874. Galerita cristata.
The Crested Lark.
Alauda cristata, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 288 (1766). Alauda chendoola, Frankl. P. Z. S. 1831, p. 119. Galerida chendoola (Frankl.), Blyth, Cat. p. 133. Galerida cristata (Linn.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 465; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 436; Hume, N. & E. p. 488; id. S. F. i, p. 214; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 185 ; Hume, Cat. no. 769; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 283; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 626; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 233. Galerida magna, Hume, Ibis, 1871, p. 407 ; id. & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 270, pl. 30; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 175.
The Large Crested Lark, Jerd.; Chendul, Hind.; Chendul, Jutu-pitta, Tel.
Coloration. Upper plumage earthy brown, with blackish streaks or centres to most of the feathers; tail-feathers brown, with sandy margins and tips, the penultimate feather with the greater portion of the outer web pale rufous, the outermost all pale rufous except the inner portion of the inner web, which is brown; wing-coverts and quills brown with sandy margins, the quills with a large patch of rufous on the inner web ; lores brown ; supercilium pale fulvous ; ear-coverts pale fulvous white, mottled with brown; entire lower plumage pale fulvous with some brown spots on the cheeks and numerous brown streaks on the breast; the sides of the body obsoletely streaked ; under wing-coverts and axillaries rufous.
Bill yellowish; feet pale brown ; iris dark brown (Jerdon).
Length about 7.5 ; tail about 2.7; wing 3.5 to 4.3 ; tarsus 1.05; bill from gape about .9.
The Crested Lark varies as much as the Common Sky-Lark both in size and colour, and it is as difficult in the case of the one as of the other to subdivide it into two or more races.
Distribution. The north-western portion of India, extending east as far as the 85th degree of east longitude, and south as far generally as the 23rd degree of north latitude, but occasionally further south in favourable localities, this species having been recorded from Raipur in the Central Provinces. Many Larks of this species are resident and breed in India, but the majority appear to migrate in spring to Central Asia. This Lark, in a more or less variable form, has an immense range, being found in Europe and Northern Africa and the greater part of Asia, as far east as China.
Habits, &c. Breeds in India from March to June, constructing a small nest of grass on the ground under shelter of a stone or clod of earth. The nest is usually lined with cotton, hair, fibres, and feathers. The eggs, usually three in number, are dull white marked with brown and purple, and measure about .87 by .65.