(2163) Limicola falcinellus falcinellus.
THE BROAD-BILLED SANDPIPER.
Scolopax falcinellus Pontopp., Danske Atl.. i, p. 263 (1763) (Denmark). Tringa platyrhyncha. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 279 (part.).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Breeding plumage. Lores blackish ; short supercilium white, streaked with blackish; upper parts velvety-black, feathers of crown with a few white edges ; hind-neck duller and more streaked with paler brown; mantle with dull pale rufous notches and bold white edges to each feather; the innermost secondaries with rufous edges; lower back brown, the feathers pale-edged ; upper tail-coverts blackish tipped rufous, the lateral feathers barred black and white; wing-coverts dark brown, edged paler; primary coverts and primaries black, the latter with white shafts and with the finest of white tips and edges, soon abraded ; outer secondaries paler brown with broader white margins; anterior ear-coverts dark brown; rest of sides of head and neck white or fulvous-white, streaked and spotted with dark brown; centre of chin immaculate; sides of chin, throat, flanks and breast whity-grey, spotted with black and sometimes tinged rufous; abdomen, axillaries and under tail-coverts white, the last streaked with brown or black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-black or brown, strongly tinged with olive-green ; legs and feet yellowish-grey with darker joints, toes dull olive-green or olive-plumbeous.
Measurements. Wing 101 to 110 mm.; tail 35 to 40 mm.; tarsus 21 to 23 mm.; culmen 27 to 36 mm.
In Winter. Upper parts brown, each feather fringed with greyish-white; wing-coverts with still broader fringes ; rupm and upper tail-coverts black with narrow edges of rufous, giving a barred appearance; under plumage white, the sides of the head and neck, the fore-neck and upper breast more or less streaked with dark brown.
Young birds are similar to the adult in breeding plumage but have the breast suffused with buff and the cheeks and sides o£ the head buff instead of white; the lesser coverts are blackish edged with rufous.
Nestlings. Upper parts rufous and black, speckled with white ; forehead white ; a broad median coronal streak black and another black line from lores to eye; sides of head and moustachial streak rufous ; lower parts white suffused with buff on the breast.
Distribution. From Scandinavia to West Siberia. In Winter South to the Mediterranean countries, Red Sea, Pamirs and India. In the latter country it is found only in Sind and on the Mekran coast.
Nidification. The Broad-billed Sandpiper breeds during early and middle June in its Southern range and up to the middle of July in the more Northern. It may be found at practically sea-level and again up to 4,000 feet wherever there is sufficient swampy ground, making its nest in some dry, slightly-raised patch, well concealed in a tuft of grass or other herbage. The hollow selected is well lined with dry bents, leaves or the two mixed. The eggs are a pale stone, yellow-grey or buff in groundcolour, but in most eggs this is almost or quite covered with innumerable tiny specks of deep brick-red. In a few eggs the markings are bolder and sparser and in these they are nearly always more numerous at the larger end, where they form a cap. One hundred eggs average 32.0 x 22.8 mm.: maxima 35.2 x 23.2 and 31.8 x 24.8 mm.; minima 28.7 X 22.7 and 32.5 x 21.0 mm.
Habits. This Stint is essentially a bird of the sea-shore and the mouths of big rivers and creeks and is seldom found inland. It prefers mud or mud and sand mixed rather than pure clean sand and feeds much on surface-matter, seldom probing into the mud for its food like so many Waders. They feed on all kinds of insects, small shell-fish, worms and seeds of various kinds. It is a sociable little bird, generally found in flocks, whilst single birds and pairs associate with other Waders. Ticehurst noticed that a pair of non-breeding birds remained all the year round in Sind.