(2050) Orthoramphus magnirostris magnirostris.
THE AUSTRALIAN STONE-PLOVER.
Oedicnemus magnirostris Vieill., Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat., xxiii, p. 231 (1818) (Timor). Esacus magnirostris. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 351.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper parts light brown, the feathers of the head with dark brown centres occupying roost of the feather and making it look very dark ; remaining upper parts dark-shafted and with pale tips; tail like that of E. recurvirostris but central rectrices with broken pale and dark terminal bars'; lesser wing-coverts tipped white, making a wing-bar; remaining wing-coverts pale grey, the greater with broad white tips, forming a central white bar; outer primaries brown banded with white, this increasing until the inner primaries are pure white; secondaries like the back; feathers round the eye and behind the ear-coverts white, all round the white and the lores blackish ; a broad black streak from the lower mandible; chin and throat white; lower neck and breast pale grey, with darker shafts, those on the neck broadening to dark streaks ; under tail-coverts buff; remainder of lower plumage white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris and orbital skin chrome-yellow ; bill black, yellowish at the extreme base; legs and feet yellow, greenish-yellow or greyish-yellow; claws blackish.
Measurements*. Total length 620 mm.; wing of Andaman birds 266 to 277 mm.; tarsus 80 to 84 mm.; culmen 76 to 82 mm.
Distribution. Andaman Islands, the coasts of the Federated Malay States and islands of the Malay States to Australia. This species has been split up into many subspecies by Mathews, whilst Oberholser has named the bird from the Tambelan Islands scommophorus. This is rather paler than the typical form and agrees in this respect with the Andaman birds, which may have to bear this name if further material confirms the diagnosis. Mrs. Meinertzhagen, in her article in the ' Ibis' referred to, lumps Burhinus, Esacus and Orthoramphus under the one genus, Burhinus. This has necessitated her giving a new name to our bird, which becomes B. n. neglectus of Mathews for those who follow her generic classification.
Nidification. This fine Stone-Plover breeds on the Andamans, eggs having been taken on the 24th of March by Hume and in April by M. Bonig. In the various islands farther East it seems to breed from August 30th to November 5th. The eggs are laid in shingle beds on the coast above high-water mark. The eggs, which are very handsome, go through an even greater range of coloration than our Indian Stone-Plover. Fifteen average 63.7 x 45.0 mm.: maxima 68.5 x 44.3 and 64.2 x 47.1 mm.; minima 60.2 x 42.8 mm. An abnormally small egg, measures only 54.3 x 41.0 mm.
Habits. Apparently very similar to those of Burhinus oe. indicus, except that it haunts the sea-shore instead of rivers. It lives, in the Andamans at all events, almost entirely on small Crustacea and molluscs.
* For measurements of extra-limital birds see ' Ibis,' 1924, pp. 352-353