(2135) Numenius phaeopus phaeopus.
Scolopax phaeopus Linn.. Syst. Nat., 10th ed., i, p. 146 (1758) (Sweden). Numenhis phceopus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 253 (part.).
Vernacular names. Chota Goungh, Chota Gulinda (Hind.).
Description. Head dark brown, the feathers edged with whitish ;. on either side of the crown the white is obsolete and the dark centres form two dark brown patches, leaving a median pale coronal line and two supercilia like the forehead; a small brown patch in front of the eye; lores, sides of the head and whole neck brown, each feather with broad whitish edges ; upper plumage dark brown with pale brown edges forming bars on the scapulars and inner secondaries : rump and upper tail-coverts white, marked with brown in varying degree as in the Curlew; tail light brown banded with black and the lateral feathers with white tips; lower parts white, the neck, breast, flanks and under tail-coverts streaked with brown, axillaries white with dark brown bars.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel and dark brown; bill dark horny-brown, fleshy-pink at the base of the lower mandible; legs and feet greenish-grey.
Measurements. Wing, 232 to 250mm., 243 to 265 mm.; tail 87 to 99 ram.; tarsus about 50 to 61 mm.; culmen, 76 to 86 mm., 80 to 99 mm.
Young birds have the feathers of the mantle notched and edged with pinkish-buff or buff and the rump suffused with the same; the feathers of the lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts finely edged with brown.
Nestling in down. Like that of the Curlew but with central streak of buff and two broad lateral streaks of brown on the crown from the forehead to the nape.
Distribution. Breeding Northern Europe, Iceland, Greenland to Western Siberia. South in Winter to Northern Africa and the coast as far as Madagascar, Arabia and North-West India.
Nidification. The Whimbrel breeds during May and early June in similar places to the Curlew and, like that bird, lays four eggs in a scratching in the ground among the grass and heather. The eggs only differ from the Curlew's in being smaller, one hundred averaging 58.9 x 41.3 mm.: maxima 65.1 X 45.7 and 57.0 x 44.0 mm.; minima 52.0 x 41.6 and 55.3 x 36.0 mm.
Habits. Except that it is a more Northern bird than the Curlew in its breeding haunts and is said not to be nearly so shy, its habits are like those of that bird. In India it is as wary and difficult to approach as the Curlew and is equally good to eat when brought to bag. It is a common Winter visitor to West and North-West India and Ceylon but Eastern records of this species nearly all apply to the next race.