(2160) Erolia testacea*.
THE CURLEW-STINT or PIGMY SANDPIPER.
Scolopax testacea Pallas. Vroeg's Cat. Verzam. Vogel. Adum., p. 6 (1764) (Holland). Tringa subarquata. Blanf. & Oates. iv, p. 278.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Breeding plumage. Forehead and feathers next the bill mottled black and white and rufous; the crown rich rufous, boldly streaked with black, the hind-neck very faintly streaked but each feather finely edged with white ; mantle black, with broad lateral spots of rich rufous which become streaks or broken bars on the scapulars and inner secondaries; lower back black with grey edges ; upper tail-coverts white with narrow black bars ; tail light brown with white edges to each feather and a dark sub-edge to the central feathers; wing-coverts brown with paler edges and dark shafts; the greater with broad white edges which form a wing-bar in unabraded plumage; primary-coverts and primaries blackish, the latter with white shafts ; outer secondaries grey-brown with white edges; head and lower plumage to vent rich rufous, the feathers more or less fringed with white which dominates on the chin and face; lower tail-coverts white with black bars and a little chestnut marking ; under-wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black; legs and feet dull greyish-plumbeous to black.
Measurements. Wing 123 to 128 mm.; tail 42 to 49 mm. tarsus about 28 to 31 mm.; culmen 33 to 43 mm.
In Winter the crown and mantle are grey-brown, the head obsoletely streaked darker and ail the feathers with dark shaft-lines a fairly distinct supercilium from the forehead to the nape ; lores and sides of head streaked brown and white; lower plumage and axillaries white; sides of neck, throat, fore-neck and breast streaked with brown and the latter suffused with brown, most strongly so on the sides; edge of wing underneath with small brown bars.
Young birds have the feathers of the upper plumage fringed with whitish-grey or buff and the breast, throat, fore-neck and flanks suffused with grey-buff.
Distribution. Breeding in the North of Siberia and migrating South in Winter to Africa and the whole of South Asia to Australia. In India and Burma it occurs commonly over the whole area to Ceylon.
Nidification. The Curlew-Sandpiper breeds in Asiatic Siberia, the eggs having been first taken by Popham on the Yenesei in late June and early July. The nest is a depression in the reindeer moss of the tundras, a slightly raised spot, drier than the surrounding swampy land, being selected for the purpose. The eggs, four in number as usual, have a grey-green ground-colour thickly marked with deep red-brown blotches and spots with others underlying of purple-grey. Twelve eggs average 36.7 x 25.6 mm.
Habits. In the non-breeding season this Sandpiper frequents the shores of the sea, big rivers and lakes, associating in flocks often of great size. In flight etc. it closely resembles the Dunlin, whilst its food consists of sand-hoppers, small Crustacea, worms,, insects etc. Miss Haviland syllabifies its alarm-note in the breeding-seas on as " wick-wick-wick," whilst in Winter it has a twittering call as well as a rather shrill single note.
* I cannot distinguish between E. f. ferruginea and E. f. chinensis of Gray, either in measurements or in colour or shade of colour. The name ferruginea is preoccupied, having been used by Pontoppidan for a bird which is indeterminate and cannot therefore be used for the Curlew-Stint.