1261. Falco severus.
The Indian Hobby.
Falco severus, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 135 (1821); Delme Radcl. Ibis, 1871, p. 366; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 397; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 2; Hume, Cat. no. 14; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 110; Reid, S. F. x, p. 4; Davison, ibid. p. 333; Butler, ibid. p. 524; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 216; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 3. Falco rufipedoides, Hodgs. Cole. Jour. N. H. iv, p. 283 (1844). Hypotriorchis severus, Blyth, Cat. p. 15; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 22 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 34; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 237; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 13; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 87; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 59; Hume & Board. S. F. iv, p. 354.
Dhutar , Dhuti , H.
Coloration. Crown and sides of head, including cheeks to below the gape, and the hind-neck black, which passes on the upper back into the dark slaty grey with black shafts of the upper parts generally; quills and larger coverts black, the inner webs of the quills with oval transverse rufous spots or bars on basal two-thirds of the primaries and almost throughout the secondaries; tail slaty grey above in old birds with one black subterminal cross-band, in younger birds blackish above with grey cross-bands, brown beneath with paler bands, which become light rufous on the inner webs of the outer rectrices; chin, throaty and sides of neck white tinged with rufous; rest of lower parts, including the under wing-coverts, deep ferruginous red.
Young birds are brownish black above, with light rufous edges, broadest on the secondaries, upper tail-coverts, and tail-feathers ; a few rufous feathers scattered over the nape; breast, abdomen, and under wing-coverts deep rufous with black spots.
Bill plumbeous; irides deep brown; cere, gape, and orbital skin lemon-yellow ; legs and feet deep yellow (Cripps).
Length of a female about 11.5; tail 4.75 ; wing 9.8; tarsus 1.35; mid-toe without claw 1.35 ; bill from gape -9 t length of a male 10.5; tail 4.25 ; wing 9.
Distribution. The Himalayas as far west as kulu, at moderate elevations, also Travancore and probably the Nilgiris, and Ceylon, but, so far as is known, only in the cold season. This Hobby is believed to occur occasionally in Oude, and it has been shot near Calcutta. It is recorded from Assam, Cachar, and Manipur, but has not been obtained in Burma recently, though Blyth quotes it from Tenasserim, which it must inhabit, as it occurs throughout the Malay Archipelago to New Guinea and New Britain.
Habits, &c. Like other Hobbies, the present species is crepuscular, a circumstance which probably accounts for its being so seldom seen; it also resembles the Common Hobby in feeding largely, perhaps chiefly, on insects. The nidification is unknown. According to Jerdon this Hobby is said to breed on trees, and Mr. B.. Thompson inferred that a female he saw in the lower ranges of Kumaun had young in June, because he saw her carry away a small bird as if to her nest.
Blyth has called attention to the curious fact that this Falcon and the Shahin, both resident tropical species, differ from the migratory Hobby and Peregrine in precisely similar details of Coloration. and that some Swallows, resident in the tropics, are similarly distinguished from their migratory allies by darker and more rufous colouring.