1091. Caprimulgus asiaticus.
The Common Indian Nightjar.
Caprimulgus asiaticus, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 588 (1790); Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pl. 34; Myth, Cat. p. 83; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 115; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 197 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 232; Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 421; Adam, S. F. i, p. 371 ; James, ibid. p. 419; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 455 ; ix, p. 380; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 83; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 59; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 203 ; Hume, Cat. no. 112 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 343; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 48 ; Bingham, ibid. p. 150 ; Beid, S. F. x, p. 20; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 17 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 48; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 91 ; id. Jour. Bomb. N. II. Soc. iv, p. 7, pl. fig. 112 (egg) ; Hartert, Cat. B. M. xvi, p. 558.
Coloration. Upper parts yellowish grey, with little or no rufous tinge; black elongate spots on the middle of the crown, and very narrow black shaft-stripes on the back; a broad buff collar broken by dusky markings; scapulars richly marked with large black spots and broad bright buff edges ; large buff patches on the wing-coverts, first four primaries each with a white spot in the middle; middle tail-feathers like upper plumage, but with ill-marked narrow black cross-bars, outer two pairs tipped white, the outermost pair have frequently the outer webs brown at the tip, but edged with buff throughout; lower plumage buff, indistinctly barred with brown, the breast and throat mottled also; under tail-coverts unbarred; a narrow buffy-white moustachial stripe and a white spot on the throat, the feathers tipped buff and black. Sexes alike.
Bill flesh-colour at base, the upper mandible reddish, tip dark brown ; irides brown; legs and feet pinkish brown.
Length about 9.5 ; tail 4.5 ; wing 6 ; tarsus, unfeathered except on the uppermost part, .8.
Distribution. From Sind and the Punjab throughout India and Ceylon, and in Burma as far south as the neighbourhood of Moulmein, but not in the higher hills nor in large forests. The commonest Indian species.
Habits, &c. This is a bird of the plains and of open and cultivated country, of groves, and gardens and low jungle. It is commonly found near habitations. The call, constantly heard at night, has been aptly compared to the sound made by skimming a stone over ice, the note being repeated slowly at first, then much more quickly. There is also, as usual, a chuckling note, uttered by the bird on the wing. The eggs, two in number, pinkish stone to deep salmon-pink in colour, with faint purplish blotches and brownish spots, are laid at various times from April to July in Northern India, but earlier in Southern India and Ceylon, and in Khandesh in July, August, and September. They measure about 1.04 by .77.