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surfaces of middle tail-feathers barred with black and dull white, those of the outer feathers being greyish white, also with darker bars; legs and toes yellow; claws black. The nest is built on the ground, of sticks or rushes, and coarse grass ; it contains four or five eggs of a white colour, but more or less slightly tinged with blue, one inch eight lines long by one inch four lines broad. The males occasionally sit as well as the females.
MONTAGUE'S HARRIER (Circus cineraceus). This rare variety of the harrier is known as the Ashcoloured Falcon, and may be distinguished from the hen harrier by possessing greater slenderness of body and length of wings, which slightly extend beyond the tail. In other respects and in its habits it closely resembles its congener, and it is therefore unnecessary to describe it.
THE SPARROW-HAWK (Accipiter nisus). This is a short-winged hawk, very common in the wooded districts of England, Ireland, and Scotland. It is a remarkably bold bird,
and a dangerous enemy to young game of all kinds, having been known to strike a partridge as big as itself.
The adult male measures twelve inches in length. Beak blue; cere greenish yellow; iris yellow; all the upper parts of head, neck, and body of a rich brown, with a tinge of grey in old birds; tail greyish brown, with three bars of dark brown; under parts light reddish brown with transverse bars of a darker colour; legs and toes yellow; claws black. The female is fifteen inches long; beak bluish horn colour; cere and iris yellow; upper parts of head, neck, and body brown, with whitish spots; primaries and tail light brown, barred with darker brown; all the under parts greyish white barred with brown; legs and toes yellow; claws long and black,
The young males resemble the female excepting in size, and in having a reddish brown edge to the feathers of the back and wing coverts. This bird seldom builds its own
nest, but takes possession of that of the crow or jay, in which the female lays from four to five eggs of a pale bluish white, blotched with dark red and brown, one inch seven lines long, and one inch four lines broad.
The Hobby (Hypotriorchis subbuteo). This is a miniature peregrine falcon, and is only a summer visitor, appearing in this country in April, and leaving in October. Its habits, however, do not resemble those of its larger likeness, inasmuch as it prefers woodlands in the interior of the country. It is not very destructive to game, preferring smaller birds, such as the lark, which it is so fond of pursuing as to have obtained the name of alaudarius. It also feeds on the larger coleoptera. The hobby is about twelve to fourteen inches in length, the female being the larger, but not otherwise differing from the male. The bill is bluish black; cere greenish yellow; iris dark brown; upper parts of the head, neck, and body greyish black, each feather being edged with dirty white; wing feathers black, edged also with dirty white; two middle tail feathers greyish black; the outer ones slightly barred with a lighter shade; chin and sides of the neck white; cheek black; under parts yellowish white, streaked with brownish black; under tail coverts white; legs and toes yellow; claws black.
In young birds the plumage has a reddish tinge. The nest is built in a high tree, of twigs, but like the sparrowbawk, it often takes possession of that belonging to another bird. It lays three or four eggs of a dirty white, speckled with reddish brown; length one inch eight lines, breadth one inch four lines.
THE MERLIN (Hypotriorchis æsalon). This is the least of the British hawks, and is remarkable for its beauty and courage, a male not more than six ounces in weight having been known to kill a partridge more than double its size. Curiously enough, while the hobby is only a summer visitor, this bird, which closely resembles it,
a comes over to us from beyond the seas in the winter, though