854. Alaemon desertorum.
Alauda desertorum, Stanley in Salt's Exped. Abyss. App. p. lx (1814). Certhilauda desertorum (Stanl.), Blyth, Cat. p. 133; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 464; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 438; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. ii, p. 248; Hume, Cat. no. 770 ; Doig, S. F. ix, p. 281; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 284. Alaemon desertorum (Stanl.), Hume, S. F. i, p. 216 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 519 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 219.
Coloration. Upper plumage isabelline grey, tinged with ashy on the forehead and upper tail-coverts, which latter have dusky shafts ; middle pair of tail-feathers sandy brown, very broadly margined on both webs with bright fulvous; the other tail-feathers black, narrowly margined with fulvous, the outermost feather with a well-defined white margin occupying half the outer web ; wing-coverts brown, with broad fulvous margins, some of the greater coverts tipped white; primary-coverts black, tipped with white ; the first few primaries black, with white bases; the remaining primaries and secondaries white, with a black spot on the outer web, and a portion of the shaft also black; tertiaries like middle pair of tail-feathers ; feathers immediately next the nostrils fulvous; a black streak through the lores, with a white band above and below, the lower band continued under the eye ; a black band behind the eye, with a broad pale fulvous supercilium above it; cheeks and ear-coverts bright fulvous, divided by a blackish patch ; chin and throat white; fore neck and breast pale fulvous, with large black spots ; remainder of lower plumage white, the flanks shaded with brown.
Legs and feet china-white ; iris brown ; bill horny brown above, darkening at the tip ; lower mandible fleshy (Butler).
Size extremely variable, the female being apparently much smaller than the male.
Length 8.5 to 11; tail 3.3 to 4; wing 4.5 to 5.5 ; tarsus 1.2 to 1.3 ; bill from gape about 1.4.
Distribution. A permanent resident in Sind and Cutch, extending west through Afghanistan and Persia to Arabia and North-eastern Africa, and ranging in a modified form through Northern Africa.
Habits, &c. This Lark affects the desert and runs like a Plover. Stoliczka observed it on tracts of mud in the Rann of Cutch. It breeds in May and June, making a small nest of grass on the sand, and laying three eggs which are greyish white, marked with yellowish brown, and measure about 1.02 by .74.