1456. Limosa belgica.
The Black-tailed Godwit.
Scolopax limosa, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 245 (1766). Scolopax belgica, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, p. 663 (1788). Limosa melanura, Leisler, Nachtr. Bechst. Natarg. pt. 2, p. 153 (1813) ; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 389. Limosa aegocephala, apud Pallas, Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p. 178; Blyth, Cat. p. 268: Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 240; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 681 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 252; Hume, S. F. i, p. 235 ; Adam, ibid. p. 396 ; Oates, S. F. iii, p. 346; Blyth, Birds Barm. p. 155; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv, p. 16 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 460; Wardl.-Bams.Ibis, 1877, p. 469; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 302; Hume, ibid. p. 486; id. Cat. no. 875; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 356; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 832; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 588; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 409, pl.; Reid, S. F. x, p. 69 ; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 320'; Taylor, ibid. pp. 529, 531; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 409; Swinh. & Barnes, Ibis. 1885, p. 133 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 348; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 322 ; nec Sc. aegocephala, L. Limosa melanuroides, Gould, P. Z. S. 1846, p. 84 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1865, p. 35; Hume, S. F. viii, p. 157; xi, p. 322. Limosa limosa, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 381.
The Small Godwit, Jerdon; Gudera, Gairiya, Jangral, Khdg, H. ; Malgujha, Nepal; Jaurali, Beng.; Tondu ulanka, Tel.
Coloration in winter. Upper parts brown, head and neck rather paler, a tendency to dark centres on the back and wings ; short supercilia and a spot under each eye white ; lesser wing-coverts, bastard wing, primary-coverts, primaries, and ends of secondaries blackish brown, tips of greater coverts and bases of quills white, the white extending farther down the inner webs of the first four primaries and the outer webs of the others ; whole outer webs of later secondaries white; lower back and rump blackish brown; upper tail-coverts and basal half of tail white; terminal half of tail black, ashy brown at tip, the black diminishing on the outer feathers; chin, throat, wing-lining, axillaries, and abdomen white ; fore neck and breast light greyish brown.
In summer the head, neck, and lower parts are dull rufous, the crown is streaked with black ; back, scapulars, and tertiaries black, the feathers with marginal rufous spots; chin, throat, and lower abdomen white; lower back black, and terminal spots on upper tail-coverts the same ; breast and flanks with brown cross-bars.
Bill dull orange reddish at the base, dusky at the tip; irides dark brown ; legs dusky greyish green (Jerdon).
Length 16 to 19.5 inches ; tail 2.6-3.1 ; wing 7.5-9.25 ; tarsus 2.25-3.6; bill from gape 2.9-4.8. Females average much larger than males, but measurements of the two sexes overlap considerably. Dimensions vary to a remarkable extent.
Distribution. A migratory bird, breeding in temperate Europe and Asia up to the Arctic circle, and passing the winter in Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Southern Asia, the Malay Archipelago, and Australia. The race found in Eastern Asia and Australia (L. melanuroides) runs smaller, but is not distinguished by any constant character. This Godwit is common throughout the plains of Northern India from October to March, but rare south of lat. 20°. It was, however, obtained by Jerdon in the south, and by Layard in Ceylon. It is rare in Assam and Burma.
Habits, &c. The Black-tailed Godwit is found on the edges of tanks and swamps, and occasionally of rivers, sometimes singly, but more often in flocks of from ten to over a hundred. It feeds partly, on insects, mollusca, and worms, partly, in India at all events, on rice and millet, and, especially when fed on grain, is a delicious bird. It is commonly sold in the Calcutta bazaar as Woodcock.