Falco chiquera, Daud.
16. :- Hypotriorchis chiquera, Daud. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 36; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 444; Deccan and South Mahratta country, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 370 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 70 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 55 ; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 91.
THE RED-HEADED MERLIN.
Length, 11 to 12; expanse, 26 ; wing, 8 to 8.25 ; tail, 4.75 to 6 ; tarsus, 1.5.
Length, 13 to 14 ; wing, 8.5 to 9; tail, 5.5 to 6; tarsus, 1.5.
Cere, orbitar skin, and legs, bright yellow. Adult: head, nape, and cheek-stripe bright rufous ; the rest of the plumage above fine pale grey ; quills dark slaty ; tail light grey, with a broad black terminal band, white tipped at the end; beneath white, unspotted to the breast; all the rest of the lower parts with narrow cross bands of dusky grey; quills with the inner webs banded dusky and whitish; tail with narrow cross bars, conspicuous beneath, not seen above.
Young bird: head, nape, and moustache dark dusky-rufous, with dark mesial lines ; the upper parts grey, with dark markings to all the feathers; quills darker; tail with numerous bars, and a broad black terminal band; beneath white, more or less tinged rusty, with some streaks on the neck and breast, and broadish bars on the abdomen and thigh-coverts.
The Turumti is more or less common throughout the region. It frequents open country in the vicinity of cultivation, and I have often obtained its nest within village enclosures. It commences to breed in January, and nests may be found quite up to the end of March. They prefer rather high trees, such as tamarind and peepul, and in a fork near the top, they construct rather a neat cup-shaped nest of twigs, lined with grass, roots, &c. It would be rather a difficult nest to find were it not for the fussy habit the bird has of darting out, attacking, and driving away any bird that may happen to come near the tree. Jerdon says that they do not hesitate to attack the Tawny Eagle. The usual number of eggs is four, but I have occasionally found only three, well incubated. They are rather longish ovals, somewhat chalky in texture, of a yellowish or reddish-brown color, closely stippled, blotched, mottled and clouded with darker shades of the same color.
They average 1.65 inches in length by about 1.25 in breadth.