Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

ambition ; and it may be questioned whether, as far as I with the hard-billed and granivorous birds, where they are there has been any feeling in operation besides that of a generally stationed. Here,' says Mr. Vigors in continuasense of duty, the great exertions which are made in the tion, it may also be observed that they form part of one service of the country are not stimulated less by the ex- of the extreme families of the tribe, and are immediately pectation of pecuniary reward, than by the hope of receiv- connected with a group of the preceding family of the ing one of these titles of honour which shall descend to a Sylviade, which passes on to the Conirostres, the succeedman's posterity. They cost nothing; and hence it is that ing subdivision of the order. They thus are brought into titles of honour have been called “the cheap defence of contact with the tribe to which the strength and the coninations.'

cal structure of their bill indicates a conformity; while at Whoever wishes to study this subject in all its details the same time they maintain their station among the will do well to resort to two great works : one, the late groups where their manners and general economy would * Reports of the Lords' Committees on the dignity of the naturally place them. The Pari, which thus introduce us Peerage;' the other, the large treatise on • Titles of into the present family, lead us on to the more typical Honour,' by the learned Selden. The latter was first groups of the Linnean Pipre, with which they bear an acprinted in 4to., 1614; again, with large additions, folio, 1631. knowledged affinity in manners and general appearance.

TITMICE, Paride, a natural family of Perching The genus Pardulotus, Vieill., which is the representative Birds. [INSESSORES.]

of the latter group in Australasia, appears to connect these Linnæus, in his last edition of the Systema Nature, placed two allied groups of the Old and the New World, by the genus Parus between Pipra and Hirundo, in his order exhibiting the nearly divided foot of the one, and the parPasseres.

tially curved bill of the other. Here come in the RupiCOLA, Latham arranges it also at the end of the same order. Briss., and PHIBALURA, Vieill. And here, as I have already

Pennant too gives it a place in the Passerine section, observed, when speaking of the Thrushes [MERULIDE, vol. between the Warblers and the Swallows.

XV., p. 121], I apprehend that all those groups will be M. de Lacépède places it immediately before the Larks ; found to assemble, which, connected with Ampelis, Linn., M. Duméril in the eighth family of the Passeres (Subus are generally denominated Berry-eaters and Chatterers ; lirostres, or Raphioramphes), in company with the Mana- such as Bombycillu, Briss., the true Ampelis of authors, kins, Larks, and Bec-fins ; M. Meyer, in the third suborder Casmarhinchus, Temm., and Procnias, Ill. To these the (Subulata) of his fifth order (Oscines), between Alauda and genus Querula of M. Vieillot may, I think, be added. This Regulus ; Illiger, at the head of the Passerini, among the group, the type of which is the Muscicapa rubricollis of Ambulatores, immediately before Alaudu ; Cuvier, among Gmelin, is strongly allied by its bill to the foregoing gethe Conirostres, directly after the Larks; Vieillot, in the nera, while its habits equally ally it to the family of Musfamily of Ægithales in the tribe Anisodactyli; Temminck, CICAPIDÆ, which follows. The interval between the present in the order Granivores, between the Larks and Buntings; groups and those of the Pari, where we entered on the and Latreille in the family Conirostres, also between the family, appears to be filled up by a race of birds peculiar Larks and the Buntings. Selby arranges it between the to New Holland, and hitherto uncharacterized, of which same two forms.

the Muscicupa pectoralis, Lath., is the type. These, Mr. Vigors places the genus Parus among the Pipridæ, uniting many external characters, at least, both of the in his order DENTIROSTRES. In his paper On the Natural Berry-eaters and Fly-catchers, exhibit also in general apAfinities that connect the Orders and Families of Birds,* pearance a considerable resemblance to the Pari, and will he remarks that the true Wrens of the Sylviadæ, a family be found, I conjecture, to be the connecting bond between which in his arrangement immediately precedes the all these groups. The affinity between this last family of PIPRIDE, display in their general appearance and habits so the tribe and the Muscicapida, which first met our atienclose a similarity to Parus, Linn., the Titmouse of our tion as we entered it, has already been observed when I naturalists, that we may at once acknowledge the affinity spoke of the separation of the broad-billed Chatterers from between the latter family and that of Pipridæ, upon which the Thrushes. "And thus equally, as in the former tribe, he enters by means of the Pari. And who is there,' he we may recognise the completion of a circular succession asks, that has not been attracted by the interesting man- of affinities between all the families of the Dentirostres.' ners of both these familiar visitors of our domestic haunts, The uncharacterized group above alluded to was asterand at the same time has not been struck with their rese

