(2129) Microsarcops cinereus.
THE GREY-HEADED LAPWING.
Pluvianus cinereus Blyth, J. A,. S. B., xl, p. 587 (1842) (Calcutta); Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 228.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage from forehead to lower back light brown, the forehead almost or quite pure grey and the head to the nape washed with grey; wing-coverts edged paler and greyer; rump, upper tail-coverts and tail white, with a broad black subterminal bar, almost disappearing on the outermost feathers and bordered with brown on the central ones; primary coverts and primaries black; greater secondary coverts and secondaries white; chin albescent; whole neck and upper breast ashy-grey, terminating in a broad chocolate-black pectoral band; under wing-coverts, axillaries and under tail-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red; bill yellow with the terminal third black; eyelids and lappets yellow; legs and toes brownish-yellow or yellow ; claws black.
Measurements. Wing 228 to 255 mm.; tail 93 to 112 mm.; tarsus about 75 to 79 mm.; culm en 35 to 39 mm.
Young birds have the head, neck and breast concolorous with the back and want the pectoral band.
Distribution. Breeding from Central Siberia and North-West China to Japan and Corea; wintering in Southern China, the Indo-Chinese countries, Malay States, Burma and Eastern India. Irby reported it from Oude, probably quite correctly, whilst recently Whistler saw it in Kashmir, so close that, although he did not shoot it, he is positive of its identity. In Assam and Eastern Bengal it is quite common from November to March and 1 have shot many in the former province. It has also occurred in the Andamans.
Nidification. Very little known. It is said to breed from the middle of May to the end of June in marshy places, laying three or four eggs in a hollow in some dry tuft of grass. The only two clutches in my collection, one from Corea and one from Echo in Manchuria, seem very small for this bird but may be quite correct. They are indistinguishable from the common Lapwing's eggs, one being a boldly-blotched set on a pale ground, the other a very brown set marked with dull black. Eight eggs average 41.3 x 32.0 mm.: maxima 49.6 x 34.0 ram.; minima 41.0 X 30.6 mm.
Habits. Apparently much the same as those of the Common-Lapwing. They appear in Eastern India about the end of October, never in flocks but singly or in pairs, disappearing again before the end of March. In Assam they haunt marshy places and we generally found them on the edge of swamps when snipe-shooting. Their cry is a plaintive " chee-it, chee-it," seldom uttered in the non-breeding season.