1257. Falco jugger.
The Laggar Falcon.
Falco jugger, J. E. Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. ii, pl. 26 (1833-34) : Blyth, Cat. p. 13; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 20; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 30 ; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 70; A. Anderson, P. Z. S. 1871, p. 680 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 230; Hume, S. F. i, p. 156; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 393 ; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 443; ix, p. 370; Davidson &Wend. S. F. vii, p. 73; Ball, ibid. p. 196; Cripps, ibid. p. 241; Hume, Cat. no. 11; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 222 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 3 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 12; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. iii, p. 209 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 3; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 151; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 186. Falco luggur, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. x, p. 80 (1839); id. Ill. Ind. Orn. pl. xliv. Falco thermophilus, Hodgson in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 81, descr. nulla.
Laggar , Jaggar H.; Lagadu, Tel.
Coloration. Adult. Forehead, lores, and supercilia white, with dark streaks; crown and nape brown, with broad rufous edges to the feathers ; a streak running back above the ear-coverts, and a moustachial band from the gape sometimes continued to the eye, with some feathers round the orbit dark brown; rest of sides of head white, with a few dark shafts beneath the eye; upper plumage from the nape brown with an ashy tinge; quills the same ; inner webs of primaries, except near the end, with broad white bars; tail brown, middle feathers unbarred and pale-tipped, outer feathers with whitish bars on the inner webs and white tips; lower parts white, a few dark streaks, wanting in very old birds, on the breast, and spots on the abdomen; flanks and outer thigh-coverts chiefly brown.
Young birds are brown almost throughout, the chin and throat white, and some white on the forehead, sides of head, breast, and lower tail-coverts, buff instead of white on quills and inner webs of tail-feathers. There is a gradual disappearance of the brown on the lower parts with successive moults.
Bill greyish blue, the tip blackish; cere yellow in adults, greenish grey in young birds; irides dark brown ; legs and feet yellow, pale plumbeous to dull greenish grey in the young (Hume).
Length of female about 18 inches ; tail 8 ; wing 14; tarsus 2; mid-toe without claw 1.8; bill from gape 1.25: of a male, length 16 ; tail 7.5 ; wing 12.5.
Distribution. Throughout India in suitable (open or cultivated) country, from the lower Himalayas to Southern Madras, and from Sind to Cachar. A specimen was obtained by Hume in Manipur, but this Falcon has not been observed in Assam nor in Burma. It is found in Baluchistan about Khelat and Quetta, but has not been met with farther west. It is rare to the southward, and does not occur in Ceylon. It is seldom met with in forest regions such as the Malabar coast and South-western Bengal, and is particularly common in the upper Gangetic plain, and far from rare in parts of the Punjab and Rajputana.
Habits, &c. Jerdon says—" "Whilst the Bhyri prefers the sea-coast and the neighbourhood of lakes, rivers, and wet cultivation, and the Shahin delights in hilly and wooded regions, the Laggar on the contrary frequents open dry plains and vicinity of cultivation." " In a wild state it preys on a great variety of small birds, often snatching up a chicken, even in the midst of a cantonment." Formerly it was trained to hunt crows, the smaller herons, partridges, and florican, but very few Falcons are now trained in India, and this species is now rarely, if ever, captured for the purpose. The nest of the Laggar is sometimes on a tree, very often a pipal (Ficus religiosa), sometimes on a cliff or on a building, and in many cases the Falcon takes possession of an old nest of a kite, eagle, or vulture, not even relining it. The breeding-season is in January, February, and March. The usual number of eggs is four; they are reddish or brownish, speckled and spotted all over with a darker and richer shade of the same, and measure about 2.01 by 1.57.