(1215) Alauda gulgula gulgula.
The Small Indian Sky-Lark.
Alauda gulgula Franklin, P. Z.S., 1830-31, p. 119 (Ganges; Benares-Calcutta); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 326 (part).
Vernacular names. Buruta-pitta (Tel.); Bhurut (Hind.).
Description. This form diners from all those preceding it in its much more fulvous lower plumage, the whole of these parts being strongly suffused with this colour. Above it is very similar to the small Kashmir Sky-Lark.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 82 to 92 mm,; tail 45 to 54 mm.; tarsus 24 to 25 mm.: culmen about 12 to 13 mm.
Distribution. Tropical North India, Assam, Burma. In India South to Khandesh and roughly to a line from Hyderabad to Masulipatam.
Nidification. This Sky-Lark breeds throughout the Northern plains of India from March to July, often having two broods in the year. It undoubtedly ascends the Himalayas to a considerable height. Birds breeding in the Kuman below 5,000 feet are certainly of this race and almost equally certainly those breeding below this elevation in Kashmir are also A. g. gulgula and not; A. g. guttata. The nest is the usual cup of grass, mixed with a few roots and lined with finer grass, hair-like roots etc. and is placed on the ground well concealed by weeds, grass or growing crops. The eggs number two or three, very rarely four, and are not only much smaller than those of the Kashmir Sky-Lark but are paler and duller in tone and have a more fragile shell and a glossless texture. Forty eggs average 20.6 x 15.3 mm.: maxima 23.0 x 17.0 mm.; minima 18.4 x l4.5 and 19.3 x 14.0 mm.
Whitehead found it breeding freely at Kohat and Lachi up to about 2,000 feet.
Habits. As the Kashmir Sky-Lark is our Indian representative in the country with a Palaearctic temperature so this form is our representative in Tropical Northern India. Where the two meet will not, however, be settled until series of breeding-birds of both races have been procured. In its habits this Lark is like the other forms. It is sometimes found in immense numbers in the grass-covered stretches along the larger rivers of Bengal, Bihar and Assam and possibly at some times collects in flocks, although it is not migratory. On one occasion in March, whilst waiting on a sand-bank on the Brahmaputra River for a steamer, I must have been within hearing distance of many hundreds of Sky-Larks who were soaring and singing in every direction around me, yet they could not have been migrating as this particular tract of country formed a very favourite breeding-place. At the same time they are not found in the driest areas in the dry season and at this time they certainly move locally from such places to better cultivated, better irrigated districts.
The Sky-Larks of the smaller, gulgula, group are not quite such fine songsters nor do they soar so high or so continually as do those of the larger, arvensis, group.