Machetes pugnax (Linn.), Syst. Nat. i. p. 247 (1766) ; Naum. vii. p. 502, Taf. 190, 191, 192, 193 ; Hewitson, ii. p. 345, pl. xcv. ; Gould, B. of E. iv. pl. 325 ; id. B. of Gt. Brit, iv, pl. 61 ; Dresser, viii. p. 87, pls. 557, 558 ; Layard, B. of S. Afr. p. 329 ; (Seebohm), B. Jap. Emp. p. 327 ; (Sharpe), Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiv. p. 500 ; Tacz. F. O. Sib. O. p. 885 ; (Blanf.), F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 268 ; (Ridgway), p. 168 ; Saunders, p. 601 ; Lilford, v. p. 122, pls. 53, 54 ; Poynting, p. 179, pl. 38.
Combattant, Paon de Mar, French ; Combatiente, Span. ; Gambetta, Ital. ; Kampfhahn, German ; Kamphaan, Dutch ; Brushane, Dan., Norweg., and Swed. ; Suokukko, Suokulainen, Finn. ; Toroukhtann, Dratschounn, Russ. ; Habib-el-tchibib, Moor. ; Geh-wala, Hindu.
Male ad. (N. Russia). Upper parts generally brown, varied with black, warm buff and chestnut ochreous ; sides of rump nearly white ; tail ashy brown varied with black and chestnut-red ; quills blackish brown ; wing- coverts ashy brown ; feathers on the sides of neck and round the breast elongated, forming a conspicuous ruff or cape, white tinged with cream- buff ; breast below the ruff and upper flanks glossy blackish marked with whits ; rest of under parts white, the under tail-coverts slightly marked with black ; face covered with warty yellowish tubercles ; bill blackish brown, fleshy at the base ; legs yellowish brown ; iris blackish brown Culmen 1.68, wing 7.1, tail 2.7, tarsus 2.05 inch. The ruff varies ex- tremely in colour and markings, scarcely any two birds, except those that have it uniform black or white, are alike. The female has the crown, nape, and upper parts sandy brown marked with blackish brown ; wings and tail as in the male ; chin whitish ; throat, breast, and upper flanks ashy brownish marked with darker brown ; rest of under parts white ; no sign of a ruff. In winter the male also lacks the ruff and tubercles on the face, and has the throat and neck as in the female.
Hab. Europe generally, breeding from the North Cape down to Denmark, and rarely in Eastern England ; in winter it passes as far south as the Cape of Good Hope ; in Asia it is found as far north as Kamchatka, south to India, Ceylon, and Borneo ; rarer in the east, but found as far as Japan ; of occasional occurrence in Eastern North America.
Frequents damp marshy localities. The Ruff is a silent bird, but in the spring and during migration the note, a low kaek, kaek, kick, kaek, may be heard. The Ruff is polygamous, and in the spring the males assemble, or as it is termed “hill,” and fight, or rather spar, for the possession of the females or Reeves, which alone undertake the cares of incubation. The nest is on the ground, well hidden, and the eggs, usually 4, but sometimes only 3, in number, are generally laid in May, and are pale olivaceous or stone-buff in ground-colour, richly blotched and marked, chiefly at the larger end, with umber-brown, and a few purplish grey shell spots, and measure about 1.69 by 1.22.
1080. Machetes pugnax