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This well-marked species, which has not hitherto been described or figured, was procured in the neighbourhood of Toronto in Upper Canada, by a gentleman who presented me with two specimens of it, a male and a female, but who has requested me not to mention his name. I am informed by this close observer of nature that its habits are as nearly as possible the same as those of the Hairy Woodpecker, Picus villosus, and that its eggs, which rarely exceed six in number, are pure white and translucent. In honouring this species with the name of Miss MARIA MARTIN, I cannot refrain from intimating the respect, admiration, and sincere friendship which I feel towards her, and stating that, independently of her other accomplishments, and our mutual goodwill, I feel bound to make some ornithological acknowledgment for the aid she has on several occasions afforded me in embellishing my drawings of birds, by adding to them beautiful and correct representations of plants and flowers.
MARIA'S WOODPECKER, Picus Martinae, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. v. P. 181.
Male, 9 2/12; wing, 4 (10 1/2)/12.
A pair found at Toronto, Upper Canada.
Bill about the length of the head, straight, strong, angular, compressed toward the tip, which, however, is not truncate, but very slightly cuneate or worn on the sides. With this exception it is very similar to that of Picus villosus and P. canadensis. Upper mandible with the dorsal line almost straight, being very slightly convex, the ridge very narrow, the sides sloping and flat, or slightly concave, the lateral angle or ridge about half-way at its commencement between the ridge and the margin, but in its course gradually approximating the latter, and ending upon it about a fourth from the tip, edges sharp, direct, overlapping, tip rather acute. Lower mandible with the angle short and rather wide, the crural line a little concave, the dorsal ascending and slightly convex, the ridge narrow, the sides convex, the edges sharp and inclinate, the tip narrow. Nostrils oblong, basal, concealed by the feathers, and placed near the margin.
Head large, ovate; neck rather short; body full. Feet very short; tarsus short, compressed, feathered anteriorly about half-way down, with five large scutella in the rest of its extent, scaly and sharp-edged behind; toes four; first small and stout; fourth longest and directed backwards; second and third toe united at the base; all scutellate above. Claws large, much curved, compressed, laterally grooved, very acute.
Plumage very soft, full, and blended. A large tuft of reversed stiffish feathers on each side of the base of the upper mandible, concealing the nostrils; the feathers in the angle of the lower mandible also stiffish, elongated and directed forwards. Wings rather long; the first quill very small, being only an inch and five-twelfths long, the second half an inch shorter than the third, which is half a twelfth shorter than the fourth, the latter being the longest, and exceeding the fifth by two-twelfths; secondaries broadly rounded. Tail of moderate length, cuneate, of twelve feathers, of which the lateral, which are rounded and unworn, are only an inch and a twelfth long, the next, also unworn, are one inch shorter than the middle, which are pointed but slit, having the shaft broken off at a little distance from the tip, all the rest more or less pointed, and either entire or slit.
Bill dusky. Iris brown. Feet bluish-grey. The upper parts are black, spotted with white, the lower greyish-white. The tufts of bristly feathers over the nostrils, and in the angle of the lower mandible, are dull yellow; the upper part of the head is scarlet, the forehead and occiput are black; over each eye is a band of white; a black band from the bill to the eye, continued behind it over the auriculars, and joining the black of the hind neck; beneath this black band is one of white, proceeding from the angle of the mouth and curving backwards below the middle of the neck, so as almost to meet its fellow behind; this band is succeeded by another of black, proceeding from the base of the lower mandible, and continuous with the black of the shoulders. All the upper parts may be described as black, tinged with brown behind; the feathers along the middle of the back tipped with white, excepting on the rump; the wing-coverts and quills spotted with the same, there being on the four longest primaries seven spots on the outer, and four on the inner web, on most of the secondaries five on each web, but on the outer quill only one patch on each web, and on the second four spots on the outer and three on the inner web. The four middle tail-feathers are glossy black, the next black on the inner web, and the greater part of the outer toward the base, the rest black only at the base, the two outermost being almost entirely white. The lower parts are white, tinged with grey, and a little red; the sides faintly mottled with dusky grey; lower wing-coverts white, with a dusky patch toward the edge of the wing.
Length to end of tail 9 2/12 inches; bill along the ridge 1, along the edge of lower mandible 1 1/4; wing from flexure 4 (10 1/2)/12; tail 3 3/12; tarsus 10/12; first toe 3/12, its claw (2 1/2)/12; second toe 6/12, its claw (5 1/2)/12; third toe (7 1/2)/12, its claw (6 1/4)/12; fourth toe (7 3/4)/12, its claw 6/12.
The female, which is somewhat smaller, differs in external appearance only in having the upper parts duller and tinged with brown, the lower more tinged with grey, and the bright patch on the head of a yellowish-red tint and of much less extent.
This species is very nearly allied to Picus villosus, and is very similar in its colours, but differs in having the mandibles pointed, in being larger, in having the top of the head red or yellowish-red, and in having its fourth toe longer than the third.