(2019) Amaurornis fuscus bakeri.
THE NORTHERN RUDDY CRAKE.
Porzana fasca bakeri Hartert, Nov. Zool., 1917, p. 272 (Kumaon). Amaurornis fuscus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 170 (part.).
Vernacular names. Di-daobui-gajao (Cachari).
Description. Slightly paler than the preceding race and decidedly larger.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 99 to 110 mm., very rarely under 100 mm.; culmen 21 to 24 mm.
Distribution. Northern India from the Afghan frontier ( White-head) and Kashmir to Assam, Bengal, Chin Hills and Arakan. Kachin Hills birds (Harington) are intermediate, whilst Yunnan and Shan States birds are nearest the Chinese form.
Nidification. This little Crake breeds in great numbers in Kashmir and again in Eastern Bengal and Assam and in smaller numbers in suitable country between these points. The nest is a pad of rushes, grass or rice-blades well hidden in grass, reeds or rice and may be placed either round about, or in the interior of, swamps, in rice-fields or on adjoining banks, or,less often, in marshy meadows at some little distance from the water. They are built actually on the ground but occasionally one may be seen on a tangled mass of vegetation or thick bush a few inches above it. The eggs number five to eight and only vary from those of the Ceylon form, already described, in being rather larger. One hundred average 32.3 x 22.7 mm.; maxima 34.2 X 23.3 and 32.1 x 24.1 mm.; minima 29.0 x 23.1 and 30.1 x 21.8 mm. In Assam they breed from June to September and in Kashmir from July onwards.
Habits. In. Eastern Bengal this Crake literally swarms during the cold weather, when its numbers are probably increased by local migrants from the immediate North ; otherwise it seems to be a resident bird over all its habitat. In the mornings and evenings it haunts rice-fields, swampy meadows and semi-open country but in the heat of the day it retires to the vegetation of deeper water or to reed-beds. It is a most accomplished skulker, avoiding showing itself even when its cover is systematically beaten. It flies well and fast, looking like a tiny Quail, except for its hanging legs as it rises. For two hundred yards or so it flies direct just above the water or cover and then hurls itself headlong into the latter. It feeds on freshwater mollusca, insects and the seeds and shoots of water-plants and young rice. Its call is a soft crake, which Hume syllabifies as " keek-keek-keek," but it is a silent bird, even in the breeding-season.