1425. Glareola orientalis.
The Large Indian Pratincole or Swallow-Plover.
Glareola orientalis, Leach, Tram. Linn. Son. xiii, p. 132, pl. xiii (1821); Blyth, Cat. p. 259; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 631 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 163 ; Ball, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 287; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 284; Field, ibid. p. 465; Wardi-Rams. Ibis, 1877, p. 469 ' Hume & Dav. S. I. vi, p. 454; Oates, S. F. vii, p. 49; Hume, Cat. no. 842 ; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 375; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 980 ; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 425; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 318; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 361; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 258 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 325 ; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 17; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 319; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 58.
The Large Swallow-Plover, Jerdon.
Coloration. Upper plumage brown, with an olive tinge when freshly moulted, back of neck slightly rufous; primaries and earlier secondaries blackish, the secondaries gradually passing into the brown of the tertiaries ; shaft of 1st primary whitish ; upper tail-coverts white; tail-feathers white at the base, broadly tipped with blackish brown, most broadly on the median pair; lores black; chin and throat pale rufous, surrounded by a narrow black band running from above the gape on each side and slightly bordered by white inside; upper breast brown, passing downwards into rufous, which again passes into the white of the abdomen and lower tail-coverts ; axillaries and under wing-coverts, except near the edge of the wing, chestnut.
Young birds in their first plumage have the feathers of the upper parts with blackish ends and buff terminal spots, no gorget, and the throat marked with brown longitudinal streaks; the breast dark. The upper plumage becomes uniform before the gorget is assumed.
Bill black; gape red; irides dark brown; feet dusky black (Jerdon).
Length 9.5 ; tail to end of outer feathers 3 ; wing 7.25; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 1. The outer rectrices are 0.75 to 1.25 longer than the middle pair.
Distribution. India, Ceylon, and Burma, locally distributed, keeping to the plains, also in the Andamans and Nicobars, through China to Eastern Siberia, and through the Malay countries and Archipelago to Northern Australia.
Habits, &c. This Pratincole is generally found about the sandy beds of large rivers, around tanks or open marshes, or on sandy plains, as a rule in flocks that rest during the day on the sand, and hunt in the air for insects in the mornings and evenings. In places this species is migratory, but it has been found breeding in Sind, near Calcutta, in Ceylon, and in Pegu. It feeds principally on moths, coleoptera, and hemiptera. The breeding-season in Pegu and Sind is in April and May, and two or three eggs are laid in a small hollow in the sand. The eggs are broad ovals, very like those of Cursorius, of a pale stone colour, densely blotched and spotted with blackish brown, and measuring about 1.18 by .93.