitor to our coasts and generally 




Fig. 66. Common-tern's primary. 





TERNS GULLS 55 

more northerly in its breeding range than the common-tern, 
but the two are found breeding 
together on the Fames and else- 
where. Bird of passage. 

Bird. See common-tern, No. 106. 

Nest. Practically the same as the 

common-tern, except that the species 

j n , i , i_ 

is more definitely marine in its choice 

of nesting site. Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. More often 2 than 3. Like those of the common- 
tern, but on the average the ground colour is deeper and 
the marking bolder. Av. size, 1 '6x1-16, therefore slightly 
smaller. Laying begins a few days later than in the case of 
the common-tern. One brood. 

108. Little-tern, lesser - tern [Sterna minuta minuta 
Linnaeus]. Summer visitor to suitable spots nearly all 
round our coasts. 

Bird. Length 9 in. While resembling the preceding 
species in general appearance, it may 
at once be recognised by its much 
smaller size, the white forehead, the 
yellow beak tipped black, and the 
orange-yellow legs, also by the much j^ig. 68. 

quicker wing-beats in flight, and the 
sharp excited Kweeks and tiks that are its usual notes. 

Nest. Place : on the beach, though abroad, like the common- 
tern, the species nests inland on river shingle banks. The 
nest -scrape, found in shingle or on sand among stones, shells, 
&c., is less often lined than is the case with the three pre- 
ceding species. Material : usually shells or pebbles, rarely 
vegetable matter. Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. 2-3. Grey to buffish or brownish, blotched and 
spotted with shades of brown and underlying ash-grey. Av. 
size, 1*25 x '92 in. Laying begins end May to early June. 
One brood. 

(3) Family : Laridce. (b) Sub-family : Larince Gulls 

109. Blackheaded-gull [Larus ridibundus Linnaeus]. Resi- 
dent and common. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Distinguished from the following 
species by its red legs and beak. Sexes much alike. In 
breeding dress the head is brown not black except for a 
rim of white feathers partly encircling the eye. Otherwise 
no marked seasonal change. Back pearl-grey. Wings the 
same, except the outer primaries, which have black ends and 




56 BRITISH BIRDS 

more or less white tips, the three outermost quills being 
all white except for the black ends. Best of plumage white. 
Immature birds up to their second summer or later may be 
distinguished by the black terminal 
band of the tail, and the fledglings 
by the buff and brown margins to 
the feathers. 

Nest. In colonies. Place : two 
types (1) on the ground, on tussocks, 
or among water-plants in marsh- 
land, or on the edge of lakes inland 
or by the sea ; (2) less often among 
marram grass on sandhills near the 
sea, as at Ravenglass and Walney. 
Material : varies according to the locality ; marram grass, 
reeds, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 3. Shades of buff, brown, and olive-green, 
spotted andblotched with blackish-brown and under lying purple- 
grey. Sometimes bluish and reddish types are found. Av. 
size, 2*2 x 1*46 in. Laying begins in April. One brood usual. 

110. Common-gull [Larus canus canus Linnseus]. Resident 
in Scotland and Ireland. A winter visitor to England and 
Wales, except for immature birds, which may be seen in 
summer. Has nested on the Fames (1910). Bird of passage. 

Bird. Distinguished from the herring-gull by its distinctly 
smaller size 18 in. to the herring-gull's 24 and from both 
this species and the smaller blackheaded-gull (16 in.) by its 
yellowish-green beak and legs. Sexes alike or nearly so. 
Back and wings pearl-grey, except the primaries, which are 
black or grey tipped white, except the outermost, which is 
tipped black. Rest of plumage white, but after the autumn 
moult the head and neck are streaked with ash-brown. 
Immature birds may always be distinguished by the black 
terminal rim of the tail, and by the dominant ash-brown of 
the plumage, in which it differs from the immature blackhead. 

Nest. On the vegetation-covered tops of low-lying islands and 
cliffs, on shores of lochs, and on hillsides. Material : grasses, 
heather, sea-weed, &c. Species nests usually in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 3. Clay or stone yellow to shades of brown. 
Spotted, blotched and streaked with blackish-brown and 
underlying ash-grey. Greenish and blue varieties. Av. size, 
2 -3 x 1*6 in. Laying begins in May. 

111. Herring-gull [Larus argentatus argentatus Pontop- 
pidan]. The most widely distributed of our breeding gulls. 

Bird. Av. size, 24 in. Distinguished from the preceding 
species by its larger size and dull pinkish or flesh-coloured 



GULLS 57 

legs. Back pearl-grey, also the wings except for its white 
tips, and the black on the primaries. Best of plumage 
white. Bill yellow with red at the angle. After the autumn 
moult the head and neck are streaked with ash-grey. The 
young are mottled brown ; remain immature 4-5 years, with a 
gradual transformation to the adult grey and white plumage. 

Nest. Place : varied, usually cliff ledges, vegetation-covered 
tops of islands, shingle beds and moorland. Material : grass, 
heather, and other accessible material. Species nests usually 
in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 2-3. Shades of buff, olive-brown, or green, 
rarely whitish or blue, more or less spotted, blotched and 
streaked with brown and underlying purples. Av. size, 
2-7 x 1*9 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood normally. 

112. Lesser blackbacked-gull [Larus fuscus fuscus Linnaeus]. 
Resident, found breeding mostly in W. England and Scotland. 

Bird. Length 22 in. At once distinguished from the 
preceding, which it nearly equals in size, 
by the dark slate-grey on the back and 
wings and its yellow legs, White tips to 
the scapulars and wing quills, with white 
" mirrors " or terminal patches on the one 
or two outermost primaries. Rest of the 
plumage white, but in winter the head 
and neck are streaked with ash-brown, 
Beak yellow with red at the angle. The 
young are mottled brown, but, as might 
be expected, darker than those of the j^ 79. 

herring-gull, the back growing still darker 
as maturity approaches in the fourth or fifth year. 

Nest. Place : usually on the vegetation-covered tops of 
islands, on moors inland, rarely cliff ledges, in which it differs 
from the herring-gull. Material: as herring-gull. Species 
nests usually in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 2-3. Like the herring-gull's, both in colora- 
tion and size. Laying begins in May. One brood usual. 

113. Great blackbacked-gull [Larus marinus Linnaeus]. 
Resident, breeding chiefly in Scotland and the west coast of 
Ireland. 

Bird. Length 30 in. Resembles the preceding species in its 
black and white plumage, but is at once distinguished from it 
at all ages by its much larger size. It resembles the herring- 
gull in having flesh-coloured legs. 

Nest. Usually on some small islet or top of a stack. 
Material : as the two preceding species. Singly or small 
colonies. 




58 BRITISH BIRDS 

Eggs. Usually 2-3. Much like those of the two preceding 
species, but more boldly marked and larger. Av. size, 
3 x 2* 13 in. Laying begins April May. One brood usual. 

114. GlailCOUS-gull [Larus glaucus Briinnich]. Winter 
visitor, chiefly to our north and east coasts. Occurs in 
summer, but not to breed. 

Bird. Length 29 in., therefore about the same size as the 
preceding species, from which it may be distinguished in adult 
plumage by the entire absence of black. Mantle and wings 
mostly pearl-grey ; rest of plumage white. Legs pink. Beak 
yellow with patch of orange on the angle of the lower 
mandible. Size apart, No. 114 applies also to the rarer Iceland- 
gull (22 in.), which is also a winter visitor. 

The young is mottled greyish-buff, which grows paler until 
the plumage becomes wholly white in the fourth year, to be 
followed by the grey and white of the adult stage. 

115. Kittiwake [Rissa tridactyla tridactyla (Linnaeus)]. 
Resident and widely distributed. Strictly marine. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Same size as the blackheaded-gull, 
but distinguished both from it and the common-gull by the 
vestigial hind-toe usually a warty excrescence with a small 
claw by the black or dark grey legs, and, in flight, by the 
conspicuous black triangular tip to the wings ; also by its 
note, Kitti-way-ek, which gives it its name. Mantle and wings 
mostly bluish-grey, rest of plumage white. Beak greenish- 
yellow, black in the fledgling, and the inside of the mouth a 
gorgeous orange-red, yellow in the fledgling. Fledgling and 
immature birds have a more or less complete dark collar, a 
greyish-black band on the wings and dark rim to the tail, but 
resemble the adults in the general white-grey of the plumage, 
thus differing conspicuously from other young gulls. 

Nest. Place : on ledges of cliff faces or walls of sea-caves. 
Material : sea-weed, grass, moss, earth. Usually a solid 
structure. Species nests in colonies, often with razorbills, 
guillemots, puffins, and gannets. 

Eggs. 2-3. Greyish-white to olive-buff, spotted and 
blotched with dark brown and ash-grey. Av. size, 2-21 x 1*6 
in. Laying begins end May to early June. One brood. 

(3) Family: Laridce. (c) Subfamily: Stercorariince Skuas 

116. Great-skua, bonxie, skooi [Megalestris skua (Briin- 
nich); Megalestris catarrhactes (Linnaeus)]. Breeds in Shet- 
land. Elsewhere winter visitor to our coasts. 

Bird. Length 21 in. Recognised by the hooked upper 
mandible and bluish cere, the general umber-brown of the 
plumage, and the large white patch across the dark brown 




SKUAS 59 

primaries. Beak and legs black. The brown of the upper 
parts streaked chiefly buff or rufous. Under-parts rufous with 
paler streaks, noticeable on the flanks. 

Nest. On open vegetation-covered slopes near the sea. A 
depression lined more or less with dry grass, heather, feathers, 
&c. Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Shades of olive-brown or green, spotted 
and blotched with brown and ash-brown. Av. size, 2'73 x 1*93 
in. Laying begins in mid-May. One brood. 

117. Arctic-skua, Richardson's skua, shooi [Stercorarius 
parasiticus (Linnaeus) ; Stercorarius crepidatus (Gmelin)]. Breeds 
in N. and W. Scotland. Elsewhere a winter visitor. Rare on 
south coast. 

Bird. Length 20 in. Distinguished from the preceding by 
its smaller body, shorter wings (13 as 
against 16 in.), and long pointed central 
tail-feathers (7-8 in. long). It may be 
distinguished from the rarer long-tailed 
or B'uffon's skua by having all the shafts 
of the primaries white, instead of only 
the two outer on each side. Coloration ^^ 7^ 

of plumage varies greatly, but there are 

two marked types, a light and a dark with intermediate 
varieties. The dark has the plumage mostly sooty-brown. 
The light type has the under-parts and sides of the neck 
whitish or creamy-white, with upper-parts brown. A con- 
spicuous yellowish tinge is in nearly all cases present on the 
sides of the neck and head. Legs black. 

Nest. Vegetation-covered slopes, or moorland, usually near 
the sea. A depression, with scanty 
lining of rough grass, heather, &c. 
Species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Much like those 
of the great-skua, but smaller. Av. 
size, 2-18 x 1'61 in. Laying begins 
end May to early June. One brood. 

(4) Family : (Edicnemidce Stone- 
curlews 

118. Stone-curlew, Thick-knee, 
Norfolk-plover, great-plover. [(Edic- 

nemus cedicnemus (Linnaeus) ; (Edic- Fig. 72. 

nemus scolopax (S. G. Gmelin)]. Local 

summer visitor to south and east England. Casual visitor 
to other parts. A few winter in S.W. England. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Distinguished by the large yellow 




60 BRITISH BIRDS 

eye and the long yellow legs. Upper-parts mostly buff 
streaked with dark brown. Two white bars on the wing. 
Wing quills dusky with white patches near the tips of the 
outermost. Under-parts white or whitish, except the forebreast 
and flanks, which are tinged pale brown streaked dark brown. 
Irregular white patch on the side of the head. Beak yellow 
with black tips. 

Nest. On the ground, on open commons, and waste- 
land. The nest-scrape is scantily lined with bents, pebbles 
or rabbit droppings. 

Eggs. Normally 2. Generally of a shade of buff, blotched, 
streaked and spotted with browns and underlying ash-grey. 
Av. size, 2*1 x 1'52 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood. 

(5) Family: Charadriidce. (a) Subfamily: Scolopacince 
Woodcock and Snipes 

119. Woodcock [Scolopax rusticola Linnaeus]. Resident 
and widely distributed in our woodlands. 

Bird. Length 14J in. Distinguished from the following 

species by its larger size, the 
broad dark bands which cross 
the nape and the hinder half of 
the head and from side to side, 
and by the much narrower and 
more denned dusky bars across 
the pale buff or whitish breast. 
On the back and wings is an intricate pattern of chestnuts 
and blacks, varied with silver-grey. Primaries dark grey with 
patches of chestnut and white tips. 

