(2257) Anser fabalis sibiricus.
Melanoyx arvensis sibiricus Alpheraky, Geese, p. 104 (1905) (Taimyr).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. " Head and neck grey-brown for the most part, with a strong rufous, coffee, or grey bay tint. A male from Amur-land has even a golden buff colour on the head and neck, and apparently such examples are far from being of rare occurrence locally in East Siberia, as indicated by the name, ' Yellow-headed Goose,' met with among native appellations in Transbaikalia. All these various tints are of accidental origin, and are just as often present in individuals as absent.
" In the rest of the plumage, except for a more uniform dark brown colouring on the upper surface of the body, the eastern form does not differ from the typical (fabalis). Even in dimensions, except, of course, the bill and feet, M. arvensis sibiricus almost agrees with large examples of M. arvensis" (=A. fabalis). (Alpheraky).
Colours of soft parts. Bill black, with a ring of yellow round the apical portion of both mandibles behind the nail. In most cases the band is narrow but in some extends to the anterior edge of the nostril.
Measurements. Wing 475 to 505 mm.; tail about 140 mm.; tarsus about 80 to 85 mm.; culmen 74 to 83 mm., the depth of the lower mandible 7 to 11 mm,, occasionally 12 mm.
In typical A. f. fabalis the wing ranges up to about 470 mm. and the culmen is between 56 and 66 mm.
Distribution. North-Eastern Siberia, breeding on the Taimyr Peninsula, occurring West to the Lena and Lake Baikal. In Winter migrating to Japan and China and once in Burma.
Nidification. According to Alpheraky this fine Bean-Goose breeds practically everywhere in Eastern Siberia as far West as Lake Baikal. He says that it breeds alike on the lowlands and on the hills and quotes Maeek to this effect: "It builds its nest near the Yilyui and its tributaries, on lakes far removed from habitations, and young in down were found as early as June 8th."
The eggs are ivory-white, soon becoming soiled, and some taken by Taczanowsky vary in measurement between 70.6 x 53.2 and 90.0 x 59.0 mm. Gobel, however, gives the average of three eggs as 92.5 x 61.7 mm. A single egg given me by Alpheraky measures 87.5 x 59.1 mm. and was taken on the 20th of April.
Habits. Much the same as other geese, though it has the reputation among the natives of Siberia of being an expert diver. Its voice is said to be a hoarse repetition ot that of the Common Bean-Goose.
The only specimen of this bird obtained within our limits is that recorded by Oates as having been shot at Myitkyina on the Irrawaddy.
It seems extraordinary that no other Asiatic or European Bean-Goose has yet been obtained in India and all sportsmen should keep a bright look-out for one. When shot, if the whole skin cannot be prepared, the head and bill should be sent at once to some museum for identification together with careful notes on the soft colours.