(1193) Anthus richardi richardi.
Anthus richardi Vieill, Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat., xxvi, p. 491 (1818) (France); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 307.
Vernacular names- Pulla purake, Meta kalie (Tam.).
Description. Upper plumage and lesser wing-coverts fulvous,, each feather with a broad blackish-brown central streak, obsolete on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail dark brown, the central feathers broadly, and the next three pairs narrowly, edged with fulvous, outermost pair white, more or less tinged with fulvous, the base and most of the edge of the inner web brown ; the next pair brown, the outer web fulvous-white on the terminal half and the inner web tipped with white; wings dark brown, the coverts and secondaries broadly, and the primaries narrowly edged with fulvous; supercilium fulvous; ear-coverts rufous-fulvous ; a line under the ear-coverts and a second down the sides of the throat brown ; lower plumage pale fulvous, richer on the breast and with brown streaks on the breast and anterior flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill horny-brown, paler and yellowish at the base and on the lower mandible; legs pale fleshy to reddish-fleshy, the claws brown.
Measurements. Wing 90 to 99 mm.; tail 72 to 78 mm. tarsus 31 to 33 mm.; culmen 14 to 16 mm.; hind claw 13 to 21 mm.
In abraded plumage the whole upper plumage becomes darker and the streaks less conspicuous.
Young birds have the feathers of the upper parts edged with buffy-white and the black streaks on the throat, fore-neck and breast much wider and more numerous.
Distribution. Breeding in Siberia from the Yenesei to the Lena; Altai, Tian-Schan to Kansu. In Winter South to China, the Indo-Chinese countries, Burma and India. In the latter country it is common all down the East Coast to Ceylon, West it has been found as far as the Sutlej Valley but has not been recorded from the Bombay Presidency or farther South on the West Coast.
Nidification. Very much the same as with the Tree-Pipits, but the nest is said to be very flimsy, placed on the ground as usual, often in swampy places near rivers and marshes but at other times in bush-covered plains and even, it is said by Dresser, in the outskirts of woods. The eggs are typical Pipits' eggs, generally rather dull and of the freckled type but occasionally with a pink or yellowish ground and rather more distinctly spotted. Thirty eggs (24, Jourdain etc.) average 21.5 x 16.4 mm.: maxims 23 .0 X 17.2 mm.; minima 20.0 x 16.5 and 20.8 x 15.4 mm.
The breeding-season lasts from late May to the end of" June or early July.
Habits. This is a Pipit of the bush-covered and open plains of Siberia, feeding and roosting on the ground but sometimes perching on bushes and low trees. Its call-note is syllabified by Dresser as " tsi" and it has a feeble song which it utters in the air. In India on migration though it keeps by preference to open country it occurs in quite small openings in heavy forests as well as in semi-cultivated country and low jungle.