resem- wards formed into the genus Pachycephulu, Sw. blance ?? The Penduline Titmouse, Parus pendulinus, Mr. Swainson (Classification of Birds) enters among the Linn., with its bill longer and more slender than that of Titmice by the American genus Seiurus, remarkable for the Pari in general, seems to him to be the connecting the motion of its tail. One species, Seiurus aquaticus, link between the families. That species, he observes, is Sw., frequents the sides of streams and runs upon the immediately met by the genus Tyrannulus of M. Vieillot, ground, whilst another, S. aurocapillus, Sw., is, he observes, which in the name of Roitelet Mesunge (Titmouse-Wren), confined to damp woods and runs along the low branches conferred by Buffon on the American species of which it of trees. Here IIr. Swainson sees a change of economy, is composed, happily illustrates the affinity which he has which, he says, plainly shows that nature has assumed a pointed out. It is pleasing, he remarks, to trace in new form ; and as the habit of running along branches of groups which bear a general affinity to each other in their trees is the chief faculty of the Scansorial birds, or of their more essential characters, an affinity also in less consequen- representatives, so, he remarks, we may suppose that the tial particulars, and he calls attention to the fact that this group next in succession to the Motacillince would possess is the case in the conterminous groups of Wrens and Tit- something of the same characters. These he finds manimice with respect to their mode of nidification ; for the fested in the genus Accentor, and he adverts to an unpubgreater portion of both make their nests in holes of trees, lished notice which he heard read at a meeting of the but those groups which most nearly approach each other, Linnean Society of London, relating to the habits of an viz., Regulus, Tyrannulus, and Parus pendulinus, suspend Accentor which was killed near one of the public buildings theirs from the branches, leaving the orifice at the centre, at Oxford, and which was seen to climb so adroitly round and interlacing the materials of which it is composed with the steep abutments of those buildings as to baffle for a corresponding ingenuity and elegance. · Mr. Vigors goes considerable time the aim of the person who shot it. He on to remind his readers that the affinity between these also states that he has seen the common Hedge-sparrow birds has been acknowledged by scientific as well as by com- frequently hop along the whole length of a strong oblique mon observers; and yet the former have generally ranked branch, pecking into the crevices of the bark so as to rethe Pari in a different tribe, and some indeed have even mind the observer of a scansorial creeper, or of a Woodarranged them in a different order from the Sylviada, in pecker: and he makes the Titmice à subfamily of the consequence of their more conical bill and the absence of SYLVIADE, with the genera and subgenera which will be the mandibular notch. A rigid deference to those parti- found in that article. [Vol. xxiii., p. 441.] culars which form the characteristics of the conterminous He remarks that this subsamily may be said to comsubdivisions would, he admits, certainly exclude the Pari mence with the genus Accentor, which stands at the confrom the tribe of Dentirostres ; but the nature of their food, fines of that group which contains the most scansorial which consists chiefly of insects, and the similarity of their warblers in the family of the Sylviada. · The short, habits, give them, he thinks, a more natural connection stout, and nearly conic bills of these active little climbers, with the families among which he has placed them, than says Mr. Swainson, are admirably adapted for pecking *Linn. Trans.,' vol. xir.

