(2116) Charadrius placidus.
THE LONG-BILLED KINGED PLOVER.
Charadrius placidus Gray, Cat. Mam. Birds Nepal, p. 70 (1863) (Nepal). Aegialitis placida. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 244.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Very similar to the Kinged Plover but larger and with a much larger bill. The shaft of the first primary is brown, paler and yellowish towards the tip but never white; the black on the lores and cheeks is replaced by brown or blackish-brown; the forehead is wholly white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black, the gape and •extreme base of lower mandible yellowish; legs and feet and margins of eyelids yellow.
Measurements. Wing 139 to 152 mm.; tail 76 to 78 mm.; tarsus about 31 to 34 mm.; culmen 18 to 20 mm.
Distribution. Breeding throughout Eastern Siberia, Manchuria, Japan and North-Eastern China. In Winter migrating South to Southern China, Burma, Indo-Chinese countries and Northern India. It has been obtained in Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan Duars, Assam and Eastern Bengal.
Nidification. The Long-billed Ringed Plover breeds from the middle of April to the middle of May, laying three or four eggs generally the latter, in shallow hollows scratched out by the birds and lined with scraps of twigs or a little grass. The sites selected are generally wide stretches of shingle and may be some little distance from the edge of the water. Though not breeding in colonies, two or three, or more, pairs may be found breeding on the same shingle-beach. The eggs are typical Ringed Plover's eggs but the markings are very minute and the ground-colour seems invariably to be a pale lilac-pink, a tinge occurring in no other Ringed Plover's eggs. La Touche gives the average of thirty eggs as 35.9 x 26.4 mm.; my own maxima are: 37.0 x 20.9 and 35.0 x 27.2 mm.; minima 34.0 x 26.9 and 35.4 x 26.0 mm. The birds are said to be extremely tame and confiding, returning to sit on their eggs within a very few yards of the observer.
Habits. Those of the genus. This species is almost entirely confined to the coast-line and the shores and sand-banks of the larger rivers, along which they may be found a thousand miles from the sea. They are, perhaps, more lethargic than most Ringed Plovers but when required can run or fly as fast as any of them. They are said to be good swimmers also but this is true of all the genus. They feed largely on flies and small coleoptera.