(2268) Eunetta falcata.
The Crested or Falcated Teal.
Anas falcata Georgi, Bemerk., Reise Russ. Reich, i, p. 167 (1775) (Asiatic Russia). Eunetta falcata. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 438.
Vernacular names. Kola Sinkur (Oude, teste Reid).
Description. - Adult male. Crown, lores and cheeks chestnut;, sides of the head below the eye bronze, becoming green on the nape and long bushy crest; mantle grey with narrow crescentric bands of black; rump brownish-black, upper tail-coverts grey vermiculated with black, the longest wholly black; tail-feathers grey, edged with whitish ; a black patch on the outer scapulars ; wing-coverts pale grey, the greater edged with whitish ; wing-speculum glossy green, followed by a narrow band of white formed by the tips of the secondaries; primaries and outer secondaries dark grey, blackish towards the tips ; inner secondaries very long, narrow and sickle-shaped, the shafts white, the webs glossy, velvety-black edged with grey; upper breast buff or whitish, with numerous crescentic bands of black, which become bars on the lower breast; abdomen and flanks barred narrowly with black and grey; under tail-coverts velvety-black; a patch of buff on each side of the under tail-coverts, the black bases of their feathers showing as a black bar; tips of posterior flank-feathers white, forming a second distinct patch; axillaries white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown: bill black; legs and feet drab, olive-grey, or olive-brown, the webs and toes black.
Measurements. Wing 246 to 257 mm.; tail about 77 to 84 mm.; tarsus about 35 to 40 mm.; culmen 43 to 47 mm.
Female. Head and neck dark brown streaked with white, the chin, cheeks and throat paler ; mantle dark brown with crescentic bands of pale rufous; lower back and rump blackish-brown ; upper tail-coverts brown with crescentic bands of pale rufous; tail brown ; speculum black, slightly glossed with green; wing-coverts greyish-brown with white edges, most conspicuous on the greater coverts ; upper breast and flanks dull rufous barred with dark brown ; abdomen nearly white, lightly barred or spotted with, brown; under tail-coverts rufescent, marked with dark brown.
Colours of soft parts as in the male.
Measurements. Wing 243 to 251 mm.; culmen about 40 to-43 mm.
The female Gad wall and female Crested Teal are very much alike but the former has sixteen restrices instead of fourteen. In fresh specimens the feet of the former are yellowish, a tint never seen in the latter; in the Gadwall the entire visible portions of the inner secondaries are pure white, in the Bronze-capped, or Crested, Teal they are black with white edges.
Distribution. Eastern Siberia, Manchuria and Mongolia to Japan. In Winter it is found throughout China and Japan, the Indo-Chinese countries, rarely in Burma, the Shan States and, even more rarely, in India.
Nidification. The Falcated Teal breeds throughout Eastern Siberia as far West as Lake Baikal; it is not uncommon on the Amur and Middendorf says it breeds plentifully on the Stana-way Mountains, almost to the top of the ranges. Owston found it common in parts of Manchuria and took many nests in Sakhalin. He describes these nests as well-made cups of grass, rushes and reed, compactly put together and well lined with down. They were placed in beds of sedges, in thick tufts of grass or, more rarely, among bushes. They were not carefully hidden and, except for the treacherous nature of the ground where they were placed, were not hard to find. The eggs number six to nine and are all very pale buff or cafe ecu lait, never quite white. One hundred eggs average 56.2 X 39.1 mm. : maxima 58.0 x 39.0 and 57.0 x 42.2 mm.; minima 51.1 X 41.0 and 57.0 X 37.7 mm.
These Teal breed from the end of April to the middle of June.
Habits. The Falcated Teal is not a very sociable bird, collecting, as a rule, in small flocks of not more than about twenty birds, whilst in India it occurs either singly or in pairs, sometimes in company with other ducks. Most of our Indian records refer to males in full or semi-plumage and it is very probable that the females generally are overlooked. In flight this duck is said to closely resemble the Common Teal, the " swish swish " of their wings overhead not being distinguishable from the noise made by that bird on the wing. Its voice, however, which is described by Prjevalski as a loud, piercing whistle, soon proclaims the bird uttering it. Whilst swimming about it gives vent to a note very like the low chuckling of the drake Mallard. Its diet is mainly vegetarian but very little has been recorded about it.