into the bark of buds, and thus extracting the small insects

that there lie concealed.' Of the five types of form, or | Megistina, Vieill.; Tyrannulus, Vieill.; Sphenostoma, subgenera, proper to the genus Parus, that which Mr. Gould; Calamophilus, Leach; Orites, Mæhr (Mecistura, Swainson formerly named Parisoma is, he thinks, the con- Leach ; Paroides, Brehm-Long-tailed Titmouse); Parinecting link to Accentor. It is, he observes, one of those soma, Sw.; Psaltria, Temm.; Ægithina, Vieill.; Hylosmall birds of South Africa figured by Le Vaillant, but of philus, Temm. which the greater part are known only by his plates: the In this article we shall confine ourselves to those cognate four others are composed of the ordinary or typical Tit- forms which are vernacularly known as Titmice. mice (Parus), the Hangnest Titmice (Egithalus, Vig.),

EUROPEAN TITMICE. the Brazilian Titmice (Hylophilus, Temm.), and Ægithnia, Vieill. Parus and Egithalus, he remarks, are distin- The following species are found in Europe :guished by their conic, sharp-pointed, and entire bills,

The Great Tit, Parus major; the Sombre Tit, Parus while the three aberrant types have that organ notched; lugubris; the Siberian Tit, Parus Sibericus; the Toupet but he points out that in all five the feet, so constantly Tit, Parus bicolor; the Azure Tit, Parus cyaneus ; the employed in the great exertion of climbing, are particu- Blue Tit, Parus cerulcus; the Coal Tit, Parus ater; the larly strong and muscular; and that the hind-toe also, Marsh Tit, Parus palustris; the Crested Tit, Parus crisupon which all climbing birds depend so much for as-tatus ; the Long-tailed Tit, Parus caudatus of authors sistance, is large and powerful, * The discovery of the genus Oriles); the Bearded Tit, Parus biarmicus (genus five subgenera of Parus,' says Mr. Swainson in continua- Calamophilus); the Penduline Tit, Parus pendulinus of tion, “independent of the verification they afford by their authors (genus Ægithalus). perfect analogy to the correctness of the corresponding

Of these, the Great Tit, the Blue Tit, the Crested Tit, types of the genus Sylvicola, subsequently detailed, is of the Coal Tit, the Marsh Tit, the Long-tailed Tit, and the much importance, since this discovery enables us to

Bearded Tit are British.

prove, beyond all reasonable doubt, that neither the long-tailed

There is little doubt that the Tits are the Alyıbaloi nor the bearded tits (Parus caudatus and biarmicus) are (Ægithali) of Aristotle. The Great Tit, the Long-tailed types either of genera or subgenera. We have already Tit, and the Blue Tit are referred by Belon to the aiyıbalós, alluded to the station in which, after the most minute the aiyıdalóç ëtepos, and the tpiros aiy0alós of that author, analysis, we have placed the Parus biarmicus,* which is and, we think, with good reason. only an aberrant species of the restricted subgenus Parus,

The Great Tit, the Blue Tit, the Coal Tit, and the Marsh as the latter now stands : from this bird always living in Tit are too well known to require description; but a the vicinity of water, it becomes that species which repre-sketch of their habits may not be unacceptable.' White, sents the natatorial type ; while in the greatly developed speaking of the English Tit

, says :- Every species of tittail of Parus caudatus it is easy to perceive another aber- mouse winters with us: they have what I call a kind of rant species typifying the Rasores. We have repeatedly intermediate bill between the hard and the soft, between remarked that groups preeminently typical in their own the Linnæan genera of Fringilla and Motacilla. One circle, almost invariably present us with these variations species alone spends its whole time in the woods and fields, in the form of their aberrant species. The restricted never retreating for succour in the severest seasons to genus Parus is precisely bf this description : it is the pre- houses and neighbourhoods ;* and that is the delicate eminent type of an entire subfamily; and hence, like Long-tailed Titmouse, which is almost as minute as the Corvus, Lanius, Sylvia, and a great number of other genera Golden-crowned Wren; but the Blue Titmouse or Nun holding the same rank in their own circles, it contains a (Parus cæruleus), the Coal-Titmouse (Parus ater), the greater variety of modifications in the form of its species Great Black-headed Titmouse (Fringillago), and the Marsh than genera which are not preeminently typical. The Titmouse (Parus palustris), all resort at times to buildings, whole of the subgenera of Pārus are distinguished from and in hard weather particularly The Great Titmouse, those of Sylvicola by characters the most simple and beau- driven by stress of weather, much frequents houses; and, tiful. They all have that peculiar strength of foot so con

