866. Alaudula raytal.
The Ganges Sand-Lark.
Alauda raytal, Buch. Hamilton, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 962 (1844). Calandrella raytal (Blyth), Blyth, Cat. p. 132. Alaudala raytal (Blyth), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 471; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 428. Alaudula raytal, Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 46; Hume, N. & E. p. 481 ; id. S. F. iii, p. 159; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 606; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 295; Hume, Cat. no. 762; Oates, B. B. i, p. 374; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 280; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 591; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 225.
The Indian Sand-Lark, Jerd.; Retal, Hind.
Coloration. Upper plumage greyish brown, with dark brown shaft-streaks ; lores, supercilium, and under the eye white; ear-coverts streaked with grey and brown ; lower plumage white, with a few distinct and well-defined brown streaks on the breast, most numerous on the sides ; wings dark brown, edged with greyish brown ; middle tail-feathers brown, broadly edged with fulvous white, the others dark brown, the penultimate feather with the outer web almost entirely white, the outermost with the outer web entirely white, the outer half of the inner web white and the inner half black.
Legs fleshy yellow; claws pale horn; bill horn-colour, with a greenish tinge, the tip dusky, the gape yellowish ; iris brown; eyelids plumbeous ; mouth flesh-colour.
Length about 5.5 ; tail 2 ; wing 3.3 ; tarsus .75; bill from gape .65; bill from tip to forehead .5.
Distribution. Found on the sand-banks of all the large rivers of the North-west Provinces, the Nepal Terai, Oudh, Behar, and Bengal. This Lark is also found along the banks of the Brahmaputra, and it occurs on the Irrawaddy river, on which it has been procured near Bhamo and Thayetmyo. Barnes records this Lark from Neemuch in Rajputana, and Hume from the sandbanks of the Nerbudda river, but I have seen no specimens from these localities.
Habits, &c. Breeds from March to May or June, making a small cup-shaped nest of grass or leaflets in a hollow on a sand-bank, under shelter of a shrub or stone, and laying two or three eggs, which are greyish white, speckled with yellowish brown, and measure about .75 by .55.