(Turdus torquatus, Linn.—Le Merle ą Plastron Blanc, Buff.)
THIS bird very much resembles the Blackbird: its general colour is dull black; each feather margined with ash grey; the bill is dusky; corners of the mouth and inside yellow; eyes hazel; the breast is distinguished by a crescent of pure white, which almost surrounds the neck, and from which it derives its name: the legs are dusky brown. The female differs in having the crescent on the breast much less conspicuous, and, in some birds, wholly wanting, which has caused some authors to consider it as a different species, under the name of the Rock Ouzel.
Ring Ouzels are found in various parts of this kingdom, chiefly in the wilder and more mountainous districts: with this exception, their habits are similar to those of the Blackbird; the female builds her nest in the same manner, and in similar situations, and lays four or five eggs of the same colour: they feed on insects and berries of various kinds, are fond of grapes, and Buffon, observes, during the season of vintage are generally fat, and at that time are esteemed delicious eating. The same author says, that in France they are migratory. In some parts of this kingdom they have been observed to change places, particularly in Hampshire, where they are known generally to stay not more than a fortnight at one time. The foregoing representation was taken from one killed near Bedlington, Northumberland.
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