in deep snows, I have seen this bird, while it hung with spicuous in our native examples, and their wings are inva- its back downwards (to my no small delight and admirariably rounded; that is to say, the first quill is short, and lion), draw straws lengthwise from out the eaves of thatched the second and third so graduated that the fourth becomes houses, in order to pull out the flies that were concealed the longest. The bill also is short and thick, generally between them, and that in such numbers that they quite more or less conic, and sometimes (as in the types) very defaced the thatch, and gave it a ragged appearance. strong: the upper mandible may be said to be entire, for | The Blue Titmouse, or Nun, is a great frequenter of houses, in the only genus (Parisoma) which has the culmen arched, and a general devourer. Besides insects, it is very fond the notch is so small that it may be termed obsolete.' Mr. of flesh; for it frequently picks bones on dunghills: it is a Swainson then remarks that we are thus enabled to dis- vast admirer of suet, and haunts butchers’ shops. When tinguish the whole from the neighbouring group, Sylvicola, a boy, I have known twenty in a morning caught with which he then enters upon.

snap mouse-traps baited with tallow or suet. It will also Notwithstanding the discovery here claimed, and the pick holes in apples left on the ground, and be well enterassumed proof that neither the Long-tailed nor the tained with the seeds on the head of a sun-flower. The Bearded Tits are types either of genera or subgenera, we Blue, Marsh, and Great Titmice will, in very severe weather, shall presently find that ornithologists, in their publica- carry away barley and oat straws from the sides of ricks. tions subsequent to that of Mr. Swainson, are not convinced ;

(Selborne.) but, on the contrary, still regard these two interesting We can confirm, if confirmation were needed, the acsorms as generic types.

count of this admirable observer relative to the strawMr. Yarrell places the Paride, or True Tits, between the extracting labours of the Great Tit. The thatch of a rootWarblers, Sylviada, and the Ampelidæ, the latter being house in Gloucestershire was nearly destroyed by those represented by the Bohemian Waxwing. [BOMBYCILLA.] | fly-seekers : but they have more to answer for than fly

The Prince of Canino (Birds of Europe and North Ame- catching; they are small-bird murderers, and frequently rica, 1-838) arranges the Parince as the seventh subfamily kill their victims by repeated blows on the head with their of the Turdidæ, placing it between the Motacillina (Wag- strong, sharp, and hard beak, for the sake of feasting on tails) and the Sylvicoline. The following genera are in the brains. cluded by the Prince under the Parine :

The Great Tit, without any compass to speak of, is a Regulus, Ray (Wren, including Gold-Crests); Parus, songster, not unadmired by some for its few but lively Linn.; Mecistura, Leach (Paroides, Brehm-Long-tailed notes heralding the spring early in February. The quaTitmouse); Calamophilus, Leach (Mystacinus, Brehm-train in the Portraits d'Oyseauc is loud in its praise :Bearded Titmouse); Agithalus, Vig. (Pendulinus, Cuv.

Au temps d'Automne il y a des mesanges, Penduline Titmouse).

En grand joison, qui laitent par les boys, Mr. G. R. Gray (List of the Genera of Birds, 1841)

Et font des eufs douze ou quinze par fuis.

Oyseaux petits et qui chantent comme anges.' makes the Parina the fifth subfamily of his Luscinida, and places it between the Accentorinæ and the Sylvico

The habits of the Blue Tit are recorded by White with linæ : the Parine, according to him, consist of the fol- equal truth: this is the bird that fights so stoutly pro lowing genera :-

aris et focis, hissing like a snake or an angry kitten when Ægithalus, Vig. ; Melanochlora, Less. ; Parus, Linn.; her nest in the hollow of some decayed tree is invaded by • Classification of Animals,' pp. 270, 271.

