1589. Dendrocycna javanica.
The Whistling Teal.
Anas javanica, Horsfield, Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 199 (1821). Anas arcuata, pt., Horsf. Zool. Res. Java, text of pl. 65 (1824). Mareca awsuree, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 168. Dendrocygna arcuata, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 301; id. Ibis, 1865, p. 39 ; 1867, p. 175; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 255; Hume, N. & E. p. 639; id. S. F. i, p. 260; ii, p. 315; A. Anderson, Ibis, 1874, p. 222 ; Wardl. Rams. Ibis, 1877, p. 472; Oates, S. F. v, p. 169 ; nec Cuv. Dendrocygna awsuree, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 789; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 275. Dendrocygna javanica, Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 486 ; Dav. & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 92; Ball, ibid. p. 232 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 311; Hume, Cat. no. 952; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 372; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1069; Hume Marsh. Came B. iii, p. 109, pl.; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 92 ; Butler, ibid. p. 436 ; Parker, ibid. p. 486; id. Ibis, 1883, p. 194 ; 1886, p. 188; Reid, S. F. x, p. 80; Hume, ibid. p. 417; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 273; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 398 ; Taylor, S. F. x, pp. 528, 531; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 341; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 61; vi, p. 288; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 284. Dendrocycna javanica, Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) iv,p. 616; id. Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 156.
Silhi, Silhahi, H.; Sural, Shareil, Beng.; Hansrali, Uriya; Horali, Assam; Tingi, Manipur; Yerra Chillula, Tel.; Yerrundi,Mal.; Chemba Tara, Tam. (Ceylon); Saaru, Tatta Saaru, Cing.; Si-sa-li, Burm.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and nape brown, darker behind, fulvous or rufescent in front; sides of head (including supercilia) and the upper neck very light brown, almost white on the chin and throat, hind neck darker; back and scapulars dark brown, with broad pale transverse rufous tips to the feathers ; lower back and rump blackish; smaller and median wing-coverts chestnut, greater coverts and quills black ; upper tail-coverts chestnut; tail dark brown; lower parts light ferruginous, becoming pale yellowish brown on the upper breast, and whitish on the vent and lower tail-coverts; flanks light brown, the long feathers with broad whitish shaft-stripes.
Younger birds have the under parts throughout very light brown.
Bill, legs, and feet brownish blue, the nail of the bill nearly black; iris brown; eyelids bright yellow (Oates).
Length 17 ; tail 2 ; wing 7.5 ; tarsus 1.75 ; bill from gape 1.9.
Distribution. A resident almost throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma in suitable localities; also in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cochin, Southern China, Sumatra, Borneo, and Java. This Duck is very rare or wanting in the Himalayas and the Panjab ; it is of course absent from the desert region, and in many parts of the country it is only found in the rains generally, because the ponds and marshes are dry at other times. It does, however, move about considerably at different seasons.
Habits, &c. This common and familiar bird is chiefly found about well wooded and weedy ponds and marshes. It is not generally seen on rivers, nor on large open pieces of water, and it delights in trees, on which it often perches and roosts, and mostly makes its nest. It keeps in flocks, sometimes large, during the winter and spring, and these flocks are well known to duck-shooters in India, for they fly round and round rather slowly, uttering their peculiar whistling call, long after all other ducks and teal, except the Cotton Teal, have deserted the water. The Whistling Teal breeds in most parts of India and Burma in July and August: it either makes a nest of sticks in a tree, occupies an old nest of a crow, heron, or cormorant, or builds in grass or thorny scrub near the water's edge. In Ceylon the breeding-season varies, being from June to August in the south, February to April in the north-west of the island. Prom 8 to 14 white eggs (usually 10 to 12) are laid, measuring on an average 1.86 by 1.49. The young are carried down to the water in the claws (or, according to some observers, on the backs) of the old birds. The flesh of this Teal is very poor eating. Whistling Teal are good swimmers and divers, and Mr. Finn has observed them diving for food regularly like Pochards.