(2040) Anthropoides virgo.
THE DEMOISELLE CRANE.
Ardea virgo Linn., Syst. Nat., 10th ed. i, p. 141 (1758) (In oriente. Restricted to India). Anthropoides virgo. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 190.
Vernacular names. Karkarra (Hind.); Ghanto (Nepal); Kar-kuchi (Mahr.); Kallam (Deccan); Garara (Uriya); Wada-Koraka (Tel.); Kar-koncha (Can.).
Description. Fore-crown to nape grey; patch below the eye, a line over the ear-coverts and long aigrette behind them pure white; remainder of head and neck black; the feathers of the lower fore-neck very long and lanceolate, falling over the breast; winglet, greater coverts and wing-quills blackish; ends of lengthened inner secondary plumes black, grading into the pale French grey of the rest of the plumage; the grey of the upper plumage extending on to the base of the hind-neck.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown (possibly young birds) to crimson or red; bill pale greenish with a red tip; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 450 to 530 mm.; tail 165 to 182 mm. tarsus 170 to 187 mm.; culmen 65 to 70 mm.
Young birds are like the adult but have the head wholly grey ; the black of the neck is browner behind, more grey in front and there are no lengthened plumes; wings coloured as in the adult but the inner secondaries only slightly lengthened.
Distribution. Breeding in Southern Europe and the high plateaus of Algeria; Central and Northern Asia as far East as Western Mongolia. In Winter South to Northern Africa, Mesopotamia, Palestine and India. In the last-mentioned country it has occurred as far South as Kollegal in Coimbatore but it is seldom seen South of the Deccan. East it extends through Eastern Bengal and Assam to the greater part of Burma hut is not common East of Behar.
Nidification. Very similar to that of the other Cranes though Dybowski says that in Dauria it nests on the rocky banks of rivers and even on bare mountains, making a nest of small stones. The breeding-season lasts from the middle of May to the middle of July and two eggs, or exceptionally three, are laid, which are small replicas of those of the Common Crane, though longer and narrower in proportion. One hundred and twenty eggs average 83.3 x 53.1 mm.: maxima 91.4 x 55.1 and 84.2 x 56.6 mm. ; minima 74.1 x 48.5 and 78.0 x 47.0 mm.
Habits. The Demoiselle Crane arrives in India about October, the first flights passing over North India straight to the Deccan. They return in March and April. On arrival and before leaving they assemble in immense numbers and Phillips mentions seeing an assembly which ran like a broad band 1 1/2 miles long.
In flight, voice, diet and fondness for dancing this Crane is quite typical of the family. Here in India it forms a first-rate object for a stalk and fully deserves a high rank among Game- Birds, for there are few more difficult to bring to bag and equally few more excellent for the table.