A pendent occipital crest, variegated with green, purple, and white.
D. Sponsa, Faun. Bor. Amer. part ii. p. 446. Summer Duck, Lath. Syn. vol.m. p. 546. Wils. Amer. Orn. vol. viii. p.97. pl. 70. f. 3. (Trachea,) Mont. Orn. Diet. Supp. App. last plate, f. 5.
Entire length twenty-one inches: length of the bill (above) one inch four lines and a half, (to gape) one inch ten lines; of tarsus one inch six lines; of middle toe and claw two inches; of tail four inches six lines; of folded wing nine inches. Faun. Bor. Am.
(Male). Head above, and space between the eye and the bill, glossy dark green; cheeks, and a large patch on the sides of the throat, purple, with blue reflections; pendent occipital crest of green and auricula purple, marked with two narrow white lines, one of them terminating behind the eye, the other extending over the eye to the bill; sides of the neck purplish red, changing on the front of the neck and sides of the breast to brown, and there spotted with white: scapulars, wings and tail, exhibiting a play of duck-green, purple, blue, and velvet-black, colours; interscapulars, posterior part of the back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, blackish green and purple; several of the lateral coverts reddish orange; a hairlike, splendent, reddish purple tuft on each side of the rump; the under coverts brown: chin, throat, a collar round the neck, a crescentic bar on the ears, the middle of the breast, and whole of the abdomen, white: flanks yellowish gray, finely undulated with black: the tips of the long feathers, and also of those on the shoulder, broadly barred with white and black: inner wing-coverts white, barred with brown: almost all the coloured plumage shows a play of colours with metallic lustre: bill red; a space between the nostrils, its tip, margins, and lower mandible, black: legs orange. Faun. Bor. Am. (Female). Without the fine lines on the flanks, and the hair-like tufts on the sides of the rump: crest shorter: the plumage less vivid, particularly about the head, where it is mostly brown. Faun. Bor. Am. (Egg). Smooth; yellowish white: long. diam. one inch ten lines; trans, diam. one inch six lines.
A pair of these birds, male and female, were shot about two or three years since near Dorking in Surrey, but as the species is strictly a native of America, and is often kept in aviaries, its claims to a place in the British Fauna must be considered as extremely doubtful. It is probable that the above individuals had escaped from confinement. Common in Mexico, and other parts of North America; breeding in hollow trees. Said to lay thirteen eggs. Food, according to Wilson, principally acorns, seeds of the wild oats, and insects.