804. Chelidon urbica.
Hirundo urbica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 344 (1766); Blyth, Cat. p. 198. Chelidon urbica (Linn.), Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 385; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 166; Hume, Cat. no. 92; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 378 ; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 428 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1882, p. 269; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 84; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 87; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 177.
The English House Martin, Jerd.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, nape, lores, a small space below the eye, hind neck, back, and scapulars glossy bluish black; rump and, the shorter upper tail-coverts white, with the shafts very narrowly brown; longer upper tail-coverts glossy black; tail black with a slight gloss ; coverts and quills dull black, some of the smaller coverts margined with glossy bluish black; cheeks, ear-coverts, and lower plumage white, washed with ashy on the sides of the breast and body and on the axillaries.
The young have the chin, throat, fore neck, cheeks, and ear-coverts dull smoky brown, and the quills next the body tipped with white; the upper plumage is dull brown.
Bill black ; feet pale Mesh-colour ; iris deep brown.
Length nearly 6 ; tail 2.5 ; wing 4.4 ; tarsus .5 ; bill from gape .5; bifurcation of tail from .5 to .75.
Distribution. The series of Indian-killed specimens of this Martin in the Hume Collection is remarkably poor and the skins are in almost all cases badly prepared. It is not therefore easy to identify some of them with absolute certainty, especially the younger birds, which are very close to C. kashmiriensis. There are three nearly adult birds killed in April at Mussooree; one nearly adult and four immature birds from Hazara, killed in September; one nearly adult from Khandesh killed in November; another quite adult, but moulting, from Shimoga, Mysore, obtained in April, and four young January birds from Coimbatore. Until well-preserved adult specimens are obtained, the distribution of this Martin in India must remain in great doubt. Jerdon records this species from the Nilgiris in March. Scully informs us that it is very common in Gilgit in May and June, and Biddulph obtained it at Gilgit in July.
This species is found in Europe, Africa, and the western half of Asia.
Habits, &c. Has been found breeding in Mysore in May, constructing a nest of mud pellets lined with feathers under a large rock in the bed of the river Tungabhadra. This Martin probably breeds in other similar localities. The eggs, varying from two to four in number, are pure white and measure about .75 by .54.