1398. Amaurornis fuscus.
The Ruddy Crake.
Rallus fuscus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 262 (1766). Zapornia flammiceps, Hodgs. in Grays Zool. Misc. p. 86 (1844, descr. nulla). Porzana fusca, Blyth, Cat. p. 285; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 724; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 171; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. 3, p. 175 ; Stoliczka, S. F. ii, p. 461 ; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 161; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 489; id. Cat. no. 911; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 769; Hume & Marsh. Game B. ii, p. 217, pl.; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 87 ; Butler, ibid. p. 432; Davison, S. F. x, p. 415;. Reid, ibid. p. 453; Taylor, ibid. p. 466; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 346 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 396 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 372 ; Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 329; Sharpe, Yark. Miss., Aces, p. 146. Rallina fusca, Hume, N. & E. p. 604; Oates & Hume, S. F. iii, p. 188 ; Hume, ibid. p. 500 ; Anders. Yunnan Exped.,Aves, p. 691. Limnobaenus fuscus, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiii, p. 146.
Coloration. Upper parts dark brownish olive; rump, upper tail-coverts, and tertiaries browner ; quills and tail dark brown ; forehead and sinciput, sides of head, including supercilia, and of neck, and lower parts to abdomen vinous chestnut; sides of body and abdomen brown tinged with olive, the latter streaked with white; lower tail-coverts blackish with broader white fringes. In many skins, irrespective of sex, the chin and throat are whitish or white.
Young birds are dusky olive throughout, except the chin, throat, and middle of abdomen, which are whitish. Apparently the rufous garb is gradually assumed, beginning on the head.
Bill greenish brown ; iris crimson ; eyelids plumbeous, the edges red ; legs and toes red (Oates).
Length 8.5 ; tail 2.1; wing 4 ; tarsus 1.4 ; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. India, Ceylon, and Burma, ranging to Java, the Philippines, China, and Japan. This species is common in Lower Bengal and along the Lower Himalayas as far west as Kashmir, where it breeds, but is rare in the Upper Provinces and not known to occur in the Western Punjab, Sind, Rajputana, or Guzerat, whilst throughout the Peninsula it is only known to have been obtained in Mysore and the Wynaad, though Vidal saw what he believed was this species near Ratnagiri. It is a winter visitor to Ceylon. It is common in Pegu, and has been found at Shillong and Dibrugarh in Assam, also in Arrakan and in Yunnan, but not. in Tenasserim.
Habits, &c. Around Calcutta, as observed by Hume, this Rail is common on rushy ponds, where it seeks food on the floating leaves of water-lilies and other plants, and amongst reeds and grass in swamps. It swims jerkily like a Moorhen. It has a soft call, and feeds on insects and seeds. It breeds in Bengal from July to September, makes the usual Rail's nest of grass or rush, and lays about five eggs (perhaps more), creamy white with red and inky-purple spots, chiefly at the broad end, and measuring about 1.2 by .84.