1454. Numenius arquata.
Scolopax arquata, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 242 (1766). Numenius arquata, Blyth, Cat. p. 268 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 683; Le Messurier, S. F. iii, p. 381 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 412; Sharpe, _ Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 341. Numenius lineatus, Cuv. Regne An. ed. 2e, i, p. 521 (1829); Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 167 ; Hume, S. F. i, p. 237 ; Adam, ibid. p. 396 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 296; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv, p. 16; Ann-strong, ibid. p. 341; Hume, ibid. p. 464; Butler, S. F. v, pp. 233, 236; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 460 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 487 ; id. Cut. no. 877; Scully, S. F. viii p. 356; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 84; Butler, ibid. p. 429; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 906; Reid, S. F. i, p. 69; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 35] ; Hume, S. F xi, p. 322. Numenius arcuatus, Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 240.
Goar, Goungh, Barra Gulinda, H.; Choppa, Sada Kastachura, Beng;
Coloration. Crown and sides of head, and neck all round light brown with dark shaft-stripes, darkest on the crown; a whitish supercilium, not very distinct; back and scapulars blackish brown, with light brown edges to the feathers, some of the longer scapulars obliquely barred near the edges ; wing-coverts similar to back but the edges are paler; bastard wing, primary-coverts, and primaries blackish brown, primary-coverts and inner primaries with white tips, all primaries notched or mottled on inner web and inner primaries notched on both webs with white ; secondaries brown barred with white, tertiaries dark brown barred with ashy brown, the pale bars not extending across in either case; lower back and rump white, the feathers in the middle with blackish shaft-stripes, each ending in a broader pointed spot; upper tail-coverts white with larger spots ; tail-feathers ashy brown with dark brown cross-bars ; chin and throat white ; fore neck brownish white with dark shaft-lines; rest of lower parts white, with dark shaft-lines on the breast and flanks.
In breeding-plumage the whole bird is darker and the shaft-lines broader, both above and below, and they extend to the abdomen.
Bill dark brown or blackish, basal half of lower mandible light brown to fleshy white; irides brown; legs and feet bluish grey.
Length about 23; tail 4.5; wing 11.5; tarsus 4.4; bill from gape 5 to over 7, generally between 5 and 6. Females are larger than males.
Distribution. A winter visitor to India, Ceylon, and Burma, also to the Andamans, Nicobars, Laccadives, &c. Curlews pass the summer and breed in temperate Europe and Asia, and spend the winter in Africa and Southern Asia.
Habits, &c. In India Curlews are most abundant on the sea-coast and on the banks of tidal rivers ; but some are found inland in well-watered countries near rivers, large tanks, and marshes. As a rule they are seen singly or in twos or threes, but flocks are not uncommon. The Curlew has a peculiar, very plaintive cry, not unlike that of the Golden Plover, but wilder. It is a very wary bird.
The Indian Curlew, N. lineatus, was long regarded as distinct, but the differences have been shown to be chiefly due to winter plumage. The bill is somewhat longer on an average.