1235. Mirafra erythroptera erythroptera

(1235) Mirafra erythroptera erythroptera Jerdon.
THE DECCAN RED-WINGED Bush-Lark.
Mirafra erythroptera erythroptera, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 341.
This Lark is found over a great part of the drier districts of Northern India. It extends from the Eastern districts of the Punjab East to Western Bengal, where it occurs in Chota Nagpur and Manbhum, while it is by no means uncommon in parts of Bihar. South it extends to the Northern and Central Bombay Presidency and Rajputana and thence through the Deccan, Central and United Provinces. I know of no record from Orissa, and its distribution in Northern Madras still seems unknown.
Since Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ was written nothing more of any importance has been recorded about the nidification of this bird, probably because Hume’s notes were so full. He writes :— “This and not M. assamica is the Bush-Lark par excellence of Northern India. Throughout the Central Provinces, the North¬-Western Provinces, the Punjab and Rajputana (except at the extreme West), and the drier portions of Oudh, this Lark abounds, and is perhaps the commonest resident Lark throughout this vast tract, as a whole. It breeds from March to August. The nest is never (so far as I know, and I have seen fifty) anything more than a larger or smaller pad of finer and coarser grass, in which at times a little vegetable fibre is intermixed, with a slight central depression. The situation chosen for the nest varies. I have found them in a hoof-print, in a perfectly bare plain, in an equally bare field under clods of earth, in open country at the foot of some dense tuft of grass, in scattered jungle, at the foot of caper-bushes, or even young babool or neem-trees, and in amongst grass. Later, when the rains have set in, heaps of kunker by the roadside or heaps of ballast beside the railway are often selected ; and Mr. Brooks tells me that upon one occasion he found a nest containing the full complement of partially incubated eggs amongst the ballast between the rails, and almost under one of them, so placed that trains were perpetually passing over the birds, the rim of the wheel passing within 2 or 3 inches of her head."
Although Hume never found a domed nest other people came across them,
Bingham found a domed nest on the 27th September, while Butler writes of nests taken by him near Deesa :—“The nest as a rule is dome-shaped and placed under a tussock of grass, but in some instances consists of a pad of fine dry grass."
MacArthur, Betham, Davidson and Jones all speak of domed nests as being the normal type.
From the above we see that Hume found nests from March to August, while Bingham took others in September, and Davidson in Dhulia and Betham in Poona obtained others practically up to the end of October. They are undoubtedly double-brooded, and some birds perhaps rear three broods.
Pull clutches of eggs vary from two to four, and they cannot, I think, be distinguished in any way from the eggs of other Mirafras. Among unusual clutches the following may be noted, A single egg taken by Dr. Coltart with a pure white ground faintly marked with blotches of pale grey. A pair from J, M. D. Mackenzie’s collection with a white ground very boldly marked with deep red-brown and purple-grey, the two colours suffusing to form broad rings round the larger ends. A set of four with pale grey ground profusely stippled all over with dark grey, very much like some eggs of the Tree-Sparrow.
Fifty eggs average 19.5 x 14.6 mm. : maxima 21.2 x 13.8 and 20.0 x 15.5 mm. ; minima 17.9 x 14.0 and 20.0 x 13.6 mm.
In the nuptial display of this bird the red on the wings is very conspicuous, especially as he sails down to earth with wings widely extended.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1235. Mirafra erythroptera erythroptera
Spp Author: 
Jerdon.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1235
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
175
Common name: 
Red Winged Bush Lark
M_ID: 
21509
M_SN: 
Mirafra erythroptera erythroptera
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14310

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