Nest. A depression on the ground, usually in a wood among 
bracken or other cover, lined with a few leaves or moss. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Shades of yellow and brown spotted and 
blotched with browns and underlying ash-grey. Av. size, 
l'74x 1-33 in. Laying begins March-April. One brood, pos- 
sibly two. 

120. Common-snipe [Gallinago gallinago gallinago (Linnseus) 

Gallinago ccelestis (Frenzel)]. Resi- 
dent, prefers marshy areas. 

Bird. Length 10 in., therefore 
distinctly smaller than the woodcock, 
from which it may also be dis- 
tinguished by the arrangement of the 
lines on the crown, which pass from front to back. The lines 
are three in number, and buff on a dusky brown ground. 
The pattern of the upper-parts is chiefly of black and shades 
of buff with grey added on the wings. Along the back run 





Fig. 74. 




PLOVERS 61 

four parallel stripes or bands of buff. The black tail is banded 
with tawny yellow and has a white terminal rim. Under-parts 
mainly white or whitish, more or less vaguely barred with 
dusky grey. 

Nest. A depression in the ground in a marshy place, some- 
times among heather. Lined with dead grasses. 

Eggs. Normally 4. Pear-shaped with ground-colour varying 
from greenish or yellowish-green to olive-brown, more or 
less heavily spotted or blotched with shades of brown and 
underlying ash-grey. Av. size, 1*56 x 1*12 in. Laying begins 
March- April, and later in the north. One brood, some- 
times two. 

121. Jack-snipe [Gallinago gallinula (Linnseus)]. Generally 
distributed winter visitor. Also bird of 

passage (E. Clarke). Marshes and coast. 
Bird. Length 7^ in., therefore dis- 
tinctly smaller than the preceding, from 
which it may be further distinguished by 
having twelve instead of fourteen tail- 
feathers, by the absence of a marked 
central buff stripe on the crown, and by the metallic purple 
of the rump and the metallic greens on the scapulars. Four 
buff stripes along the back. Under-parts mostly dull white 
more or less streaked with dark brown. 

(5) Family: Charadriidce. (b) Subfamily : Charadriince Plovers 

122. Dotterel [fiudromius morinellus Linnaeus]. Summer 
visitor, chiefly to Scottish hills. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 9 in. At once distinguished from the other 
British plovers by the white band across the upper breast and 
the large conspicuous patch of chestnut below it. Upper-parts 
mostly ash-brown with paler edges. A marked white stripe 
passing over the eye backward. A brownish-black patch on 
the lower breast. Belly and tail-coverts white. After the 
autumn moult the black and chestnut of the under-parts give 
way to white. Fledglings differ greatly, sufficient for recogni- 
tion being the buff eye-stripe, breast and flanks, and the 
absence of the white breast band. 

Nest. High up on barren mountain slopes. A depression 
scantily lined with bents or other material. 

Eggs. Usually 3. Yellowish or olive boldly blotched with 
deep black-brown and occasionally with underlying ash-grey. 
Av. size, 1 -62 x 1-14 in. Laying begins in June. One brood. 

123. Ringed -plover ringed - dotterel [JBgiatifa hiaticula 
hiaticula (Linnaeus)]. Resident, chiefly on our coasts. 




Fig. 76. 



62 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length nearly 8 in. Recognised by the uniform 
greyish-brown crown, back and wing-coverts, the white under- 
parts broken by a broad black band passing across the upper 
breast and upwards round the neck, the 
orange legs and the curious black and 
white markings of the head and neck 
shown in the figure. Beak orange with 
black tip. The fledgling lacks the black 
band across the forehead, and has a 
dusky beak. The rare Kentish-plover has 
black beak and legs, and the black breast 
band is reduced to two patches on either 
side of the neck. It breeds coast of Kent 
and Sussex. 

Nest. On the ground, usually on sand 
or shingle beds near the sea, occasionally inland. The nest- 
scrape may be unlined, or lined with broken shells, pebbles, 
bents and other accessible material. 

Eggs. Normally 4. Pear-shaped, yellowish spotted brownish- 
black. Av. size, 1*34 x '95 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One, possibly two broods. 

124. Golden - plover [Gharadrius apricarius Linnaeus ; 
Gharadrius pluvialis Linnaeus]. Resident and generally 
distributed. Breeds on hilly districts of Scotland, Ireland, 
Wales, and W. England. 

Bird. Length 11 in. Recognised by the black or dusky 
upper-parts richly spotted with yellow, and by 
the black face and under-parts, this black area 
being broadly margined with an irregular band 
of white that crosses the forehead, and passes 
behind the eyes down each side of the neck and 
breast to the white under tail-coverts. Under 
surface of the wing white including the axillaries. 
No hind toe. Black beak and legs. After 
the autumn moult the under-parts are white, 
tinged on the fore-neck with yellow mottled 
dusky. The fledglings have the under-parts 
white with dusky brown bars on the flanks. 

Nest. On moorland or rough pasture. A 
scrape in the ground, usually among heather or 
tufts of coarse herbage. Unlined or scantily lined with bits 
of heather, dry grass and other material. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Pear-shaped. Shades of yellow spotted and 

blotched brown-black. Rarely greenish-white ground. Av. size, 

2-02 x 1*35 in. Laying begins April. One brood, possibly more. 

125. Grey-plover [Squatarolasquatarola(Limisdus)' y Sqiiatarola 




Fig. 77. 



PLOVERS 63 

helvetica (Linnaeus)]. Winter visitor to our coasts. Bird of 
passage. Occasional non-breeding birds in summer. 

Bird. Length 11 J in. Not unlike the golden-plover in the 
general pattern of its plumage, but easily distinguished from 
it, in summer, by the black and white barred upper-parts, and 
at all seasons and ages by the black axillaries, conspicuous 
against the light under-surface of the wing, and by the white 
upper tail-coverts. In summer the under-parts and face are 
black banded marginally with white as in the case of the 
golden-plover. Short hind toe. Legs and beak black. After 
the autumn moult the under-parts are mostly white. Fore- 
breast ash-brown with dusky mottlings. The upper-parts are 
mostly ash-brown more or less marked with whitish and 
dusky. The young resembles somewhat that of the golden- 
plover, with the marked difference above noted. 

126. Lapwing, green - plover, peewit [ Vanellus vanellus 
(Linnseus) ; Vanellus vulgaris Bechstein]. Resident and 
generally distributed. 

Bird. Length 12 J in. Recognised by the glossy green- 
black crest and crown, the coppery-green 
mantle glossed purple, the tail white on 
the basal part and sides, rest black ; the 
white under-parts with metallic-hued 
black on the throat and upper breast, 
and the conspicuous chestnut colour of 
the upper and under tail-coverts. In 
flight recognition is aided by the broad 
rounded wings, and by the under-surface 
of the same, which is black with white 
axillaries. After the autumn moult the 
throat is white. The male has the larger 
crest. 

Nest. On pasture, marsh, or moor. 
A scrape in the ground, lined with bents 
or other material. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Pear-shaped. Yellowish, or olive-brown 
to olive-green thickly spotted and blotched with black-brown. 
Greenish-blue varieties. Av. size, 1*83 x 1*31 in. Laying 
begins end of March to early April. One brood. 

(5) Family: Charadriidce. (c) Subfamily: Hcematopodince. 

127. Oyster-catcher, sea-pie [Hcematopus ostralegus ostralegus 
Linnaeus]. Winters on all our coasts. Breeds on coast 
and inland, but scarce in S. and E. England. 

Bird. Length 16 in. Easily distinguished by the long 





Fig. 79. 



64 BRITISH BIRDS 

bright orange-red beak and black and white plumage. See 
the figure. The lower back, rump, and basal half of tail 
white. Legs flesh-colour. After the 
autumn moult the black of the neck is 
broken by an irregular band of white. 
The fledgling has pale buff margins on 
the wings and tail-coverts. 

Nest. On rough ground, rocks, or sand ; 
usually near the sea. A scrape lined with 
pebbles, shells, bits of grass, and other 
material. 

Eggs. Usually 3. Yellowish or rufous- 
yellow spotted, blotched, and scrawled with black-brown and 
underlying ash. Greenish-blue ground rare. Av. size, 2 '22 
x 1*54 in. Laying begins usually in early May. One brood. 

128. Turnstone [Arenaria interpres (Linnaeus) ; Strepsilas 
interpres (Linnaeus)]. Name due to habit of turning over 
stones in search of food. Winter visitor to our shores and 
bird of passage. Seen also in summer, but evidence of 
breeding slight. 

Bird. Length 8 in. In summer the crown and nape are 
white streaked black, the white of the nape extending to 
form a band down each side of the neck. The mantle mostly 
boldly marked with black and chestnut. The white of the 
lower back and upper tail-coverts is divided by the black of 
the rump. Tail mostly dark grey with white bases and tips. 
Under-parts white, except the f orebreast and neck-band, which 
are black. Beak black. Legs orange-red. After the autumn 
moult the upper-parts are mostly Drown, with dusky brown 
centres to the feathers. Throat white. Breast as back. 
Belly white. Sides of the head ash-brown mixed with white. 

(5) Family : Charadriidce. (d) Subfamily : Tringince. 



129. Dunlin [Erolia 




Fig. 80. 



alpina alpina (Linnaeus) ; Tringa 
alpina Linnaeus]. Very common 
winter visitor on our coasts, where 
non-breeding birds can also be seen 
in summer. Breeds in Scotland, and 
very sparingly elsewhere. 

Bird. Length 7J in. Sexes alike, 
but female larger. The accompany- 
ing figure of the dunlin may be taken 
as generally typical of the Family, 
its members having long legs en- 
abling them to wade in shallow 



SANDPIPERS 65 

water, and comparatively long beaks. In breeding plumage 
the crown and nape are streaked black on pale chestnut, and 
fche mantle black with pale chestnut margins. Upper tail- 
coverts dark brown, rump ash-brown. Tail ash-grey with 
central feathers dark brown. Wing-coverts mostly ash-grey, 
and the quills brownish-black with a white bar on the 
secondaries. Under-parts white, except for the black streaks 
on the forebreast, and the broad black of the lower breast. 
Legs black. After the autumn moult the upper-parts mostly 
ash-brown, more or less screaked with dark grey, and the under- 
parts white. 

Nest. High-lying marshes or moorland, or low-lying rough 
pasture or marsh by the sea. A scrape in the ground, among 
coarse grass, heather, or other herbage, lined with grasses. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Pear-shaped. From greenish to yellowish 
or yellow-brown blotched, spotted, and streaked with dark 
brown, and underlying ash. Av. size, l'34x'95 in. Laying 
begins in May. Probably one brood only. 

130. Purple-sandpiper [Erolia maritima maritima (Briin- 
nich) ; Tringa maritima Gmelin]. A winter visitor and bird 
of passage to our coasts. 

Bird. Length 8J in. See No. 129. Distinguished from the 
preceding species by the short yellow legs and darker plumage. 
In the breeding plumage the upper-parts are mostly black 
glossed purple, with pale rufous or buff margins on the 
mantle. Secondaries show much white. Central tail-feathers 
black glossed purple, the rest grey with narrow white margins 
on the outermost. Under-parts whitish obscured by dark 
brown streaks on the neck, breast, flanks, and under tail- 
coverts. After the autumn moult the feathers of the upper- 
parts are margined with dark grey. 

131. Knot [Erolia canutus (Linnaeus) ; Tringa canutus 
(Linnaeus)]. Named after its hoarse grunting note : Knot or 
Knut. Winter visitor to our coasts and bird of passage. 
Some non-breeding birds remain through summer. 

Bird. Length 10 in. See No. 129. A marked difference 
between the breeding and winter plumage. Easily dis- 
tinguished in breeding dress from the two preceding species 
by the rich bay or reddish-brown of the under-parts, head, and 
neck ; the crown and hind-neck being, however, heavily 
streaked with black. Back black with bay margins. Wing- 
coverts mostly ash-brown margined chiefly with white. After 
the autumn moult the under-parts lose the bay and become 
white with greyish streaks. The upper-parts ash-grey with 
darker streaks. Upper tail-coverts, which in summer show 
more or less bay with white and some black, are now white 

E 



66 BRITISH BIRDS 

barred black. Young birds resemble the adults in winter 
plumage, but have a buff tinge. The rarer and smaller 
curlew-sandpiper (8 in.), which has also bay on the head and 
under-parts in summer, may always be distinguished by the 
slightly down-curved beak. See also god wit (No. 136). 

