1400. Amaurornis akool.
The Brown Crake.
Rallus akool, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 164. Porzana akool, Blyth, Cat. p. 284 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, pp. 722, 875 ; Adam, S. F. i, p. 398; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 21; v, p. 224; ix, p. 431 ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xlvii, pt. 2, p. 21 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 229; Hume, ibid. p. 489; id. Cat. no. 008 ; Hume & Marsh. Game B. ii. p. 225, pl.; iii, p. 435, pl. iii (egg) ; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 322; Macgregor, ibid. p. 441; Taylor, ibid. p. 466; Swinhoe & Barnes, Ibis, 1885, p. 135; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 369; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 328; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 296; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 139, pl. at p. 129 (egg). Amaurornis akool, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiii, p. 155.
Coloration. Upper parts uniform dark olive: quills and tail-feathers dark brown, olive on the exposed portions ; sides of head, including the supercilia, and the lower parts ashy grey, passing into white on the throat and chin and into brown on the flanks and lower tail-coverts.
Young birds appear to moult into the adult plumage from the downy stage. Some young birds from Saugor in the Hume collection, though nearly full-grown, retain some black down on the head ; one of these is figured in Hume and Marshall's 'Game Birds.'
Bill greenish ; irides red-brown; legs and feet fleshy brown or livid purple (Jerdon).
Length of males 11; tail 2.5: wing 5; tarsus 2; bill from gape 1.5. Females are rather smaller.
Distribution. Resident throughout Northern India, commonest along the base of the Himalayas, rare in Bengal and the plains generally. This Bail has been recorded from several parts of Central India and the Central Provinces, S.E. Bengal, Rajputana, the Deccan, and Mysore, but not from the Western Punjab or Sind, nor from the Carnatic, the Malabar coast, or Ceylon. To the eastward it has been obtained in the North Khasi hills, but not elsewhere in Assam or Burma; it occurs, however, in China.
Habits, &c. This is rather a Moorhen than a Bail; it is less aquatic than other Indian Crakes, and may often be seen running about in the early morning searching for food—insects, small snails and sings, worms and seeds—on bare ground and even on rocks near water. It is found as often about rivers and ponds as about marshes, and it walks and swims like Gallinula. It breeds, according to Barnes, twice in the monsoon, in June or July and again in August and September. The nest of coarse grass resembles that of a Moorhen, but is smaller. The eggs, 4 to 8 in number, are oval, pinkish white, with purplish and reddish-brown spots and underlying faint purple blotches. They measure about 1.49 by 1.1.