1391. Crex pratensis.
The Land-Rail or Corn-Crake.
Rallus crex, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 261 (1768). Crex pratensis, Bechst. Naturg. Deutschl. 2e Aufl. ii, p. 461 (1805); Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 172; Hume, S. F. vii, pp. 440, 464; id. Cat. no. 910 quat.; id. Game B. ii, p. 231 ; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 591. Crex crex, Sharpe, Ibis, 1886, pp. 167, 490; id. Cat. B. M. xxiii, p. 82.
Coloration. In winter the feathers of the crown, hind neck, back, rump, and tail, with the scapulars and tertiaries, are black,' with broad brown borders growing grey at the margins ; upper and under wing-coverts and axillaries bright chestnut; wing-feathers and primary-coverts dark brown, the exposed portions rufous ; outer web of first primary and edge of wing buffy white ; sides of head, including supercilia, and of neck, and the whole of the breast light brown, a darker band through the eye; chin, throat, and abdomen whitish; flanks, thighs, and shorter under,tail-coverts brown with white cross-bars, longer under tail-coverts white.
In summer the supercilia, cheeks, and fore neck are ashy grey, a light brown band passing from the lores through the eye and ear-coverts to the side of the neck; the breast is grey washed with light rufous brown, and the bands on the flanks are more distinct.
Young birds have white barring on the wing-coverts. The nestling is clad with black down.
Bill, feet, and claws pale brown ; iris hazel (Seebohm).
Length 10 ; tail 2; wing 6 ; tarsus 1.5; bill from gape 1.05.
Distribution. A migratory bird, found iu the summer throughout the greater part of Europe and in Central Asia, and in winter in Africa and Arabia. It is said to be found at that season near Cabul. Various reports of its occurrence in Northern India have been heard from time to time, but all are of doubtful authenticity, and the only trustworthy record is by Scully, who obtained a single specimen at Gilgit on Oct. 8th.