(2261) Dendrocygna fulva.
The Large Whistling Teal.
Anas fulva Gmelin, Syst. Nat., i, p. 530 (1789) (Nova Hispania). Dendrocycna fulva. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 432.
Vernacular names. Si-Sali (Burma).
Description. Crown deep ferruginous, passing into a blackish-brown stripe on the nape; centre of neck pale rufescent-white streaked with blackish; remainder of head, neck and lower plumage ochraceous-rufous changing to cinnamon on the flanks, which are streaked with pale ochraceous and dusky; above brownish-black, each feather broadly edged with cinnamon-rufous median and lesser wing-coverts chestnut; remainder of wing black; rump and tail black or deep brown; vent, upper and lower tail-coverts rufescent-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light to dark brown; bill dusky-black, nearly always more or less marked with bluish-slate at the base, this colour sometimes occupying nearly three-quarters of the upper mandible ; legs and feet vary from pale dusky-plumbeous or bluish-slate to nearly black; claws black.
Measurements. Wing, 205 to 236 mm., 198 to 212 mm.; tail 52 to 57 mm.; tarsus about 53 to 57 mm.; culmen about 42 to 52 mm.
Weight, 1 lb. 8 oz. to 2 lbs., 1 lb. to 1 lb. 10 oz.
Young birds are duller in colour; the chestnut of the wing-coverts is more brown and the upper tail-coverts are edged with brown.
Nestling in down. Upper parts greyish-brown; a white band across the occiput, broken by a darker brown band down the nape and hind-neck ; a brown band from the eyes to the nape ; underpays buffy-white.
Distribution.- Africa, from Lake Tchad and the Sudan South to Lake Ngami and Natal, Madagascar, South-West United States, Argentina, India, Burma and the Indo-Chinese countries. In India it is common in parts of Eastern Bengal and the Deccan ; it is not rare in Assam and extends through Manipur into Northern Burma and again becomes more common in Pegu. Elsewhere in India it is scattered very sparsely throughout the North and North-West.
Nidification. The Large "Whistling Teal breeds in some numbers in Eastern Bengal, generally building a nest of twigs, roots and water-weeds on small trees growing in swamps. Sometimes the nests of other birds are appropriated and sometimes the eggs are laid in hollows in trees. In India these birds have not been observed to nest on the ground but quite possibly may do so. They breed throughout the rainy weather, most eggs being laid in August. Fifty eggs average 56.6 x 42.9 mm.: maxima 60.9 x 51.0 mm.; minima 45.3 X 38.1 and 47.3 x 38.0 mm.
Habits. The Larger Whistling Teal is a more shy bird than the preceding and never haunts village ponds and ditches. They are stronger fliers, even better walkers but worse divers than their smaller cousins, whilst they generally associate in much smaller flocks. Their whistle is like that of D. javanica but louder and higher pitched. Both this and the preceding species are very easy to domesticate and are very hardy little birds in captivity.