• But see post, description of that species.

the school-boy, who, if not deterred by the ominous sounds, eta huru
often rues his temerity and draws back his hand with more
celerity than he stretched it forth, well pecked by the Homedia
irritated matron. Hence he calls it. Billy Biter: by the
way Montagu gives • Willow Biter' as one of its names.
The latter name does not convey much meaning to any
one acquainted with the habits of the bird ; the former
does : may not Montagu have heard it imperfectly?

The gardener, who sees this little bird busy about the buds, likes it not, and in some parishes a reward has been set upon its head. Mr. Knapp, in his interesting Journal of a Naturalist, notices such a case where the stimulus appears to have operated to some purpose against these innocent little birds, for one item passed in the churchwardens' account was · for seventeen dozen of Tomtits' heads. They may, now and then, knock off a bud in their busy search for insects; but the great good they do in ridding the plants of these, far outweighs any casual harm that may result from their industry.

The song of the Tomtit has but little variety : the vivacity of the bird seems however to have found favour for its song with our neighbours, for the Portraits d'Oyseaux notices it with applause :

Nest of Long-tailed Titmouse.
L'Esté es bois la mesange bleuē est,
Et nous vient voir en Hyver et Autonne,

struction, combining beauty of appearance with security Le doux chanter d'icelle plaisir donne

and warmth. In shape it is nearly oval, with one small A tout esprit, à qui l'escouter pluist.'

hole in the upper part of the side by which the bird We proceed to illustrate the present article by the less enters. I have never seen more than one hole. The familiar Long-tailed Titmouse, Bearded Titmouse, and outside of this nest sparkles with silver-coloured lichens Penduline Titmouse.

adhering to a firm texture of moss and wool, the inside Long-tailed Titmouse.

profusely lined with soft feathers. The nest is generally Description.Male.--Head, neck, throat, and breast placed in the middle of a thick bush, and so firmly fixed, pure white ; upper part and centre of the back, rump, and of the bush containing it, if desirous of preserving the

that it is mostly found necessary to cut out the portion the six middle tail-feathers deep black; scapulars reddish; natural appearance and form of the nest. In this species, belly, sides, and abdomen reddish white; quills black; the female is known to be the nest-maker, and to have greater wing-coverts bordered with pure white ; lateral been occupied for a fortnight to three weeks in completing tail-feathers white on their external barbs and at their her habitation. In this she deposits from ten to twelve end; tail very long and wedge-shaped. Length five inches seven or eight lines.

eggs; but a larger number are occasionally found: they Female.-A large black band above the eyes, which is are small and white, with a few pale red specks, frequently prolonged upon the nape, and proceeds to unite itself

with quite plain, measuring seven lines in length, and five lines the black of the upper part of the back.

in breadth. The young family of the year keep company Young;-Small black spots on the cheeks and brown with the parent birds during their first autumn and winter, spots on the breast: black of the back not so decided. and generally crowd close together on the same branch at (Temm.)

roosting-time, looking, when thus huddled up, like a N.B. Mr. Gould remarks that the female does not differ shapeless lump of feathers only. These birds have several from the male in colouring, and in the Birds of Europe together; one of these call-notes is soft and scarcely

notes, on the sound of which they assemble and keep both are represented with the black band above the eyes.

This is the Pendolino, Paronzino, Codibugnolo, and Paglia in culo of the Italians ; Mésange à la longue queue and Perd sa queue of the French; Langschwänzige Meise, Schwanzmeise, and Belzmeise Pfannenstiel of the Germans; Staartmees of the Netherlanders; Alhtita of the Swedes ; Jenaga of the Japanese ; Bottle Tit, Bottle

om, Long-tailed Farmer, Long-tail Mag, Long-tail Pie, Poke Pudding, Huckmuck, and Mum-rufin, of the modern British ; and Y Benloyn gnyffonhir of the antient British.

