Blue-breasted Banded Rail.
This very pretty bird is also about the size of a snipe, with a distinctly long bill; the face and under-parts are grey, much as in the Indian water-rail, and the flanks similarly barred with black-and-white, but there is a distinctive point in the cap of chestnut covering the head and running down the neck, and in the broken white pencilling on the brown back. This white marking is wanting in young birds, which also have the cap less richly tinted, but it soon begins to develop. Hens are less richly coloured than cocks.
Although the bill of this bird is long, it is not so much so as in the Indian water-rail, and is thicker for its length. It is a widely distributed bird in our Empire, except in the North-west, but in the Andamans is represented by a larger race— the so-called Andaman banded rail (Hypotaenidia obscurior), which is much darker all over, the cap being rather maroon than chestnut, the breast slaty, and the back blacker.
The banded rail is not quite such a skulker as the water-rail, though it frequents the same sort of grass and mud cover on wet ground, and feeds in a similar way; now and then four or five birds together may be seen out feeding on turf or grassy banks near the rice fields or wet thickets in the early morning, but commonly they go singly or in pairs. Like button-quail, they will rise to a dog readily enough the first time, but will risk capture rather than get up again; and they do not fly many yards in any case. They can swim if put to it, but are not water-birds in the sense that moorhens and some of the crakes are.
This species is not apparently migratory, though a wide-ranging bird, and found throughout south-east Asia to Celebes. It nests at the water's edge in grass, rice, or similar cover, making a pile of rushes and grass, and laying about half a dozen white or pink eggs with reddish and mauve markings of various sizes, chiefly towards the large end. They may be found as early as May, or as late as October. This bird is called Kana-koli in Telugu, in Burmese Yay-gyet.