1583. Anser indicus.
The Barred-headed Goose.
Anas indica, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 839 (1790). Bernicla indica, Gray, Gen. B. iii, p. 608; Blyth, Cat. p. 301. Anser indicus, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 782; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 70; McMaster, J. A. S. B. xl, pt. 2, p. 215; Hume, S. F. i, p. 260; Adam, ibid, p, 401; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. 2, p. 175 ; Hume, S. F. iv, p. 499 ; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 698 ; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 310 ; Hume, ibid. p. 491; id. Cat. no. 949 ; id. S. F. viii, p. 421; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 81, pl.; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 99; Reid, S. F. x, p. 79; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 395 ; Taylor, S. F. x, pp. 528, 531; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 340; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 279; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 105. Eulabeia indica, Reichenb. Naturl. Syst. Vogel, p. ix; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 436; vii, p. 231.
Hans, Kareyi Hans, Raj Hans, Birwa, H.; Paria, Nepal Terai; Nang-pa, Ladak; Nir-bathu, Tam. (Coimbatore); Badi-hans, Chittagong Kang-nai, Manipur.
Coloration. Head white, with two concentric black bars on the nape, one from eye to eye round the occiput, the other farther back ; a longitudinal white band down each side of the neck; hind neck dark brown, passing into the pale ashy tint of the upper plumage generally, feathers of the upper back and scapulars with pale tips ; lower back and rump pure ashy grey; primaries pale ashy with blackish tips, later primaries and secondaries black except at the extreme base ; tertiaries and coverts, both upper and under, pale ashy, the greater coverts broadly edged with white; fore neck brownish ashy, passing gradually into whity-brown on the breast; sides of breast browner, darkest on the flanks, the feathers pale-tipped, forming bars; lower abdomen and flanks and under and upper tail-coverts pure white; tail-feathers pale grey, white-edged.
Young birds have a dark brown crown and nape, no black bars on the nape, nor longitudinal white neck-stripes; the back is grey, :and the lower parts are nearly white.
Length 30; tail 6; wing 18 ; tarsus 3 : bill from gape 2.1.
Bill yellow; irides brown ; legs orange (Jerdon). Bill orange-yellow to orange, rarely only pale lemon-yellow, the nail black or blackish (Hume).
Distribution. A winter visitor to India from October or November to March or April, common in the north, rare in the south; breeding in Tibet and Central Asia. It abounds about the course of the great rivers and near large marshes in the Punjab, Sind, and the North-west Provinces, and is far from rare in parts of Bengal, Orissa (it abounds at the Chilka Lake), and Assam. It occurs in Manipur, and Anderson saw flocks on the Irrawaddy above Mandalay. It is of very rare occurrence in the Bombay Presidency generally, and unknown on the Malabar coast.
Habits, &c. This is by far the commonest Goose of Northern India, where it occurs in small or large flocks, with the usual habits, feeding on grass and crops of wheat, barley, gram, &c, in the morning and evening, and often at night, and passing the day on the banks of a river or lake. The Barred-headed Goose breeds in May and June on the lakes of Tibet such as the Tso-inorari, but the young are generally hatched before the passes to the southward are open.
Besides the Geese already enumerated, Anser segetum, the Bean Goose, somewhat like A. brachyrhynchus, but larger, with orange legs, is said to have been obtained in India, and is figured by Hume and Marshall in their ' Game Birds.' Hume also had reason to-suspect that Anser cygnoides, the Chinese Goose, with a long black bill and orange feet, occurs in Assam; and Blyth has suggested (Ibis, 1870, p. 176) that four birds seen near Nagpur, one of which was procured, as recorded in the ' Bengal Sporting Magazine' for 1836, vii, p. 247, were probably Bernicla ruficollis. I feel doubtful whether the bird mentioned in the anonymous article quoted was a goose.