1224. Calandrella acutirostris tibetana

(1224) Calandrella aoutirostris tibetana Brooks.
Calandrella aoutirostris tibetana, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 328.
I have little to add to the range of this bird as given in the ‘Fauna.' Tibet from the extreme South, Yatung and Khamba Jong ; West to Eastern Kuenlung, where it meets the preceding race ; North to the Altyn Dag and Nan-schan East to the Upper ranges of the Mekong, Blue and Yellow Rivers, It apparently also breeds in Northern Sikkim, as H. J. Hickley obtained specimens at 12,000 feet in July.
In Tibet this little bird swarms, and I have had scries of its eggs sent me by various collectors.
Ludlow writes of this bird, under the name of aoutirostris, as follows (Ibis, 1928, p. 73) :—“This is a very common bird throughout Southern Tibet. It begins to arrive in Gyantse in early April. Soon after its arrival it commences to soar, but not in the same way as inopinata. Having attained a height of 200 feet
or so, it begins a series of slanting Wagtail-like flights, hovering for a short time at the end of each flight, uttering a series of faint musical notes from time to time. This may continue for ten minutes ; then, with a vertical dive, it descends to earth. Eggs are laid from May to July at all elevations between 13,000 and 16,000 feet. Practically all the nests I have found have been in uncultivated areas, a favourite situation being dry stony river¬beds. The bird seems very fond of constructing its nest under the shelter of a small leguminous herb (Oxytropis sericopelala). The nest is composed of dry grass sparsely lined with wool or the cottony growth of plants, and in it are deposited three, sometimes four, eggs.” Various correspondents from Tibet have sent me eggs taken at all elevations from just over 12,000 up to nearly 17,000 feet but, like true aoutirostris, this bird also seems to prefer almost level ground to rough steep mountain-sides. All agree that it keeps away from cultivation, placing its nest under tufts of grass, weeds or small bushes. The bird is said often to scratch out a hollow for itself, but at other times to use a natural one or the footprint of a yak. This it lines neatly with grass, sometimes thickly enough to form a substantial pad under the true lining of cotton-down and wool, which is neatly and compactly felted together. Outwardly the nest maybe to 4.1/2 inches, but the bellow is very shallow, usually about 1/2 inch in the centre. They breed from May to August, many birds having two broods.
The earliest and latest dates I have recorded for eggs are the 14th May—in two years—and the 7th August.
The eggs are exactly like those of the typical race, and the average of one hundred is also exactly the same as for sixty of that bird, i.e., 21.1 x 14.7 mm, : maxima 22.6 x 14.4 and 22.3 x 15.7 mm. ; minima 19.4 x 14.6 and 20.5 x 13.9 mm.
Both birds incubate, as both sexes have been caught on the nest ; both also help in building the nest and in feeding the young.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1224. Calandrella acutirostris tibetana
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Brookss Short Toed Lark
Calandrella acutirostris tibetana
Vol. 3

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