Rhynchoea bengalensis, Lin.
873. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 677 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. IV, p. 15 j Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 428 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 242 ; Game Birds of India, Vol. III, p. 381; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 133.
THE PAINTED SNIPE.
Length, 9.25 to 10.0 ; expanse, 16.8 to 18.0 ; wing, 4.9 to 5.2; tail, 1.5 to 1.8; tarsus, 1.65 to 1.83 ; bill at front, 1.65 to 1.85 ; weight, 3.5 to 4.9 oz.
Length, 9.75 to 10.89 ; expanse, 18.0 to 19.25 ; wing, 5.25 to 5.6 ; tail, 1.6 to 2 ; tarsus, 1.75 to 1.96 ; bill at front, 1.8 to 2.05 ; weight, 4.4 to 6.42 oz.
The bill is very variable, typically it is a pale fleshy-brown, darker or purer brown towards the tip and with a greenish tinge towards the base ; irides vary from hazel to deep brown ; legs and feet usually greenish, but are also subject to variation.
Upper plumage more or less olivaceous, the feathers finally marked with zigzag dark lines, and the scapulars and inner wing-coverts with broad bars of black, edged with white; a median pale buff line on the head, and another behind, and round the eye ; scapulars with a pale buff stripe as in the snipe ; wing-coverts mottled and barred with pale olive and buff; quills olivaceous-grey, with dark narrow cross lines, blackish towards base on the outer web, and with a series of five or more buff ocelli on the outer web ; the inner web with white cross bands alternating with the ocelli, and gradually changing to buff on the tertials; tail olivaceous-grey, with four or five rows of buff ocelli on both webs and tipped with buff; chin whitish ; neck, throat, and breast olivaceous-brown, with whitish spots or bars; the lower parts from the breast white, passing on the sides of the breast towards the shoulder, and becoming continuous with the pale scapulary stripe.
The female is darker and plainer colored above; the wing-coverts and tertials dark olive with narrow black cross lines, the outermost tertiaries white, forming a conspicuous white stripe ; lores, sides of face, and whole neck, deep ferruginous chesnut, gradually changing on the breast into" dark olive, almost black beneath; this is bordered on the sides (as in the male) by a pure white line passing up to the scapular region; lower part white, a dark band on the flanks bordering the white ascending line posteriorly.
The Painted Snipe is a fairly common permanent resident in suitable localities throughout the region, but they necessarily vary their quarters a good deal, as the tanks and jheels dry up or otherwise. They appear to breed at various periods throughout the year, but the majority lay during the middle of the rains. The nest is a more or less compact pad of sedge or grass, usually sheltered by a tussock of grass, but occasionally it is quite exposed. The eggs, four in number, are moderately broad ovals, pointed or pinched in at one end. They are hard in texture, faintly glossy. The ground color is a pale buff or warm cafe-au-lait color, thickly and boldly blotched and streaked with rich brown almost black.
They measure 14 inches in length by about 1 in breadth.