132. Sanderling [Caledris leucophwa (Pallas) ; Calidris 
arenaria (Linnaeus)]. Plentiful on our shores in the autumn, 
but most pass south to winter. 

Bird. Length 8 in. See No. 129. Distinguished by the 
absence of the hind toe. In spring or breeding plumage it has 
the upper-parts with the head, neck, and forebreast mostly 
rufous streaked black. Lower breast and belly white. After 
the autumn moult the upper-parts are mostly ash-grey with 
darker striations, the neck and under-parts white. Some 
individuals seem almost wholly white. The immature birds, 
which are very numerous, may be distinguished by the much 
darker upper-parts, the mantle being chiefly mottled black 
and white, with some buff on the wing -coverts and neck. 

133. Common-sandpiper [Tringa hypoleuca Linnaeus ; 
Totanus hypoleucus (Linnaeus)]. Summer visitor to inland 
lakes and rivers, chiefly in hilly districts. Rare in the S.E. 
counties. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 8 in. Recognised in breeding plumage by 
the bronze-brown upper-parts, minutely 
flecked, barred, and striated with umber- 
brown, and the white under-parts with 
dusky streaks on the neck and forebreast. 
A white bar on the extended wing. Tail 
white at end and sides. Legs yellowish. 
After the autumn moult the umber- 
brown markings almost disappear, leaving 
the upper-parts a more uniform colour. 
Nest. Usually on the ground among 

shingle or herbage near a stream or lake-side. Lined with 

dry grasses or other material. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Pear-shaped. Buff spotted with brown, 

and underlying ash-grey. Av. size, 1*4 x T01 in. Laying 

begins in May. One brood. 

134. Green-sandpiper [Tringa ocrophus Linnaeus ; Totanus 
ocrophus (Linnaeus)]. Winter visitor and bird of passage. 
Scarce on W. and N. coasts of Scotland, and in Ireland. Not 
proved to breed in British Isles. 

Bird. Length 9J in. Distinguished from the preceding by 
the greenish upper-parts, mostly marked with small whitish 
spots (buff in the young), by the white upper tail-coverts, and 
the dusky under-surface of the wing. Under-parts white with 




REDSHANKS GODWITS 67 

olive-green markings on sides of the breast. Tail barred 
dark green. The much rarer wood-sandpiper (8| in.) resembles 
this species, but is recognised by the white under-surface of 
the wings. It is a bird of passage, chiefly on the S. and E. of 
England, 

135. Redshank [Tringa totanus (Linnseus) ; Totanus calidris 
(Linnaeus)]. Resident and widely distributed, but local as a 
breeding species. 

Bird. Length 11 in. In shape not unlike No. 133. Recog- 
nised by the brilliant red legs, and the white on the wing (inner 
primaries and secondaries) and on the rump. Upper-parts 
mostly greyish-brown heavily marked with dusky brown, grey, 
and black. Tail barred black. Under-parts white streaked on 
its upper area and more or less barred on the lower area with 
dusky grey. Beak red, dusky on the end half. After the 
autumn moult the upper-parts are greyer, and the under-parts 
more faintly marked. The rarer greenshank (summer visitor to 
N. Scotland, mostly bird of passage elsewhere) is distin- 
guished from the redshank by its larger size (14 in.), the 
olive-green legs, slightly up-curved beak, and the general dark 
greyish hue of the upper-parts. 

Nest. Nests usually not far apart on the upper beach, 
rough pastures, or moorland. Well concealed in rough herbage, 
also more or less exposed. More or less lined with dry grass. 
Gregarious breeding species. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Pale to deep yellowish spotted and 
blotched with browns and underlying ash-purple. Greenish 
ground rare. Av. size, 1*75x1 -21 in. Laying begins end 
March to mid April or later. One brood. 

136. Bartailed-godwit [Limosa lapponica lapponica (Lin- 
naeus)]. Winter visitor and bird of passage on our coasts. 

Bird. Length 15-| in. See No. 129. In breeding dress may 
be recognised by its relatively large size, the bright bay on the 
head, neck, and under-parts, the brownish-black and bay pattern 
of upper-parts, the long slightly up-curved beak. Under wing 
surface mostly white. Tail -coverts and rump white, more or 
less barred and streaked black. Tail mostly white barred with 
black. After the autumn moult the bay colour is lost. Pattern 
of the upper-parts ash-grey and white with darker streaks. 
Under-parts white, except the upper breast and flanks, which 
are grey with darker streaks. Tail ash-grey with bars absent, 
or almost so. Female paler. Fledgling like adult in winter, 
but tail barred and a buff tinge on neck, breast, and flanks. 
The rarer blaclctailed godwit (16 in.) resembles the lartailed, but 
may be distinguished at all seasons by the broad black end to 
the tail, whence its name. 



68 



BRITISH BIRDS 




137. Curlew [Numenius arquata arquata (Linnseus)]. Com- 
mon on our own coasts in winter, rarer summer. Home birds 
breed inland, but scarce on E. side of England. Local. 

Bird. Length 21-26 in. Female larger. Recognised by its 
large size, the long down-curved beak 
(5-6 in.), the light and dark brown 
pattern of the upper-parts and tail, the 
white rump excepted, and the mostly 
whitish under- parts streaked brown. 
Nest. On moorland, rough pastures, 
and marshy ground. A scrape in the 
ground, lined usually with dry grasses. 
Fig. 82. Eggs. Usually 4. Pear-shaped. 

Greenish or olive-brown spotted and 

blotched with brown, and underlying ash-grey. Rarely blue- 
green unmarked. Av. size, 2-65x1 '86 in. Laying begins 
April-May. One brood. 

138. Whimbrel [Numenius phceopus phceopus (Linnaeus)]. 
Chiefly bird of passage. A few breed in Orkneys and Shet- 
lands, and possibly some of the Western Isles. 

Bird. Length 16-18 in., therefore much smaller than the 
curlew, which it resembles in coloration and in the long down- 
curved beak (3^ in.). It differs in having a broad pale band 
down the middle of the dark brown crown. 

Nest. On moor or marsh. Scrape, lined with moss, lichen, 
and other material. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Broad pear-shaped. Greenish to pale or 
deeper brownish boldly blotched with darker brown, and 
underlying ash-grey. Av. size, 2*30 x 1 '61 in. Laying begins 
May-June. One brood. 

V. ORDER: GRUIFORMES 

Family : Rallidce Rails 

139. Corncrake, landrail [Or ex crex (Linnseus) ; Crex pratensis 

Bechstein]. Summer visitor to our 
grass-lands, but local. Occasionally 
remains through winter. 

Bird. Length 10^ in. Recognised 
by its rasping crake, its wedge- 
shaped body, the yellowish-brown 
upper-parts with broad dark streaks ; 
the paler under-parts barred, not 
streaked, on the flanks with brown, 
and the chestnut wings. Greyish 




Fig. 83. 



above the eye, on the cheek, throat, and breast. This grey, 



RAILS 69 

which is paler in the female, gives place to yellowish after the 
autumn moult. 

Nest. Usually in high grass. A scrape in the ground, lined 
with grasses and other material. 

Eggs. Usually 8-11. Buffish or reddish-white spotted or 
blotched with reddish-brown, and underlying ash-grey. Av. 
size, 1*42x1 '02 in. Laying begins in May. One brood, 
possibly two. 

140. Water-rail [Rallus aquaticus aquaticus Linnseus]. 
Resident. Frequents marshy areas. 

Bird. Length 11^ in. As skulking in its habits as the 
land-rail. Distinguished from it and the two following 
species by the relatively long, wholly red beak, the con- 
spicuously white and black vertically barred flanks, and in 
summer by the uniform lead-grey of the neck and breast. 
The upper-parts are brown with broad black streaks. After 
the autumn moult the grey is mixed with brown. The 
fledgling has white bars on the wing-coverts. 

Nest. In osier beds, among reeds and other aquatic plants. 
A fairly large structure of sedges, reeds, and the like. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. Creamy-white generally sparingly 
spotted with red-brown, and underlying ash-grey. Bold 
blotches rare. Av. size, 1*37 x 1'02 in. Laying begins in April. 
Broods 1-2. 

141. Waterhen, inappropriately called moorhen [Gallinula 
chloropus chloropus (Linnaeus)]. Resident and widely distributed. 

Bird. Length 13 in. Recognised by the conspicuous under 
tail-coverts (frequently jerked up) which 
are white with median stripe of black, and 
by the white broken line along the upper 
feathers of the flanks, these white parts 
being in strong contrast with the dusky 
hue of the rest of the plumage. Head, neck, 
and under-parts slate-black. Upper-parts 
olive-brown glossed green. The forehead 
shield and beak bright red, except the tip 
of the latter, which is lemon-yellow. Legs green with a 
" garter " of red and yellow at the top. Young birds may be 
recognised by the dull grey or white on the under-parts and 
the greenish bill and shield. 

Nest. Usually among rushes or other aquatic plants, or 
by ponds and lake or river margins ; also on the ground away 
from water, or in hedges, bushes, trees. Strongly built, usually 
of various water-plants, lined with finer material, grasses, &c. ; 
also dry leaves. Extra nests are built, apparently for roosting 
and resting. 




70 



BRITISH BIRDS 




Fig. 85. 



Eggs. Usually 6-10. Light buff to clay-yellow more or less 
spotted or blotched with brownish or purplish-red, and under- 
lying ash-grey. Av. size, 1*76 x 1*25 in. Laying begins in 
April, sometimes earlier. 2-3 broods. 

142. Coot [Fulica, atra atra (Linnaeus)]. Resident. Found 

chiefly on the larger sheets of water ; 
also on coast in hard weather. 

Bird. Length 15 in. Sexes nearly 
alike. Recognised by the curious lobed 
toes (Fig. 86), the white beak and fore- 
head shield, and the slate-grey plumage 
relieved only by the white tips to the 
secondaries. Head and neck nearly black. 
Legs green. Young birds may be recog- 
nised by the white on the under-parts. 
Nest. Usually on lake margins in shallow water among 

reeds and other aquatic plants. A 

bulky structure of aquatic plants. 
Eggs. Usually 7-9. Greyish to 

clay-yellow speckled all over with 

small purplish-brown or brown- 
black spots. Av. size, 2-1 x 1*41 in. 

Laying begins March -April or 

later. One, possibly two broods. 

VI. ORDER: GALLIFORMES 

Family: Phasianidce. (a) Sub- 
family : Tetraoninas Grouse 

143. Capercaillie, capercailzie 
[Tetrao urogallus urogallus Lin- 
naeus]. Resident. Breeds in Scot- 
land. Local movements. 

Bird. Male 35 in., female 25 in., 
therefore larger than the other grouse (Nos. 144-146). Like 
them it has the wings short and rounded. The male has 
the upper-parts freckled grey, except the wing-coverts and 
scapulars, which are reddish-brown freckled black. Throat 
feathers long and black. Under-parts blackish with glossy 
dark green on the breast and white tips to the belly feathers. 
The much smaller female differs markedly in coloration, which 
is buff, and mostly rufous-buff on the upper-parts, barred and 
spotted with black, brown, and white. Conspicuous orange- 
buff on the throat and breast. The feathers on the lower 
breast and belly have conspicuous black and white tips. Both 
sexes have the legs feathered, and a bare red patch or wattle 




Fig. 86. Coot's toes. 



GROUSE 



71 



about the eye, larger in the male. The fledgling is not unlike 
the female, but shows more buff. 

Nest. Usually in a pine-forest, at the foot of a tree ; also 
under a bush, in heather, or other cover. The nest-scrape is 
lined with pine-needles, moss, feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 6-8. Yellowish to reddish-yellow speckled, 
spotted, and finely blotched with browns. Av. size, 2*27 x 
1*62 in. Laying begins end April. One brood. 

144. Black-grouse, blackgame; blackcock (male), greyhen 
(female) [Tetrao tetrix (Linnaeus)]. Resident. Breeds chiefly 
in the northern counties and Scotland. Absent from Ireland. 
Local movements. 

Bird. Length 23 in. The blackcock is easily recognised 
by the lyre-shaped tail, the conspicuous white 
under tail-coverts and less marked white bar 
on the wing, both contrasting with the general 
blue-glossed black of the plumage. In July- 
September the black of the upper-parts is for 
a time mixed with chestnut or brownish-buff. 
The greyhen is chiefly barred and freckled 
with rufous-buff and black. The forked-tail 
readily distinguishes her from the hen caper- 
caillie. The fledglings are much like the 
adult female, but young cocks soon show 
black in the plumage. 

Nest. In woodland or open ground. A 
scrape in the ground, lined with leaves, pine- 
needles, moss, and other material. 

