THE BLACK SISKIN.
Carduelis atrata, Lafr, et D’Orb. Syn. Av. i. p. S3 (1837).
Carduelis atrata, D’Orb. Voy. L’Amer. Merid. p. 364, pl. xlviii. fig. 2 (1835-44).
Fringilla atrata, Gray et Mitch. Gen. Birds, ii. p. 371 (1849).
Chrysomitris atrata, Bonap. Consp. Gen. Av. p. 515 (1850).
Fringilla atratus, Eyton, Catalogue of Birds, p. 257 (1856).
Chrysomitris atrata, Sclater, Catalogue Amer. Birds, p. 125 (1862).
Melanomitris atrata, Cassin, Proc. Acad. Nat. Se. Philad. 1865, p. 91.
Chrysomitris atrata, Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. 1867, pp. 322, 323.
Chrysomitris atrata, Scl. et Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1869, p. 152.
Fringilla atrata, Gray, Hand-List Birds, ii. p. 81 (1870).
Chrysomitris atrata, Scl. et Salv. Nom. Av. Neotr. p. 34 (1873).
Chrysomitris atrata, Tacz. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1874, p. 523.
Chrysomitris atrata, Scl. et Salv. Proc. Zool. Soc. 1879, p. 607.
Figure, D’Orb. Voy. L’Am. Mer. pl. xlviii. fig. 2.
English. Black Siskin.
French. Lc Tar in Noir.
German. Der Schwarze Zcisig.
Italian. Il Luearino Nero.
Habitat. Bolivia and High Peru.
Male. Black ; speculum, lower belly, under-wing and tail-coverts, and basal two-thirds of the tail bright lemon-yellow ; the yellow of the belly extending up to the centre of the breast ; outer margin of the first primary black ; an oblong yellowish white spot on the tertials ; secondaries tipped with white ; under surface of wing yellow, with blackish points ; iris brown ; bill dark slaty-brown, lower mandible paler ; legs blackish-brown : length 4.7, wing 3.0, tail 2.0, tars. 0.6, culm. 0.4.
Young Male. Like the adult, but paler, with a small elongated black shaft-spot on the two longest under tail-coverts.
Female. Similar to male ; duller, the yellow on the centre of the belly and breast, more extended ; the two black shaft-spots on the under tail-coverts, longer and broader than in the young male ; bill and legs as in the male.
Obs. The extent of the yellow markings of both sexes, depend upon age.
ALTHOUGH this curiously coloured Siskin was described by La Fresnaye and D’Orbigny in 1837, from specimens obtained by the latter at La Paz in Bolivia, comparatively little has been said respecting its habits.
M. D’Orbigny in his ‘Voyage Dans L’Amerique Meridionale,’ adds the following particulars to this species—“ This Goldfinch is proper only to the great ravines of La Paz in Bolivia at a height of 3,700 metres above the level of the sea, latitude 17° degrees south. It rests on the bushes, flys in small flocks, especially in the winter, it is very familiar and has the manners of our European goldfinch. Its habits are lively, its flight easy and short. The people rear them in cages for their very agreeable song ; the Spaniards call it Gilguero and the Aymaras Chaljna.”
It was also obtained by Mr. Bridges in Bolivia, Mr. H. Whitely secured specimens at Pitumarca in High Peru, at an elevation of 11,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea-level, examples in my collection, were collected by Mr. Weishaupt at Mendoza in the Plata Confederation, and M. Jelski has lately procured it, with the nests and eggs at Jnnin in Central Peru, at an elevation of about 11,000 feet.
It is clear when we consider the altitude of the localities, in which this bird has been found, that it is exclusively a mountainous resident, keeping to the upper great valleys of the Andes, and occupying an area, as far as I am able to judge from the above localities, of about 11° n. lat. and 35° s. whether it extends its migration into Patagonia, we must leave to future observation.
The only account published respecting the nidification of this bird, is that given by M. L. Taczanowski in the 'Proceedings of the Zoological Society’ 1874, from the nests and eggs obtained by M. Jelski at Junin.
“The nests found on the 2Sth of April and the 8th of June, 1873, were composed of an irregular layer of moss, mixed with a little wool, sprigs of dry herbs, small roots and branches, on this layer is arranged the nest of wool and different kinds of hair ; rarely have they any feathers. All this construction is heavy and solid ; the interior is rather deep but carefully arranged. Height 4.5, breadth 13, diameter of the interior 4.5, depth 2.5 centim. M. Jelski found them under thatched roofs.
“ The eggs are greenish white and present different varieties of mark¬ing, some have a large ring composed of very small reddish spots on the upper end, and darker ones scattered over the surface, while others are more spotted and streaked with blackish-brown.
“Dimensions 18.6—13.3, 19.2—13, 19.2—13.1, 19.6—13.6 millim.” The following specimens are in my collection.
No. Sex. Mus. Locality. Length. Wing. Tail. Tars. Culm.
a Male E. B. La Paz, Bolivia (D'Orbigny) 4.7 3.1 2.1 0.6 0.4
b Male E. B. Interior of Bolivia (Bridges) 4.7 3 2 0.6 0.4
c Male E. B. Mendoza, Plata Confed (Weishaupt) 4.9 3.1 2.2 0.6 0.4
d Female E. B. Mendoza, Plata Confed (Weishaupt) 4.8 3.1 2.1 0.5 0.4
e Female E. B. Mendoza, Plata Confed (Weishaupt) 4.9 3.1 2.1 0.5 0.4
f Male E. B. Mendoza, Plata Confed (Weishaupt) 4.8 3.1 3.1 0.7 0.4
The figures are taken from b and e.