1216. Alauda gulgula australis

(1216) Alauda gulgula australis Brooks.
THE NILGIRI SMALL SKY-LARK.
Alauda gulgula australis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 320.
This race is confined to Southern India South of the imaginary line drawn from Khandeish to Masulipatam. It is also common in Ceylon, In Travancore Boudillon says that it occurs from the plains up to the tops of the highest hills in suitable open country, Whether cultivated or grass-lands. In the Nilgiris, also, it ascends to the summits of the highest hills, breeding freely on the wide grass slopes. In Ceylon Wait saya that it is a resident in the drier portion of the plains but does breed in the wetter parts. He has found it breeding on the Uva patanas at 4,500 feet and I have seen, the birds also at Newara Eliya. The nest is exactly like that of A. g. gulgula and is placed in similar positions but nearly always under the shelter of a tuft of grass or small bush, and seldom in cultivation. In Ceylon Wait says they also affect the sandy pasture-lands round the lagoons, nesting in depressions at the roots of the grass.
Bourdillon, in one of his notes to me, writes that they lay four to five eggs, but in a later note says three to four, and the former was probably a slip. Elsewhere everyone else has only found two or three eggs in a nest, and the only four I have seen was given to me by Bourdillon. In Ceylon two is the normal clutch, three exceptional.
In colour, shape and texture they are indistinguishable from those of the other races of Sky-Lark, and they go through the same variations but, as a series, they are distinctly pale, weakly-marked eggs.
Twenty eggs average 21.7 x 15.9 mm. : maxima 23.2 x 16.4 and 22.5 x 16.5 mm. ; minima 19.5 x 14.3 and 20.1 x 14.2 mm, A larger series would probably give a smaller average size.
Miss Cockburn gives an interesting note on their breeding habits in the Nilgiris (Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs,’ vol. ii, p. 223):—“They build twice a year, sometimes beginning as early as February, and continuing till May, Then again from August to October, and even later as I have noted, having found a young Lark on the 2nd November.
"Sky-Larks never lay twice in the same nest, but always build, a new one for every brood. I think an egg is laid every two days” (this is not correct : they lay an egg daily).
“Both parents share the pleasure of building, hatching and feeding the young. Even long after the latter leave the nest they are fed and watched by their parents and return at evening, for a week or so, to sleep in the nest.”
Over most of their range the principal breeding months are March to May, but in Ceylon most eggs are laid from April to July.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1216. Alauda gulgula australis
Spp Author: 
Brooks.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1216
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
162
Common name: 
Small Nilgiri Sky Lark
M_ID: 
21818
M_SN: 
Alauda gulgula australis
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14292

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