Geographical Distribution-Siberia, Russia, Japan. The whole of Europe. England, Scotland (near Edinburgh at least), and Ireland.

Habits, Food, fc.- Insects, their larvæ and eggs, form the food of these pretty little birds. When White says that the Long-tailed Titmouse never retreats for succour in the severest seasons to houses and their neighbourhood, he must not be supposed to mean that the bird avoids the haunts of men. We have seen in a nursery-garden in Middlesex a whole family of them within a few yards of the nursery-man's cottage, and close to his greenhouse, which visitors were constantly entering, and we have found its exquisitely wrought nest in a Silver Fir about eight feet high, in a pleasure-ground in the same county, little more than a hundred yards from the house. Pennant well describes its appearance in flight when, after stating that the young follow the parents the whole winter, he says, ' from the slimness of their bodies, and great length of tail, they appear, while flying, like so many darts cutting the air. They are often seen passing through our gardens, going progressively from tree to tree, as if on their road to some other place, never making any halt.'

Yarrell is equally happy in describing the nest and manners of this interesting little bird. The nest of this species,' says he, is another example of ingenious con

Long-tailed Titmouse, Male and Femalo. (Gould.)

[graphic]
[graphic]

audible; a second is a louder chirp or twitter, and a third fishelled snails. He had also remarked that the sides of the is of a hoarser kind.'

stomach in this bird were muscular and much thickened, In the Portraits d'Oyseaux the qualities of this species forming a gizzard which the true tits do not possess; and are thus summed up :

that this structure of the stomach afforded the power of • Ceste Mesange est à la longue quene

breaking down the shells of the testaceous mollusks—SucOyseau petit, comme est le Roytelet :

cinea amphibia and Pupa muscorum-many of which had Du demeurant, inconstant, et follet, | Par son hault chant si voix est bien cogneue.'

been found comminuted therein. Still, from the com

parative rarity of this bird in Britain, and the impervious The Bearded Titmouse.

nature of its haunts, its habits. were comparatively little Description.-Male.-Black between the bill and the known. Mr. Hoy and Mr. Dykes have supplied much eye, and these black feathers are very long and prolonged interesting information on this head. on each side on the lateral part of the neck; head and The former states that the Bearded Tit begins building occiput bluish ash; throat and front of the neck pure towards the end of April

, and that the nest is composed white, which blends on the breast and the middle of the on the outside of dead leaves of the reed and sedge, interbelly into a rosy hue; nape, back, rump, feathers of the mixed with a few pieces of grass, and lined with the top middle of the tail and sides fine rust-colour; great coverts of the reed. He describes it as generally placed in a tuft of the wings deep black, bordered with deep rusty on the of coarse grass or rushes near the ground, on the margin of external barb, and reddish white on the internal barb; the dikes, in the fens; and sometimes as fixed among the quills bordered with white ; feathers of the under part of reeds that are broken down, but never suspended between the tail deep black; lateral tail-feathers bordered and ter- the stems. Their food, he says, is principally the seed of minated with grey; tail long, much graduated ; bill and the reed, and so intent were they on their search for it, that iris fine yellow. Length 6 inches and 2 or 3 lines. he had taken them with a bird-limed twig attached to a

Female.—No black moustaches; throat and front of the fishing-rod. When alarmed by any sudden noise, or the neck tarnished white; upper parts of the head and body passing of a hawk, they uttered their shrill musical notes, rusty, shaded with brown; on the middle of the back and concealed themselves among the thick bottoms of the some longitudinal black spots; under tail-coverts bright reeds, but they soon resumed their station, climbing the rusty.

upright stems with the greatest facility. Young at their leaving the nest, and before their first Mr. Dykes had an opportunity of examining three specimoult, with nearly the whole of the plumage of very bright mens, and he found their crops completely filled with the reddish; a good deal of black on the external barbs of the Succinea amphibia in a perfect state, the shells unbroken quills and tail-feathers; on the middle of the back a very and singularly closely packed together. The crop of one, large space of deep black. After the first moult nothing not larger than a hazel nut, contained twenty Succineæ, of the deep black of the back remains but some longitudinal some of them of a good size, and four Pupe muscorum, spots.

