2281. Nyroca rufa baeri

(2281) Nyroca rufa baeri.

The Eastern White-eye.

Anas {Fuligula) baeri Radde, Reise Siberien,ii, p. 376, pi. 15 (1863) (Amur, Siberia). Nyroca baeri. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 461.

Vernacular names. Bor-kali-muri (Assam).

Description.- - Male. Similar to the Indian White-eye but with the whole head and neck black glossed with green, except for a large spot of white at the angle of the chin ; the glossy green head and neck grade into rich rufous on the breast, the rufous richer than in the preceding bird; rest of plumage only differs in being brighter and cleaner looking.

Colours of soft parts. Iris white or golden-yellow, generally the latter; bill dull slate-blue, the basal third, tip and nail darker or black; legs and feet greyish-yellow to lead-grey, the joints and webs darker.

Measurements. Wing, 6 208 to 240 mm., $ 193 to 215 mm.; culmen 39 to 42 mm.; width at base 18.5 against 16.2 mm. in N. r. rufa and at broadest part nearly 23 mm. as against under 20 mm. in that bird.

The female and young differ from the male in having no black glossy head and are extremely dim cult to distinguish from the Common White-eye. Their large size and proportionately larger bill should, however, draw attention.

Distribution. Amur to Kamschatka and Japan, migrating in Winter South to China and to Burma and Eastern India.' In India this duck was first obtained by Duvacel in 1825 and again by Blyth in 1842 and 1845. No further specimens were recorded, however, until 1896, when Finn got eleven specimens in the Calcutta bazaar. From that time for several years it was obtained regularly in some numbers in Eastern Bengal. In Assam it occurs every Winter, though most young birds and females are doubtless overlooked from their very close likeness to the Common White-eye. I shot one or more specimens in Cachar, Lakhimpur and Tezpur, whilst both Higgins and Campbell shot others near Imphal in Manipur. Even in Burma, however, N. r. rufa is the common form, though Baer's Pochard is probably a regular but undetected visitor. For several years many sportsmen watched carefully for it and sent me many skins about which they were doubtful but only three of these from the Shan States and one from Bhamo proved to be N. r. baeri.

Nidification. Seebohm says that the Eastern White-eye breeds on the Amur, from which river I have received a single egg. It makes a nest like that of the Common White-eye in thick reed-beds but no full clutch of eggs seems to have been taken, so the number is unknown. In appearance they only differ from those of the preceding bird in being rather larger, six eggs averaging 52.1 x 38.3 mm.: maxima 55.0 X 39.0 mm.; minima 51.0 x 38.0 and 52.4 x 36.4 mm.

Habits. Very little recorded but those birds I have seen were certainly very strong fliers, outpacing the Western White-eye, with which they were associating. Finn also comments on the great flying powers of this duck but considers those he had in captivity to have been less expert divers than their Western cousins. The Assamese shikaries, who recognize this bird as being a distinct form, assert that it is a better flier, swimmer and diver than the common form and say that it is much more shy and difficult to get a shot at.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.6 1929.
Title in Book: 
2281. Nyroca rufa baeri
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Eastern White Eye
Baer's Pochard
Aythya baeri
Vol. 6
Term name: 

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