(2154) Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus.
THE SPOON-BILL STINT.
Platalea pygmaea Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed., i, p. 140 (1758) (Surinam). Eurynorhynchus pygmaeus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 271.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Breeding plumage. Forehead mottled rufous, black and white; crown black, with rufous edges and narrow white tips; hind-neck duller and greyer; back, scapulars and inner secondaries black, each feather edged laterally with rufous and terminally with white; lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts duller with no rufous; central tail-feathers blackish, the inner webs paler, lateral feathers paler grey-brown with white edges; wing-coverts brownish-black with pale edges, the greater with broad white tips; primaries and primary coverts black, the former with pale inner webs ; outer secondaries dark brown with whitish edges and tips; sides of head and neck, chin, throat and foreneck pale rufous, mottled with white; upper breast rufous, paling to white on the lower and boldly spotted with black; axillaries, under wing-coverts and rest of lower plumage white, the black spots extending down the flanks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 96 to 105 mm.; tail 42 to 50 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 23 mm.; culmen 21 to 23 mm.
In Winter plumage the rufous on the head and neck is replaced by white and the breast is unspotted or nearly so; the rufous on the upper plumage disappears, the mantle-feat hers are more broadly edged with white, and are grey-brown, instead of black, with black shafts.
Young birds are like the adult in Summer without the rufous.
Distribution. Breeding North-East Siberia. In Winter South to China, Burma and Eastern Bengal. In Southern Burma it has been recorded several times; one specimen was obtained near Calcutta, two were shot by Mr. Eden in the Sibsagar District of Assam and one by myself on the Megna Sunderbands.
Habits. Very little recorded. In Siberia it is said to haunt tundras close to the bigger rivers. In India it is found either singly or in pairs, generally in company with other small Waders. The two shot by Mr. Eden were a pair and that shot by myself a single bird on a sand-bank in company with the Little Stint. The bird shot by myself had eaten nothing but the most minute red crabs, which swarmed everywhere on the sand and adjoining mud-flats. The only note uttered was a shrill " wheet, wheet" as it rose.