1234. Circus cineraceus.
Falco cineraceus, Montagu, Orn. Diet, i, sheet K 2 (1802). Falco cinerareus, Montagu, Trans. Linn. Soc. ix, p. 188 (1808). Circus cinerascens, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii, pt. 2, p. 41 (1826); Blyth, Cat. p. 20; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xii, p. 105; Horsf. & M. Cat. l, p. 27. Circus cineraceus, Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 97; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 16; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 303; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 61; Wardl. Ramsay, Ibis, 1875, p. 351; A. Anderson, P. Z. S. 1876, p. 314 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 199; Cripps, ibid. p. 249; Doig, ibid. p. 503; Hume, Cat. no. 52; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 12 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 43; Scully, ibid. p. 421; Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 13 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 49. Circus pygargus, apud Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 64; Oates, B, B. ii, p. 173 ; nec Falco pygargus, L.
Dastmal, Girgit Mor, Pattai, H.; Pandouvi, Beng. ; Telia chappa gedda, Pilli gedda, Tel.; Puna prandu, Tam.; Kurula-goya, Ukussa, Cing.
Coloration. Adult male. Upper plumage, sides of head and neck, chin, throat, and breast ashy grey, much darker than in C. macrurus, and more or less tinged, except in very old birds, with brown on the back, scapulars, and tertiaries; upper tail-coverts white, barred or shaded with ashy; first 5 or 6 primaries black, the tips grey, and the amount of grey gradually increasing on the inner feathers; secondaries grey above, with a blackish transverse band, beneath white, with grey tips; middle tail-feathers grey, outer white, with transverse rufous and grey bars ; lower parts from breast white, with chestnut shaft-stripes; axillaries white, with chestnut bars and drops.
Females resemble those of C. macrurus, but the ruff is very indistinct, the upper parts are rather darker, and the edges of the head- and neck-feathers and of the wing-coverts more rufous; the general colour of the lower parts is buff or dull rufous, with rufous-brown shaft-stripes.
The young of C. cineraceus are distinguished by the ruff being indistinct and streaked throughout in place of the conspicuous buff ruff of C. macrurus; the lower surface, too, is darker and more distinctly streaked. At all ages C. cineraceus may be recognized by its short tarsus, and by the notch or emargination on the outer web of the second primary being about an inch beyond the ends of the greater coverts, whilst in C. macrurus the notch is close to them.
Bill black; cere greenish yellow; iris yellow, brownish yellow in the female ; legs and feet yellow.
Length of females about 19 ; tail 9.25; wing 15.5 ; tarsus 2.4 : length of males about 17; tail 9 ; wing 15 ; tarsus 2.3.
Distribution. The greater part of Europe, Asia, and Africa. Montagu's Harrier is migratory, and is found locally throughout India and Ceylon from October to April. It occurs in Assam, but is very rare in Burma, though it is said to be found there. It is not known in Tenasserim, but has been doubtfully recorded from the Malay Peninsula (Ibis, 1881, p. 368).
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of G. macrurus, but this bird is more local and avoids the dry stony plains and scrub-jungle more than the Pale Harrier does.