1439. Charadrius fulvus.
The Eastern Golden Plover.
Charadrius fulvus, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, p. 687 (1788); Hume, S. F. i, p. 228; ii, p. 287; iii, p. 179; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 153; Butler & Hume, S. F. iv, p. 11 ; Hume, ibid. p. 463 ; Blanf. S. F. v, p. 247; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 675 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 455 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 226 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 299; Hume, ibid. p. 482; id. Cat. no. 845; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 350 Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 934; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 79; Bingham, ibid. p. 196; Butler, ibid. p.425 ; Parker, ibid. p. 482 ; Scully', Ibis, 1881, p. 586; Reid, S. F. x, p. 64; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 364; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 328; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 313; Seebohm, Charadr. p. 99; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 175. Charadrius dominicus, P. L. S. Mull. Natursyst. Suppl. p. 116 (1789?) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 195. Charadrius virginicus, Licht. Verz. Doubl. p. 70 (1823) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 262. Charadrius longipes, Temm. MS., Jerdon. B. I. iii, p. 636; McMaster, J. A. S. B. xl, pt. 2, p. 215; Blanf, ibid. p. 269; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 284.
The Golden Plover, Jerdon ; Chata battan, H. ; Kotan, Tam. (Ceylon); Rana watuwa, Oliya, Maha oliya, Cing.
Coloration. In winter plumage the crown and upper parts are dark brown, sometimes almost black, the feathers edged with yellow spots, which become whitish or white on the wing-coverts ; forehead and supercilia sullied white; sides of bead and neck fulvous streaked with brown, ear-coverts brown; primary coverts and primary and secondary quills dark brown, more or less tipped with white, the inner primary coverts more broadly, distal halves of shafts of primaries white except at the ends ; tail dark brown, the feathers sometimes distinctly pale-banded, more often indistinctly, but generally with a margin of white or yellow spots ; sometimes the lower parts are dull brown throughout, darker and streaked on the breast and banded on the flanks ; more often the chin, throat, lower breast, and abdomen are white ; the under wing-coverts and axillaries always greyish brown.
In breeding-plumage—assumed partly by moult, partly by change of colour—all the lower parts are black except the wing-lining and axillaries, which remain brown; the upper parts are blacker than in winter, and the yellow spots larger and brighter; the forehead, supercilia, and a band from each side of the neck bounding the black area pure white.
Bill black ; irides dark brown ; feet plumbeous black (Scully).
Length 9.5; tail 2.4; wing 6.5 ; tarsus 1.7; bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. This Golden Plover breeds in Siberia and the Boreal regions of America, and in winter visits Southern Asia, the Malay Archipelago, Australia, and the greater part of America north and south. The American variety is larger than the Asiatic, but there is no constant distinction. The Asiatic form is found in suitable places throughout the plains of India, Ceylon, and Burma, but avoids forest regions and highlands; it is rare in Sind, and only stragglers occur further west. It is common at the Andamans and Nicobars and also on the Laccadives, and is more abundant on flat swampy land near the coast and the larger rivers than elsewhere.
Habits, &c. Golden Plovers are generally found in flocks, small or large, and feed on worms and insects. They have a rapid flight and a peculiar bisyllabic whistling call, not often uttered by the present species. Although Jerdon says that they breed in India, this is very doubtful: they arrive about September, and stay till the middle of May, when all have assumed full breeding-dress, but hitherto no one has detected them actually nesting. The hen lays four largish stone-coloured eggs, much blotched with blackish. This bird is excellent eating, though scarcely equal to O. pluvialis.