1038. SOCIABLE PLOVER.
Chettusia gregaria (Pall.), Reise Russ. Reichs, i. p. 456 (1771) ; Dresser, vii. p. 527, pl. 528 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. Br. Mus. xxiv. p. 174 ; Blanf. F. Brit. Ind. Birds, iv. p. 231 ; (Saunders), p. 553 ; Lilford, v. p. 24, pl. 7 ; Poynting, p. 59, pl. 15 ; C. keptuschka (Lepechin), Tageb. Reise Russ. Reichs, i. p. 229, footnote 6 (1774) ; (Gould), B. of E. iv. pl. 292.
Pavoncella gregaria, Ital. ; Keptuschka, Russ.
Male ad. (S. Russia). Forehead, a broad streak above the eye passing round the nape, chin, upper throat, lower flanks, under wing surface, upper and under tail-coverts, thighs, secondaries, larger wing-coverts, sides of rump, and outer rectrices white ; crown, lores, a narrow streak behind the eye, primaries, and outer primary coverts jet black ; upper parts brownish ashy grey, the hind neck paler ; tail white with a broad sub¬terminal black band ; neck and breast ashy grey, the latter darker ; abdomen black but posteriorly rich chestnut-red ; legs and beak black ; iris brown. Culmen 1.5, wing 8.1, tail 3.6, tarsus 2.4, bare part of tibia 1.1 inch. Sexes alike, and the winter dress similar. Young birds have the crown brown marked with black, the white on the head tinged with buff, the upper parts darker and with pale margins, and the black and chestnut on the abdomen wanting.
Hab. South-eastern Europe ; of rare occurrence in South Spain, Italy, once at Nice, once in Hungary, and once as far north as Lancashire ; Africa in winter as far south as Kordofan and Senaar ; Asia Minor and Central Asia, north and east to the Yenesei, south in winter to North-western India, Ceylon, and Arabia.
In habits it much resembles the Lapwing, and frequents the uplands, the steppes, grassy and sandy plains, and cultivated ground, is somewhat shy, and not noisy, only occasionally uttering its peculiar cry, kretsch, kretsch, kretsch, Its food con¬sists of insects of various kinds, especially coleoptera and grass¬hoppers. It nests on hilly steppes, the nest being a hollow scratched in the ground, and lined with dry grass. The eggs, 4 in number, are deposited late in May, and resemble those of V. vulgaris, but as a rule the ground-colour is paler and the markings less bold.
1038. Chettusia gregaria
1038. SOCIABLE PLOVER.