(1732) Falco columbarius christiani-ludovici.
THE CENTRAL ASIAN MERLIN.
Falco columbarius christiani-ludovici Kleinscb... Falco, xiii, p. 10 (1917) (Caucasus). Falco regulus. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 426 (part.).
Vernacular names. As in the preceding bird.
Description. Differs from all other races in being much paler in both sexes; female and young are pale rufous in general effect rather than rufous-brown ; the bars on the primaries in both sexes are especially pale.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding bird but the bill a paler bluish and the cere a paler yellow.
Measurements. Wing, 203 to 226 mm., 200 to 232 mm.
Distribution. " Breeding from the Kirghis Steppes to the confines of Altai " (Sushkin). There are specimens in the British Museum from Mesopotamia, Trebizond, Arabia, Peshawar, Kohat, Gilgit and Sind. From further East there is a specimen, from Gyantse, Tibet, and Ludlow obtained another from the same place.
Nidification. The eggs of this race have been taken in May and June and number three to five according to Evermann, or t*vo to six according to Sarudny. They differ in no way from those of the other races.
Habits. Those of: the species. It is said to prey principally on small birds, less often on insects.