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occasionally uttered as the bird hovers on the wing, or flies from spray to spray.
Although a very shy bird, the Redstart occasionally takes up its quarters close to the house, and when once it has selected a site for its nest and hatched its young, it manifests such attachment for them as to allow a very near approach, and will even permit a visitor to stroke it as it sits upon the nest.
The beauty of its plumage, its sprightly and at times incessant song, and the good which it effects in ridding plants and fruit-trees of the green aphis, commend it to the notice and protection of all owners of gardens.
The Common Redstart has scarcely quitted our shores in autumn before its congener, the Black Redstart (Ruticilla tithys), arrives to pass the winter here, and occasionally even to linger on until the more familiar species returns again with the spring. But since it is properly regarded as a winter visitant to this country, any lengthened description of the species, and of its haunts and habits, would be out of
place here. I shall therefore merely observe that it may be distinguished from the Common Redstart by the sooty-black colour of the breast and belly, which parts in the other are orange-brown, and that it generally arrives about the first week in November, and remains until the end of March or beginning of April.
The origin of the specific name “titkys” seems to be somewhat doubtful, although several ornithologists have attempted an explanation. Hemprich and Ehrenberg (“Symbolæ Physicæ,” fol. bb), and Von Heuglin (“Orn. NordOst Afrika’s,” i. p. 334) have referred it to tírns, ultor, with which, however, in the opinion of Professor Newton (“ Ann. Mag. Nat. History," Ser. 4, x. p. 227), it can have nothing to do. Professor Newton himself, in the magazine just quoted, and in a footnote to his edition of Yarrell's “ History of British Birds,” i. p. 333, writes: “Sylvia tithys (by mistake) Scopoli, Annus I. Historico-naturalis, p. 157 (1769). This naturalist admittedly took his specific
name from Linnæus, who spelt the word “titys' as did Gesner ; but the best classical authorities, Stephanus, Porson, and Passow, consider · titis' to be right. This originally meant a small chirping bird, and is possibly cognate with the first syilable of our titmouse and titlark.” After the opinion expressed by such authorities, it may appear somewhat presumptuous on my part to offer a suggestion; but there is yet another explanation, which has apparently been overlooked. Might not the word “ tithys” (more correctly “ tithus”) be derived from the Greek adjective τιθός, θή, θόν, which has the same signification as tifacts, that is,“ reared up in the house, domesticated.” Compare the domestic hens of Dioscorides, tilai õprobes. The term “ domesticated” would be well applied to the Black Redstart, which is a very familiar bird, frequently perching on house-tops and garden walls, and building in holes and crannies in the neighbourhood of man's dwelling.
EAVING the woods, gardens, and planta
tions, and proceeding to the river side, we meet with a very different class of birds—the river warblers. This is a very numerous family, and were we about to treat of all the known species, it might be advisable for simplicity's sake to group them into sub-families. As we are confining our attention, however, for the present, to those species only which have been met with in the British Islands, it will be less confusing if we dispense with this subdivision, and notice
them under the same generic name-Salicaria. The various members of this genus may be distinguished by their short wings, rounded tails, tarsus longer than the middle toe, large feet, long and curved claws, and large hind toe with strong curved claw. They differ, too, from other warblers in their habit of singing at night. There are eight species which have all more or less a claim to be included in the British list, although three only can be regarded as regular summer migrants. These three are the Sedge Warbler (S. phragmitis), the Reed Warbler (S. sirepera), and the Grasshopper Warbler (S. locustella). The others are Savi's Warbler (S. luscinoides), the Aquatic Warbler (S. aquatica), the Marsh Warbler (S. palustris), the Great Reed Warbler (S. arundinacea), and the Rufous Warbler (S. galactoides).
The Sedge Warbler and the Reed Warbler generally arrive much about the same time in April, but, from some unexplained cause, the latter is much more restricted in its distribution than the former. The Sedge Warbler is found