Page:Ornithological biography, or an account of the habits of the birds of the United States of America, volume 1.djvu/379

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351
MARSH BLACKBIRD.

to induce these birds to breed in confinement, but in as far as I have been able to ascertain, have failed. As an article of food, they are little better than the Starling of Europe, or the Crow Blackbird of the United States, although many are eaten and thought good by the country people, who make pot-pies of them.

I have represented a male and a female in the adult state, a male in the first spring, and a young bird, and have placed them on the branch of a Water Maple, these birds being fond of alighting on trees of that kind, in early spring, to pick up the insects that frequent the blossoms. This tree is found dispersed throughout the United States, and grows, as its name indicates, in the immediate vicinity of water. Its wood is soft, and is hardly used for any other purpose than that of being converted into common domestic utensils.


Icterus phœniceus, Ch. Bonaparte, Synops. of Birds of the United States, p. 52.

Oriolus phœniceus, Linn. Syst. Nat. vol. i. p. 161.—Lath. Ind. Ornith. vol. i. p. 178.

Red-winged Starling, Sturnus prædatorius, Wils. Amer. Ornith. vol. iv. p. 30. Pl. 30. Male and Female.

Red-winged Oriole, Lath. Synops. vol. ii. p. 428.


Male in complete plumage. Plate LXVII. Fig. 1.

Bill conical, rather slender, longish, compressed, nearly straight, very acute, with inflected acute margins; upper mandible obtuse above, encroaching on the forehead, lower broadly obtuse beneath; gap-line deflected at the base. Nostrils oval, basal. Head and neck of ordinary size. Body full. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus a little longer than the middle toe; inner toe little shorter than the outer; claws arched, acute, compressed, that of the hind toe twice the size of the rest.

Plumage soft, blended, glossy. Wings of ordinary length, the second and third quills longest. Tail rather long, rounded, of twelve rounded feathers.

Bill and feet black. Iris dark brown. The general colour of the plumage is glossy black; the lesser wing-coverts scarlet, their lower row bright yellow.

Length 9 inches, extent of wings 14; bill along the ridge 1112, along the gap 1.


Male, the first spring. Plate LXVII. Fig. 2.