Eggs. Usually 6-10. Like the capercaillie's, but smaller. 
Av. size, 2 x 1*45 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood. 

145. Red-grouse [Lagopus lagopus scoticus (Latham)]. 
Resident. Breeds in moorland districts of 

Scotland, Ireland, and parts of Wales, W. 
and N. England ; exceptionally elsewhere. 
Local movements in winter from the high 
moors to the lowland. 

Bird. Length 15^ in. The male, in breeding 
dress, is chestnut-red finely barred with black, 
the breast being darker. Legs and toes 
feathered white. Wing and tail quills 
brownish. The coloration varies much. 
Some individuals have the under-parts, and 
sometimes the upper-parts, spotted white ; 
others are dark, occasiooally almost black. 
From June to October the males generally 
become blackish on the upper-parts, with numerous irregular 




Fig. 87. 




Fig. 88. 



72 BRITISH BIRDS 

buff bars, after which they again assume the breeding plumage 
(November - June). The female is smaller. In breeding 
plumage (April-July) she resembles the male in his autumn 
dress, and may further be distinguished by having merely 
a bare red patch over the eye instead of the red crest -like 
erections of the male. From August to March she wears 
the breeding costume of the male. Like the male, the females 
vary in coloration, some being redder, others blacker, and 
others white-spotted, or, more usually, buff-spotted. An Irish 
variety has the upper-parts barred buff and black. The 
fledglings are not unlike the female in her breeding dress. 

Nest. On moorland. A scrape among heather or coarse 
herbage, lined with grasses, moss, feathers, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. Whitish to creamy, sometimes with a 
reddish tinge, more or less heavily and closely blotched and 
spotted with reddish or blackish-brown. Av. size, T79 x 1*25 in. 
Laying begins in April, sometimes earlier. One brood. 

146. Ptarmigan [Lagopus mutus mutus (Montin)]. Resi- 
dent. Breeds on the mountains of Scotland. More or less 
stationary. 

Bird. Length 14J in. Distinguished at all seasons from the 
preceding by the large but varying amount of white on the 
wings. Three seasonal changes of plumage. The male (1) 
from April to July has the upper-parts blackish with a barred 
and mottled pattern of rusty grey, and the under-parts white, 
except the forebreast, which is brown more or less mottled 
rufous ; (2) from August to October the upper-parts grey with 
black-and-white pattern, under-parts nearly all white ; (3) from 
November to March all white except the black on the tail- 
feathers, lores, and eye-stripe. Birds living at the highest alti- 
tudes appear to retain the white longer than birds lower down. 
The female in period (1), April- July, has the pattern of the 
upper-parts mostly buff, rufous-buff, grey, or white on brown ; 
in period (2), August-October, she is darker than the male ; 
and in period (3), November-March, differs in having no black 
on the head. The fledgling is mostly blackish with rufous-buff 
markings, and brownish-black and buff primaries. 

Nest. Usually above 2000 feet on mountain-sides. A scrape 
on the ground, unlined, or more or less scantily lined with 
moss, ling, and feathers. 

Eggs. Usually 8-9. Like these of the red-grouse, " but, as a 
rule, the ground-colour is whiter, the markings more sparingly 
distributed and blacker, with less of the rich deep red-brown " 
(Jourdain). They are slightly smaller. Av. size, 1 '70x1 '20. 
Laying begins about the third or fourth week in May. One 
brood. 



PHEASANTS 73 

Family: Phasianidce. (b) Subfamily: Phasianince Pheasants. 

147. Pheasant [Phasianus colchicus Linnaeus]. Semi- 
domesticated and stationary. Local in Scotland. 

Bird. Length 35 in., the female with a much shorter tail. 
No seasonal change. The female is easily distinguished from 
the male by her general sandy-brown coloration, marked black, 
with a reddish-brown or chestnut tinge on the mantle, flanks, 
and tail-feathers. The most conspicuous features of the male 
are the dark green-purple glossed head and neck, the long 
reddish-buff tail barred black, the bare red cheeks, and the 
general tawny-reddish hue of the plumage. The fledglings are 
not unlike the female, but duller. 

Nest. Usually on the ground, in rough tangle, or under 
bushes ; in a hedge, wood, or ditch-side. Occasionally in trees. 
The scrape is scantily lined with leaves, grass, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 8-14. Olive-brown. Rarely pale blue. Av. 
size, 1*81 x 1*41 in. Laying begins April-May. One brood. 

148. Partridge, grey-partridge [Perdix perdix perdix (Lin- 
naeus) ; Perdix cinerea Latham]. Resident and stationary except 
for irregular local movements. Local in Scotland. 

Bird, Length 12 J in. The male in breeding plumage 
(Sept.- June) is mostly tawny-chestnut on the head and throat, 
a brownish -buff on the upper-parts, with close wavy cross-lines 
of black. The breast and flanks are grey, finely marked with 
black. On the flanks broad chestnut bars. A large horse-shoe 
shaped chestnut patch on the lower breast. From June-Sept, 
the male has the neck brown, with buff and black streaks, and 
the throat paler. In this plumage it may be distinguished 
from young birds by the rounded tip of the outermost primary. 
The female may always be distinguished by the black wing- 
coverts, with wavy buff cross-bars, which she has in addition to 
the buff shaft streaks of the male. Horse-shoe smaller or 
wanting. Till May she has the head and neck brown, streaked 
buff; from May-Sept, the neck becomes darker. The fledgling 
has buff cross-bars on the wing -coverts, like the female. 

Nest. Usually on the ground, in a hedge -row, in mixed 
tangle, under a bush, in bracken, and similar places. The 
scrape is lined with dead leaves and grass, which may be 
placed over the eggs, when left. 

Eggs. Usually 10-20. Olive-brown to greyish-olive. Rarely 
blue. A v. size, '1-38 x 1*05 in. Laying begins in April-May. 
One brood. 

149. Redlegged-partridge, French-partridge [Caccabis rufa 
rufa (Linnseus)]. Introduced species, resident in England 
and Wales. 



74 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length 13 J in., therefore somewhat larger than the 
grey-partridge, from which it may at once be distinguished in 
adult plumage by the conspicuous black, white, and chestnut 
barrings on the lavender-grey flanks. Female somewhat 
duller. No seasonal change. Upper-parts brown, except the 
crown, which is grey. Throat white, this white area being 
edged with a black band, below which again is a broader band 
of tawny-rufous with black tips. Breast lavender-grey. Belly 
buff. Legs red. The fledgling has the head and neck dull 
buff. Upper-parts mostly greyish-brown with black and pale 
buff or whitish markings. Under-parts mostly a dull greyish 
tawny-rufous tint with paler tips to the feathers. Flanks 
unmarked. 

Nest. Place : as grey-partridge. Slightly lined with grass 
and leaves. 

Eggs. Usually 10-18. Buff to rufous, finely speckled with 
red-brown, and more sparingly blotched with the same or 
purplish. Av. size, 1'59 x 1'21 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One brood. 

150. Quail {Coturnix coturnix coturnix (Linnaeus) ; Coturnix 
communis Bonnaterre], Chiefly a summer visitor in fluctuating 
and apparently diminishing numbers to the southern parts 
of England and E. Ireland. Scarce elsewhere. Some stay 
through winter. 

Bird. Length 7 in., therefore much smaller than the 
partridge. General coloration is pale brown or dusky above 
with pale buff or whitish stripes, and chestnut and pale buff 
beneath. The male has the crown and nape black, tipped brown, 
with a central longitudinal buff stripe, and a similar stripe 
passing backwards over each eye, bounded by a dusky stripe 
below. Back dusky or black, barred pale brown, streaked 
whitish. Scapulars and wing -coverts pale brown with whitish 
or buff shaft streaks, and barred or spotted buff and dusky. 
Wing quills brownish -grey barred buff. A black inverted 
" anchor " on the throat. Forebreast pale chestnut striated 
with buff. Flanks marked with black and buff. Rest of 
under-parts pale buff. Female lacks the "anchor," and the 
black on the upper-parts duller. 

Nest. A scrape among crops or among grass in rough 
pasture, lined with grass, stems, leaves, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. Generally a yellowish ground-colour 
with dark brown markings varying from a few heavy blotches 
to innumerable spots. Av. size, 1*14 x "88 in. Laying begins 
May-June. Broods 1-2. 



EAGLES HAWKS 75 

VII. ORDER: ACCIPITRES. SUBORDER: FALCONES 

(1) Family : Buteonidce. (a) Subfamily : Aquilince Eagles 

151. Golden-eagle [Aquila chrysaetus chrysaetus (Linnseus)]. 
Stationary in N. Scotland and in one or two places in Ireland. 
Occasional wanderer elsewhere. 

Bird. Length 32-36 in. Female the larger. Recognised 
by its large size and general dark brown coloration. The head 
and nape shade from brown to tawny, the rest of the upper- 
parts are glossed more or less purple. A greyish band across 
the tail. Beak hooked. Legs feathered. Toes yellow. 
Young birds have the tail whitish with broad terminal band of 
dark brown. The rarer and slightly larger whitetailed-eagle is 
distinguished at all ages by the fact that its leg is not 
feathered. Only the adult has the tail white. 

Nest. Usually on trees or ledges of crags. A mass of sticks 
lined with softer material such as grass, heather, moss. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Whitish, variously blotched, spotted, and 
marbled with shades of reddish-brown, and underlying pale 
violet ; also unmarked white. Varieties with yellowish and 
purple-grey ground. Av. size, 3*02x2*33 in. Laying begins 
March-April. One brood. 

(1) Family : Buteonidce. (b) Subfamily : Buteonince Buzzards 

152. Buzzard [Buteo buteo buteo (Linnaeus) ; Buteo vulgaris 
Leach]. More or less stationary in the wilder and hillier 
districts of Great Britain. Irregular visitor elsewhere. 

Bird. Length 21-23 in., the female being the larger. 
Beak hooked. Coloration variable, but recognised by the 
general brown hue. There is a varying amount of white on 
the breast, which may be either barred or striated with brown. 
Tail barred dusky. Beak hooked, legs yellow and scaled, 
the latter distinguishing this species from the rarer rough- 
legged-buzzard, which has the legs feathered to the toes, the 
base of the tail and tail-coverts white, and a creamy-white 
head and neck streaked brown. 

Nest. Cliffs, rarely trees now. Mass of sticks and other 
rough material lined with softer material such as grass, 
fresh leaves, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 2-3. Whitish, more or less blotched with 
varying shades of red-brown or black-brown, and underlying 
violet ; also bluish-white unmarked. Av. size, 2*15 x 1-72 in. 
Laying begins in April. 



76 



BRITISH BIRDS 



(1) Family: Buteonidce. (c) Subfamily: Accipitrince 
Sparrow-hawks 

153. Sparrow-hawk [Accipiter nisus nisus (Linnseus)]. 

Stationary in woodland districts. Scarce in N. Scotland. 

Winter visitor on the E. coast. 

Bird. Length 13-15J in., the female being the larger. 
Wing comparatively short (8 in.). Legs long. 
Bill hooked. The male has the upper-parts 
slate-grey, the tail brownish with dusky bars. 
Under-parts mostly whitish or pale buff closely 
barred with dark brown and rufous, or rufous 
only, and on the forebreast and flank tipped 
with rufous. A chestnut tinge on the lower 
sides of the head. The female has the upper- 
parts browner. The lower sides of the head are 
paler than in the case of the male, and streaked 
brown. The under-parts whitish, mostly barred 
with umber-brown. The young are like the 




Fig. 89. 



female, but margined rufous on the upper-parts. 



Nest. Usually built of twigs, bark, and some softer 
material on top of an old nest of crow, wood-pigeon, or magpie. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Usually bluish-white, sometimes 
blotched with rich chocolate-brown, sometimes with paler 
reddish-brown or purplish. Av. size, 1 '52x1*26 in. Laying 
begins April-May. One brood. 

(2) Family : Falconidce 

154. Peregrine-falcon [Fako pergrinus peregrinus Tunstall]. 
Resident. Chiefly frequents hilly districts and 
sea cliffs. 

Bird. Length 15-18 in., the female being 
the larger. Wings comparatively long (14 in.) 
and pointed. Legs short. Cheeks blackish. 
Beak hooked. Upper-parts slate-blue, spotted 
and barred with black. Tail barred dusky, 
tipped white. Under-parts bufnsh or rufous- 
white, more or less closely barred with black. 
Legs and feet yellow, unfeathered, and reticu- 
lated. Young birds have the upper-parts dusky 
brown, margined buff or rufous, and the 
under-parts striped longitudinally black, not 
barred. 

