(1715) Neophron percnopterus ginginianus.
THE SMALLER WHITE SCAVENGER VULTURE.
Vultur ginginianus Lath., In. Orn., i, p. 7 (1790) (Ginga, South India). Neophron ginginianus. Blanf. & Oates, hi, p. 326.
Vernacular names. Safed Gidh, Kal Murgh (Hin.); Telia borawa (Tel.); Manju Tiridi, Pittri gedda, Papa, Papa purundu (Tam,).
Description. Rather smaller than the last bird and with decidedly smaller feet and claws and with the bill quite yellow in adults.
Colours of soft parts. Bill in adults yellow, the skin of the head yellow with no red tinge, and the feet and claws paler, otherwise as in the preceding race.
Measurements. Wing 443 to 482 mm. ; tail 228 to 251 mm.; tarsus 72 to 85 mm.; culmen 72 to 85 mm.; mid-toe and claw 73 to 85 mm.
Young can only be distinguished from those of the Egyptian .Scavenger Vulture by their smaller size.
Distribution. A straggler in Ceylon, all India from Cape Comorin to the Himalayas except in the wettest and most heavily forested country. It extends as far as Chota Nagpore, Purulia, etc., in Bengal and is common in Behar. In the North-West it is replaced by the preceding race in Sind, the Punjab, North-West Provinces and Kashmir but the two overlap in the West of the United Provinces, liajputana and Cutch, in which many intermediate forms occur.
Nidification, The Smaller White-backed Vulture breeds principally in March and early April but occasionally as early as the end of January or as late as early May and I found many birds breeding during this month in Chota Nagpore, whilst Sparrow took eggs on the 4th April in the Deccan. Nests and eggs differ in no way from those of the preceding bird but as a series those of the present race are decidedly less handsome and richly coloured, the majority of eggs being poorly and dingily marked. One hundred eggs average 64.3 x 49.3 mm.: maxima 71.0 X 53.8 and 62.8 X 54.0 mm.; minima 57.7 X 46.0 and 68.3 x 41.6 mm.
This race breeds from the level of the plains up to some 7,000 feet in the hills of Southern India but in Northern India, as in Behar and the United Provinces, seems to keep entirely to the plains.
Habits. The same as those of the preceding bird. I can nowhere find any description of the calls and cries of this Vulture, probably because it is on the whole a very silent bird. The usual note is a disagreeable whining mew and it gives vent to hisses and low growls when angry but it does not seem ever to roar during the breeding-season like the bigger Vultures.