1451. Himantopus candidus.
The Black-winged Stilt.
Charadrius himantopus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 255 (1766). Himantopus candidus, Bonn. Tabl. Encycl. Meth. i, p. 24 (1790) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 264; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 704; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 169 ; Godw.-Aust. J, A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 274; Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 145 ; Feilden, ibid. p. 295 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 464 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 229 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 304 ; Hume, Cat. no. 898 ; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 371; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 919; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 86 ; Butler, ibid. p. 430 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 97 ; Scully, ibid. p. 590 ; Reid, S. F.. x, p. 72; Taylor, ibid. p. 466; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 379; Barnes, Birds Bon. p. 361; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 326; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 177; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 353; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 132, fig. 898 (egg). Himantopus melanopterus, Meyer, Ann. Wetter. Gesellsch. iii, p. 177 (1814) ; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 277. Himantopus intermedius, Blyth, Cat. p. 265 (1849, descr. nulla); Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 253 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 589 ; id. S. F. i, p. 248 ; Adam, S. F. i, p. 397; ii, p. 389; Hume & Oates, S. F. iii, p. 183; Legge, ibid. p. 373 ; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 18. Himantopus autumnalis, Hasselq., Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 475; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 154. Himantopus himantopus, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 310.
The Stilt or Long-legs, Jerdon; Gaj-paun, Tinghur, H. ; Lal-gon, Lal-thengi, Lam-gora, Beng.
Coloration. Adult male. Whole head, neck and lower parts, lower back and rump white; back, scapulars, and wings above and below black, glossed with metallic green ; upper tail-coverts brownish; tail whity-brown.
Females have the back, scapulars, tertiaries, and inner wing-coverts brown.
Young birds have the occiput and nape black or blackish, and the hind neck grey. These dark marks are retained by many birds that show no other signs of immaturity ; the pure white head is probably not attained for some years. Birds of the year have brown back, scapulars, and tertiaries, and the crown and hind neck are light greyish brown, with white edges to the feathers.
Bill black ; irides red ; legs lake-red ; claws black.
Length 15 ; tail 3.25 ; wing 9.5 ; tarsus 5 ; bill from gape 2.8.
Distribution. Southern Europe, the whole of Africa, and Central and Southern Asia. This Stilt is found throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma in the cold season, in suitable localities, and breeds in a few places.
Habits, &c. This is a common bird in India wherever there are marshes or tanks with shallow margins and not too much overgrown with vegetation. It occurs in large flocks and feeds on insects, small molluscs, and worms. It has been found breeding, from April to July, in large numbers about salt swamps, as at Sultanpur Salt-works, south of Delhi, at Sambhur Lake, and in several places in Ceylon. The eggs, usually 4 in number, sometimes 3, are very like plovers': light drab, much blotched with black; they measure about 1.64 by 1.21, and are laid in a hollow, often built of fragments of stone, and usually lined with a little grass.