Gallinago sthenura, Kuhl.
870. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 674; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. V, p. 212 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 428; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 239 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. III, p, 339 ; S. stenura, Kuhl.; Swinhoe. and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 133.
THE PIN-TAILED SNIPE.
Length, 9.75 to 10.9; expanse, 15.5 to 17.4 ; wing, 4.95 to 5.42 ; tail, 2.0 to 2.57; tarsus, 1.19 to 1.27; bill from gape, 2.12 to 2.25 ; bill at front, 2.2 to 2.6 ; weight, 3.3 oz. to 4.75 oz.; average, 3.91 oz.
Length, 10.0 to 11.17; expanse, 16.1 to 18.25; wing, 5.0 to 5.58 ; tail, 2.0 to 2.67 ; tarsus, 1.2 to 1.35 ; bill from gape, 2.38 to 2.62; bill at front, 2.45 to 2.7; Weight, 3.75 oz. to 5.1 oz. ; average, 4.2 oz.; average of both sexes, 4.06 oz.
Bill blackish-horny at tip; deep brown in the centre, greenish-horny at base ; irides deep brown ; legs and feet leaden-greenish. . Very similar to the Common Snipe in color; but the under wing-coverts and axillaries richly barred with dusky and white.
Such is Dr. Jerdon's description, which is very meagre. Mr. Hume in the " Game Birds of India" has fully discussed the differences.
1st. :- The bill of the Fantail is more or less spatulate, that of the Pintail never so.
2nd. :- In the Pintail the axillaries and the entire wing-lining, except the lower greater-coverts, are invariably strongly and distinctly barred with blackish-brown. This is never the, case with Common Snipe ; the median secondary lower-coverts are always unbarred, forming a white unbarred patch in the centre of the upper portion of the lower surface of the closed wing.
3rd :- In the Common Snipe, the tail consists of fourteen ordinary shaped soft feathers, occasionally sixteen, rarely twelve. In the Pintail there are only ten such feathers, but on either side of these are from five to nine very narrow, rather rigid, feathers, making up a total of twenty to twenty-eight feathers.
There ought not to be the slightest difficulty in discriminating this species from the next, but sportsmen and others constantly overlook the differences, hence the difficulty in ascertaining even approximately the relative proportions they bear to each other in any one given district.
The Pintail Snipe is of course only a cold weather visitant, and occurs throughout the region. In Sind the Fantails are much the commonest, in fact, I ought to say that the Pintail is decidedly uncommon; further south, they occur in greater numbers, until at Bombay they are just as common as the Fantails.