1486. Gallinago solitaria.
The Himalayan Solitary Snipe.
Gallinago solitaria, Hodgs. Gleanings in Science, iii, p. 238 (1831) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 272; Adams, P. Z. S. 1859, p. 189; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 673; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B- xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 70; Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 392 ; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 286; Hume, Cat. no. 869; Scully, S. P. viii, p. 353; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 333, pl.; Hume, S. F. ix, p. 283; Biddulph, Ibis,1881,p. 95 ; Scully, ibid. p. 588; Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 121; Marshall, Ibis, 1884, p. 424 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 319, Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Ares, p. 144 ; id. Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 654. Scolopax hyemalis, Eversmann, Bull. Soc. Imp. Nat. Moscou, 1845, pt. i, p. 255, pl. vi. Scolopax solitaria, Seebohm, Charadr. p. 475.
Coloration. The colours of the upper parts much broken up and mixed, and with white not buff streaks ; crown black spotted with rufous, median band narrow, white; supercilia and sides of head white, speckled with' black ; loral band and cheek-band below the eye mixed black and rufous ; back and scapulars black, spotted with rufous, scapulars with white or whitish borders; wing-coverts much barred with rufous and tipped white; primary-coverts, larger secondary-coverts, primaries and secondaries dark brown, with narrow white tips ; lower back with white bars, becoming buff spots on the rump; upper tail-coverts nearly uniform olive-brown with white tips; median tail-feathers black, with a broad rufous subterminal band, then a black bar and whitish tip ; outer tail-feathers black at the base, white towards the end, with irregular dark cross-bars ; chin and throat white, often speckled dusky ; breast brown, more or less speckled and spotted with white ; abdomen generally white in the middle, barred dark brown on the flanks, sometimes barred throughout; under wing-coverts and axillaries banded dark brown and white, the white bands slightly the broader.
Bill plumbeous, black at tip!, base of lower mandible yellowish brown ; irides dark brown; feet dull olive or pale yellowish green, soles yellowish (Scully).
The tail-feathers vary in number from 16 to 24, 8 broader in the middle and normally 5 (but the number varies from 4 to 8) narrower lateral rectrices on each side.
Length 12.25 ; tail 2.75 ; wing 6.5 ; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 2.75.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Assam, also in North-eastern and Eastern Central Asia as far as Japan and Eastern Siberia. In the winter individuals have been shot at Kelat in Baluchistan, at several places along the base of the Himalayas, on the Garo and Khasi hills, and near Dibrugarh in Assam, and one straggler was once obtained at Benares, but this Snipe has not been seen farther south.
Habits, &c. This large Solitary Snipe is a widely different bird, both in structure and habits, from 67. nemoricola; it is found as often in marshes in open country as, near forest. It is even met with not infrequently in the treeless Upper Indus valley and Tibet. It feeds chiefly on insects and grubs, and has very much the flight and habits of G. stenura. It is undoubtedly found in the Himalayas at from 9000 to 15,000 feet or higher in the breeding season, but the nest and eggs have not been described.