Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Bobolink, Bob-o-link, Boblink (Dolichonyx oryzivorus), the popular name of the single species of Dolichonyx, a genus of Hang-nests (q.v.). It is a migratory bird, found in the summer all over the American continent, from Canada to Paraguay, passing the winter in the West Indies, where, in some parts, it is known as the Butter-bird, from its plumpness, and, as in America, is highly valued for the table. These birds arrive in the Southern States about the middle of March, and then do good service to the farmers by destroying worms, insects, and larvae. They continue their flight northwards, and rarely breed south of 40° N. On their return journey south they commit great depredations in the rice-fields, especially before the grain has fully ripened. At this time they are in excellent condition, and are shot in great numbers for the market. From their frequenting the rice-fields they are known as Rice-birds, Rice-buntings, or Rice-troopials. The male is rather more than 7 inches long, and in his summer plumage has the head, fore part of the back, shoulders, wings, tail, and under-surface black, scapulars, rump, and upper tail feathers white, patch of yellow on the nape. From its black and white plumage it is sometimes called the Skunk-bird, apparently for no better reason than that its coloration resembles that of the unsavoury quadruped. After the breeding season the male assumes the plumage of the female - brownish-black above, dirty yellow beneath - and the young males are like the females. The ordinary popular name is derived from the note of the bird, which has considerable vocal power, and is often kept as a cage-bird in the United States.