Cerchneis naumanni, Fleish.
18. :- Eryihropus cenchris, Maum. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 40 ; Butler, Deccan and South Mahratta country; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 371 ; Hume's Scrap Book, p. 103.
THE LESSER KESTRIL.
Total Length, 12.5 inches ; culmen, 0.75; wing, 9.5 ; tail, 6; tarsus, 1.2.
Bill lightish-blue, yellow at base, and blackish at tip; cere, orbits", and feet beautiful yellow ; the claws generally white, very rarely inclining to blackish; iris dark brown.
Adult male: upper surface of body rich cinnamon-rufous; entire head and hind-neck, lower back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail blue-grey, the latter tipped with white, and crossed by a broad subterminal band of black ; lores and a few streaks on the cheeks whitish ; lesser and medium wing-coverts cinnamon-rufous, like the back, a few of the outer ones of the latter series washed with blue-grey; the greater-coverts and inner secondaries blue-grey washed with rufous externally; primaries dark brown; throat deep fulvous-white ; breast pale cinnamon or vinous, with a few blackish spots on the breast, becoming larger on the sides of the body; thighs paler rufous, unspotted ; abdomen and under tail-coverts yellowish-white; under wing-coverts white, with a few tiny black oval spots, larger on the axillaries.
Adult female: dissimilar to the male. Above tawny-rufous, transversely crossed by bars of blackish-brown, narrower and more obscure on the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts, the latter of which are strongly inclined to grey; tail rufous, barred with black, tipped with whitish, before which a broad subterminal band of black ; head and neck rather paler rufous, the former broadly, the latter more narrowly, streaked with blackish shaft stripes; forehead and a distinct eye-brow whitish; cheeks and ear-coverts silvery-white, with narrow shaft lines of black; primaries dark-brown, barred on the inner web with rufous; secondaries colored like the back, the outer ones narrowly margined with white at the tip ; throat, vent and under tail-coverts fulvous-white, unspotted; breast inclining to rufous-fawn color; all the feathers mesially streaked with blackish, these stripes being broader on the flanks, and very tiny on the sides, which are also paler rufous.
Total Length, 12.5 inches; culmen, 0.7 ; wing, 9.3; tail, 5.9; tarsus, 1.2.
Young male : like the old female, but somewhat paler rufous. The blue tail is assumed by a moult, the blue head being, on the other hand, gained by a change of feather. Birds in intermediate stages are often thus seen. :- Sharpe's Catalogue.
The Lesser Kestril has been recorded from the Deccan by several observers, but Mr. Hume remarks that it is doubtful whe¬ther the form that occurs there may not be the closely allied Cerchneis pekinensis. I therefore add a description of the latter.
18 bis. :- Cerchneis pekinensis, Swinh.
Adult male: very similar to C. naumanni, but darker and more vinous-red above; underneath also darker colored and unspotted when adult. The principal distinction is in the wing-coverts, which are almost entirely blue-grey, only the very innermost being slightly washed with rufous.
Total Length, 12 inches; culmen, 0.8 ; wing, 9.6 ; tail, 5.8; tarsus 1.45. :- Sharpe's Catalogue.