with the shells also entire. The stomach was full of small Varieties.—More or less marked with white or whitish; fragments of shell, in a greater or less degree of decompothe colours of the plumage often feebly developed. (Temm.) sition. Numerous sharp angular fragments of quartz which

This is the Mésange Barbue ou Moustache of the French; had been swallowed had with the action of the stomach
Bartmeise of the Germans ; Least Butcher-Bird of Edwards; effected the comminution of the shells.
Reed Pheasant (provincial) of the modern British, and Ý Two nests obtained by Mr. Yarrell from the parish of
Barfog of the Welsh.

Horsey, were sustained only an inch or two above the N.B. M. Temminck remarks that the Zahnschäblige ground by the strength of the stems of the coarse grass on Bartmeise of Brehm is a species or subspecies founded which they were fixed. Each was composed entirely of only on individuals which have been long caged, such as dried bents, the finer ones forming the lining; others inmay be seen in the Dutch markets, where numbers are creasing in substance made up the exterior. Mr. Yarrell sold. Some of these captives come to London, where they states the number of eggs at from four to six, rather may be bought for some four or five shillings a pair. The smaller than those of the Great Titmouse, and less pointed; iris and bill in the living bird are of a delicate orange- 1 eight lines and a half long by six lines and a half in colour.

breadth, white, and sparingly marked with pale red lines Geographical Distribution. The north of Europe, Eng- or scratches. (British Birds.) land, Sweden; Asia, on the shores of the Caspian Sea; nowhere so abundant as in Holland; accidentally, on passage, in France. (Temm.) In the third part of the second edition of his Manuel, M. Temminck says, that in Italy it is as common in the marshes of Ostia, as in those of Holland near Amsterdam. As to Sweden, Pennant also states that it is rarely found there ; but neither Müller, Brisson, nor Nilsson notices it in that locality. Mr. Yarrell gives the best summary known to us of the recorded distribution of the species in the British Islands :—-South and west of London the Bearded Tit has been found in Surrey about some ponds near Godalming ; in Sussex near Winchelsea ; and on the banks of the Thames from London upwards as far as Oxford. Pennant says it has been taken near Gloucester. In Cornwall, as I learn from Mr. Rodd, it is considered very rare; a single specimen was obtained in the neighbourhood of Helston, which is now in the collection made by the late Humphrey Grylls, Esq. It is not included in the catalogue of the Birds of Shropshire and North Wales, lately published in the “ Annals of Natural History" by my friend Mr. Thomas Eyton ; but is said to have been taken in Lancashire; and a single specimen is recorded as Irish by Mr. Thompson, on the authority of Mr. W. S. Wall, a bird-preserver in Dublin, which example was received from the banks of the Shannon. Eastward from London the Bearded Tit inhabits the various reed-beds on the banks of the Thames, both in Kent and Essex. It is found also in Cambridgeshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, and Lincolnshire, but has not been traced in this country north of the Humber.'

Habits, Food, &c.—Dr. Leach had observed the fondness of this species for marshy and reedy spots, the shape of its open cup-shaped nest placed on the ground, and the nature of its food-seeds, insects and their larvæ, and small

Bearded Titmouse, Male and Female. (Gould.)

