Gurguri khairi, Bengali.
Known in Telugu as Venna mudikoli, the possession of even two native names shows that this pretty bird is fairly well known, though only a winter visitor. It is short-billed but long-toed, and about the size of a snipe ; the speckling of white all over the plumage is characteristic, the ground-colour of this being of a common rail pattern, streaky-brown above and grey below in adults, though young birds have a brown breast. The sides are vertically barred, but the dark interspaces between the white bars are grey, not black; the yellow bill is also a noticeable point.
The spotted crake arrives in India in September, and leaves about April ; it mostly visits northern India, though in Jerdon's time it seems to have been more generally distributed ; to the coast it extends as far as Arrakan. It particularly frequents rice-fields, rushes and sedge, and has a great objection to exposing itself in the open, while if it is forced up, it drops after a flight of about a score of yards, and declines to appear again. It is worth shooting if come across, as it is good eating, according to Jerdon. It feeds on water-insects, snails, as well as on seeds and herbage.
Generally it is found singly, and in any case not more than a pair seem to keep about the same spot. The call-note, mostly heard at night, is a clear loud " kweet," according to Dresser. This is a widely distributed bird, breeding from our own islands to Central Asia, and, in spite of its great reluctance to fly in the ordinary way, appears to cross the high Karakorum range in its southward migration to the Indian Empire.