(Fringilla montium, Linn.—La Linotte de Montagne, Buff.)
A pair of these birds, male and female, with their nest and six eggs, were obligingly presented to this work, by the Author's late pupil, Mr John Laws, of Heddon Laws, Northumberland. He shot them on Callerton Fell, near their nest, on the 15th June, 1821; their stomachs were filled with the seed of the dandelion. The male measured, stretched out, five inches in length, and nine in breadth; the female was a little larger. The bill is thick and short, and of a pale flesh red; nostrils covered with a hairy kind of feathers; irides hazel; the space above and below the eye pale tawny brown; the throat and fore part of the neck the same; the sides and hinder part of the latter whitish, spotted with brown. The whole of the upper plumage is of a darker cast than the rest of this genus, the middle of the feathers being dusky, edged with dull pale brown: the greater coverts tipped with white; the primary and secondary quills dusky, the former slightly edged on the exterior webs with pale brown, the latter with white; the tail is forked, and of a very dark brown, slightly edged half way to the tips with a lighter colour; and towards the base the outer webs are more distinctly margined with white, and the inner webs are still more deeply edged with that colour. The rump is bright lake coloured crimson; the breast and sides are pale dull brown, rather indistinctly marked with spots and stripes of a darker shade; the belly is of a pale silvery blue; the vent feathers white with a streak of black down the middle one; the legs and toes dusky. The female nearly resembles the male, only she is without the red feathers of the rump. These birds frequent the solitary wastes of moors and fells, and make their nest in the whin bushes, or near the tops of the tallest heath, with which these places abound. The nest is composed of a great quantity of heath and dry grass, and slightly lined with wool and feathers: the eggs are pale bluish green, spotted with brown. Latham treats of the Twite as a variety of the Mountain Linnet, while Pennant accounts it to be of the same species.
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