Birds of Seabrook Island

COAST BIRDS
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ANECDOTES

  Dickcissel
 
 

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  Order Passeriformes
   Suborder Passeres - Oscines (Song Birds)
      Parvorder Passerida (Superfamily Passeroidea)
         Nine-primaried Oscines
            Family Cardinalidae - Cardinals, Grosbeaks, Buntings

  Passerines are generally smaller than non-passerines. They have a perching foot with three toes directed forward and the one backward with locking tendons to facilitate perching when their tendons are flexed. All passerines scratch by bringing the foot over the wing. Incubation ranges from 11 -21 days. Young hatch blind with little or no down and spend 10-15 days or so in the nest - development is rapid and parents provide care beyond fledging.
Oscines are passerines with complex syringeal musculature used to produce varied vocalizations. 
Passeroids include the Nine-primaried Oscines, pipits, Old World sparrows, and weavers.
Nine-primaried Oscines include New World warblers, icterids (New World blackbirds), emberizines (buntings), tanagers, cardinalines (cardinals), and fringillines (finches).
Cardinalines are small to medium-sized nine-primaried oscines. They have a large conical bill used for cracking seeds and males may be brightly colored. They generally feed on the ground. Many are attracted to feeders in winter. The group includes residents and irruptive species which tend to appear in our area only in severe winters.
     
     
  Dickcissel, Spiza americana
 
    Cornell     USGS     Wiki     EoL
        YEAR-ROUND - Rare / Accidental
            PRAIRIE, FIELDS
 
 
   The Dickcissel is a bird of the mid-west prairie and open fields. It is dark with a gray nape a dark crown, a yellow supercilium around the eye, yellow on the cheek and a black V in the middle of the breast (in the male). It actually looks something like a House Sparrow. Its song is a series of short notes with an insect-like quality.
   There is some question about its classification. Sibley and Monroe, 1990 suggest it may be an icterid. Paynter, 1970, suggests it is an aberrant cardinalid (where it is currently placed). It is an outgroup to other cardinals. 
Dickcissel
     
Dickcissel. North Carolina.
Photo by Ed Konrad
   
  NOTES:
   Checklists -
      Coastal - very rare permanent resident. Hilton Head - accidental migrant. Cape Romain - accidental. Huntington Beach - exceptional October.
      ACE - accidental.
   SCBBA: 1 nest, Charleston Co. Several upstate.
   P&G: Rare and erratic breeder or vagrant. Rare fall migrant, very rare winter visitor. More widespread up to 1880.
   M&P: All breeding records are inland.
   Potter: Common in the Atlantic states during most of the last century but declining in the eastern part of its range. Today is is erratic east of the Appalachians -small breeding colonies may appear in weedy-fields of other open habitats in the piedmont and coastal plain. Individuals may appear at feeders in the late fall or early winter (often along the coast) . Breeding extends from mid-May through July.
    ●  Accidental. This is a strange bird - formerly classed with the emberizines.
       
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