1189. Pandion haliaetus.
Falco haliaetus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 129 (1766). Pandion haliaetus, Blyth, Cat. p. 29; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 52 ; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 80; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 234; id. S. F. i, p. 159; xi, p. 11; id. Cat. no. 40; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i,p. 449; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 16; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 199; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 32; Butler, ibid. p. 373; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 122 ; Gurney, Ibis, 1882, p. 694 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 220; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 38.
Machariya, Machmanga, H.; Macharang, Nepal; Machmoral, Bala, B.; Koramin gedda, Tel.; Hegguli, Yerkli; Verali-addi-pong, Tam.; Pantiong, Lepcha; Woon-let, Burm.
Coloration. Head and neck white, the feathers along the middle of the crown and nape, and sometimes at the sides, with conspicuous brown shaft-lines and tips; a broad dark brown band from each eye down the side of the neck; upper parts glossy brown ; tail the same, the rectrices more or less distinctly barred with paler brown above, with white below, especially on the inner webs of all except the middle pair; in old birds the bars tend to become obsolete; quills blackish ; lower parts white, except on the upper breast, where the feathers are brown with dark shafts and white edges, that are sometimes very broad, but occasionally wanting; wing-lining brown, mixed with white or fulvous.
In the young the dark feathers of the dorsal surface are pale-edged, the tail is more closely and more distinctly barred, and the breast either unmarked or only slightly spotted with brown.
Bill black; cere, gape, and eyelids dull greenish blue; irides bright yellow ; legs pale greenish or yellowish; claws black.
Length of females about 22 inches ; tail!); wing 20; tarsus 2.2 ; bill from gape 1.6. Male slightly smaller.
Distribution. Almost world-wide; found in suitable localities throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma.
Habits, &c. Ospreys live on fish, and haunt, in India, the coast, backwaters, rivers, and large pieces of water of all kinds. They are generally seen perched on trees, occasionally on a stone, or else circling or flying over water in search of food. They capture fashes near the surface of the water by dropping on them from a height with a great splash, and often carry off prey of considerable size, but instances are on record of their being drowned by large fish, so that sometimes at all events they are unable to extricate their claws. Though nests have been seen in the Himalayas by Hume and others, and by Jerdon in an unrecorded part of the country, no eggs have been taken, and most Indian Ospreys are cold-weather visitants and do not breed in the country. They lay generally three eggs, white, much spotted and blotched with dull red, and measuring about 2.4 by 1.77, in a large nest of sticks mixed with various materials and placed on a tree or rock.