(2022) Amaurornis phoenicurus chinensis.
THE CHINESE WHITE-BREASTED WATER-HEN.
Fulica chinensis Boddaert, Tab!. PL Enl., p; 54 (1873) (China). Amaurornis phoenicurus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 173 (part.).
Vernacular names. Dawak, Dahak, Dauk (Hin.); Kinati (Oudh) ; Kuraki (Sind); Kureyn (Gond.) ; Kalu-gwet (Burma) ; Pani-duboi (Assam).
Description. A rather paler form than the preceding; the breast not so pure a grey with more olive tinge. It is also a decidedly larger bird.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 158 to 173 mm. (Stresemann gives the measurements of a huge series as 144 to 187 mm. but any under 150 are exceptional); culmen 36 to 41 mm.
Distribution. Found resident almost throughout India, Burma and China and South to Malacca, Hainan and Formosa.
Nidification. Similar to that of the typical form but the nests are often built in thick bushes many feet above the ground and a wider selection of materials is used in their construction. Twigs, creepers, tendrils, leaves etc. are often used and the nests are sometimes quite bulky platforms. The eggs are typical of the species but number up to seven or eight, whilst one hundred eggs average 40.5 x 29.7 mm.: maxima 45.0 x 31.0 and 41.1 x 31.9 mm.; minima 37.0 X 29.5 and 37.2 x 28.0 mm.
The breeding-season is principally July to September, but I have taken eggs in May in Assam, whilst Jones took them in the same month in China. Occasionally they breed in small colonies.
Habits. Those of the species. I have watched these birds in the reeds, among which they climb quite easily, though not with the strength and speed of the Purple Moorhen.