(2013) Porzana pusilla pusilla.
THE EASTERN BAILLON'S CRAKE.
Rallus pusillus Pall., Reis. Russ. Reich., iii, p. 700 (1776) (Dauria). Porzana pusilla. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 165.
Vernacular names. Jhilli (Nepal).
Description. Upper plumage rufous-brown, the feathers streaked with black, the streaks on the hind-neck inconspicuous and the wing-coverts without any; scapulars, back, rump, upper tail-coverts and inner wing-coverts curiously streaked or marked with white as if smeared with white paint; quills brown, the first primary conspicuously edged with white; lores next the eye and a small streak behind it rufous-brown; supercilium, sides of head and neck, breast and anterior abdomen grey sometimes tinged ashy; posterior abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts barred brown and white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red in adults, red-brown in younger birds and dull blue-brown in nestlings; bill horny-green to green, the culmen mi. tip darker; legs and feet yellowish-green to dull green, claws horny-brown.
Measurements, Total length about 200 mm. or less; wing 84 to 91 mm.; tail 40 to 46 mm.; tarsus 27 to 28 mm.; culmen 14 to 16 mm.
Young birds have the underparts almost white, the sides of the neck, breast and flanks suffused with pale ruddy-brown; the brown eye-streak is broader than in the adult.
Nestling. All black; a greenish tinge to the tips of the down.
Distribution. Ceylon, all India, Burma and the Andamans; as far West as Afghanistan and East to the Indo-Chinese countries and all China. It occurs through the Malayan Archipelago to the Philippines.
Nidification The Eastern Baillon's Crake breeds in great numbers in the Kashmir lakes during the end of May, June and early July, a few birds laying as late as the end of August. The nest is made of rushes and grass or, occasionally, of rice leaves, and is placed in among any kind of dense cover, but preferably in short thick grass. Some nests are placed on the floating islands of weeds well out in the lakes, others in the reeds and rushes round them and others in the short grass at the edges of the lake or on the larger and drier islands. It is always well concealed, warm and dry and, as the bird always creeps quietly away before it can be seen, its nest is very hard to find. The eggs number six or seven, occasionally eight, whilst often four or five are incubated. They are like those of the preceding bird but, as a series, are darker, more richly marked eggs as well as being much smaller. One hundred eggs average 28.1 x 20.0 mm.; maxima 30.0 x 21.1 and 29.1 x 31.8 mm.; minima 26.0 x 20.0 and 26.1 x 19.1 mm.
Habits. Those of the genus. In Winter this little Rail wanders down from the Himalayas in great numbers into the North-West plains of India but many individuals remain throughout the year in Kashmir though others, on the other hand, remain in the plains and breed there in August and September, nests having been found in these months by Hume, Brooks, and Buller at Etawah and Deesa. Over the rest of India it is less common but its skulking habits cause it to be often overlooked whilst, when it does fly, it looks so like a small Quail that it is often mistaken for one. It is chiefly insectivorous in its diet but devours worms and grubs and also eats the seeds and berries of many kinds of plants.