No. 48. Poliornis Teesa,* FRANKLIN.
THE WHITE-EYED BUZZARD.
This species, in Upper India, lays almost exclusively in April. I have one record of a single egg, taken on the 27th of March, and several of more or less incubated ones found during the first ten days of May, but the great majority of the nests examined in this month, by myself and correspondents, have contained young ones. They prepare their nests, as a rule, some considerable time before they lay; a nest examined, and ultimately taken, in Etawah, was completed twenty-four days before the first egg was laid.
They make their own nests, (a new one, as far as my experience goes) each season; never, 1 believe, appropriating those of other species-; but they will at times, pull these to pieces, for materials. The nest is usually placed m a fork, pretty high up in some thickish foliaged tree; mangoes, in some localities at any rate, being decidedly their favourites. I have found a nest in a solitary tree; but more commonly they choose one of the outer trees of some small clump or grove.
The nest is a loose structure of twigs. and sticks, very much like a Crow's, and without any lining. Normally, they lay three eggs; but I have once found four, and on several occasions, have taken nests containing only two, both fully incubated.
The affinities of this bird, to judge by its eggs only, are rather with the Goss Hawk, and the Harriers, than with the Buzzards, or the Kites. The eggs are pure greyish or pale bluish white, absolutely without speck or spot; at least not one, of nearly 40 specimens that I have possessed, has exhibited any traces of markings. In shape they are a broad oval, but some are slight ly pyriform Mr. Hewitson's figure of the marsh Harrier's egg might do for the largest specimens, while his figure of the egg of Montague's Harrier, exactly represents a peculiarly small specimen that I took in Etawah. Held up against the light, the shell is a sea-green, much of the same hue as that of the eggs of A. Fulvescens.
The eggs vary from 1.75 to 2.0 in Length, and from 1.4 to 1.62 in breadth, but the average of 31 eggs measured, was 1.85 X 1.52.
These birds are much attached to their nests, and hang about them for many days after they have been robbed, and at times will lay in them a second time. On the 11th April, 1867, 1 took a single perfectly fresh egg, out of a nest, which a few days before, had been cleared by Mr. Brooks.
Mr. W. Theobald makes the following note, of this bird's breeding, in the neighbourhood of Pind Dadan Khan, and Katas, m the Salt Range.
" Lays in the 2nd week of April. Eggs four only. Shape varies from ovate pyriform, to blunt ovate pyriform. Size, from 1.80 to 1.93 inches in Length, and 1.50 inches in breadth. Colour, pure greyish or plumbeous white. Nest, small, of twigs, in trees, near cultivation."
Mr. G. Marshall, R. E., writes from Saharunpoor. " This bird breeds in May, making a small rudely constructed nest of twigs and sticks in the fork of a tree about 25 feet from the ground, and without lining of any sort; the eggs are hatched in the beginning of June, they are generally three in number, but I have never seen more than two young ones in a nest.
" In one nest I found a half-fledged young one, another dead with its stomach eaten away, and two live lizards, one of them partially eaten; on March 27th, I noticed one of these birds commencing its nest, and another on the 7th April; the latter nest I took on the 10th May, and it then had 3 hard set eggs." On another occasion, he says - :" This species is very common in these parts, it builds in the forks of trees, generally Sheeshum or Khirna, a very rude and small nest of twigs. I have noticed this bird pulling to pieces the nest of a pied Starling, but I imagine it was only to get the materials, as the nest was empty at the time."