(2120) Pluvialis dominicus fulvus.
THE EASTERN GOLDEN PLOVER.
Charadrius fulvus Gmelin, Syst. Nat., i, (2) p 687 (1789) (Tahiti) ; Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 234.
Vernacular names. Chota-battan (Hind.); Kotan (Tam., Ceylon); Rana Watuwa, Oliya, Maha Oliya (Cing.).
Description. - Breeding plumage. Forehead broadly white, running back as a broad white supercilium and down the sides of the neck and breast; lores black ; axillaries greyish-brown edged and tipped with white and centred darker. Otherwise similar to the preceding bird but with less gold spangling, especially on the wings.
Colour of soft parts as in the Golden Plover.
Measurements. "Wing 160 to 165 mm.; tail 60 to 64 mm.; tarsus about 40 to 44 mm. ; culmen 22 to 27 mm.
In Winter differs from the Golden Plover in being a little duller above and always having grey axillaries.
Distribution. Breeding in Siberia from the Kara Sea to "West Alaska and South to the Amore River. In Winter South to India, Burma, the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago, the Indo-Chinese countries and South China to Australia.
Nidification. The Eastern Golden Plover breeds, according to Buturlin, from the Kara Sea to the Tenesei, in the same localities as the Golden Plover and thence right across Siberia. Nest and eggs are exactly like those of that bird but on an average the latter are duller and smaller. Three clutches in my collection were taken at the end of June and on the 2nd of July. These eggs and seven others measured by Jourdain average 47.6 x 33.4 mm.: maxima 50.0 x 32.7 and 48.3 x 35.6 mm.; minima 45.0 x 31.8 mm.
Habits. Those of the genus. The Eastern Golden Plover is only a migrant to India, never breeding within our limits. It is very common in Eastern India from Assam to Ceylon but becomes more rare to the West and is uncommon in Sind and the North-Western Provinces. In Assam and Burma it often occurs in large flocks, sometimes of several hundreds and its melodious double whistle is one of the charms of a cold weather morning in the open plains. It is as wild and difficult to approach as its European cousin and as good to eat when finally shot. It feeds on all kinds of insects, worms etc. but very largely on small grasshoppers and tiny coleoptera.