1223. Haliaetus leucoryphus.
Aquila leucorypha, Pall. Reis. Russ. Reichs, i, p. 454 (1771). Haliaetus fulviventer, Vieill. Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. xxviii, p. 283 (1819). Falco macei, Temm. Pl. Col. pls. 8, 223 (1824). Haliaetus macei, Blyth, Cat. i, p. 30; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 55; Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 222 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 45; id. S. F. i, p. 159; Adam, S. F. i, p. 368; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 447. Haliaetus unicolor, J. E. Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pl. 19 (1830-32); Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 336. Haliaeetus albipes, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. v, p. 228 (1836). Cuncuma albipes, Hodgson, J. A. S. B. vi, p. 367. Haliaetus fulviventer, Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 82; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 265. Haliaetus leucoryphus, Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 244; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 242; id. Cat. no. 42: A. Anderson, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 77; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 308 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1878, p. 454; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 17 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 199 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 249 ; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 224; Doig, ibid. p. 370 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 9; Oates, B. B. ii. p. 200; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd. ed. iii, p. 163; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 40; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 12; Sharpe, Yarkand Miss., Aves, p. 8.
The Ring-tailed Sea-Eagle, Jerdon; Machurang, Machmanga, Dhenk, Patrds, H.; Koral, Machkoral, Bala, Beng.; Kankam, Nepal; Kokna, Ugus, Kol.
Coloration. Forehead whitish; crown, nape, and hind-neck fulvous, passing on the upper back into the dark brown of the back, wings above and below, rump, base and end of tail; the brown with a slight purplish gloss in fresh plumage; sides of head and neck with the chin and throat whitish, rest of lower parts brown, darker on the lower abdomen and flanks; a white band about 4 inches wide across the tail, about 3 inches from the end.
Young almost uniformly brown above, quills and tail-feathers very dark brown; ear-coverts dark; lower parts paler and greyer than upper.
Bill dark plumbeous, cere and gape light plumbeous; irides greyish yellow; legs and feet dull white; claws black (Oates).
There is a distinct ruff of long lanceolate feathers around the neck, the outer tail-feathers are not much shorter than the middle pair, and the wings nearly or quite reach the end of the tail. Lower fourth of the tarsus not scutate in front.
Length of a female about 33; tail 12; wing 23; tarsus 4.2; bill from gape 2.9. In males the wing is 1 to 2 inches shorter.
This bird is the type of Cuncuma of Hodgson, a name wrongly applied by some writers to H. leucogaster. It is a question whether the present form is not entitled to generic distinction.
Distribution. Probably throughout Southern and Central Asia as far west as the Persian Gulf, the Caspian and the Black Sea. Common in Northern India and in Burma, but wanting in Southern India and Ceylon.
Habits, &c. This is a river and marsh haunter in India, and does not appear to have been observed on the coast in Northern India and Burma; it is common about large rivers, tidal creeks, lakes, and the large marshes or jheels of the alluvial plains through which the Indus, Ganges, Brahmaputra, Irrawaddy, and other rivers flow. It has a loud shrieking call-note, and it feeds principally on fish, but also on water-birds, snakes, frogs, &c. The breeding-season extends from November to February; the nest, a huge platform of sticks, is placed in the fork of a tree; and the eggs, usually 3 but sometimes 2 or 4 in number, are greyish white and unspotted, very dark green when looked through against a light, and about 2.77 long by 2.17 broad.