1230. Milvus melanotis.
The Large Indian Kite.
Milvus melanotis, Temm. & Schleg. Faun. Jap., Aves, p. 14, pls. v, v b (1845-50); Hume, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 114; Blanf. J. A. S. B. xii, pt. 2, p. 153; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. 2, p. 152; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 324; A. Anderson, S. F. iii, p. 387; Ball, S. F. v, p. 412; vii, p. 200; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 674; Hume, Cat. no. 56 bis; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 228; Gurney, Ibis, 1879, p. 80; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 375; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 422; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 203; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 176; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 57; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 15; Sharpe, Yarkand Miss., Aves, p. 8. Milvus, sp., Blanf. J. A. S. B. xxxviii, pt. 2, p. 167. Milvus major, Hume, Rough Notes, p. 326 (1870); id. Ibis, 1870, p. 439; Jerdon, Ibis, 1871, p. 342; A. Anderson, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 79; 1875, p. 25; Hume, N. & E. p. 54; id. S. F. i, p. 160; iii, pp. 35, 229, 448; iv, p. 414; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 253. Milvus govinda, apud Brooks, S. F. iii, pp. 229, 275; iv, p. 272; viii, p. 466; id. Ibis, 1884, p. 233; 1885, p. 386; Biddulph & G. F. L. Marshall, Ibis, 1881, p. 44.
This Kite is chiefly distinguished from M. govinda by larger size, the Coloration being almost identical; but the present species may generally be recognized by the amount of white on the inner webs of the quills near the base, forming a conspicuous white patch below the wing, as in Buzzards. As a rule, too, the lower abdomen and under tail-coverts are much paler in M. melanotis than in M. govinda. Some birds, however, appear almost to form a passage between the two.
Bill bluish; cere yellowish white; irides hazel-brown ; legs dull china white ; claws blackish (Oates).
Length of male about 25; tail 13; wing 19 to 20.5 ; tarsus 2.2 ; mid-toe without claw 1.6; bill from gape 1-75 : females are larger —length 27 ; wings 19.25 to 21.5; tail 13.5.
Distribution. A migratory bird in India, appearing in the Peninsula as far south as Bombay and the Godavari valley, and in Burma as far as Rangoon, in the cold season. I obtained one near Badrachellam on the Godavari as late as April. This Kite is found in the Himalayas and throughout Eastern and Central Asia, ranging as far north as Japan and Southern Siberia in summer.
Habits, &c. Generally a shyer bird, keeping more to jungles and marshes, than the common Indian Kite, though I have seen and killed the large kind from my tent-door, and I shot another sitting on a tree in a small village. The flight is heavier, but otherwise the habits are similar. M. melanotis breeds in the Himalayas from January to May—the nest and eggs being precisely similar to those of M. govinda, except that the eggs are slightly larger, averaging about 2.31 by 1.8.