(1238) Galerida cristata magna.
Hume's Crested Lark.
Galerita magna Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 407 (Yarkand). Galerita cristata. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p, 337 (part).
Vernacular names. Chendool (Hind.).
Description. Differs from Franklin's Crested Lark in it& larger size. It is, perhaps, on the whole a little more reddish above and a trifle deeper fulvous below.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 106 to 117 mm.: tail 78 to 89 mm.; tarsus 23 to 24 mm. ; culmen about 15 to 16 mm.
Distribution. Trauscaspia, Mesopotamia, Persia, Turkestan, Afghanistan, Baluchistan and the mountains of the frontiers of North-West India.
Nidification. Hume's Crested Lark breeds from Transcaspia as far South as the North-West Frontier of India. Whitehead and Harington found it breeding abundantly at about 7,000 feet in the Khagan and Kurram Valleys and Betham records that it breeds in great numbers round Quetta. The nest differs in no way from that of Franklin's Crested Lark but the bird generally selects even barer and more stony wastes and hillsides, though it manages to conceal its nest very successfully among the roots of tufts of coarse grass. The eggs number three to five in most of the countries it inhabits but in Persia the clutches frequently number six and here the nest is nearly always placed in fields of high corn where it is very hard to find. In colour, shape and character the eggs resemble, those of the preceding bird but are considerably bigger. Sixty eggs taken in Mesopotamia and on the Indian Frontier average 22.6 X 17.1 mm., whilst 100 taken in Persia average 22.1 x 17.0 mm. Maxima 24.2 x 16.7 and 24.0 x 18.4 mm.; minima 20.0 x 16.9 and 21.1 x 15.3 mm. The breeding-season is from early April to the middle of June, most eggs being laid in late April and early May.
Habits. This form of Crested Lark is migratory in its habits, great numbers visiting Sind and the North-West of India in Winter, arriving in the middle of October and leaving in the latter half of March. Even during this season they seem more exclusively birds of desert country rather than of cultivated tracts, although many birds must come from the Persian highlands, where they frequent corn- and wheat-fields. Both flight and song seem to be superior to those of our Indian Plains' birds, though in no way approaching those of the Skylark. They feed on seeds of all kinds and, Petherick says, very largely on small grass-buds and young wheat-shoots.
This, as well as the other subspecies, is said to be an excellent mimic, copying the notes of many other birds,