Plate 154

Tennessee Warbler

So very rare does this little bird seem to be in the United States, that in the course of all my rambles I never saw more than three individuals of the species. The first was procured near Bayou Sara, in the State of Louisiana, in the spring of 1821, when I drew it with the holly twig on which it was standing when I shot it. The second I obtained in Louisiana also, not many miles from the same spot, in the autumn of 1829, and the last at Key West, in May 1832. Of its migrations or place of breeding I know nothing. 

It is an active and nimble species, an expert catcher of flies, fond of hanging to the extremities of branches, like several others of the tribe. It utters a single mellow tweet, as it passes from one branch to another in search of food, or while on the wing, when it moves in a desultory manner for some distance, diving suddenly towards the tree on which it intends to alight. All the individuals which I procured were males. 

TENNESSEE WARBLER, Sylvia peregrina, Wils. Amer. Orn., vol. iii. p. 83. 
SYLVIA PEREGRINA, Bonap. Syn., p. 87. 
TENNESSEE WARBLER, Sylvia peregrina, Nutt. Man., vol. i. p. 412.
TENNESSEE WARBLER, Sylvia peregrina, Aud. Orn. Biog., vol. ii. p. 307. 

Bill of moderate length, thick at the base, tapering, straight, acute; upper mandible nearly straight in its dorsal outline, the edges sharp, without a notch. Nostrils basal, oval, covered above by a membrane, and partially concealed by the feathers. Head of ordinary size, neck short, body rather slender. Feet of ordinary length, rather slender; tarsus compressed, covered anteriorly with a few long scutella, sharp behind; toes slender, free, the outer united to the second joint, the hind-toe proportionally large; claws arched, slender, much compressed, acute. 

Plumage blended, soft. Wings longish, little curved; the second and third quills longest. Tail rather longish, nearly even, the lateral feathers bent outwards. 

Bill dark brown, paler beneath. Iris hazel. Feet brown, tinged with blue. The general colour above is yellow-olive, the head darker, the under parts cream-coloured, fading behind into white. A pale yellow line over the eye; quills dark-brown, the primaries margined with yellowish-grey; the wings without bands. 

Length 4 1/2 inches, extent of wings 8; bill along the back (4 1/2)/12, along the edge 6/12; tarsus 8/12. 


ILEX LAXIFLORA, Pursch, Fl. Amer. Sept., vol. i. p. 117.--TETRANDRIA TETRAGYNIA, Linn.--RHAMMI, Juss. 

Leaves ovate, sinuato-dentate, spinous, shiny, flat; peduncles supra-axillar, aggregated on the younger branches. An evergreen shrub, with yellowish-red berries.

For more on this species, see its entry in the Birds of North America Field Guide.