1533. Phaethon indicus.
The Short-tailed Tropic-bird.
Phaeton rubricauda, apud Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 482 Blanford, Zool. Geol. Abyssinia, p. 441; nec Bodd. Phaeton aetherius, apud Hume, S. F. i, pp. 286, 441; nee Linn. Phaeton indicus, Hume, S. F. iv, p. 481 (1876); Butler, S. F. v, p. 302; Hume & Dav. S. F. .vi, p. 493; Hume, Cat. no. 996 bis ; Butler, S. F. viii. p. 388 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1173 ; Hume, S. F. x, p. 146; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 226 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 434.
Coloration white, with a satiny gloss, barred with black on the hind neck, back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts,.the bars more or less crescentic; a single broadly crescentic black patch in front of the eye extending to the gape, and a black streak, more or less broken, running back from each eye to the nape and forming a band round the crown ; outer webs, shafts, and portions of inner webs near shafts of first five primaries black except the narrow extreme white tips of the feathers; tertiaries, primary coverts, greater tertiary coverts, and long flank-feathers black with white borders; shafts of rectrices black except at the ends.
Young birds have a few black spots on the head.
Bill dull orange-red, inner margins of both mandibles dusky ; irides blackish brown ; legs, hallux, and base of other toes and of their webs yellowish white ; rest of feet black. Tail-feathers 14.
Length (including long tail-feathers) about 21; tail 7.5-12; tail without median rectrices 4 ; wing 11.5 ; tarsus 1; bill from gape 3.25.
Distribution. All seas around India from the Straits of Malacca to the Persian Gulf, also the Red Sea.
This species is probably found throughout the Northern Indian Ocean; it represents the Atlantic P. aetherius, but is considerably smaller, and has a much shorter tail.