Nest. Usually on the ledge of a cliff face. Sometimes on 
the ground. A scrape, unlined. 




Fig. 90. 



HAWKS 77 

Eggs. Usually 3-4. Whitish usually nearly or wholly hidden 
by shades of beautiful tawny pink, orange to brownish-red 
and purplish-brown. Av. size, 2*01x1*59 in. Laying begins 
usually in April. One brood. 

155. Merlin [Ftflco regulus regulus Pallas ; Falco cesalon 
Tunstall]. Breeds on the hills and moorlands of Wales, N. Eng- 
land, Scotland, and Ireland ; possibly Exmoor. Found on 
lower ground and coasts in autumn. 

Bird. Length 11-12 in., the female the larger. Recognised 
by its relatively small size. Bill hooked. The male has the 
upper parts bluish with black shaft streaks, except the nape, 
which is rufous. Tail grey-blue barred, dusky and tipped 
white. Under-parts whitish, tinged rufous and striated black. 
Legs yellow. Female, upper-parts dark brown. Tail the same, 
barred and tipped white. Nape, cheeks, and under-parts 
whitish striped with dark brown. The young like female, but 
with pale rufous margins on upper-parts. 

Nest. Usually a scrape in the ground among heather with 
scanty lining. Occasionally in old nests in trees and on cliff 
ledges. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Heavily mottled with shades of reddish 
or purplish-brown, obscuring the ground colour. Av. size, 
1*55 x 1*23 in. Laying begins usually in May. One brood. 

156. Kestrel (wind-hover) [Falco tinnunculus tinnunculus 
Linnaeus]. Resident generally where not 

persecuted, but scarce N. Scotland and 
Ireland. 

Bird. Length 13-14 in., the female be- 
ing somewhat larger. Bill hooked. Easily 
distinguished from the sparrow-hawk by 
its habit of hovering, its relatively long 
wings (9J-10 in.), the fact that its tawny 
rust-coloured under-parts are streaked 
with black longitudinally and not barred, 
and that the dominating colour of the 
upper-parts is chestnut-red. Legs yellow F - 91 

and unfeathered. The sexes differ in 

the coloration of the upper-parts. The male has only the 
mantle and wing -co verts chestnut-red, with black spots. The 
top of the head, the rump and the tail are slate-blue, the 
tail with a broad terminal black band, tipped white. Wing 
quills dusky. The female has the whole upper-parts, including 
the tail, dull chestnut-red, with black bars. Young: like the 
female, but paler. 

Nest. Place various : ledges of cliffs and quarries, ruins, on 
old nests in trees, rarely on the ground. No material. 




78 BRITISH BIRDS 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Yellowish-white, being sometimes 
blotched, sometimes wholly concealed by shades varying from 
reddish to blackish-brown, and from pale to reddish-yellow. 
Rarely purplish underlying marks. Av. size, 1 '52x1*20 in. 
Laying begins April-May. One brood 

VIIL ORDER : ANSERITORMES. SUB-ORDER: 
ANSERE8 

Family : Anatidce. (a) Subfamily, Anserince Geese 

157. Greylag-goose [Anser anser (Linnaeus) ; Anser cinereus 
Meyer]. Resident. Breeds IS". Scotland. Elsewhere winter 
visitor or bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 34 in. Distinguished from two of the other 
and rarer Grey Geese (bean-goose, pinkfooted-goose) by the white 
tip or nail to the bill, and from the third, the white-fronted- 
goose, which has also a white nail, by having only a little or 
110 white feathering round the base of the bill instead of the 
conspicuous white patch on the face, which gives the latter 
species its name. Beak, except tip, and legs pink flesh- 
coloured. Plumage mostly greyish-brown, lighter on the 
under-parts, with paler margins on the back and scapulars, and 
dusky bars on the under-parts. Rump and wing-coverts 
bluish-grey. Belly dull white. White tip to tail. 

Nest. Usually in heather not far from water ; often on a 
small islet ; also in coarse marsh herbage. A scrape lined 
with heather, rushes, grasses, &c., with an inner lining of the 
bird's feathers and down. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Till stained they are dull yellowish- 
white. Av. size, 3 '43 x 2*3 in. Laying begins mid to end 
April. One brood. 

158. Barnacle-goose [Branta leucopsis (Bechstein); Bernicla 

leucopsis (Bechstein)]. A winter visitor, 
chiefly to our western coasts, especially 
the Solway. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 27 in. Recognised by 
the white face and throat enclosed by 
the surrounding glossy black of the 
crown, neck, and upper breast. Lores 
black. Mantle and wing-coverts lavender- 
grey with dark edgings, these being 
rimmed white. Beak, legs, tail, wing 
quills black. Breast and flanks whitish, 
the latter barred grey. Tail-coverts and belly white. The 
young has the white of the head tinged brown or dusky. 

159. Brent-goose [Branta bernicla bernida (L.); Bernicla 





SWANS DUCKS 79 

brenta (Pallas)]. Winter visitor, often in large flocks, chiefly 
on our east coasts. Bird of passage. 

Bird. Length 22 in. Therefore smaller than the barnacle, 
from which it may be distinguished by 
the black of the head, neck, and upper 
breast, relieved only by a patch of white 
on the neck ; by the dusky brown of the 
mantle, and brownish-grey of the lower 
and mid-breast. Beak, legs, wing, and 
tail quills black. Tail-coverts and belly 
white. The young lack the white neck 
patch, and the forebreast is grey, not j?ig. 93. 

black. 

Family : Anatidce. (b) Subfamily : Cygnince Swans 

160. Mute-swan [Gygnus olor (Gmelin)]. Semi-domesticated, 
resident and stationary species. 

Bird. Length 60 in. This familiar tenant on our lakes and 
rivers may be distinguished from its two wild relatives, the 
whooper (60 in.) and the smaller Bewick's swan (50 in.) by its 
reddish beak and black " berry " at the base thereof. Both 
the whooper and Bewick have the bill yellow on the basal part 
and black on the tip part, but in the whooper a tongue of the 
yellow extends forward on each side under and beyond the 
nostrils. Plumage white. The young swan or cygnet is dusky 
or brownish-grey. 

Nest. Usually near the water edge. A mass of aquatic 
plants, rushes, grasses, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 5-12. Greenish -white to greenish. A v. size 
4*44 x 2*89 in. Laying usually begins in April. One brood. 

Family : Anatidce. (c) Subfamily : Anatince Shelduck and 
Surface-water Ducks 

161. Common - shelduck [Tadoma tadorna (Linnaeus) ; 
Tadorna cornuta (S. G. Gmelin)]. Resident on flat coasts and 
estuaries. Breeds inland in parts. 

Bird. Length 25 in. Distinguished by its large size and the 
boldly marked contrast of its plumage, which is white with 
greenish-black on the head and neck, with a broad chestnut 
band round the forepart of the body, a dark band down the 
middle of the white breast and black on the scapulars and 
primaries. Tail tipped black. Speculum or wing-spot, chest- 
nut-red and steel-blue. Beak red with a basal knob. The 
female lacks the basal knob. The young lack the chestnut 
band and black breast-stripe. 




80 BRITISH BIRDS 

Nest. Usually near the sea, in holes, some feet long, either 
of a rabbit or burrowed by the bird. 
Occasionally some distance from the 
sea. Sometimes in holes among rocks 
or under bushes. Material: the 
ducks' down and feathers mixed with 
grasses, moss, &c. Many pairs may 
nest in close proximity, t 

E99*- Usuall 7 7 ~ 12 Creamy- 
white. Av. size, 2'57 x 1'84 in. Lay- 
Fig. 94. ing begins usually in May. One 
brood. 

162. Mallard or wild-duck [Anas platyrhyncha platyrhyncha 
Linnaeus ; Anas boscas Linnaeus]. Resident and generally 
distributed both near salt and fresh water. 

Bird. Length 23 in. Recognised by the glossy steel-blue 
speculum or wing-spot which is margined laterally with white 
and black. The drake except from mid-June to mid- 
September has the head and neck glossy green, with a white 
ring round the neck. The upcurled middle tail-feathers, the 
rump and tail-coverts are glossy black-green. Back brownish. 
Scapulars, lower breast and flanks greyish-white pencilled with 
fine grey wavy parallel lines or vermiculations. Forebreast a 
dark chestnut. From mid-June to mid-Sept, the drake assumes 
the " eclipse " plumage which resembles that of the duck, but 
with a more uniform coloration on the upper-parts. The duck 
is dark brown marked buff, and has not the middle tail-feathers 
upcurled. 

Nest. On the ground, usually near water, and usually in 
cover of some sort, rushes, long grass, tangled briars and 
herbage, hedges and the like. Sometimes away from water. 
Occasionally in trees, faggots, &c. Material : dry grass, moss 
and other material, lined with the bird's down. 

Eggs. Usually 8-14. Greenish to buffish-grey. Occasionally 
with a blue tint. Av. size, 2'21 x 1*61 in. Laying begins 
usually March-April, sometimes earlier and later. One brood. 

163. Shoveler [Spatula clypeata (Linnaeus)]. Resident, but 
local. Scarce in Wales. Frequents usually fresh water. 

Bird. Length 20 in. Recognised by the large dusky- 
coloured spatulate beak (see Fig. 95), by the speculum or wing- 
spot, which is glossy green (duller in the female) bordered in 
front with a broad and behind with a narrow white stripe 
and by the wing-coverts, blue in the drake, grey-blue in the 
duck, in both conspicuous. The drake has the head and neck 
dark glossy green, followed on the forebreast by white con- 
tinued upwards round the neck and on to the scapulars. 



DUCKS 



81 




Fig. 95. 



The rest of the under-parts chestnut followed by white, with 

glossy blackish-green tail-coverts. Back dusky brown. In 

" eclipse n (about July- October) the drake 

has the head and neck much like the female, 

and is duller on the under-parts ; but 

wings as in breeding plumage. The 

female has the speculum as the male, the 

wing-coverts grey-blue. Mantle dark 

brown with paler margins. Under-parts 

and head mostly pale Drown with dusky 

brown streaks on breast and flanks, and 

finer streaks on the head. The young much like the drake 

in "eclipse." 

Nest. Place : various meadow, moorland, or marsh, usually 
but not always near water ; a depression in grass, heather, 
rushes, &c. Material : grasses, sedges, &c., lined later with the 
duck's down. 

Eggs. Usually 8-12. Greenish or huffish-grey. Av. size, 
2*05 x 1'45 in. Laying begins usually April- May. One brood. 

164. Pintail [Dafila acuta (Linnaeus)]. Breeds in Scotland, 
but local. More numerous as a winter visitor and bird of 
passage to our coasts, and, less frequently, inland waters. 

Bird. Length 26-29 in., the latter figure being mostly 
accounted for by the length (some- 
times 8J in.) of the central tapering 
feathers in the drake. Speculum of 
wing patch in both sexes is bronze 
olive-green, margined in front with 
bright chestnut, behind with black 
edged white, and duller in the duck. 
The drake is recognised by the long 
central brownish-black pin tail-feathers ; the brown head, 
throat, and upper neck, the latter cut on each side by a 
white stripe which broadens as it descends to join the 
white of the lower neck, breast, and abdomen. Flanks and 
back delicately patterned with fine close-set wavy parallel 
lines or vermiculatioris of grey on whitish. Inner secondaries 
much prolonged and coloured black with brownish-tinted 
margins. Upper and under tail-coverts black with an adjoining 
buff patch. In "eclipse," about July-October, the drake 
becomes much like the duck, but may be distinguished by 
the grey vermiculations, and the wavy bars of white on the 
scapulars and back, the latter in the duck being greyish 
covered with more strongly marked irregular crescents of buff 
and dark brown. Her scapulars are dusky brown barred 
rufous. Flanks as back, but paler. Under-parts whitish 

F 




Fig. 96. 



82 BRITISH BIRDS 

marked faintly with rufous-brown. Head tinged chestnut 
with fine brown markings. May be distinguished from other 
ducks by the speculum and slender neck. The young are 
like the male in "eclipse," but have the speculum dull 
brownish-grey. 

Nest. On the ground, in grass or other herbage. Material : 
as preceding species. 

Eggs. Usually 7-10. Shades of buff or yellowish-green. 
Av. size, 2*16 x 1*52 in. Laying begins in early May. One 
brood. 

