(2125) Lobivanellus indicus indicus.
THE INDIAN RED-WATTLED LAPWING.
Tringa indica Bodd., Pl. Enlum., p. 50 (1783) (Goa). Sarcogrammus indicus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 224.
Vernacular names. Titiri, Titai, Titi, Tituri (Hind.); Titavi (Mahr); Yennapa Chitatva (Tel.); Al-kati (Tam.) Kirala, Kibulla (Cing.); Balighora, Teta-tua (Assam).
Description. A broad white band from the eye, including the ear-coverts, passing down the side of the neck and joining the white of the lower breast, abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts; remainder of head, fore-neck and breast glossy black; back scapulars and innermost secondaries olive bronze-brown, with a purple gloss on the lesser and median wing-coverts ; lower back darker brown; rump, upper tail-coverts and tail white, the last with a broad subterminal black bar, the central feathers with brown tips and a brown margin to the black band ; primaries and outer secondaries black, the secondaries with broad white bases, which increase until the central rectrices are all white; primary coverts black; greater coverts white with concealed black bases ; axillaries white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red to red-brown; bill-tip black, the rest red or orange-red; eyelids and wattle crimson-red; legs bright yellow.
Measurements. Wing 212 to 233 mm.; tail 107 to 116 mm.; tarsus about 79 to 89 mm.; culmen 32 to 34 mm.
Young birds have the black feathers of the head broadly fringed with brown; the chin, throat and fore-neck are white and the sides of the neck not so pure a white as in the adult.
Nestling in down. Upper parts grizzled grey-brown, white and a little rufous; there are well-marked central and lateral coronal black streaks, a big black patch on both sides of the anterior crown, meeting behind ; a well-marked dorsal line and two short black thigh-lines ; sides of head and neck white; throat and fore-neck black ; remaining underparts dull white.
Distribution. The whole of India and Ceylon except Sind, Mekran and the Baluchistan frontiers on the West and Assam South of the Brahmapootra and extreme Eastern districts of Bengal, North-East of the Bay of Bengal.
Nidification. The Red-Wattled Lapwing breeds principally in April, but many birds lay during March and others during May, June and July, though these latter are almost certainly birds which have lost their first eggs. They breed throughout the area they inhabit in the plains, whilst in the hills of Southern India they have been recorded at 5,500 feet and in the Himalayas up to about 5,000 feet or, very rarely, 6,000 feet The nest is the usual scratching made in the sand, soil etc. by the birds and the most common site is, perhaps, on shingle- and sand-beds in rivers. Often, however, they lay at a considerable distance from water in waste land, fallow or ploughed fields, whilst in some districts the birds lay in numbers on the ballast on railway lines, so close to the rails that the rail-boards of the carriages actually pass over the nests. Four eggs are invariably laid which are like those of the Spur-winged Plover but often more boldly and handsomely marked. One hundred eggs average 42.1 x 29.8 mm.: maxima 45.8 x 31.0 and 43.4 x 32.2 mm.; minima 39.3 X 28.0 mm.
Habits. The " Did-he-do-it" or "Pity-to-do-it" Bird, as it is called by Europeans, is a very familiar bird to most people in India, its noisy call, which these names imitate, calling attention to itself wherever it may be. Its flight is like that of the Lap¬wing, generally a slow flapping, showing all sorts of contortions during the breeding-season and capable of considerable speed when required. Certain of the smaller Hawks used formerly to be specially trained to hunt this bird, its wonderful powers of twisting and turning in the air making it a difficult quarry to bring down. Its food consists of worms, grubs, insects of all kinds as well as freshwater mollusca, tiny crayfish etc. It is resident wherever found, though it may move about locally under food and weather conditions whilst it seems to desert the higher hills in "Winter.