1427. Glareola lactea.
The Small Indian Pratincole or Swallow-Plover.
Glareola lactea, Temm. Man. d'Orn. ed. 2e, ii, p. 503 (1820) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 259; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 632; Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 388; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 273 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 568; id. S. F. iii, p. 179; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 154; Armstrong, S. F. iv, p. 338 ; Wardl.-Rams. Ibis, 1877, p. 469 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 454 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 226 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 299; Hume, Cat. no. 843; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 984; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 425; Reid, S. F. x, p. 64; Barnes, ibid. p. 166 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 363 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 326; Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 312; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 264; Littledale, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 200; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 320; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 19, fig. 843. Galachrysea lactea, Bonap. C. R. xliii, p. 419. Galactochrysea lactea, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 65.
Coloration. Upper plumage throughout pale sandy grey: forehead brown, and a band from the eye along the lower edge of the lores black; primary-coverts and primaries blackish, all the primaries except the first two with part of the inner web white, and some of the later primaries with part of the edge of the outer web also white: secondaries white, with blackish-brown ends that diminish in breadth on the inner quills ; upper tail-coverts white ; tail white at base, blackish towards the end, the black ends much longer on the middle rectrices; the tips, except on the outer pair of tail-feathers, pale brown and white; chin white; throat, fore neck, and upper breast more or less smoky brown, tinged with rufous, passing into white on the lower breast; abdomen and under tail-coverts white ; edge of wing whitish ; wing-lining and axillaries black.
Terminal half of bill black, basal half red, changing to yellowish brown at the gape; irides dark brown ; legs, feet, and claws black (Oates); legs and feet neutral brown or plumbeous brown (Legge).
Length 6.5 ; tail 2.1; wing 5.75; tarsus .8 ; bill from gape .75.
Distribution. Resident in suitable places throughout the plains of India, Ceylon, and Burma as far west as the Indus. Pound in Kashmir, but not observed elsewhere in the Himalayas. Unknown outside our area.
Habits, &c. This Pratincole also is mainly confined to the larger rivers, the beds of which it frequents in large flocks. It is the commonest Indian species, and has nearly the same habits as G. orientalis. It breeds generally in company with Terns, on sandbanks in rivers, in the months of March, April, and May. The eggs are two to four in number, stone-coloured, pale greenish grey or buff, sparingly speckled with brown and pale lilac. They differ greatly in colour from those of G. orientalis. The average measurement is 1.05 by .82.