(1151) Ptyonoprogne obsoleta obsoleta.
The Pale Crag-Martin.
Cotile obsoleta Cabanis, Mus. Hein., i, p. 50 (1850) (N.E. Africa). Ptyonoprogne obsoleta. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 275.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper plumage pale greyish-brown; the wing-quills and rectrices a little darker and browner and the latter with white spots on all but the central and, generally, the outermost pair; lores blackish-brown ; sides of the head grey ; lower plumage fulvous-white, darker and more grey on the breast, flanks and vent; under tail-coverts grey ; axillaries and under wing-coverts vinous-grey. Birds in fresh plumage have a beautiful vinous tinge on the lower plumage.
Colours of soft parts. Iris very dark brown: bill dark brown to black ; legs and feet dusky greyish-brown to hoary-black.
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 115 to 123 mm,; tail 50 to 53 mm.; tarsus about 11 mm. ; culmen about 7 to S mm.
Distribution. Nubia and Egypt, North Arabia, Palestine, Persia, Afghanistan, Baluchistan to Sind and North-West Frontier Provinces. I cannot, separate our Indian birds from those found in North-East Africa. Judging from the series in the British Museum, about 30 specimens, they are certainly no paler than the latter.
Nidification. Except for one doubtful report by Col. Butler as to its supposed breeding at Jask on the Mekran Coast and the nests taken by Rattray in Baluchistan, this Martin has not yet been known to breed within our limits. Ticehurst hunted the lower hills of Sind in vain for it in Summer but, as he suggests, it very probably breeds in some of the higher hills. In North Africa it breeds up to an elevation of some 12,000 feet, frequenting both cliffs and buildings for the purpose. Rattray's nests were taken at Khar and Thai on the Baluchistan Frontier, and both nests and eggs were like those of P. rupestris but, as one would have expected, much smaller. Fifteen eggs average 19.3 x 14.1 mm.: maxima 19.9 x 13.0 and 19.5 x 16.0 mm.; minima 17.1 x 12.0 mm.
In Africa it is said to breed in March but Rattray's eggs were taken in April and May.
Habits. Do not differ from those of the Crag-Martin.