165. Teal [Nettion crecca crecca (Linnaeus)]. Resident in 
most parts. Prefers fresh water. 

Bird. Length 14 J in. Both sexes may be recognised by 
the relatively small size, and by the speculum or wing patch, 
which is half glossy black, half glossy green, bounded on 
either side by buff, or in front by rufous. Beak black. 
The drake has the head and neck chestnut, with a band of 
glossy bluish-green proceeding from the eye backwards, the 
same bordered above and below with a buff line which is con- 
tinued from the front of the eye to the bill. Mantle and flanks 
finely pencilled grey and white, except the hinder scapulars, 
which are elongated to form a band of black and white. Breast 
white, spotted black. Belly white. Rump and both tail- 
coverts dusky brown to black. The male, in " eclipse " (July- 
October), tends to resemble the female, but may be distin- 
guished by the larger speculum and the fine buff barrings on 
the mantle. The general hue of the duck is golden-buff 
streaked with dark brown. 

Nest. On moor, marsh, and meadow, usually near water. 
On the ground in heather, rushes, grass, &c. Material : as 
preceding species. 

Eggs. Usually 8-16. Creamy-white with a greenish tinge. 
Small. Av. size, 1*77x1-29 in. Laying begins April-May. 
One brood. 

166. Wigeon [Mareca penelope (Linnaeus)]. Common winter 
visitor and bird of passage to our shores ; also inland waters. 
Breeds in Scotland, and exceptionally in N. England and 
Wales. 

Bird. Length 18 J in. Recognised by the comparatively 
small lead-blue bill, tipped black, and by the speculum or 
wing patch. This in the drake is glossy green banded on 
either side with velvet -black, broad behind, narrow in front, 
the latter dividing the green from the conspicuous white on 
the wing-coverts. In the female the speculum is dusky grey 
and white. The drake has the head chestnut sprinkled with 
green, crown buff. The back and flanks finely pencilled with 



DUCKS 83 

grey and white. Three of the secondaries on each side are 
black, edged white. Forebreast greyish-pink. Rest of breast 
and belly white. Upper and under tail-coverts mostly black. 
Wing and tail quills dusky brown. In " eclipse " plumage 
(July-October) the male is not unlike the female, but may be 
distinguished by the speculum and the rufous ground of the 
head and mantle, these parts being dusky brown with broad 
rufous-buff edgings in the duck. The latter has the breast 
pale chestnut-brown, grey edgings on the brown coverts. Belly 
greyish-white. 

Nest. On moor and marsh, usually not far from lake or pond. 
On the ground among heather, rushes, &c. Material : as the 
preceding. 

Eggs. Usually 6-10. Creamy-white. Av. size, 2-16 x 1*52 in. 
Laying begins April-May. One brood. 



Family: Anatidce. (d) Subfamily: Fidigulince 
Diving-ducks 

167. Pochard, redheaded-pochard [Nyroca ferina ferina 
(Linnaeus) ; Fuligula ferina (Linnaeus)]. Chiefly a winter 
visitor and bird of passage. More often on fresh than salt 
water. Breeds in Scotland and parts of England, chiefly E. 

Bird. Length 19 in. Recognised by the ash-grey speculum 
or wing patch, and the broad lobe of the 
hind toe. The drake has the head and 
neck chestnut-red. Iris red. Beak black 
with grey on the middle of the upper 
mandible. The upper breast is black with 
chestnut tinge, which colour forms a band 
round the base of the neck and broadens 
out on the upper back. Rump, upper and Fig. 97. 

under tail-coverts are black. Mantle and 

under-parts whitish, pencilled with fine grey wavy lines. In 
"eclipse" (July- October) the head and neck are browner, and 
the breast a dark pencilled grey. The duck has the head mostly 
dull chestnut-brown, with some white on the sides. Back dark 
brown mixed with greyish. Wing-coverts pencilled finely dark 
grey on grey. Flanks dusky brown, rest of under-parts 
brownish-white. Young birds resemble the duck, but are 
darker beneath. 

Nest. On marshy ground in flags, rushes, and other aquatic 
plants, It is composed of dead flags, &c., the duck's down being 
added later. 

Eggs. Usually 6-11. Greenish-grey to greenish-brown. 





84. BRITISH BIRDS 

Av. size, 2*42x1 "72 in. Laying begins usually April- May. 
One brood. 

168. Tufted-duck \Nyroca fuligula (Linnaeus) ; Fuligula 
cristata (Leach)]. Winter visitor and bird of passage to our 
canals and inland waters ; less often on salt water. Breeds 
Scotland, England, Ireland, and Anglesey. 

Bird. Length 17 in. .Recognised by the crest, which is 
smaller in the female, and by the black 
(male) or dusky brown (female) head, neck, 
upper-parts, and upper breast ; these 
colours contrasting, in the male, with the 
white on the lower breast, belly, and flanks 
which, in the female, are brown to greyish 
Fig. 98. or whitish-brown. The drake has a purple 

gloss on the head. Both sexes have the 

beak greyish with a black tip, and the wing speculum white. 
The male, in " eclipse " (July- October), has the flanks more or 
less pencilled finely with black ; he is otherwise like the female. 
Young birds lack the crest and have more or less white on the 
face. 

Nest. Usually near water, among rushes, grass, heather, 
under bushes. Material : as preceding. 

Eggs. Usually 8- 12. Olive-brown, greenish-olive, or brownish- 
yellow, " while the shape is somewhat characteristic, many eggs 
being elongated" (Jourdain). Av. size, 2'32x 1-61 in. Laying 
begins in May- June. One brood. 

169. Scaup-duck, scaup [Nyroca marila marila (Linnaeus) ; 
Fuligula marila (Linnaeus)]. Winter visitor and bird of passage 
to our estuaries and low shores. Breeds exceptionally in 
Scotland. 

Bird. Length 19 in. The drake has the head, neck, upper 
back, and forebreast black with green or purple gloss. The 
rest of the back, the scapulars, and upper wing-coverts pencilled 
white and grey. The flanks and the under-parts from the fore- 
breast to the under tail-coverts are white. Upper and lower 
tail-coverts black. Speculum or wing patch white with a 
greenish-black border. The drake, in " eclipse " (July- October), 
is like the duck, but has the head and upper breast much 
darker. The duck has a conspicuous band of white round the 
base of the bill. Head, neck, and forebreast rufous-brown, 
with more or less white on the side of the head. Mantle 
pencilled grey on a brownish ground. Same for flanks. Belly 
white. Speculum as male. The young much like the duck. 

170. G-oldeneye [Clangula clangula (Linnaeus); Glangula 
glaucion (Linnaeus)]. Winter visitor and bird of passage to 
our coasts and inland waters. 




DUCKS 85 

Bird. Length 18 J in. The drake is recognised by the round 
white spot in front of each eye, conspicuous 
between the bluish-black beak and the 
glossy greenish-black of the head ; by 
the large white areas on the scapulars, 
the wing-coverts and secondaries, the 
white under-parts and black back. A 
short crest. The male in "eclipse" 
(July-October) resembles the female, but Fig. 99. 

is readily distinguished by the remains of 

white on the head. The duck has the head umber-brown, 
without the white spot, the back, breast, and flanks greyish- 
brown or greyish, mixed with darker grey. Rest of under- 
parts white. Less white on the wings than the drake, and 
this divided by two black stripes instead of one, as in his 
case. The young resemble the female. 

171. Longtailed-duck [Harelda hyemalis (Linnseus) ; Har- 
elda glacialis (Linnseus)]. Winter visitor, chiefly to our E. 
coasts, more rarely inland waters. Appears to breed occasion- 
ally on the Shetlands and Orkneys. 

Bird. Length 22-26 in. The sexes differ conspicuously. 
The drake in winter and summer has the 
central tail-feathers long, slender, and 
black, the outer and shorter being white. 
Beak blackish, middle portion rose-colour 
(when fresh, according to H. Saunders). 
In winter the head and neck are more or 
less white or greyish with a large patch 
of dark brown shading below into paler 
brown (see Fig. 100). The back to the tail, the breast, 
wing-coverts, and quills dusky brown or blackish. The long 
scapulars, inner secondaries, belly, and flanks mostly white. 
In the summer plumage, which is completed in May, the 
cheeks are whitish or buffish-white, the rest of the upper-parts 
and the breast blackish-brown, with rufous margins on the 
back and scapulars, the latter not long and white as in 
winter. Flanks and belly white. The female lacks the long 
tail-feathers and the long white scapulars. All the upper- 
parts are brownish, except a ring round the base of the neck 
and the sides of the head, which are greyish-white. Fore- 
breast rust brown, rest of under-parts pale brown. The young 
are much like the duck. 

172. Common-eider [Somateria wwllissima vwllissima, 
(Linnaeus)]. Breeds on our coasts and marine islands from 
Northumberland and Kirkcudbright northwards ; also winter 
visitor to same. Elsewhere occasional. Has bred Ireland. 





86 BRITISH BIRDS 

Bird. Length 23 in. Sexes differ markedly, but in both 
the face feathers are carried 
forward some distance along 
each side of the beak. The 
drake has the upper back, wing- 
coverts, and scapulars white. 
Longer secondaries buffish-white. 
Head and neck white except for 
the pale sea-green on each side 
of the nape, and the black patch 
on the crown (see Fig. 101). 
Fig. 101. Primaries, shorter .secondaries, 

rump, and tail brownish-black, 

with a white patch on each side of the rump. Under-parts 
black, except the rosy-buff of the breast. In the " eclipse " dress 
(June Oct.) the plumage is generally rusty brown mixed white. 
Duck : mantle dark brown broadly edged rufous. Under-parts 
brown finely barred grey or pale brown. Two white bars on the 
wing. The young are like the female, with less white on the 
wings. 

Nest. Near the sea, usually on islands. On the ground in 
rough herbage, among rocks, or under a boulder. Material: 
dead grass, &c., or sea-weed, lined later with the famous down, 
which is pale greyish-brown with light centres. Species breed 
in colonies. 

Eggs. Variable in numbers, 4- 1 1 or more. Colour ranges from 
shades of olive to greenish-grey or bluish-green. Smooth and 
large. Av. size, 3 -06 x 2-05 in. Laying begins May. One brood. 
173. Scoter, black-duck [Oidemia nigra nigra (Linnseus)]. 
Winter visitor and bird of passage to our seas. Also breeds 
north Scotland, rarely Ireland. 

Bird. Length 20 in. Recognised by the wholly black colora- 
tion of the drake, and the mostly sooty or rusty brown 
coloration of the duck. Legs and toes dusky. The male has 
a black knob at the base of the bill, the latter being black 
with a conspicuous orange-yellow patch on the middle part of 
the upper mandible. The knob is absent or nearly so in the 
female ; also the orange-yellow. She may further be dis- 
tinguished by the dusky grey cheeks. Young birds may be 
recognised by the whitish under-parts vaguely mottled brown. 
Among a flock of common-scoters may be seen the rarer 
velvet-scoter, easily distinguished by the white bar across the 
wing, smaller in the female and young. 

Nest. Usually in swampy moorland, among heather ; also on 
islets in lakes, usually near water but not always. Material : 
heather, rushes, &c,, with a lining of down. 



DUCKS 87 

Eggs. Usually 5-8. Pale buff to warm cream. Rather 
poiLted and oval in shape ; large. Av. size, 2'57 x 1*75 in. 
Laying begins in June. One brood. 

Family : Anatida. (e) Subfamily : Mergince Sawbill-ducks 

174. Goosander [Mergus merganser merganser (Linnaeus)]. 
Breeds in N. Scottish mainland, and occasionally W. Isles 
(Sunnier Isles). Winter visitor and bird of passage, chiefly to 
our E, coasts. Salt and freshwater species. 

BirL Length 26 in. Like the other sawbills, the goosander 
has a straight, slender bill, hooked, and with the edges of 
both nandibles cut with saw-like teeth directed backward. 
The drake has the head and upper part of neck glossy black- 
green. Nape feathers somewhat elongated, but no conspicuous 
crest like the merganser. Mantle mostly black. The outside 
scapilars, wing-coverts, secondaries, and under-parts mostly 
whiti with salmon-pink tinge on the under-parts. Legs and 
beak red. In "eclipse" (July- October) the drake is like the 
female, but has darker upper-parts and a more or less com- 
plete black ring round the neck between the chestnut-brown 
and whitish areas. The duck has the head and neck chestnut- 
red, with a white throat. Upper-parts mostly slate-grey. 
Write on the major coverts and inner secondaries. Under- 
parts white with more or less rosy tint, except the flanks, 
wiich are grey or greyish-buff. Thick, bushy crest. Beak and 
le*s red. The young female resembles fairly closely the duck, 
the male being more like the adult male in "eclipse." 

