203. Leptoptilus dubius.
THE GIGANTIC or ADJUTANT STORK.
Hargila, Dusta, India; Chaniari-dauk, Bengal; Garur, N. W. P.; Pini-gala-konga (Telugu); Don-zat, Burma.
Male 60". Female 55". Legs grey-white. Bill 12" to 13", greenish. Head bare, with long neck-pouch. White neck ruff. Above, wings and tail dark slaty, glossed green. Wing-band silver-grey, very conspicuous. Under-tail white, with grey-black streaks near tips.— In winter: No wing-band, and pouch yellowish.
C. and N. India, Burma, Malay Peninsula, Siam, Cochin China, Sumatra, Java,
and Borneo. Three eggs (3 x 2.28), white. (J. 915. B. 1550.)
The bones of the forelimb or wing of the Adjutant are thin-walled and hollow,, the interior being filled, not with marrow as in Mammals, but with air, which gains access by apertures connected with the general system of air cavities extending through the body, which apertures occur at the ends of the humerus, radius, and ulna. This hollow or " pneumatic" condition of the bones, which diminishes the specific gravity of the body, and must therefore be advantageous to the bird when on the wing, though very general, is not found in all birds, or in any birds when very young, the interior of the bones being then filled with marrow. It must also be noticed that the amount of pneumaticity of the bones by no means follows the development of the power of flight. In the Ostrich, for example, the bones are far more extensively pneumatic than in the Gull.
On 21.12.72 Dillon, of the 66th Regiment, sent me a young bird shot near Ghizree. Top of the head bald; no hair-like feathers on occiput or face; and no distinctive mane or tuft. Buff moderate. Upper plumage white, tinged rosy; sides greenish black, edged white. Best as described in Jerdon. Bill dirty yellow. Bare head yellowish red. Face nude. Hair-like feathers on neck tinged red. Legs dusky black, with hexagonal scales. Bar on wing similar to that of the Gigantic Stork, but not quite complete, and tinged rosy. A few of the upper coverts tinged crimson. Length 48". Wing 19". Tail 7 1/2". Tarsus 8 1/2". Mid toe 4 1/8. Bill 8 3/4", curved towards tip.—A. Le M.