(2053) Rhinoptilus bitorquatus.
Rhinoptilus bitorquatus Blyth. J. A. S. B., xvii, pt. 1, p. 254 (1848) ex Jerdon MS. (Eastern Ghats) ; Blanford & Oates, iv, p. 212.
Vernacular names. Adava-wuta-titti (Tel.).
Description. Forehead, supercilia and a broken central coronal streak pale buff or white ; remainder of crown and hind-neck dark brown, surrounded by the pale buff; tail-coverts white ; remainder of upper plumage, scapulars and inner secondaries brown ; tail-feathers blackish, the outermost broadly white at; the base and all the lateral feathers with white apical spots on the outer webs ; median coverts paler grey-brown with broad white edges forming a conspicuous wing-bar; greater and primary coverts black; primaries black, the outermost with a broad white patch on the outer web, joining obliquely with a similar broad white sub-terminal patch on the inner web, the white decreasing to a small spot on the inner web of the fourth; outer secondaries black, broadly edged with white on the inner webs ; chin and throat white; fore-neck rufous surrounded by a black-edged white band; breast brown with a broad while belt across the lower part; under wing-coverts black and white; axillaries, lower breast, flanks and abdomen creamy-white changing to white on the under tail-coverts.
The feathers of the upper parts are obsoletely edged paler and the wing-coverts more definitely so, a character possibly of the juvenile plumage.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill blackish-honry at the tips of both mandibles, pale yellow from the nostrils to the gape, legs pale yellowish-white with a fleshy tinge, soles flesh-coloured, nails horny.
Measurements. Wing 161 to 168 mm.; tail 64 to 65 mm. ; tarsus 68 mm.; culmen 18 to 19 mm.
Distribution. The forest country from the Godavery Valley to the neighbourhood of Madras. Jerdon discovered it in Nellore and Cuddapah and Blanford obtained it close to Sironcha on the Godavery and again near Bhadrachalam, whilst, in 1900, Howard Campbell saw it near Anantpur, much farther West.
Nidification. An account in the ' Asian ' describes the eggs as being laid on the ground, two in number, the ground-colour bright yellow-stone, almost obliterated by black scrawly blotches and spots. The birds were said to be breeding in thin scrub-jungle and to be very shy and wary.
Habits. Jerdon and Blanford both found this Courser in thin forest or scrub, whilst Campbell says he saw it twice, in pairs, running about in dry bush-jungle. On both occasions it ran away with great rapidity and did not take to wing. Blanford says that it flies better than Cursorius, whilst Jerdon says it has a plaintive cry. Blanford's birds obtained in March and May were not breeding but Howard's male, the only one he managed to get, had very enlarged testes. This was in June, so presumably the birds breed about then.