Birds – The Urubitingas (subfamily Urubitingince)

In as much as the Urubitingas appear to differ sufficiently to warrant their being made the type of a sub-family, they may claim a passing notice. Three species are known, all natives of the New World and mainly ranging south of the United States. The adult birds, which vary in length from twenty-two to about twenty-five inches, are of a uniform plumbeous black, with the upper tail-coverts, several bands across the tail, and the tip of the tail pure white. The Mexican Black Hawk (Urubitinga anthracina), the smallest of the three species, is found throughout tropical America in general, coming north into southern Arizona and Texas. It is a migratory species, returning to its summer :home the first part of April and retiring in October, frequenting while with us the dense trees and under-growth along streams, among which it disappears so quickly as to afford but a fleeting glance. In most cases they appear to be shy birds, though Major Bendire found them unusually tame near Tucson, Arizona, allowing him to approach within thirty feet. They have a very shrill, often-repeated cry, that is an almost exact counterfeit of that of the spring piping of the Long-billed Curlew. The nest, which is evidently occupied for a long series of years, is a bulky affair sometimes measuring four feet in depth and two feet in width, and is lined with green leaves. The nesting habits are not very well known, but it appears that one or two eggs constitute the set, these being white, marked over the entire surface with small irregular blotches of reddish brown.

The Brazilian Urubitinga (U. Urubitinga) is found from tropical America to the Argentine Republic, and the Mexican Urubitinga (U. u. ridgwayi) from Guatemala north to Vera Cruz and Mazatlan.