717. MONTAGU’S HARRIER.
Circus cineraceus (Montag.), Orn. Dict. i. sheet K. 3. (1802) ; (Naum.) i. p. 402, Taf 40 ; Gould, B. of E. i. pl. 35 ; Hewitson, i. p. 49, pl. xvi. fig. 3 ; Newton, i. p. 38 ; Dresser, v. p. 423, pl. 328 ; Blanf. P. Brit. Ind. Birds, iii. p. 383 ; Saunders, p. 319 ; Lilford, i. p. 73, pls. 37, 38 ; C. cinerarius, Leach, Syst. Cat. Mam. etc. Brit. Mus. p. 9. (1816) ; C. cinerascens, Steph. Gen. Zool. xiii. p. 41 (1825) ; Gould, B. of Gt. Brit. i. pl. xxvii ; C. pyagargus, Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. i. p. 64 ; David and Oust. Ois. Chine, p. 28 (nec. Linn.) ; C. montagui. Vieill. Nouv. Dict. xxxi. p. 411 (1819).
Busard cendre, French ; Aguia cacadeira, Portug. ; Cenizo, Span. ; Albanella minore, Ital. ; Wiesenweihe, German ; Graauwe Kuikendief, Dutch ; Graa Kjaerhog, Dan. ; Mindre Karrhok, Swed. ; Lugovoi Lun, Russ. ; Bouschrada, Arab. ; Dastmal, Hindu. ; Pandouvi, Beng.
Male ad. (Spain). Head, neck, breast, and upper parts ashy blue-grey darker on the upper parts ; secondaries with two hidden and one con¬spicuous blackish bar ; primaries black ; tail ashy blue-grey ; the outer feathers paler and barred with reddish ; under parts greyish white striped with chestnut-red ; bill blackish horn ; cere, iris, and legs yellow. Culmen 1.05, wing 14.8, tail 10.0, tarsus 2.5 inch. The female is some-what larger and has the upper parts brown varied with rusty rufous, the quills and middle tail-feathers tinged with grey and barred with blackish brown ; the outer tail-feathers greyish white tinged with rufous and barred with brown ; under parts warm ochreous striped with rusty brown. Young birds have the under parts tinged with rufous and unstriped. This species is subject to melanism and uniform blackish brown varieties are occasionally met with.
Hab. A summer visitor to the British Islands and Continental Europe generally, more numerous in the south. Of occasional occurrence in Sweden, and has once been obtained in Finland ; Africa south to Cape Colony ; Asia east to China, wintering in India and Ceylon.
Like its allies it affects open plains and marshes, and never perches or roosts in a tree, but passes the night on the ground amongst the grass or aquatic plants. It flies low and quarters the ground carefully. It feeds on insects, mice, small reptiles, small birds, and the eggs of ground-nesting species, and in Spain wherever there were colonies of Terns, Stilts, etc., I found nests of this Harrier. The nest is placed on the ground or on floating masses of reeds, and is constructed of grass and flags of less coarse materials and better made than that of the Hen¬-Harrier, and the eggs, 4 to 6 in number, are usually deposited in May and resemble those of C. oeruginosus but are smaller, measuring about 1.49 by 1.25.
717. Circus cineraceus
717. MONTAGU’S HARRIER.