The Lesser Sand-Plover.
Charadrius mongolus, Pall. Reis. Russ. Reichs, iii, p. 700 (1776). Charadrius mongolicus, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p. 136; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 147. Charadrius pyrrhothorax, Temm., Gould, B. Eur. iv, pl. 299 (1837). Charadrius leschenaultii, apud Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 181; Adams, P. Z. S. 1859, p. 188 ; nee Lesson. Hiaticula leschenaultii, Blyth, Cat. p. 263. Aegialitis pyrrhothorax, Jerdon, B. 1. iii, p. 639. Aegialites mongolicus, Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 164 ; Harting, Ibis, 1870, p. 384 ; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Park. p. 285; Hume, S. P. iv, pp. 293, 463; Armstrong, ibid. p. 339; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aves, p. 137. Cirrepidesmus mongolicus, Hume, S. F. i, p. 230; ii, p. 289; iv, p. 12. Aegialitis mongolica, Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 153 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 943 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 368: Hume, S. F. xi, p. 314. Aegialitis mongola, Walden, Ibis, 1873, p. 317 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 455; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 227; Cripps, ibid. p. 299; Hume, Cat. no. 847 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 81; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 330. Ochthodromus mongolus & O. pyrrhothorax, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, pp. 223, 226.
Similar to AE. geoffroyi in both summer and winter plumage, but smaller, with a much shorter bill. As a rule, in the present species the upper surface in winter is darker; in the breeding-plumage the black band is broader over the ear-coverts, but there is some variation ; the upper plumage appears to want the tinge of rufous so conspicuous in AE. geoffroyi. By several naturalists this Sand-Plover is divided into two species or subspecies—an Eastern race (AE. mongolica), with the pectoral gorget chestnut and bordered anteriorly by black specks forming an imperfect band, and with a broad white frontal band only interrupted in the middle ; and a Western race (AE. pyrrhothorax), which visits India, and has the pectoral gorget duller red, and but little white, at times perhaps none, in the broad black frontal band. The differences appear to me not more than subspecific, and I am doubtful whether they are constant; whilst the two forms are quite undistinguishable in winter garb.
Soft parts as in AE. geoffroyi.
Length 7.5 ; tail 2 ; wing 5 ; tarsus 1.2 ; bill from gape .75.
Distribution. The Lesser Sand-Plover passes the summer in Central and Northern Asia, Japan, and Alaska, and has been found breeding in the Upper Indus valley ; in winter it visits the shores of the Indian Ocean from Africa to Queensland. It is common on the Indian coasts from September to May, often consorting with geoffroyi, which is rarer. The present species is more often found inland, especially at times of migration. Before leaving in May, most of the birds assume the nuptial livery. A few individuals, both of this and of the last species, remain in India throughout the year, but do not breed so far as is known. Hume, however, received skins, apparently of nestlings, shot in the Andamans in May, July, and September.
Habits, &c. Similar to those of AS. geoffroyi. This bird has been found breeding around the Tso-Morari and other Tibetan lakes. The eggs resemble those of other Plovers in colour and shape.