(1223) Calandrella acutirostris acutirostris.
Hume's Short-toed Lark.
Calandrella acutirostris Hume, Lah. to Yark., p, 265 (18/2) (Kara-korum); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 239.
Vernacular names. Baghaira, Bagheyri (Hind.).
Description. Very similar to C. 6. brachydactyla but, as noted in the key, with a different wing formula and a finer bill. Above it is darker ashy and below the white is more suffused with brown without any fulvous tint; the white on the tail is rather,less in extent.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill yellowish-horny, blackish on the culmen and at the tip ; legs and feet fleshy-brown, claws darker.
Measurements. Wing 88 to 95 mm,; tail 50 to 57 mm.; tarsus 19 to 20 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm.
Distribution. Breeding in Karakorum, Western Kuen-lun, East Turkestan and Northern Kashmir to Ladakh. Bianchi records it from the Sir Darya and Tian-Schan and it also occurs in the Khorasan and Paraparmisari districts of Persia. In Winter it is found in Northern India.
Nidification. Hume's Short-toed Lark breeds between 13,000 and 15,000 feet in Ladakh, which is probably the limit South and East of this form. The nests are merely small depressions hollowed out by the birds themselves under the shelter of a tuft of grass, bunch of weeds or small bushes, such as grow here and there on the wide, stony plateaus they frequent. These are lined neatly with fine grass and finished off with a soft inner lining of line cotton-down. The eggs number two to four, nearly always three, and are not distinguishable from those of the much more common tibetana. Twenty-nine eggs average 21.3 x 14.9 mm.: maxima 22.2 X 15.0 and 20.7 x 15.3 mm.: minima 20.3 x 14.4 and 21.5x 14.0 mm. They breed from early June to the end of July.
Habits. Osmaston writing of this bird under the name tibetana, says: " Next to the Sparrow this little bird is undoubtedly the commonest bird in Ladakh. It is found almost everywhere from 10,500 feet up to 16,000 feet, except on steep ground. They especially affect sandy plains dotted with stones and small rocks, which are so common a feature of this country. They are seen solitary or in pairs. The song is monotonous and is uttered from the top of a stone or rock."