1544. Plegadis falcinellus.
The Glossy Ibis.
Tantalus falcinellus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 241 (1766). Numenius igneus & N. viridis, S. G. Gm. Reise d. Russl. i, pp. 166, 167 (1770). Ibis falcinellus, Vieill. Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat. xvi, p. 23 ; Oates & Hume, S. F. iii, p. 192. Plegadis falcinellus, Kaup, Nuturl. Syst. p. 82; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1109; Parker, Ibis, 1883, p. 194; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 281 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 231; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 29. Falcinellus igneus, Gray, Cat. Mamm. etc. Coll. Hodgs. p. 136; Blyth, Cat. p. 274; Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 243; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 770; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 275; Hume, N. & E. p. 635 ; id. S. F. i, p. 257; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 158; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv, p. 25; Davidson & Wenden, S. F. vii, p. 92; Butler, ibid. p. 188: Ball, ibid. pp. 231, 234; Cripps, ibid. p. 310; Hume, ibid. p. 491 ; id. Cat. no. 943; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 377; Hume & Inglis, S. F. ix, p. 259; Butler, ibid. p. 436; Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 123; Biddulph, ibid. p. 289; Reid, S. F. x, p. 78 ; Davidson, ibid. p. 325; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 339; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 391; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 153.
Kawari, Kowar, Chota buza, H.: Kala Kachiatora, Beng.; Tati Kankaram, Tel.; Karupu Kotan, Tam. (Ceylon); Rattu datuduwa, Cing.
Coloration. In breeding-plumage the crown is glossy purplish red, changing to green ; remainder of the head brown, with purple gloss; neck all round, upper back, scapulars, and smaller wing-coverts dark chestnut, breast and abdomen lighter chestnut; rest of plumage, including wings, tail, and under tail-coverts, black or deep brown, richly glossed with bronze-green and purple or steel-blue.
In winter plumage the smaller wing-coverts and scapulars resemble the rest of the upper plumage, and the head and neck are blackish brown, streaked with white.
Young birds resemble old birds in winter plumage, but have the base of the neck and lower parts blackish brown.
Bill dark livid brown ; facial skin livid, extending round the eye ; irides brown, in some mottled with grey; legs and feet bronzed brown, bluish above the knee (Legge).
Length 25 ; tail 4; wing 11 ; tarsus 4; bill from gape 5.25.
Distribution. Widely spread through the warmer parts of the world. Bound in India, Ceylon, and Burma, but rare or unknown throughout the drier hilly regions, and common only in well-watered parts, especially where there are large marshes or tanks. Bare in Burma, though abundant in Manipur. In most parts of India this Ibis is a cold-weather visitor only, but it breeds in Sind, on the Eastern Nara, in large, numbers, also in Ceylon, and probably in other suitable places.
Habits, &c. The Glossy Ibis is usually seen in India in large flocks, frequenting marshes, tanks, paddy fields, the borders of rivers, tidal creeks, or the sea-coast. Its food consists of insects, Crustacea, mollusca, worms, &c. Mr. Doig found it breeding in Sind in June, whilst in Ceylon Col. Legge and Mr. Parker took its nests between November and February. The nest is the usual platform of sticks on a tree, and the eggs are generally three in number, and of a beautiful blue colour, and they measure about 2.01 by 1.40. This bird has a low call, and is said to be excellent eating.