Eupodotis edwardsi, J. E. Gr.
836. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 607 ; Butler, Guzerat ; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 9 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 424; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 217 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 7.
THE INDIAN BUSTARD.
Length, 45 to 50 ; expanse, 86 to 96; wings, 24.5 to 29 ; tail, • 13; tarsus, 7.5 to 8.37 ; bill from gape, 4.0 to 4.75 ; weight, 17 to 22 lbs.
Length, 36 to 38 ; expanse, 72 to 76 ; wings, 20 to 22; tarsus, 5.5 to 6.8; weight, 8 to 10 lbs.
Bill greyish-brown, dusky at tip; irides vary from pale to bright yellow ; legs and feet yellowish-creamy.
Male, top of the head with crest black ; face, nape, and the whole neck, white, the feathers somewhat lengthened and hackled in front; the back and upper plumage, including the shoulders of the wings and the inner wing-coverts, pale olive-brown or buff, beautifully mottled and variegated with minute lines of black ; outer wing-coverts black, white tipped; greater-coverts slaty-grey, also tipped with white, as in the winglet; primaries dark slaty, more dusky on their outer edges, and white tipped; tail as the back, with a dark subterminal band not always very distinct on the central feathers; a blackish-brown band across the breast ; lower parts, with the thigh-coverts, white ; the flanks dark olive-brown ; vent and lower tail-coverts the same but lighter.
The female is one-third less at least, the white of the neck is less pure, generally, indeed, mottled with olive-brown, and with some rufous about the face and eyes ; the pectoral band is incomplete, and consists of broken spots ; the abdomen is less pure white, and the flanks paler brown and more spotted.
Young males resemble the females, and it is only the largest old males that have the neck pure white, as described above, in most there being a few brown specks on the neck. In the old male, too, the neck appears very thick, the feathers being well puffed out and full.
The Indian Bustard is fairly common in the more wilder and barren portions of the Deccan, Rajputana, Kutch and Central India. It is also not uncommon in the Thur and Parker districts in Sind.
The Indian Bustard In the true sense of the word is not migratory, yet it wanders much in search of food ; at one season of the year it is common in one part of the country, moving to another as the breeding season commences. Most eggs are found in July and August, but occasionally they are to be obtained as early as March and as late as the middle of September. The egg (there is only one) is placed on the ground, at the base of a tussock of grass or bush, in a small depression.
The eggs vary much in size, shape, and color. They are all more or less oval, some are moderately broad ovals, pointed at one end ; others are longish ovals, similar at both ends; others again are long and cylindrical.
They vary from 2.75 to 3.42 inches in Length, and in breadth from 2.05 to 2.45. The average is 3.11 by 2.24.
The shells are thick and strong, and very commonly exhibit pimples at the large end. In color, they vary from a sort of drab to dingy olive-green. Earthy-brown, pale olive brown, pale reddish-brown, and more rarely pale leaden-blue varieties all occur. The markings also vary in like manner, both in extent and intensity : blotches, clouds, and streaks of a deep reddish-brown, occasionally clearly defined, but more often so faint as to be mere mottlings, are the usual characters ; not uncommonly the markings form an irregular cap at the large end, occasionally they are altogether wanting. Some eggs are brilliantly glossy-white, others are dull, and have little or no gloss.