858. Melanocorypha maxima.
The Long-billed Calandra Lark.
Melanocorypha maxima, Gould, Birds As. iv, pl. 72 (1867); Hume, S. F. i, p. 492; id. Cat. no. 761 quat.; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 554.
Coloration. Forehead, crown and nape, lower rump, and upper tail-feathers rufous brown, each feather mesially darker and edged with pale fulvous; back, scapulars, and upper rump dark brown, with broad lateral fulvous margins and narrow tips ; the hind neck and mantle suffused with ashy ; middle pair of tail-feathers brown margined with tawny, the others black increasingly tipped with white, the penultimate feather with half the outer web white, and a broad tip to the inner web, the outermost feather with the terminal two-thirds of both webs white ; wing-coverts and tertiaries brown, edged with fulvous ; primaries and secondaries dark brown, margined paler and with the outer web of the first primary almost entirely white ; all the quills except the first few primaries broadly tipped with white; ear-coverts rufous ; lores, supercilium, and cheeks white, mottled with rufous; chin and throat whitish; breast pale ashy with some ill-defined brown spots, and the sides of the breast with an obsolete dark patch ; remainder of lower plumage white, tinged with fulvous on the flanks.
In the spring and summer months the plumage is much darker owing to the wearing away of the margins of the feathers.
The young bird is nearly black above with yellowish or fulvous margins to all the feathers ; the breast is also very dark or blackish with yellowish margins and the remainder of the lower plumage is pale yellow.
The colours of the soft parts of this Lark do not appear to have been recorded.
Length about 9.5 ; tail 3.5; wing 6 ; tarsus 1.1; bill from gape 1.2 ; hind claw up to .8.
Distribution. The higher parts of Sikhim, extending into the adjoining parts of Tibet and the mountain region of Western China.