THE ALAUDINE FINCH.
Fringilla alaudina, Kittl. Kupf. Vog. p. 18, pl. 23, fig. 2 (1832).
Fringilla alaudina, Gould, Dam. Zool. Beagle, p. 91 (1811).
Fringilla alaudina, Fraser, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1843, p. 113.
Fringilla alaudina, Russ, Stubenvogel, p. 476 (1879).
Emberiza guttata, Meyen, Nova Acta Acad. Leop. xvi. Suppl, p. 85, pl. 12, fig. 1 (1834).
Emberiza guttata, D’Orb. et Lafr. Mag. de Zool. 1837, p. 78.
Passerina guttata, Eydoux et Gerv. Mag. de Zool. 1836, p. 22, pl. 70.
Euspiza alaudina, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 376 (1844).
Chlorospiza alaudina, Gay, Fauna Chilena, Zool. p. 357 (1847).
Chlorospiza alaudina, Phil. An. Univ. de Chile, xxxi. 1868, p. 265.
Fringilla (Niphoea) laciniata, Peale, United S. Expl. Exped. viii. p. 121 (1848).
Phrygilus guttatus, Licht. Nomencl. Av. Mus. Berol, p. 43 (1854). Corydospiza alaudina, Sundev. Av. Disp. Tent. p. 33 (1872).
Phrygilus alaudinus, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. p. 476 (1850) : Cab. Mus. Hein. i. p. 135 (1851) ; Burm. Syst. Ueber. Th. Bras. iii. p. 233 (1856) ; Eyton, Cat. Birds, p. 251 (1856) ; Cassin, United Stat. Expl. Exped. p. 136 (1858) ; Scl. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1858, p. 552, 1860, p. 87, Cat. Amer. Birds,p. 111 (1862) ; Scl. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 322 ; Scl. et Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, p. 985, 1868, pp. 568, 569 ; Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 89 (1870) ; Scl. Proc. Zool. Soc : 1871, p. 496 ; Scl. et Salv. Nomencl. Av. Neotr, p. 31 (1873) ; Tacz. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1874, p. 521 ; Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1883, p. 421 ; Scl. Vert. Anim. Gard. Zool. Soc. p. 249 (1883) ; Berl, et Tacz. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1884, p. 294, 1885, p. 85 ; Tacz.
Ornith. Perou, iii. p. 35 (1886); Sharpe, Cat. Birds Brit. Mus. xii. p. 793 (1888).
Figures. Kittl. Kupf. Vog. pl. 23, fig. 2. Meyen, Nova Acta Acad. Leop. pl. 12, fig. 1. Eydoux et Gerv. Mag. de Zool, pi. 70.
English. Alaudine Finch, or Lark Finch.
German. Der Lerchen-Ammersperling.
Chilian. Pichiquina. Platero.
Habitat. Chili, Bolivia, and High Peru, extending its range into Ecuador.
Male. Head, whole of back, chin, throat, chest, and sides of body nearly uniform slaty- grey ; lores slaty-black ; mantle and scapulars broadly striated with brownish-black ; rump and upper tail-coverts a little paler than the back ; primaries, secondaries, greater and median wing-coverts dull black, edged with silvery-grey, browner on the secondaries ; lesser wing-coverts, axillaries, and under wing-coverts bright slaty-grey ; tail dull black, with an elongated white patch on the inner webs of all the feathers, except the two centre ones, which are dull brown ; basal half of the outer webs of the first rectrices white ; belly, flanks, thighs, and under tail-coverts white ; “iris dark brown ; legs and feet light chrome-yellow ” (If. Whitely) : length 5.65, wing 3.05, tail 2.5, tars. 0.85, culm. 0.5.
Female. Above pale earthy-brown, greyish on the hind neck, rump, and upper tail-coverts, each feather more or less narrowly and broadly streaked with dull brown ; primaries pale brown, slightly edged with greyish-white on the outer webs ; secondaries, greater and median wing-coverts darker brown, broadly edged with buff and pale reddish- brown ; lesser coverts pale slaty-grey ; tail as in the male, but narrowly edged, and tipped with silvery-grey ; cheeks, sides of neck, and breast pale buff, narrowly striated with brown ; lores, chin, and throat buffish-white ; sides of body like the back ; belly, flanks, thighs, and under tail-coverts white ; under surface of wing and axillaries silvery grey ; bill yellowish-brown; feet yellow: length 5.45, wing 2.85, tail 2.25, tars. 0.8, culm. 0.45.
Young. Above earthy brown, centre of each feather very broadly marked with dark dull brown ; wings, coverts, and tail dull brown, with very faint buff edges ; median coverts edged with white ; sides of face, neck, and breast dirty white, streaked with ashy brown ; sides darker ; lores, chin, and throat dirty white ; belly, flanks, thighs, and under tail-coverts white ; the white patches on the inner webs of rectrices very small ; under surface of wing and axillaries silvery-grey ; bill and feet yellowish-brown : length 5.7, wing 2.85, tail 2.35, tars. 0.85, culm. 0.5.
Observ. From a series of thirty specimens of both sexes in my own collection, I am enabled to form a continuous series of phases in the plumage of this beautiful bird. The very old males become pure slaty-grey on the back, throat, and breast, with black centres to the feathers of the mantle and scapulars ; some have blackish tips to the feathers of the nape and hind neck, while others have a patch of buffish-red, faintly striated with brown on the nape, the inner secondaries being broadly edged with reddish-brown. The young males are greatly varied with slaty-grey, with the whole of the upper parts striated with dark brown. The lesser wing-coverts of the adult male, female, and young are remark¬able for their uniform slaty-grey.
