1603. Marmaronetta angustirostris.
The Marbled Duck.
Anas angustirostris, Menetr. Cat. Rais. Cauc. p. 58 (1832); Blanf. East. Pers. ii, p. 301. Anas marmorata, Gould, P. Z. S. 1836, p. 59. Marmaronetta angustirostris, Reichenb. Naturl. Syst. Vogel, p. ix (1852); St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 179; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 321. Querquedula angustirostris, Hume, S. F. i, p. 262; A. Anderson, S. F. iii, p. 273; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 30; v, p. 234; Hume & Marsh. Game B. iii, p. 237, pl.; Reid, S. F. x, p. 82; McLeod, ibid. p. 168 ; Hume, ibid. p. 174. Chaulelasmus angustirostris, Hume, S. F. vii, p. 493; id. Cat. no. 961 bis; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 405 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 291; Barnes, Journ. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 291.
Coloration. Crown and hind neck buff, with irregular dark brown cross-bars on the feathers; a dark brown patch, including the orbit and extending some distance behind it; lores, sides of head and neck, chin, throat, and fore neck whitish, regularly and minutely streaked with brown ; upper back and scapulars greyish brown, each with a subterminal darker bar or spot and with a large greyish-buff spot at the end; the pale spots are large on the scapulars; lower back and rump similarly coloured, but more uniform : upper tail-coverts with a dark brown subterminal spot and a yellowish-buff tip ; tail-feathers greyish brown, middle pair darker with whitish tips ; wings greyish brown outside, the outer webs of both primaries and secondaries frosted with grey, which becomes silvery on the primaries towards the tips; lower parts sullied white, with transverse brown bars on the feathers of the breast, sides of body, lower abdomen, and lower tail-coverts, and sometimes with faint markings on the middle of the breast and abdomen.
The female only differs in being smaller, with less crest, and with the eye-patch and other markings duller.
Bill bluish-grey, black on culmen and tip ; irides brown; legs and feet dusky olive (Hume).
Length of male 18.5; tail 3.25; wing 8.25; tarsus 1.4; bill from gape 2.1. Females have the wing about 8.
Distribution. Southern Europe, especially Spain, Northern Africa and South-western Asia. The Marbled Duck breeds in the Canary Islands, Spain, Morocco, and Palestine, and is a common winter visitor throughout Sind, arriving about the end of October and leaving in April. It has also been observed near Dera Ghazi Khan in the South-western Punjab, in Bahawalpur and Northern Guzerat, and occasional occurrences in Rajputana, the North-west Provinces, and Oudh, and in one case near Calcutta, have been recorded.
Habits, &c. This small duck keeps in Sind to rush-covered swamps, in which it is found in large numbers, but it does not, as a rule, when disturbed, rise in flocks, as most ducks do, but two or three at a time. Lord Lilford describes its call as a low croaking whistle, but Mr. Hume says it also gives a distinct but hoarse quack. It is not known to breed in Sind, but Captain Butler obtained eggs, very probably of this species, from near Ormra on the Baluchistan coast, and he shot a young bird at Karachi on September 27th. The eggs were cream-coloured, and measured on an average 1.5 by 1.4.