Hydrophasianus chirurgus, Scop.
901. :- Jerdon's birds of India, Vol. II, p. 709 ; Butler, Guzerat ; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 20; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 431; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 258 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 134.
THE PHEASANT-TAILED JACANA.
Length, 18, 20; expanse, 24, 30; wing, 8, 9.5 ; tail, 10, 11; tarsus, 2.12, 2.4 ; bill at front, 1.12, 1.25.
Bill pale leaden-blue, greenish at tip ; irides dark brown ; legs pale bluish-green.
In summer plumage, the forehead, top of the head, face, chin, throat, and neck white, a broad black mark on the top of the head; hind neck pale shining yellow, edged by a dark line; upper plumage, including the scapulars and tertiaries, shining dark olive-brown with purple reflections; wings with the coverts white, first primary black, the second nearly so, and the third black on the outer webs and a broad tip ; the rest white, all tipped with black, as are the greater wing-coverts; upper tail-coverts bronzed-black ; tail black; beneath from the breast deep brownish-black, dull on the thigh-coverts; the under tail-coverts deep chesnut.
In winter plumage, the upper parts, including the lesser wing-coverts and tertiaries, are pale hair-brown, the former more or less barred with white, and the greater-coverts pure white; the top of the head and back of the neck brown, with a white supercilium, and the feathers of the forehead white spotted; a pale golden-yellow line from behind the eye down the sides of the neck, bordered by the black line from the gape, which crosses the lower part of the breast, forming a more or less broad pectoral gorget; first primary (only) with an appendage, fourth attenuated and prolonged; tail with the central feathers as the back, pale brown, slightly lengthened.
Length, 12 to 13 ; tail, 3 to 4. In young birds the superciliary line is ferruginous, passing into a less marked yellow heck-stripe, and the brown band is also less distinct.
The Pheasant-tailed Jacana occurs commonly throughout the district. It is a permanent resident, breeding about the middle of the rains, or a little later.
The nest is a heap of weeds, placed in the water in the midst of grass or rushes. The eggs, invariably four in number, are peg-top shape; the shell is compact and hard and is highly glossy; the ground color varies from greenish-bronze to rufous-brown bronze ; they are unspotted.
They measure 1.46 in length by 1.12 in breadth.