Subfamily TOTANINAE

The Curlews, Godwits, Sandpipers, and Stints agree in having a slender, generally rather lengthened bill, more or less richly provided with nerves, and consequently endowed with a delicate tense of touch, an essential qualification when this organ is used to search in mud and wet sand for the annelids and other small animals on which the bird feeds. This is far less the case with Curlews and Sandpipers than with the Stints. All the genera of this subfamily (except Numenius, in which the back of the tarsus is reticulated) have the tarsus scutulate or transversely shielded both in front and behind, and all undergo a considerable change of plumage at the spring moult, and have a distinct summer and winter garb. In only one genus is there any decided difference in plumage between the sexes, and in that case it is confined to the breeding dress.

All the birds of this subfamily are winter visitors to India, only one species being known to breed even in the Himalayas.

Key to the Genera.

a. Toes not fringed by a lobed web like a Coot's.
a1. Toes partially webbed at the base.
a2. Bill long, curved downwards…………………………NUMENIUS, p. 251'.
b2. Bill straight or slightly curving upwards.
a3. Bill longer than tail.
a4. Bill not broader at end…………………………LIMOSA, p. 254.
b4. Bill Snipe-like, broader at end and pitted…………………………MACRORHAMPHUS,
b3. Bill not longer than tail. [p. 257.
c4. Bill nearly twice as long as tarsus…………………………TEREKIA, p. 258.
d4. Bill shorter than tarsus or not much longer.
a5. Sexes alike…………………………TOTANUS, p. 259.
b5. Sexes in breeding-season different…………………………PAVONCELLA, p. 268.
b1. Toes divided to base; bill soft, flexible.
c2. No hind toe …………………………CALIDRIS, p. 270.
d2. A hind toe.
c3. Bill spoon-shaped, greatly expanded near tip…………………………EURYNORHYNCHUS, [p. 271.
d3. Bill slender, not spoon-shaped…………………………TRINGA, p. 272.
b. Anterior toes with a lobed web throughout…………………………PHALAROPUS, p. 280.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds
Reference: 
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol. 4. 1898.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily TOTANINAE
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1898
Page No: 
250
Volume: 
Vol. 4
id: 
2097

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