1420. Esacus magnirostris.
The Australian Stone-Plover.
Oedicnemus magnirostris, Geoffr., Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat. xxiii, p. 231 (1818); Seebohm, Charadr. p. 89. Esacus magnirostris, Gray, Gen. B. iii, p. 535; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 290; iv, p. 293 ; v, p. 121 ; id. N. & E. p. 581; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 458; Hume, Cat. no. 858 bis; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 334. Orthorhamphus magnirostris, Salv. Ucc. Born. p. 312; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 22.
This species is nearly allied to E. recurvirostris, but is larger, and may be at once recognized by its very differently shaped bill, the upper mandible being much higher and the culmen curved and convex, not straight. The differences in Coloration are that in the present species the plumage is generally darker, the black bands at the side of the head are broader, and the white narrower than in E. recurvirostris, the lores being blackish almost throughout; the smaller wing-coverts are much darker brown, the white band succeeding them more distinct, the 0th and later primaries almost wholly white, except a few patches of brown near the end, the secondaries mostly grey; the chin and throat are white, the breast light brownish grey; the fore neck the same with dark streaks ; the abdomen white, often tinged with rufous, and the under tail-coverts rufous buff.
Bill blackish or greenish horny; base of upper mandible and membrane covering the nostrils greenish yellow ; legs and feet yellow (Hume) ; iris pale yellow (j. Gould).
Length 22.5 ; tail 4.5 ; wing 11 ; tarsus 3.25 ; bill from gape 3.5.
Distribution. Shores of Australia and the Malay Archipelago to Borneo. Found on the sea-shore of the Andaman Islands and Cocos, but not hitherto observed at the Nicobars. Davison saw an Esacus in the Mergui Archipelago, but this might perhaps have been E. recurvirostris, which has been noticed by Legge in Ceylon on the shore, though it was more probably the present species.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of the preceding species, except that this is a bird of the sea-shore. Eggs have been taken on the Cocos and Andaman Islands, in March and April; they resemble those of E. recurvirostris, but are larger, measuring 2.6 by 1.75, and are laid on the sand, a little above high-water mark.