461. Mealy Redpoll.
Linota linaria (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 322 (1766) ; (Naum.) v. p. 173, Taf. 126 ; Audubon, B. Amer. pl. 375 (Gould), B. of Gt. Brit. iii. pl. 51 ; Newton, ii. p. 133 ; Dresser, iv. p. 37, pl. 187 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xii. p. 245 ; Saunders, p. 189 ; Lilford, iv. p. 57, pl. 28 ; L. canescens, (Gould), B. of E. iii. pl. 193 ; (Hewitson), i p. 202, pl. li.
Sizerin boreal, French ; Birkenzeisig, Bergzeisig, Gorman ; Organetto, Ital. ; Barmsijsje, Dutch ; Graasidsken, Dan. ; Graasiske, Norw. ; Grasiska, Swed. ; Urpovarpunen, Finn. ; Tchetchotka, Russ.
Male ad. (Sweden). Forehead and fore-crown deep blood-red ; upper parts generally blackish brown, the feathers margined with pale brown or brownish white, rump much paler and washed with red ; wings and tail blackish brown, the former and the middle rectrices margined with white ; larger and median wing-coverts tipped with white forming two alar bars ; lores and chin black ; throat and upper breast rose-pink, the rest of under parts white ; flanks streaked with blackish brown ; bill dark horn-brown, yellowish at the base ; legs and iris dark brown. Culmen 0.38, wing 3.08, tail 2.58, tarsus 0.58 inch. The female resembles the male but is smaller and lacks the red in the plumage. In the winter the feathers have the light margins much broader, the red in the male being almost hidden, and the bill is yellow, tipped with brown.
Hab. The high North of both the Old and New Worlds ; migrating South for the whiter.
Extremely active and lively in its general habits, it consorts with Titmice and other small birds in the winter, and roves about the groves, woods, and fields where there are trees and bushes in search of food, but in the summer are found in pairs in the open portions of the forests. Its food consists of seed and in the summer of insects of various kinds. Its call-note resembles that of the Canary, and its song is a prolonged trill and a soft twitter ; in the winter when in flocks they utter a soft twittering note. It breeds in the high north, and places its nest, which is a neat structure of fine birch-twigs, vegetable stems, and moss, carefully lined with plant-down and feathers, in a tree generally about 10 feet from the ground, but rarely on or close to the ground. The eggs from 4 to 6 in number are deposited in May or June and are pale greenish blue sparingly blotched and blurred with dull rufous and measure about 0.71 by 0.5. This species is subject to considerable variation and two subspecies L. holboelli (Brehm) and L. rostrata (Coues) have been recognised but I cannot consider either as fairly separable.
461. Linota linaria
461. Mealy Redpoll.