(1237) Galerida cristata chendoola.
Franklin's Crested Lark.
Alauda chendoola Franklin, P. Z. S., 1831, p. 119 (Ganges and Nerbudda). Galerita cristata. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 337 (part).
Vernacular names. Chendul ( Hind.); Chendul, Jutu-pitta (Tel.).
Description. Upper plumage sandy-brown with broad mesial streaks of black or blackish-brown; central tail-feathers lightbrown edged still paler; lateral feathers darker brown, narrowly edged with fulvous; penultimate feathers with broader pale edges and the outermost feathers nearly all of this colour and almost black on the inside 6f the inner web; wing-coverts and quills brown edged with sandy-brown, the latter rufous on the bases of the inner webs; lores brown; feathers round the eye and small supercilium white; ear-coverts and cheeks fulvous-white mottled with brown; lower plumage white, faintly tinged with fulvous, a little stronger on the breast and flanks, the breast boldly streaked with dark brown and the flanks with fainter streaks, sometimes almost entirely absent; under wing-coverts and axillaries rufous-pink.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill yellow-horny, darker on the culmen; legs and feet pale brown or yellowish-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 185 mm.; wing 93 to 101 mm.(one 105 mm.): tail 65 to 75 mm.; tarsus about 22 mm.; culmen 13 to 14 mm.
Young birds have the upper parts barred with white with sub-terminal bars of blackish ; below white with a few blackish streaks on the breast.
Distribution. Sind and North-West India to Sambhur and to Raipur in the Deccan and Rajputana ; East to Oudh and Bihar, Birds from the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia are all magna. Ticehurst considers that Harington's, Whitehead's and Magrath's records of Crested Larks in the Kurram Valley at 7,000 feet refer to this race but the birds seem to be nearer magna.
Nidification. This Crested Lark is resident and breeds freely throughout its range from April to June, less often in March and occasionally, perhaps a second brood, in July. The nest, like that of all Larks, is placed in a depression in the ground under the shelter of a tuft of grass, a stone, clod of earth or fallen branch, etc. It is cup-shaped, never domed, and is sometimes a very poorly-built shallow affair, sometimes quite a well-built cup. It is made almost entirely of fine grasses, but is nearly always lined with a little wool, hair, cotton-down or the flowering ends of grasses. The eggs number three or four and in shape are broad ovals with a close and often glossy texture. The ground-colour is a very pale yellowish-stone, rarely tinged with reddish or greenish. The primary marks are of various shades of light brown or reddish-brown, the secondary are of purple-grey and neutral tint and both consist of fair sized blotches rather than specks and freckles as they are in other Larks' eggs, some eggs being quite boldly marked. In most eggs they are scattered, not very thickly, over the whole surface, being rather more numerous at the larger end, where they may form a ring or cap. Fifty eggs average 21.5 x 16.4 mm.; maxima 23.5 x 16.2 and 22.0 x 17.3 mm. ; minima 19.8 x 16.1 and 22.0 x 15.3 mm.
Habits. Franklin's Crested Lark is a resident species, being found wherever there are wide open plains of scant vegetation or ploughed land without any great growth of crops. In habits it comes half-way between the Bush-Larks and the Sky-Larks. It soars like the latter and sings whilst doing so, though both flight and song is but a feeble imitation. It never, however, flutters into the air as the Bush-Larks do, first rising more or less perpen¬dicularly and then sailing down on stiffly-spread wings. Nor does it perch on bushes or elevated positions but both rests and feeds entirely upon the ground. It is a favourite cage-bird and thrives well in captivity, its seed diet being then varied with a little parched or dry millet and soft " suttoo."