497 WESTERN SHORE LARK
|Here, reader, is another of those species which, by its general
habits as well as appearance, I did not notice until this moment;
afraid, indeed, of promulgating an error myself before the world of
naturalists that exist, and who do not excuse an error, unless indeed
that error is committed by themselves. Now, however, that years have
elapsed, and that in the meantime I have had ample opportunities of
watching this species, and of comparing it with our Alauda alpestris, I
have not hesitated to figure it, and present it to you as a good
species, not hitherto placed in my works on the ornithology of our
This species is quite common on all the western prairies which I lately visited, and is also found in Texas, as well as in several portions of South America. It breeds on the prairies, forming its nest somewhat imbedded in the ground, and raises only one brood in a season. As I have already said, in all its habits, its manner of flight, &c. it resembles the Alpestris. It differs, however, materially from the latter, by its smaller size, and by having the whole of its tail feathers of the same dark colour, unlike, in that particular, its relative, which has the two middle ones of the same light colour as the coverts of that part.
WESTERN SHORE LARK, Alauda rufa, Lath.
Western States, and generally distributed.
Male with two erectile pointed tufts of feathers on the anterior lateral parts of the head. Upper parts dusky-brown, the feathers paler on the edges; on the forehead a recurved crescentic band of black; another curved downwards, proceeding on its side from the base of the upper mandible; a band of white on the eye; throat pale yellow, with a broad black patch on the lower neck, the rest of the lower parts brownish-white; quills dusky, tail feathers blackish.
Total length about 5 1/2 inches; wing from flexure 4. Second quill longest. Bill along the ridge 3/8, along the edge 1/2; tarsus 3/4; middle toe 1/2, its claw 1/4; hind toe 1/4, its claw 3/8. Bill, feet and claws, black, irides hazel.
The female is somewhat smaller, but is marked as in the male. The lateral tail feathers of the latter are edged outwardly with dull white.
The eggs, four or five in number, measure 7/8 of an inch in length by 5/8 in breadth. The ground colour is light blue, freckled all over with light umber spots, so thickly concentrated towards the larger end as entirely to conceal the general colour.