Nest. On islets in lochs, near streams or rivers ; built in 
hcllow trees, holes in a bank, hillside, or among boulders; 
occasionally in a hollow in the ground or under a thick bush. 
Material : dry grass, rootlets, &c. , and down. In a tree-hole, 
decayed wood. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. Creamy or yellowish. Av. size, 2-69 x 
1 '85 in. Laying begins in April. One brood. 

175. Redbreasted-merganser [Mergus sermtor (Linnseus)]. 
Breeds N. and mid-Scotland and in 

Ireland. Also winter visitor and bird 
of passage. More marine than the 
goosander. 

Bird. See No. 174. Length 24 in., 
therefore smaller than the goosan- 
der, from which it may be dis- ^ 109 
tinguished in both sexes by the 
reddish throat. The drake has a blackish-green head with 
a double crest of long slender feathers (see Fig. 102). Iris red. 
A white ring round the neck. Upper breast reddish-brown 




88 BRITISH BIRDS 

with darker streaks. Sides of upper breast at base of neck 
black. Scapulars black margined white. Upper wing-coverts 
white margined black, making conspicuous white triangular 
patches. Wing -coverts and secondaries mostly white, making 
a broad white band on each side of the body when the 
wings are closed, cut transversely by two black bars. Under- 
breast and belly white tinted rosy. Flanks pencilled dark 
grey or whitish. Beak and legs red. In " eclipse " (from 
about July-October) the drake is not unlike the duel;, but 
has the upper-parts darker and the wing-coverts /vhite. 
The duck has the head, neck, and throat chestnut mixed teown. 
The throat distinguishes her from the duck goosander, which 
has it white. Upper-parts mostly dusky brown with paler 
margins. Wings barred white. Under-parts whitish streaked 
with brownish-grey on the breast. Crest shorter than drake's. 
Legs and beak reddish. 

Nest. Usually near water, on islets in lakes, or lake shores. 
Built on the ground in heather or other rough herbage, 
under bushes or projecting rocks, in the hollow of a lank, 
wall, or cliff ; also in rabbit-holes. Not in tree-hollows, so far 
as known. Material : dead bracken, grass, or other material, 
lined later with the duck's down. 

Eggs. Usually 7-12. Usually greyish-brown or olive-grey, 
occasionally light greyish-buff. Av. size, 2 f 52 x 1 '78 in. Lay- 
ing begins in May-June. One brood. 

IX. ORDER: CICONIIFORMES. (1) SUBORDER 
ARDEJE 

Family : Ardeidce Herons and Bitterns 
176. Common-heron [Ardea cinerea (Linnaeus)]. Residert 
and generally distributed. Somewhat local. 

Bird. Length 36 in. Recognised by its size, the long 
straight yellow beak, long legs, the 
general grey and white plumage. In 
flight the broad rounded slow flapping 
wings and the neck curved back, so 
that the head rests between the 
shoulders, aid recognition. The male 
has the upper-parts from the base of 
the neck to the tip of the tail lightish 
or French grey. The wing quills dark 
Fig. 103 slate-blue. 

The head and neck are white with 

bluish-black elongated plumes behind the eyes, forming a 
pendant crest, and bluish-black lines of spots down the front 




CORMORANTS 89 

of the neck. Under-parts white, with elongated feathers hang- 
ing from the base of the neck. The female resembles the male, 
but is smaller. The young lack the crest and the pendant 
breast feathers. 

Nest. Usually in trees, near the top; also on the ground or 
low bushes, even in reed-beds. A large structure of sticks, 
lined with twigs, grass, &c. The species usually nests in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 4-5. Light blue-green without gloss. Av. 
size, 2-36 x 1*69 in. Laying begins usually in February. One, 
probably sometimes two broods. 

X. ORDER: CICONIIFORMES. (2) SUBORDER: 
STEGANOPODES 

(1) Family : Plialacrocoracida Cormorants 

177. Cormorant, great or black-cormorant [Phalacrocorax 
carbo carbo (Linnaeus)]. Resident on most of our rocky coasts. 
Also breeds on inland waters. 

Bird. Length about 3 feet. Like the next two species it has 
the four toes webbed ; and, like the shag, it has a straight, hooked 
bill and comparatively short black legs set well back, but is 
much larger in size (shag, 2 ft. 2 in.), and has bluish-black 
under-parts, the shag being mostly greenish or greenish-black, 
and fourteen tail-feathers, the smaller species having twelve. In 
breeding dress it has a crest of scattered hair-like white plumes, a 
continuous white band passing round the throat upward to the 
back o each eye, and a white patch on the thigh. Shape as shag 
(Fig. 104). The young are generally brownish, with more or less 
white on the breast and belly, and a brown iris instead of green. 

Nest. On rocky islets or ledges of cliffs by the sea ; and when 
inland usually on islands in lakes, in which case it may be 
built in trees instead of on the ground. Material : sticks and 
rough material with finer lining, grasses, feathers, &c., when in 
trees ; sea-weed mostly when on rocks or ledges by the sea. 
The species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. Blue, mostly covered with a chalky 
white deposit, soon stained. Av. size, 2-52 x 1'55 in. Laying 
begins April-May. One, probably two broods. 

178. Shag, green-cormorant [Phalacrocorax graculus graculus 
(Linnaeus)]. Breeds on our rocky coasts, except S.E. and 
E. England to Northumberland. Scarce E. Scotland. Rare 
inland. Local movements in winter. 

Bird. See preceding species. In breeding plumage both 
sexes have a curved crest on the crown. Iris green. The 
young may be distinguished from the young of the cormorant 
by the twelve tail-feathers. 



90 BRITISH BIRDS 

Nest. Usually on ledges in sea-caves, sometimes on a cliff 
ledge or in recesses among boulders by the sea ; generally, 
therefore, unlike the cormorant's, under cover. 
Material : sea-weed and coarse herbage. The 
species breeds in colonies. 

Eggs. Usually 3-5. Like cormorant's, but 
smaller. Av. size, 2'51 x 1*51 in. Laying begins 
March- April. Two broods. 




(2) Family: Sulidce Gannets 
179. Gannet or Solan-goose [Sula bassana 
(Linnaeus)]. Resident. Strictly marine species. 
Breeds in large colonies on rocky islands at 
various points round our coasts. 

Bird. Length 33 in. (See No. 177.) Bill strong, 
straight, not hooked, and of a pale lead-blue with deeper slate 
coloured longitudinal lines. Tail graduated to a point, the 
central feathers the longest. Wings long and rather narrow. 
Plumage white, save the wing quills, which are dark brown, 
not black as usually stated. In breeding dress there is a buff 
tinge on the head and neck. The fledgling blackish-slate, 
spotted white. Immature till the fifth year, and recognised 
by the dark brown, chiefly on the back, wings, and tail, which 
colour diminishes season by season till at maturity reduced 
to the brown of the wing quills. 

Nest. Generally on the ledges of 
the precipitous sides of sea-washed 
isles, such as the Bass Rock, Ailsa 
Craig (Scotland), Bull Rock and 
Little Skellig (Ireland). Material: 
sea-weed, grasses from the isle top, 
and any material from the surface 
Fig. 105. of the sea. 

Egg. One. Blue, covered or nearly so with a white chalky 
deposit which soon becomes dirty and yellow stained. Av. size, 
3'06x 1*96 in. Laying begins March-May. One brood. 

XL ORDER: PROCELLARIIFORMES. SUBORDER: 
TUBINARES 

Family : Procellariidce Petrels 

180. Manx-shearwater [Puffinus puffinus puffinus (Brttn- 
nich) ; Puffinus anglorum (Temminck)]. Seen on all our coasts, 
but breeds only on the west, the Irish coasts, Orkneys, and 
Shetlands. 

Bird. Length 15 in. Beak long, slender, with hooked tip, and 
dusky brown external tubular nostrils (see No. 182, Fig. 106). 




PETRELS 91 

Wings long and pointed. Feet webbed. Tail rounded. Upper- 
parts sooty-black. This colour extends down on each side of the 
posterior end of the body, except for which and brown mottling 
on the side of the neck, the under-parts are white. The rarer 
great-shearwater , which is to be seen in autumn, may be dis- 
tinguished by its larger size (19 in.) and brownish upper-parts. 

Nest. In a burrow made in the soil, on the slopes of a sea- 
cliff, or island, sometimes in rabbit holes or in the recesses 
of rocks and under stones. Material : chiefly grass ; some- 
times no material. The species breeds in colonies. 

Egg. One. White. Av. size, 2'39 x T67 in. Laying begins 
May. One brood. 

181. Fulmar, mollymauk [Fulmarus glacialis glacialis (Lin- 
naeus)]. Seen off all our coasts, but breeds only on the west 
and northern Scottish coasts and islands, and a few places 
on the Irish coasts. 

Bird. Length 19 in., i.e. about the size of the common- 
gull. External tubular nostrils (see Fig. 
106). Beak hooked at the tip and 
mostly yellowish. Feet webbed. Mantle 
and tail grey. Wing quills mostly dusky. 
Rest of plumage white or varying shades 
of grey. 

Nest. On the ledges, in the recesses, 
or in a hollow in the vegetation-covered -p- ^Q^ 

slopes of sea-cliffs. Occasionally tops of 
stacks. Sometimes no material, sometimes a few grasses, &c., 
or fragments of stone. Species breeds in colonies. 

Egg. One. White, occasionally traces of red spots. Av. 
size, 2-88 x 1'95 in. Laying begins in May. One brood. 

182. Storm-petrel [Hydrolates pelagica (Linnaeus); Procel- 
laria pelagica Linnaeus]. Seen off all our coasts, chiefly in 
spring and autumn. Breeds on the islands off our west coasts, 
from Scilly to Shetlands, and off the Irish 

coasts. More rarely on E. Scottish coasts. 
Bird. Length 6^ in. Distinguished 
from all species outside its own suborder 
(Petrels, Shearwaters, Fulmars, Alba- 
trosses) by the prominent external tube- 
shaped nostrils, which give the suborder 
its name Tubinares. Feet webbed. Beak 
and legs black, the former with hooked 
tip. Plumage black, except the con- y. ^ 

spicuous white of the posterior end of 

the body (see figure), and the thin white margins on the 
major wing-coverts. The rarer Leach's forktailed-petrel re- 





92 BRITISH BIRDS 

sembles the storm-petrel, but is at once recognised by its 
larger size (8 in.), the markedly forked tail, and the grey on 
the wing-coverts and secondaries. 

Nest. On rocky sea-washed islands, under stones or boulders, 
in crevices of rocks or ruins, in burrows made by the bird or 
in those of rabbits. Scrape unlined or lined with a few 
grasses, &c. 

Egg. One. Chalky-white, more or less zoned with reddish- 
brown spots round the bigger end. Av. size, I'l x '84 in. 
Laying begins end May- June, or later. One brood. 



XII. ORDER : 



COLYMBIFORMES. 
PODICEPEDES 



(1) SUBORDER : 




Fig. 108. 



Family : Podicepididce Grebes 

183. Great crested-grebe [Oolymbus cristatus Linnaeus; Podi- 

cipes cristatus (Linnaeus)]. Breeds on fresh water lakes in most 
parts of the British Isles, except north 
of the Grampians. Local movement to 
the coasts in winter. 

Bird. Length 21 in. The Family has 
tail almost absent, toes lobed (Fig. 109). 
Species recognised by the dark brown of 
the crest, crown, and upper-parts, the 
chestnut tippet or ruffle with blackish 
margin, the white secondaries conspicuous 

in flight, and the white under-parts. Female duller, with smaller 

crest and tippet. The young are said to show little crest or 

chestnut colour till the second year. 
Nest. In the shallows of lakes, 

either floating on the surface attached 

to surrounding reeds or other aquatic 

plants, or built up from the bottom. 

Material: a mass of aquatic plants. 

Eggs usually covered when bird not on. 

Eggs. Usually 4. Chalky-white, pale bluish or greenish-white, 
but soon stained dirty brownish by con- 
tact with wet weeds. Av. size, 2*20 x 1'44 
in. Laying begins April-May. Broods 
1-2. 

184. Little-grebe or dabchick [Colym- 
bus ruficollis Pallas ; Podicipes fluviatilis 
(Tunstall)"]. Resident. Also found gener- 
ally distributed on our rivers, lakes, and 
ponds. Found on the coast in winter. 
Length 9-| in., therefore much smaller than the pre- 




Fig. 109. 




DIVERS 93 

ceding species. Lobed toes (see Fig. 109, No. 183). Tail almost 
absent. Upper-parts dark brown. Under-parts whitish, except 
the chestnut throat and sides of the neck, and the dusky flanks 
and the black chin. The white on the secondaries is limited to 
the inner webs. Legs dull green. Beak horn colour, with 
yellowish-green at the gape. Female smaller. After the 
autumn moult the chin and throat are white, and the chest- 
nut of the sides of the neck fades to buff. Young much like 
the adult in winter plumage. 

