Circus cyaneus (Linn.), Syst. Nat. ii p. 126 (1766) ; Gould, B. of E. i, pl. 33 ; Hewitson, i. p. 47, pl. xvi. fig. 2 ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. 26 ; Newton, i. p. 132 ; Dresser, v. p. 431, pl. 329 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 52 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 27 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 384 ; Saunders, p. 317 ; Lilford, i. p. 69, pl. 36 ; C. pygargus, Naum. i. p. 391, Taf. 38, fig. 2, Taf. 39.
Busard St. Martin, French : Pilharatos, Portug. ; Ave de San Martin, Span. ; Albanella reale, Ital. Kornweihe, German Blaauwe Kuikendief, Dutch ; Blaa Kjoerhog, Dan. and Norweg. ; Bla-Karrhok, Swed. ; Sinihaukka, Finn. ; Polevoi Lun, Russ. ; Bou-hasin, Moor.
Male ad. (Scotland). Upper parts and middle tail-feathers ashy blue- grey, rather darker on the back ; primaries blackish ; upper tail-coverts white ; lateral tail-feathers greyish white, narrowly barred with brownish ; breast paler than the head, the rest of the under parts gradually fading to white ; bill blackish horn ; cere, iris, and legs yellow. Culmen 1.1, wing 13.4, tail 8.9, tarsus 2.62 inch. The female has the forehead and a faint superciliary stripe buff ; upper parts dark brown, the head and neck striped, the back well marked with warm buff ; upper tail-coverts white, sparsely dotted with rufous ; tail dark brown with a light tip, barred with greyish brown and rufous buff ; under parts buff striped with dull brown and reddish brown ; iris brown ; legs and cere yellow.
Hab. Europe generally, from Lapland to the Mediterranean ; British Islands ; Africa south to Abyssinia ; Asia east through India to China, Tibet, Mongolia, Japan, and Siberia, and southward to the central provinces of India.
Frequents open places, heaths, plains, and marshes, and is not found in the woodlands. Its flight is graceful, not high above the ground, and it will hover every now and again when quartering. It feeds on small mammals and birds, insects, reptiles, etc, and like its allies it feeds largely on the eggs of ground-nesting birds. Its nest is a depression in the ground, frequently in a damp locality, and consists merely of a few sticks and heather-bents with a little dry grass. The eggs, 4 to 5 in number, are generally deposited late in May, and are bluish white, usually unmarked, and measure about 1.81 by 1.39. I have, however, seen eggs slightly, and others somewhat boldly, marked with dark red.
719. Circus cyaneus