1077. Chaetura nudipes.
The White-necked Spine-tail.
Chaetura nudipes, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 779 (1836); Deless. Voy. de l'Inde, Hist. Nat. p. 25, pl. 9; Hume, Cat. no. 97 ; id. S. F. ix, pp. 230, 286; Hartert, Cat. B. M. xvi, p. 474. Acanthylis fusca, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 84; nec Stephens. Acanthylis nudipes, Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 111. Acanthylis caudacuta, apud Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 173 ; id. Ibis, 1871, p. 354; nec Lath. Acanthylis ciris, apud Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 339; nec Pallas. Chaetura gigantea, apud Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 30 ; nec Temm.
Silli-ang tiphi-timbo, Lepcha.
Coloration. A small black preocular spot; crown and sides of head, nape, hind-neck, upper surface of wings and tail, sides of rump and upper tail-coverts blackish brown, glossed with metallic green; inner webs of tertiaries partly or wholly white; back brown, whitish in the middle; chin, throat, a band down the hinder part of the flanks, area behind vent, and lower tail-coverts white; breast and abdomen brown, with a slightly reddish tinge.
Bill black; irides deep brown; legs and feet purplish livid (Jerdon).
Length about 8 ; tail 2; wing 8; tarsus .6. Tail nearly square, the spinous tips projecting -15 inch.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas from Hazara to Upper Assam. This bird has been shot at Dibrugarh.
Habits, &c. This and other large Spine-tails are, I believe, absolutely the swiftest of living birds. Their flight far excels that of the Alpine Swift, and I doubt if any Falcon can approach them in speed. They are generally seen in scattered flocks that play about for a time, and disappear at a pace that must be seen to be appreciated. They roost and breed, so far as is known, amongst rocks.
C. caudacuta, which ranges from Siberia to Australia, is closely allied, but is distinguished by its white forehead.