(2104) Eupoda asiatica.
THE CASPIAN SAND-PLOVER.
Charadrius asiaticus Pall., Reise Russ. Reichs., ii, p. 715 (1773) (South Tartary Steppes). Aegialitis asiatica. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 239.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, fore-crown, lores and supercilium white; posterior crown to nape, hind-neck and upper parts brown ; the primary coverts and primaries blackish-brown ; the first primary with a white shaft, the second with the shaft whitish near the tip; tail brown, with subterminal blackish band and white tip, the outermost feathers also edged pale whitish-brown ; round the front of the eye brown, extending as a streak through the upper ear-coverts; rest of face, chin, throat and fore-neck white ; upper breast chestnut, followed by a black band on the lower breast; flanks, abdomen, axillaries and under tail-coverts white; under wing-coverts grey-brown and white, the greater coverts all brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black; legs and feet dusky olive.
Measurements. Wing 141 to 151 mm.; tail 51 to 59 mm.; tarsus about 40 to 42 mm.; culmen 20 to 21.5 mm.
In non-breeding plumage the breast is grey-brown.
Young birds have narrow fulvous edges to the plumage of the upper parts.
Distribution. From the Caspian Sea to Altai, Turkestan and probably the greater part of the high Central Asian plateau. One specimen was obtained by Vidal in the Bombay Presidency near Ratnagiri, whilst in Winter it is found in East and South Africa as far as Cape Colony. Swinhoe obtained it in North China.
Nidification. Buturlin and Sushkin say that it breeds in the Volga district Northwards and in the Turgai Government. The nest is merely a depression scratched in sand or among pebbles on the shores of lakes and big rivers, or in desert wastes. The eggs, three or four in number, are like those of Charadrius hiaticula, "ochreous-brown, boldly spotted and blotched with blackish." One sent to Dresser measured 36.8 x 27.2 mm. The principal breeding month is May.
Habits. This Plover, which seems rare everywhere, does not collect in flocks but may be met with singly or in pairs both on the sea-coasts and on the shores of big rivers and lakes as well as on desert plains and uplands some distance from water. Its note is a plaintive treble whistle.
* As Mathews's name Eupodella, is merely a new name in place of the generic name Eupoda, the type for it must therefore be the same as,for that bird. i. e., Charadrius asiaticus Gould.