(2155) Erolia minuta minuta.
THE LITTLE STINT.
Tringa minuta Leisler, Nacht. Bechst. Nat. Deutsch., p. 74 (1812) (Hanau); Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 273.
Vernacular names. Chota Pau-loha (Hind.).
Description. - Breeding plumage. Forehead and small supercilium, often obsolete, pale fawn; crown and mantle blackish, each feather with rufous edges to the sides and those of the mantle with white fringes; hind-neck paler and less broadly marked with black; lower back, rump, upper tail-coverts and central tail-feathers blackish with paler edges; sides of rump and lateral upper tail-coverts white; lateral tail-feathers pale grey-brown with whitish edges; wing-coverts grey-brown with darker centres and the greater with broad white tips; quills blackish with white shafts; the inner webs of the primaries and outermost secondaries paler and the central secondaries dark grey with white edges; under-plumage white, the breast suffused with rufous and speckled with black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black; legs and feet olive-plumbeous or blackish-brown.
Measurements. Wing 91 to 98 mm.; tail 38 to 43 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 21 mm.; culmen 17 to 19 mm.
In Winter the upper parts are grey-brown, the crown with broad black streaks, the hind-neck only faintly marked, the mantle with black shaft-streaks and the scapulars and secondaries edged with white ; the greater coverts are grey-brown with broad white tips forming a wing-band ; below the whole plumage is white, the breast sometimes faintly marked with brownish.
Young birds are like the adult in Summer with the whole underpays white or nearly so ; the hind-neck is more grey, less rufous, whilst the rufous on the mantle less dominant.
Nestling. Upper parts rufous, mottled with black, the nape more ochraceous-buff and the crown dark buff; a black median coronal line and a second black line from the lores through the eye; sides of the head, chin, throat and breast ochraceous, remaining underparts white.
Distribution. Northern Europe to Central Siberia, migrating South in Winter to Northern Africa, Palestine, Arabia, Mesopotamia, North-West and Western India to Ceylon; East it, is more rare but extends to Bengal, Assam and Madras.
Nidification. The Little Stint breeds during June and early July from East Finland to Central Siberia within the Arctic Circle, and occasionally a few degrees South of this. It lays its four eggs in depressions in among grass and other herbage, generally well concealed and nearly always well lined with Salix leaves. The eggs, decidedly pointed, are in ground-colour a pale stone to deep buff, more rarely greenish, thickly marked with spots and blotches of rick vandyke-brown or reddish-brown, the secondary marks being hardly visible. As a series the eggs are more richly and boldly coloured than those of Temminck's Stints but many of them are quite indistinguishable from those of the latter bird. One hundred eggs (Jourdain) average 28.8 x 20.7 mm.: maxima 31.7 X 20.3 and 30.0 x 21.4 mm.; minima 26.7 X 20.0 and 28.7 x 19.6 mm.
The birds are extraordinarily tame during the breeding-season,, as well as at other times, and do not resent observation in the least, continuing to sit on their nest to be watched within a few feet, even sitting for their photographs to be taken without any fear.
Habits. One of the most Northern of our breeders, this little Wader is also one of those which migrate farthest South and is common in South Africa and in Ceylon in Winter. In India it is common over the whole of the continent both inland and on the coast. It is a most restless, active little bird, very fast on wing or on foot, ever dashing about after its food, which consists of insects, tiny worms, mollusca, beetles and, sometimes, seeds. Its call-note is a low, soft " wick-wick-wick" and its note of alarm a rather harsher " drrrt" (Miss Haviland).