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Lewis & Clark as Naturalists
The Journals Lewis and Clark as Naturalists

Blue Grouse

Capt. Lewis, July 21, 1805--I also saw two fesants today of a dark brown colour much larger than the phesant of the U'States

Capt. Lewis, August 1, 1805--as I passed these mountains I saw a flock of the black or dark brown phesants; the young phesant is almost grown  we killed one of them.  this bird is fully a third larger than the common phesant of the Atlantic states.  it's form is much the same.  it is booted nearly to the toes and the male has not the tufts of long black feathers on the sides of the neck which are so conspicuous in those of the Atlantic.  their colour is a uniform dark brown with a small mixture of yellow or yelloish brown specks on some of the feathers particularly those of the tail, tho' the extremities of these are perfectly black for about one inch.  the eye is nearly black, the iris has a small dash of yellowish brown.  the feathers of the tail are reather longer than that of our phesant or pattridge as they are Called in the Eastern States;  are the same in number or eighteen and all nearly of the same length, those in the intermediate part being somewhat longest.  the flesh of this bird is white and agreeably flavored. 

Capt. Lewis, April 16, 1806--Joseph Feilds brought me a black pheasant which he had killed; this I found on examination to be the large black or dark brown pheasant I had met with on the upper part of the Missouri.  it is as large as a well grown fowl   the iris of the eye is of a dark yellowish brown, the puple black, the legs are booted to the toes, the tail is composed of 18 black feathers tiped with bluish white, of which the two in the center are reather shorter than the others which area all of the same length.  over the eye there is a stripe of a 1/4 of an inch in width uncovered with feathers of a fine orrange yellow.  the wide spaces void of feathers on the side of the neck are also of the same colour.  I had some parts of this bird preserved.

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