(1194) Anthus richardi godlewskii.
Agrodroma godlewskii Taczanowski, Bull. Soc Zool. France, 1876, p. 128 (South Dauria). Anthus striolated Blyth, J. A. S. B., xvi, p. 435 (1847) (Darjiling); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 308.
Vernacular names. Bulla puraki (Tam.).
Description. I can find no character in which A. r. godlewskii differs from A. r. richardi except in having a shorter hind claw but even in this respect many birds are intermediate and can be assigned to either form. It is possible that a full series of breeding birds will prove that the two forms are one and the same.
Taking a selected series of birds with long hind claws and a second series with definite short hind claws they agree in all other respects. The supposed differences in length of wing and culmen do not exist and there is an equal degree of variation in the amount of white on the outer tail-feathers.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the preceding bird but typically having a hind claw seldom exceeding the hind toe in length. Wing 88 to 97 mm.; culmen 12 to 15 mm.; hind claw 10 to 14 mm.
Distribution. Breeding in Assam, Shan States and possibly in other parts of the Himalayas. Probably breeding from Central Asia to Mongolia. In Winter to every part of the Empire, South to Ceylon and to Tenasserim.
Nidification. Blyth's Pipit breeds in some numbers in the Khasia Hills at about 6,000 feet but it is extremely local, yearly affecting one or two special open grass ridges and never any other of the many wide open spaces similar in character to those selected. The breeding-season is from the middle of May to the end of June and the nest is a small saucer or pad, sometimes more bulky, of fine grass lined with finer grass, either alone or mixed with hair. It is placed on the ground, well concealed under boulders, stones, bushes or tufts of rank grass. In some cases the grass at the sides and back of the nest is turned up so as to make the nest semi-domed, a feature very unusual in Pipits' nests. The eggs number three or four, very seldom five, and are quite typical Pipits' eggs but they are more distinctly spotted than some and are almost invariably of the type with a white ground and grey-brown spots. Sixty eggs average 21.0 x 16.1 mm.: maxima 22.4 x 16.1 and 21.2 x 17.5 mm.; mimima 18.0 x 15.1 mm.
Habits. During the breeding-season the male soars in the air, uttering a feeble but rather pleasant little song and it also displays by rising some, thirty feet or so in the air and then fluttering slowly to the ground with quivering wings and its plumage fluffed out as much as possible. While thus engaged it continually utters its song and sometimes continues this on the ground. It appears to keep entirely to the protected sides of the high ridges when breeding and though it may be found near pine-forests, I have never seen them inside them. In the Winter it spreads all over the more open country, wet and dry alike. They leave the Khasia Hills in August, a few late-brooded birds alone remaining until September; on the other hand, many birds were back in their breeding haunts in March.
*The name striolatus can not be used, as it was quoted by Grey as a synonym of rufenscens ( Cat. B. Nepal, p. 77, 1846). Hodgson's name thermophilus is a nomen nudum and the next name available is Agrodroma godlewskii of Taczanowski.