[graphic]

Penduline Titmouse.

and mostly overhangs the water ; sometimes however it Description.Male.—Bill black, straight, a little elon- is interwoven among the reed-stems. The eggs, which gated, and pointed ; tail short; top of the head and nape are pure white marked with some red spots or blotches, pure ash-colour; forehead, space between the eye and the are generally six in number. bill, region of the eyes, and feathers of the orifices of the

Asiatic TITMICE. ears deep black; back and scapulars reddish grey: rump ash-colour, throat white, the other lower parts whitish,

Example.—Parus Xanthogenys. with rosy tints; coverts of the wings chesnut, bordered Description.Head with a full crest of black feathers; and terminated with whitish rusty and white; wings and occiput, superciliary stripe, and cheeks yellow; ear-coverts tail blackish, bordered with whitish rusty; tail-feathers black; back olive; wings and tail black, the former terminated with white ; iris yellow. Length 4 inches 3 or spotted, and the latter tipped with white; a broad black 4 lines.

líne passing down the throat, and extending along the Female.-Rather less than the male ; the black on the middle of the abdomen ; sides of the chest and flanks forehead not so large nor so pure ; the band which passes pale yellow; bill and feet black; size rather less than over the eyes and terminates at the ears, bluish black; that of the Greater Tit, Parus major. (Gould.) ash-colour of the head less pure ; upper parts more

Locality, Habits, Sc.-The Himalaya Mountains ; clouded with rusty, but there is a yellowish tint on the figured and described, in his Century of Birds,' by middle of the belly.

Mr. Gould, who remarks that the species bears a close The young up to their first moult have the colours resemblance to our Parus major, from which it differs brighter; they have not the forehead black,

principally in its crested head. He further observes that This is the Rémiz or Mésange de Pologne of the French, the brilliancy of its colouring is not surpassed by that of and Beutel Meise of the Germans.

any of its congeners, and that its mode of lite strictly Geographical Distribution.-Southern and eastern pro- assimilates to that of the Pari in general. vinces of Europe principally. Russia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, along the banks of the Danube, where it breeds, south of France and Italy.

[graphic]
[graphic]
[ocr errors]

Parus Xanthogerys. (Gould.)

AMERICAN TITMICE.
Example.—Parus atricapillus, Black-cap Titmouse.

Description. Male.-Upper aspect of the head, nape, chin, and throat velvet-black. A white line from the nostrils through the eye, spreads out on the side of the neck; back lead-coloured, glossed with yellowish grey, quill and tail feathers blackish grey, edged with greyish white; under-plumage brownish white, deepening in some specimens to yellowish grey; bill pitch black; legs bluish ; total length five inches six lines. (Fauna BorealiAmericana.)

Some ornithologists have considered this bird identical with the Marsh Titmouse, Parus palustris, of Europe. M. Temminck in the first part of his Manuel declares that

individuals sent to him from North America had absolutely Penduline Titmouse and Nest:

the same distribution of colours on their plumage as those Habits, Food, &c.-M. Temminck has placed this species killed in Europe, only the hues of the American individuals together with the Bearded Tit in his second Section of were more pure. "In the third part, where he notices Titmice, the Riverains ; and indeed the Penduline Tit- Parus palustris, and adds to its synonyms, he says nothing mouse, both in habits and in the choice of its food, has to contradict his original observation; and in the first many points in common with the other species above part he gives Parus atricapillus, La Mésange à tête noire described. Like the Bearded Tit, the Penduline Titmouse du Canada (Briss.), and the Black-cap and Canada Tithaunts the reedy banks of rivers, or the margins of wide- mouse (Lath.), as synonyms of Parus palustris. watered 'shores, and its food consists not only of the seeds Mr. Swainson and Dr. Richardson however, after referof the reeds, but of aquatic insects and mollusks. It de- ring to the opinions of those who have considered the rives its name from its pensile purse-like or flask-like nest, European and the American bird as the same, state that generally suspended at the end of some willow twig or the two species appear to them to be sufficiently distinct. other flexible branch of an aquatic tree. This skilfully- According to them this tit is the Parus atricapillus, Linn., wrought cradle is woven from the cotton-like wool or who by the way gives Canada as its habitat; Mésange d down of the willow or poplar, with an opening in the side tête noire de Canada, Buff. ; Black-capt Titmouse, Parys for the ingress and egress of the artificers and their young, atricapillus, Wils.; Parus atricapillus, Bonap.; Peecheh.

« НазадПродовжити »