1586. Rhodonessa caryophyllacea.
The Pink-headed Duck.
Anas caryophyllacea, Latham, Ind. Orn. ii, p. 866 (1790) ; Jerdon, Ill. Ind. Orn. pi. 34 ; Blyth, Cat. p. 304 ; Irby, Ibis, 1861, p. 249; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 800 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 644; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 165 ; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 264 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 232; Hume, ibid. p. 492; id. S. F. viii, p. 501; Simson, Ibis, 1884, p. 271; C. Swinh. Barnes, Ibis, 1885, p. 137; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 404. Rhodonessa caryophyllacea, Reichenb. Naturl. Syst. Vogel, p. ix, pl. 85; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 438; Hume, Cat no. 960; Hume & Marsh. Came B. iii, pp. 173, 435, pl. ; Butler, S. F. ix, p. 437; Reid, S. F. x, p. 81; Taylor, ibid. p. 531; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 284; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 404; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 344 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 290 ; Barnes, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vi, p. 2!)0 ; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxvii, p. 61; Baker, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. xi, p. 185.
Lal-sira, H.; Golab Lal-sir, Oudh ; Saknal, Beng.; Dumrar, Dumar, Nepal Terai and Tirhoot.
Coloration. Male. Crown and sides of head, back and sides of neck rosy pink, brightest on the occiput and nape, browner on the forehead; a band on the chin, throat, and fore neck, the body above and below, and the tail chocolate-brown; minute whitish specks on the feathers of the mantle ; wings brown outside, except the edge which is whitish, and the secondaries which are pale fawn with white tips; primaries brown on outer, pale fawn on inner webs ; tertiaries with a green gloss ; wing-lining pinkish white.
Female duller; head paler pink; chin and throat pale like sides of head and neck, the pink passing gradually into the brown of the body; middle of crown and nape brown; no gloss on the tertiaries; wing-lining whitish.
Young birds resemble the female except that the head and neck are duller and browner and the lower parts paler.
Bill reddish white, rosy at the base and bluish at the tip; irides-fine orange-red; legs and feet blackish with a tinge of red (Jerdon).
Length 23.5; tail 3.5; wing 11; tarsus 1.9; bill from gape 2.25. No difference in size between the sexes.
Distribution. Fairly common and resident in Upper Bengal, in the districts of Purneab, Maldah, and Bhagalpur, and in Tirhoot; not common, but found throughout Assam, Manipur, the whole of Bengal, Orissa, the Northern Circars, Oudh, and the North-west Provinces, and to be met with as an occasional straggler as far west as Delhi, Mhow, and Ahmednagar, and south to Madras. On the east this Duck has been recorded from north of Bhamo, but nowhere else in the Irrawaddy valley, nor is it known to occur in Tenasserim. It is peculiar to India.
Habits, &c. The Pink-headed Duck haunts ponds and swampa thickly overgrown with reeds and aquatic plants, and, as a rule, surrounded by forest or grass jungle. In such places this species may be found throughout the year, in small flocks of from 4 to 10 or occasionally 20 to 40 in the cold season, and in pairs from April to September. The flight is swift, and the rosy under wing-coverts make this species easily recognizable. R. caryophyllacea breeds in June and July, and lays about 9 white, nearly spherical eggs, measuring on an average 1.78 by 1.66, in a circular nest of dry grass and feathers, hidden in a tuft of high grass. Jerdon says that this bird is excellent eating, but other observers, with better opportunities for judging, condemn its flesh as inferior; Simson considers it worse than that of the Brahminy Duck or the Whistling Teal.