Plate 398

Lazuli Finch, Clay-coloured Finch, Oregon Snow Finch

Read more about these species in our Bird Guide: Lazuli Bunting, Clay-colored Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco

The Lazuli Finch, one of the handsomest of its tribe, was added to our Fauna by THOMAS SAY, who procured it in the course of LONG's expedition already mentioned. A figure of the only specimen then obtained was given in the continuation of WILSON's American Ornithology by the Prince of MUSIGNANO. It has been my good fortune to procure a fine pair from Mr. TOWNSEND, who shot them on the Columbia river, on the 3d of June, 1836, so that I have been enabled to represent the female, which has not hitherto been figured, as well as the male. That enterprising naturalist has informed me, that "the Chinook Indians name this species Tilkonapaooks, and that it is rather a common bird on the Columbia, but is always shy and retiring in its habits, the female being very rarely seen. It possesses lively and pleasing powers of song, which it pours forth from the top branches of moderate-sized trees. Its nest, which is usually placed in the willows along the margins of the streams, is composed of small sticks, fine grasses, and cow or buffalo hair." 

A nest of this species presented to me by Mr. NUTTALL, who found it on the Columbia river, is fastened between the stem and two branches of a large fern, round which many of the fibres are woven. It is funnel-shaped, six inches in length, three inches in breadth externally at the mouth, from which it gradually tapers. Internally its diameter at the mouth is two inches, and its depth three. It is composed of fibrous lichens, mosses, decayed leaves and grasses, of coarse texture and rudely interwoven. It is lined with finer fibres and a few horse-hairs. 

From the Arkansas to the Columbia river. Never seen near the Atlantic coast. Plentiful. Migratory. 

EMBERIZA AMOENA, Say, Long's Exped. 
LAZULI FINCH, Fringilla amoena, Bonap. Amer. Orn., vol. i. p. 61. 
FRINGILLA AMOENA, Bonap. Syn., p. 106. 
LAZULI FINCH, Nutt. Min., vol. i. p. 478. 
LAZULI FINCH, Fringilla amoena, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. p. 64, andp. 230. 

Adult Male in summer. 

Bill short, robust, conical, a little bulging, straight, acute; upper mandible broader, its dorsal outline somewhat convex, the ridge narrow, the sides sloping and a little convex, the edges sharp, with a slight notch close to the narrow declinate tip; gap-line a little deflected at the base; nostrils basal, roundish, partly concealed by the feathers; lower mandible with the angle short and rounded, the dorsal line ascending and very slightly convex, the sides rounded, the edges involute, the tip acute. 

Head of moderate size, broadly ovate; neck short; body rather full. Feet of ordinary length; tarsus much compressed, covered anteriorly with seven scutella, of which the upper are blended, posteriorly with two long plates, meeting so as to form a very thin edge; toes free, of moderate size, the first large, the lateral equal, the middle toe longer than the first. Claws slender, compressed, well arched, acute. 

Plumage full, soft, blended. Wings of ordinary length, the second and third quills longest, the first nearly one-twelfth of an inch shorter and about equal to the fourth; outer secondaries slightly emarginate, inner not elongated. Tail of moderate length, emarginate, of twelve obtuse feathers. Bill and feet brownish-black. The head and neck all round are of a beautiful greenish-blue, as are the hind part of the back and rump; the loral space black; the fore part of the back, the scapulars, the wings and tail are brownish-black, all the feathers margined with blue; the wing crossed by a conspicuous white band formed by the first row of small coverts, and an obscure band of bluish-white formed by the tips of the secondary coverts. On the fore part of the breast is a broad band of light brownish-red; the sides, lower wing-coverts, and tibial feathers are bluish-grey; the rest of the lower parts white. 

Length to end of tail 5 6/12 inches; bill along the ridge (4 3/4)/12; wing from flexure 3 1/12; tail 2 (4 1/2)/12; tarsus 8/12; hind toe 3/12, its claw 3/12; middle toe (6 1/2)/12, its claw (2 3/4)/12. 

Adult Female. 

The female has the bill and feet like those of the male; the upper parts light greyish-brown, the hind part of the back and the rump greenish-blue, but of a faint tint; the cheeks and throat pale reddish-grey; the lower part of the neck, and the fore part of the breast light greyish-red; the sides, lower wing-coverts, and tibial feathers light brownish-grey, the rest of the lower parts white. The wings and tail are blackish-brown, the feathers slightly edged with blue; the transverse bar on the wing narrower than in the male, and brownish-white. 

Length to end of tail 5 4/12 inches; bill along the ridge (4 3/4)/12; wing from flexure 2 10/12; tail 2 1/4; tarsus (7 1/2)/12, hind toe and claw 6/12; middle toe and claw 10/12. 

CASSIA OCCIDENTALIS, Willd., Sp. Pl., vol. ii. p. 518. Pursch, Flor. Amer., vol. i. p. 305.--DECANDRIA MONOGYNIA, Linn.--LEGUGIMINOSAE, Juss. 

This species is distinguished by its ovato-lanceolate, quinquejugate leaves, scabrous at the margin, the outer larger; its many-flowering capillary and somewhat panicled peduncles; and its linear, falciform legumes. It flowers through the summer, and grows chiefly in old fields, in the Southern States.

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