THE Alaudine Finch was first described by F. H. von Kittlitz in his 'Kupfertafeln zur Naturgeschichte der Vogel,’ in 1832, under the name of Fringilla alaudina ; in 1831 Meyen redescribed it under the name of Emberiza guttata, having a female or immature specimen for his type. Mr. G. Gray in 1844 placed the species under the genus Euspiza ; C. Gay in his ‘Fauna Chilena,’ 1847, selected Chlorospiza for the generic term. It was not until 1850 that Bonaparte in his ‘Conspectus Generum Avium’ restored it to the genus Phrygilus, and in 1872 Sundevall created a new generic appellation (Corydospiza) for it.
This beautiful delicate grey bird is an inhabitant of the mountainous regions of Chili, Bolivia, Peru, and Ecuador ; and from the number of localities in which it has been procured, and the various seasons of its capture. I was led to suppose that it migrated into the two latter places. However, I have come to the conclusion that it is a permanent resident throughout the year. The climate of these countries at the altitudes in which it is found varies but little ; probably the great snowstorms during the winter season may drive it down from the higher ranges of the Andes to the warmer and more sheltered valleys and plains of the coast.
In Chili, however, it appears to be more abundant than in any other part of the western slopes of the Cordillera. M. A. D’Orbigny collected his specimens at Sicasica in Bolivia. Mr. Charles Darwin “obtained it in the neighbourhood of Valparaiso.” Mr. Bridges says : “ This little bird makes its appearance in the summer months ; inhabits corn-fields ; builds its nest on the ground, and lays from four to five whitish eggs with brown spots. The native name is Pichiquina.” Mr. Peale “obtained it in the vicinity of Valparaiso, Chili, in the month of May, at which season it is not common ; it frequents low bushes, and is much on the ground. Its general habits and appearance resemble those of the Snow-bird of North America (Niphoea hyemalis) ; the tail, however, appears bordered with black while the birds are flying, instead of having the white margin of the northern species.”
It was procured by Mr. L. Fraser above Punin, near Riobamba in Ecuador, at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet above the sea-level, where he says it is found “on the small bushes and stones, taking flight like a Flycatcher or Humming-bird, although no insects were found in the stomach.” He also sent home examples of this bird from Calacali, which is situated at a height of 8,000 feet above the sea-level, where he remarks it was “not uncommon ; food, small seeds and grubs ; lives entirely on the ground amongst the heather ; when disturbed, takes an undulating flight for about sixty or eighty yards.”
Among the collections made during Mr. H. Whitely’s travels in West Peru, many examples of this species in all phases of plumage were pro¬cured ; he first met with it at Islay, a seaport town below Arequipa ; in this latter locality, at an elevation of 7,800 feet above the sea-level, the bird was more abundant. “A nest of this species, taken near Arequipa in March 1868, is in Mr. Whitely’s collection ; it is described as made of coarse grass, lined with finer grass and placed on the ground in fields of lucerne. The eggs are very like those of our Yellow-hammer (Emberiza Gitrmelln).” Professor W. Nation says : “In 1867 I discovered this beautiful bird on a large plain, covered with low bushes, a few miles from Lima. It was feeding on the ground, after the manner of a Zonofrichia. Sub-sequently I have made hundreds of visits to this plain, and have shown the examples to many sportsmen, but have neither seen it again myself nor been able to obtain any information respecting it. I am therefore of opinion that its occurrence in this plain was accidental, and hope to dis¬cover its true abode in some of the valleys of the Andes.”
M. Jelski found it plentiful near Lima and Haunta in W. Peru. Capt. A. H. Markham sent it from Coquimbo, and from the volcanic region of Chimborazo, in Ecuador ; M. Stolzmann has sent examples, which were collected in April.
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.65 3.05 2.5 0.85 0.5
b Male E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.75 2.95 2.4 0.85 0.5
c Male E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.9 3.05 2.5 0.9 0.5
d Male E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.45 2.9 2.35 0.85 0.5
e Male E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.75 3 2.45 0.9 0.5
f Female E. Bartlett. Arequipa, Peru (H. Whitely). 5.7 2.85 2.35 0.85 0.5
g Male E. Bartlett. Tinta, Peru (H Whitely). 5.9 3.1 2.6 0.9 0.5
h Male E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.75 3.1 2.6 0.85 0.5
i Male E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 6.05 3.05 2.5 0.85 0.5
j ? Imm. E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.6 3.05 2.45 0.85 0.5
k Male E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.6 3.05 2.4 0.85 0.5
l Female E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.5 2.95 2.3 0.8 0.45
m Male E. Bartlett. Santiago, Chili (Weisshaupt). 5.55 3.05 2.5 0.8 0.5
n Female E. Bartlett. Santiago, Chili (Weisshaupt). 5.05 2.75 2.2 0.8 0.45
o Female E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.3 2.95 2.1 0.8 0.45
p Female E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.45 2.85 2.25 0.8 0.45
q Male E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.35 3 2.4 0.8 0.5
r Female E. Bartlett. Chili (Reed). 5.45 2.95 2.3 0.8 0.45
s Female E. Bartlett. Santiago, Chili (Weisshaupt). 5.8 2.95 2.45 0.8 0.5
t Male E. Bartlett. Santiago, Chili (Weisshaupt). 5 3 2.35 0.8 0.5
u jun. E. Bartlett. Chivinda, Ecuador (Buckley). 4.7 2.7 2 0.85 0.45
v w. adult. E. Bartlett. Chivinda, Ecuador (Buckley).
The figures (Plate II.) are taken from g and p in my own collection.