1235. Circus cyaneus.
Falco cyaneus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 126 (1766). Circus cyaneus, Blyth, Cat. p. 20; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 95; King, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 213; Blanford, J. A. S. B. xxxviii, pt. 2, p. 166 ; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 293; id. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 114; Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 341; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i. p. 52; Hume, Cat. no. 50; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 226; Biddulvh, Ibis, 1881, p. 42 ; Scully, ibid. p. 421.
Coloration. Adult male. Similar to that of G. macrurus, except that the ashy grey of the upper plumage is somewhat darker and extends over the chin, throat, and upper breast, there is a distinct white nuchal patch with brown shaft-stripes, the terminal half of the first six primaries is black, and the upper tail-coverts are pure white.
The adult female is distinguished from that of C. macrurus by having the margins of the head- and neck-feathers more rufous, by the rufous markings on the wing-coverts and scapulars being larger and more in the form of spots, by the white around the eye being more sullied, and the moustachial stripe and ear-coverts being rufous with dark streaks instead of nearly uniform brown, and by the upper tail-coverts being pure white. The ruff is well marked.
Young birds have the lower parts buff or pale rufous, with distinct broad shaft-stripes, and the ruff, though distinct, is always striated.
At all ages this species is distinguished from C. macrurus and C. cineraceus by having the 5th primary notched on the outer web, and generally by having the 4th primary longest, and the 2nd shorter than the 5th.
Bill black; cere yellow; iris yellow, brown in the young, and according to some observers in females ; legs and feet yellow.
Length of male about 18 inches; tail 9 ; wing 13 ; tarsus 2.75 : length of female 21; tail 10.5 ; wing 15 ; tarsus 3.
Distribution. Europe, Northern and Central Asia, and Northern Africa. In India this species is fairly common in the Himalayas and in winter along their base, a few stragglers being found in Northern India as far south as the Central Provinces at that season.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of the last two Harriers. This species is not known to breed in the Himalayas, but has been observed to do so at Tso Morari in Tibet.