Nest. A mass of aquatic plants placed usually among reeds 
or other water-plants in or by lakes, ponds, and sluggish 
rivers. Also in the open in shallow water, or near the bank 
under overhanging branches. Either floating and attached to 
surrounding plants, or built up from the bottom. Not nor- 
mally floating free. Eggs usually covered when bird not on. 

Eggs. Usually 4-6. Bluish-white, but rapidly stained 
varying shades of dirty browns or reds. Av. size, 1 '48x1*02 
in. Laying usually begins April. Broods probably two. 

XII. ORDER : COLYMBIFORMES. (2) SUBORDER : 
COLYMBI 

Family : Colymbidce Divers 

185. Great northern-diver [Gavia immer (Briinmch) ; 
Colymbus glacialis Linnseus]. Winter visitor and bird of 
passage to our coasts and inland waters, chiefly northern. 
Occurs also in summer. 

Bird. Length 31 in. ; male the larger. Recognised by the 
black, green, and purple glossed head and neck, broken on the 
throat and neck by two white bands, marked with close set, 
parallel, dark downward streaks, which 
ape continued below the green on the 
white of the lower neck. Mantle glossy 
black, with conspicuous cross bands of 
white spots. Under-parts white. Beak 
black, strong and pointed. Legs mostly 
greenish-black. Wing quills and tail 
dark-brown, the latter short and rounded. 
After the autumn moult the upper-parts, 
including the head and nape, are darkish brown with paler 
margins to the feathers. All under-parts, including throat 
and breast, white with streaks on the neck. The much rarer 
blackthroated-diver, though not unlike the present species, may 
be distinguished at all ages and seasons by the smaller size (27 
in.) and the shorter, more slender bill ; and in breeding plumage 
by the ash-grey crown and nape and the purplish-black throat. 




94 BRITISH BIRDS 

186. Redthroated - diver \Qawa, stellata (Pontoppidan) ; 
Colymbus septentrionalis Linnaeus]. Breeds in Scotland and 
Ulster. Winter visitor and bird of passage to all our coasts, 
also to inland waters. 

Bird. Length 24 in., therefore much smaller than the 
preceding, and easily distinguished in breeding plumage by 
the chestnut-red throat and the dark brown, instead of black, 
mantle which is without the conspicuous bands of white spots, 
being merely flecked with white or buff. Like the rarer Uack- 
throated-diver (No. 187), it has the head and nape ash-grey, but 
streaked white and black-brown down the hinder top of the head 
and the nape, these darker streaks continuing down the white 
neck, sides, and flanks. Under-parts white. After the autumn 
moult it is distinguished by its smaller size (see No. 187). 

Nest. Usually on the margin of a small lake or hill tarn, 
less often on an islet in the same ; a depression in the 
ground made by the bird, and more or less lined with a few 
bents, rushes, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 2. From chocolate to olive-brown, sparingly 
spotted with brownish-black. Av. size, 2*89 x 1-82 in. Laying 
begins in May. One brood. 

187. Blackthroated-diver [Gavia arctica (Linnaeus) ; Colym- 
bus arcticus Linnaeus]. Breeds Perth and Argyll, north to the 
Shetlands. Uncommon winter visitor and bird of passage on 
our coasts. 

Bird. Length 27*5 in. Sexes alike. Distinguished in 
breeding plumage from both the preceding by the uniform 
ash-grey of the head and neck, with slate-grey on the crown. 
Back and wings greenish-black with white spots forming bars. 
Throat purplish-black. Longitudinal black and white stripes 
on sides of neck and breast. Flanks black. Rest of under- 
parts white. See Nos. 185-6. After the autumn moult the 
ash-grey becomes pale brown. Ash-brown without spots on 
the rest of the upper-parts. Under-parts white, except the 
brownish-black flanks. The redthroated form also has the 
under-parts white, but the flanks and upper-parts are slate- 
grey, the latter being mostly spotted or speckled with white. 
The young blackthroated-diver resembles the adult in winter, 
but has grey margins on the upper-parts, these being white in 
the young redthroated-diver. 

Nest. Usually on islets in lochs. A depression in the vege- 
tation, sometimes lined with heather, grass, &c. 

Eggs. Usually 2. Olive-brown to olive-green or deep brown 
sparingly spotted with blackish-brown. Av. size, 3'33x2'04 
in. Laying begins May. One brood. 



INDEX 

The References are to the Sections 



ARCTIC-SKUA, 117 


Corncrake, 139 


Great-skua, 116 


Arctic-tern, 107 


Crested-grebe, 183 


Great spotted - wood- 


Auks, 100-104 


Crested-tit, 74 


pecker, 84 




Crossbill, 21 


Great-tit, 68 


BARNACLE-GOOSE, 158 


Crows, 1-8 


Grebes, 183-184 


Barn-owl, 89 


Cuckoo, 95 


Green-cormorant, 178 


Bartailed-godwit, 136 


Curlew, 137 


Greenfinch, 9 


Bearded-tit, 76 


Curlew-sandpiper, 131 


Green-linnet, 9 


Bewick's swan, 160 


Cushat, 96 


Green -plover, 126 


Blackbacked-gulls, 112 




Green-sandpiper, 134 


113 


DABCHICK, 184 


Greenshank, 135 


Blackbird, 44 


Dartford-warbler, 56 


Green-woodpecker, 83 


Blackcap, 54 


Daw, redlegged, 8 


Greyhen, 144 


Blackcock, 144 


Dipper, 39 


Greylag-goose, 157 


Black-cormorant, 177 


Divers, 185-187 


Grey-partridge, 148 


Black-duck, 173 


Dotterel, 122 


Grey-plover, 125 


Black-guillemot, 102 
Blackheaded-gull, 109 


Ducks, 161-175 
Dunlin, 129 


Grey-wagtail, 32 
Grouse, 143-146 


Blacktailed-godwit, 136 


Dunnock, 65 


Guillemot, 101 


Blackthroated-diver, 187 




Gulls, 109-115 


Blue-felt, 43 


EAGLES, 151 




Blueheaded-wagtail, 33 


Eider-duck, 172 


HAWFINCH, 10 


Blue-tit, 73 




Hawks, 152-156 


Bonxie, 116 
Brambling, 12 


FALCONS, 154-156 
Fieldfare, 43 


Hedge-sparrow, 65 
Heron, 176 


Brent-goose, 159 


Finches, 9-22 


Herring-gull, 111 


Brown-linnet, 18 - 


Flycatchers, 78-79 


Hooded-crow, 3 


Brown-owl, 92 


French -partridge, 149 


House-martin, 81 


Bullfinch, 22 


Fulmar, 181 


House-sparrow, 19 


Buntings, 23-27 






Butcher-bird, 77 


GANNET, 179 


ICELAND-GULL, 114 


Buzzard, 152 


Garden-warbler, 55 






Geese, 157-159 


JACKDAW, 5 


CAPERCAILLIE, 143 


Glaucous-gull, 114 


Jack-snipe, 121 


Carrion-crow, 2 


Goatsucker. 88 


Jay, 7 


Chaffinch, 11 


Godwits, 136 




Chats. 47-48 


Goldcrest, 57 


KENTISH-PLOVER, 123 


Chiffchaff, 58 


Golden- eagle, 151 


Kestrel, 156 


Chough, 8 


Goldeneye, 170 


Kingfisher, 94 


Cirl-bunting, 25 


Golden -plover, 124 


Kittiwake, 115 


Coal-tit, 69-70 


Goldfinch, 13 


Knot, 131 


Common-gull, 11 


Goosander, 174 




Common-sandpiper, 133 


Grasshopper-warbler, 64 


LANDRAIL, 139 


Common-snipe, 120 


Great blackbacked-gull, 


Lapwing. 126 


Common-tern, 106 


113 


Larks, 28-29 


Coot, 142 


Great crested-grebe, 183 


Laughing-gull, 109 


Cormorants, 177-178 


Great northern-diver, 185 


Leach's forktailed-petrel, 


Corn-bunting, 23 


Great-plover, 118 


182 


95 



INDEX 



Le^.- jj^etbicke-T-sull, \,R^:^, 1.19 142 


Stone-curlew, 118 


112 


Raven, 1 


Storm-petrel, 182 


Lesser-redpoll, 15 


Razorbill, 100 


Swallow, 80 


Lesser spotted - wood- 


Redbacked-shrike, 77 


Swans, 160 


pecker, 85 


Redbreast, 50 


Swift, 87 


Lesser- whitethroat, 53 


Redbreasted - merganser, 




Linnet, 18 


175 


TAWNY-OWL, 92 


Little-auk, 103 


Redgrouse, 145 


Teal, 165 


Little-grebe, 184 


Redlegged-partridge, 149 


Terns, 105-108 


Little-owl, 93 


Redshanks, 135 


Thick-knee, 118 


Little-tern, 108 


Redstart, 49 


Throstle, 41 


Longeared-owl, 90 


Redthroated-diver, 186 


Thrushes, 40-51 


Longtailed-duck, 171 


Redwing, 42 


Titlark, 35 


Longtailed-tit, 67 


Reed-bunting, 26 


Tits, 67-74 




Reed-warbler, 61 


Tree-creeper, 37 


MAGPIE, 6 


Richardson's skua, 117 


Tree-pipit, 34 


Mallard, 162 
Manx-shearwater, 180 


Ring-dove, 96 
Ringed-dotterel, 123 


Tree-sparrow, 20 
Tufted-duck, 168 


Marsh-tit, 71 


Ringed-plover, 123 


Turnstone, 128 


Marsh-warbler, 62 


Ring-ouzel, 45 


Turtle-dove, 99 


Martins, 81-82 


Robin, 50 


Twite, 17 


Mavis, 41 


Rock-dove, 98 


s 


Meadow-pipit, 35 


Rock-pipit, 36 


WAGTAILS, 30-33 


Mealy-redpoll, 16 


Rook, 4 


Warblers, 52-64 


Merganser, 175 


Roseate-tern, 106 


Waterhen, 141 


Merlin, 155 


Roughlegged-buzzard, 152 


Water-ouzel, 39 


Mistle-thrush, 40 




Water-rail, 140 


Moorhen, 141 


SANDERLING, 132 


Wheatear, 46 


Mute-swan, 160 


Sand-martin, 82 


Whimbrel, 138 


NlGHTHAWK, 88 

Nightingale, 51 
Nightjar, 88 
Norfolk-plover, 118 
Nuthatch, 75 


Sandpipers, 129-134 
Sandwich-tern, 105 
Scaup-duck, 169 
Scoter, 173 
Screech-owl, 89 
Sea-pie, 127 


Whinchat, 47 
Whitefronted-goose, 157 
White-owl, 89 
Whitetailed-eagle, 151 
Whitethroat, 52 
White-wagtail, bl 


OWLS, 89-93 


Sedge-warbler, 63 


Whooper, 160 


Ox-eye, 68 


Shag, 178 


Wigeon, 166 


Oyster-catcher, 127 


Shelduck, 161 
Shooi, 117 


Wild-duck, 162 

Willow-tit, 72 


PARTRIDGES, 148-149 


Shorteared-owl, 91 


Willow- warbler, 59 


Peewit, 126 


Shovel er, 163 


Willow-wren, 59 


Peregrine-falcon, 154 


Siskin, 14 


Wind-hover, 156 


Petrels, 182 


Skooi, 116 


Woodcock, 119 


Pheasant, 147 


Skuas, 116-117 


Wood lark, 29 


Pied-flycatcher, 79 


Skylark, 28 


Wood-owl, 92 


Pied-wagtail, 30 


Snipes, 120-121 


Woodpeckers, 83-85 


Pigeons, 96-99 


Snow-bunting, 27 


Wood-pigeon, 96 . 


Pintail-duck, 164 


Solan-goose, 179 


Wood- sandpiper, 134 


Pipits, 34-36 


Song- thrush, 41 


Wood-warbler, 60 


Plovers, 122-126 


Sparrow-hawk, 153 


Wood-wren, 60 


Pochard, 167 


Spotted -flycatcher, 78 


Wren, 38 


Ptarmigan, 146 


Spotted-woodpecker, 84- 


Wryneck, 86 


Puffin, 104 


85 




Purple-sandpiper, 130 


Starling, 66 
Stock-dove, 97 


YELLOW-BUNTING, 24 
Yellow-hammer, 24 


QUAIL, 150 


Stonechat, 48 


Yellow- wagtail, 33 



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