Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/78

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50
BROWN LARK.

the edge of the water as possible, and searching among the drifted leaves and weeds for such insects as are usually found there. The vibratory motion of their tail is now more perceptible, being quicker. Their feeble notes are also frequently uttered. When shot along the shores, their stomachs have been found filled with fragments of minute shells, as well as small shrimps, and other garbage. When raised by the report of a gun, they rise high, and sometimes fly to a considerable distance; but you may expect their return to the same spot, if you keep yourself concealed for a few minutes. They are expert fly-catchers, inasmuch as they leap from the ground, and follow insects on the wing for several feet with avidity. The company of cattle is agreeable to them, so much so, that they walk almost under them in quest of insects. When in fields, the Brown Titlarks are often seen mixed with a few other birds known by the name of Winter Larks, the habits of which I shall detail in my next volume.

The species now under consideration reaches Louisiana about the middle of October, and leaves it in the beginning of March. I caught some of these birds on my passage from France to the United States, on the Great Newfoundland Banks. They came on board wearied, and so hungry that the crumbs of biscuit thrown to them were picked up with the greatest activity. I am inclined to consider the Brown Titlark identical with the Water Pipit of Europe.


Anthus Spinoletta, Ch. Bonaparte, Synopsis of Birds of the United States, p. 90.
Alauda Spinoletta, Linn. Syst. Nat. p. 288.
Pipit spioncelle, Temm. Man. d'Ornith. Part i. p. 265.
Brown Lark, Alauda rufa, Wilson, Amer. Ornith. vol. v. p. 89. PI. 42. fig. 4.


Adult Male. Plate X. Fig. 1.

Bill straight, subulate, depressed at the base, acute, the edges slightly inflected at the middle, the gap not reaching to beneath the eyes; upper mandible keeled at the base, afterwards rounded, slightly notched and declinate at the tip. Nostrils basal, oval, half closed above by a membrane. Head small. Neck slender. Body slender. Feet longish, slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with longish scutella, longer than the middle toe; toes scutellate above, granulated beneath; inner toe free; hind toe with a very long, almost straight claw, which, together with the rest, is slender, compressed and acute