1392. Porzana parva.
The Little Crake.
Rallus parvus, Scop. Ann. i, p. 108 (1769). Gallinula minuta, Montagu, Orn. Dict. Suppl. cum fig. (1813) ; nec Rallus minutus, Pall. Porzana minuta, Hume, S. F. i, p. 251. Porzana parva, Hume, Cat. no. 910 bis ; Hume & Marsh. Game B. ii, p. 209, pi.; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 98: Scully, ibid. p. 590; Swinhoe, Ibis, 1882, p. 123 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 371 ; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 178. Zapornia parva, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiii, p. 89.
Coloration. Male. Upper plumage light olive-brown, darker on the crown, rump, and tail-coverts, pale on the scapulars, and whitish on the inner borders of the tertiaries, back, rump, and tail-feathers ; scapulars and tertiaries with broad black shaft-stripes, interscapulary region speckled with white streaks ; quills and primary-coverts dark brown; forehead, supercilia, and sides of head, with the whole lower surface, light slaty grey, with white edgings on the lower abdomen and flanks, and especially on the lower tail-coverts.
Female. Supercilia and part of the cheeks ashy, a light brown band from the lores through the eye to the ear-coverts ; chin, lower cheeks, and throat white ; rest of lower parts isabelline buff, with brown and white edgings to lower abdomen, thigh-coverts, and lower tail-coverts ; otherwise similar to the male.
Young birds are whitish beneath, with brown tips and edges to the feathers of the breast and flanks, forming bars on the latter; they have fine white bars on the scapulars, and white tips to the tertiaries and greater coverts.
Bill, legs, and feet green with a yellow tinge : irides red. In summer the base of both mandibles is red, but Indian birds shot in winter do not show this.
Length of males 8; tail 2.25; wing 4; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape .9. Females are rather less.
Distribution. Throughout Europe, except in the north ; also in South-western and Central Asia. A winter visitor to parts of Africa and to Sind, where it is common on some of the dhands or marshes. It has been observed passing through Quetta and Gilgit when migrating.
Habits, &c A thoroughly aquatic bird, often seen running over leaves of water-lilies and other floating plants, and living mainly on water-insects and larva?. It swims well and has even been seen to dive, and it has a fairly strong flight. It does not, in all probability, breed in India. The nest and eggs are very similar to those of the next species.