Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/68

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40
PURPLE GRAKLE.

during my peregrinations, and in one or two instances have seen it form its nest in the fissures of rocks.


Quiscalus versicolor, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat. vol. xxviii. p. 488—Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 54.; and Americ. Ornith. vol. i. p. 42, Pl. v. fig. 1. Female.

Gracula Barita, Gmel. Syst. vol. i. p. 396—Lath. Ind. Ornith. p. 191.

Purple Grakle, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 462.

Boat-tailed Grakle, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 460 Wilson, Americ. Ornith. vol. iii. p. 44, Pl. xxi. fig. 4. Male.


Adult Male. Plate VII. Fig. 1.

Bill longish, straight, tapering, compressed from the base; upper mandible prolonged on the forehead, forming an acute angle there, a little declinate at the tip, its dorsal outline slightly convex, as are the sides; under mandible nearly straight in its lower outline, convex on the sides, acute at the tip; edges of both acute, of the lower inflected; the gap line deflected at the base, reaching to beneath the eye. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed by a membrane. Head large, rounded above. Neck of moderate length, thick. Body rather robust. Feet of moderate length, strong; tarsus considerably longer than the middle toe, covered anteriorly with longish scutella, shorter below, laterally with two longitudinal plates, meeting behind at an acute angle; lateral toes nearly equal, the outer connected at the base by a membrane; claws strong, arched, compressed, acute.

Plumage soft, silky, glossy, blended. Wings of ordinary length; second, third and fourth quills longest, first and fifth nearly equal and little shorter. Tail longish, of twelve feathers, much rounded, concave along the middle above, or what is termed boat-shaped.

Bill, feet and claws black. Iris bright-yellow. Head, neck, and upper part of the breast blackish, with vivid reflections of violet, steel-blue, and green. General colour of the body black, with bright-green, purple and bronze-coloured reflections above, dull beneath. Quills and tail-feathers black, the latter with purple and green reflections; secondaries and wing-coverts tinged with brown.

Length 13 inches, extent of wings 19; beak 1¼ along the ridge, 1½ along the gap; tarsus 1¾, middle toe 1¼.