1492. Larus hemprichi.
The Scoty Gull.
Adelarus hempriehii, Bruch, Jour.f. Orn, 1858, p. 106. Larus hemprichii, Hume, S. F. i, pp. 45, 279; iv, p. 414; Blanf. Eastern Persia, ii, p. 292; Butler & Hume, S. F. v, p. 296 ; Hume, Cat. no. 981 ter; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 426; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 293; Saunders, Cat. B. M. xxv, p. 221.
Coloration. In the breeding-season the head all round is dark brown, darker behind and blackish at the nape, where the hood terminates abruptly against a narrow white collar running round the back and sides of the neck, but the blackish-brown area is carried far down the fore neck till it meets the paler greyish-brown of the lower neck, upper breast, and sides of breast, the white collar also fading into the same; mantle, including rump, dark brown ; quills blackish, all except the first 3 or 4 primaries white-tipped; some white on the edge of the wing, but wing-lining brown like the mantle; middle of breast, abdomen, tail-coverts above and below, and tail white.
In winter the white collar is wanting, the head paler and mottled whitish, chin white, throat and fore neck mottled white and brown. Generally some traces of a dark subterminal bar are seen on the tail.
Young birds have the upper plumage lighter brown, with broad whity-brown fringes to the scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts, and the tail is dark brown. The brown on the tail diminishes' gradually and becomes a subterminal band in birds with adult plumage otherwise.
Bill pale greenish drab, the tip red, divided from the green by a black bar; irides brown ; legs and feet pale yellowish drab (Butler). In younger birds the bill is dusky, tipped with orange, and the legs brownish plumbeous.
Length of males 19 ; tail 5; wing 14; tarsus 2 ; bill from gape 2.6. Females are rather smaller.
Distribution. Common on the coasts of the Lower Bed Sea, of East Africa as far south as Zanzibar, and of Southern Arabia, Baluchistan, and Sind. A single individual was seen by Hume at Bombay, but this Gull, though very abundant on the Makran coast, becomes scarce east of the mouths of the Indus.
Habits, &c This is a marine species and has not been noticed inland. It is in many places very tame and collects around fishing-boats to feed on fish offal, even coming when the fishermen call and make a sign of throwing something out. Large flocks are often seen resting on the sea. It breeds on small rocky islands, and Butler obtained many eggs in August from Astola near Pasni, Makran. The eggs are whitish stone to brownish buff in colour, freely but not very thickly spotted with dark brown and pale lilac, and measure about 2.27 by 1.58.
* I am assured by Col, Irby that he knew the species well and identified it without doubt.