The Little Ringed Plover.
Charadrius dubius, Scop. Del. Faun, et Flor. Insubr. ii, p. 93 (1786). Charadrius curonicus, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, p. 692 (1788). Charadrius philippinus, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 745 (1790). Charadrius minor, Wolf & Meyer, Natury. Vog. Deutschl. p. 182 (1805); Seebohm, Charadr. p. 130. Charadrius fluviatilis, Bechst. Naturg. Deutschl. ed. 2, iv, p. 322 (1809). Charadrius minutus, Pall. Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat. ii, p. 145 (1811). Charadrius pusillus, Horsf. Trans. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 187 (1821). Hiaticula philippina. & H. pusilla, Blyth, Cat. pp. 203, 204. Aegialitis philippensis, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 640; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 94. Aegialitis minutus, Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 641; Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 164: Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 389 ; Legge, S. F. iii, p. 372 ; Hume & Dan. S. F. vi, p. 450 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 227 ; Cripps, ibid. p. 300; Hume, Cat. no. 850; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 331; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 57 ; vi, p. 22; Littledale, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 200. Aegialitis fluviatilis, Hume, N. & E. p. 572; id. S. F. i, p. 230; Adam, ibid. p. 394 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 289. Aegialitis curonica, Wald. Ibis, 1873, p. 816 ; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 429; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 12 ; Armstrong, ibid. p. 340 ; Butler, S. F. v, p. 232; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 450; Legge, Birds Ceyl, p. 952 ; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 587. Aegialitis philippinus, Hume, S. F. iii, p. 179. Aegialitis dubia, Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 153 ; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 227 ; Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 299; Hume, Cat. no. 849; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 351 ; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 81; Butler, ibid. p. 420; Reid, S. F. x, p. 65; Hume, ibid. p. 412; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 370 : Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 330; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 315; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 338 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxiv, p. 263. Aegialitis jerdoni, Legge, P. Z. S. 1880, p. 39: id. Birds Ceyl. p. 950; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 318; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 371 ; Biddulph, Ibis, 1882, p. 287; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 315; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 340.
The Indian Ringed Plover, The Lesser Ringed Plover, Jerdon; Zirrea, H.; Bytu ulanka, Rewa, Tel.
Coloration. A white frontal hand, surrounded by the black base of the forehead, broad sincipital band, lores, and a band from them chiefly beneath the eye, but including the orbit- and the ear-coverts, all black; occiput and nape brown, separated from the black sincipital area by a pale line, and by a broader white streak from the orbital band ; chin, throat, and a broad collar all round the neck white, followed by a black collar all round the base of the neck, broader in front; upper parts from the neck brown ; quills dark brown ; first primiares blackish, secondaries and later primaries tipped white; shaft of first primary white almost throughout, of all others dark; tail brown, darker towards the end; all feathers, except the middle pair, tipped white, the white tips increasing in size and extending along the outer webs in the outer rectrices; lower parts from neck, including wing-lining, pure white.
Young birds want the black marks on the head and nape. The black is replaced by brown and the white by buff.
Bill black, yellowish at base ; irides deep brown ; orbits yellow; legs yellow (Jerdon). Legs dusky greenish brown in winter, yellow in summer (Oates).
Length 6.5 ; tail 2.35 ; wing 4.5 ; tarsus 1 ; bill from gape .6.
Many Indian ornithologists are of opinion that there are two species of Ringed Plover throughout India, the smaller (AE. minuta v. jerdoni) distinguished by smaller size (wing 4, tarsus .8), by having more yellow at the base of the bill, and a more prominent and broader naked yellow ring round the eye. The colours of the legs, too, are said to differ. The smaller form is said to breed in India, while the larger bird is a cold weather visitor. I have never been able to distinguish the two forms in India, and I find Dr. Sharpe unites them. There is unquestionably much variation ; and I think it probable that many of the birds occurring in India in the cold season are migrants, and that, as with so many birds, the southern residents run smaller than the birds that breed farther north.
Distribution. All Europe and Asia, with North Africa. Generally distributed throughout the Indian Empire.
Habits, &c. The Little Ringed Plover is most common in the beds of streams and rivers, where it keeps in small scattered flocks, each bird running about independently in search of insects, but all collecting to fly away when alarmed. Occasionally these little Plovers are seen in sandy plains or fields. They have a plaintive monosyllabic whistle. Many of those found in India are probably migrants and breed in the north, but numbers breed in India, from December to May in the Deccan, and probably elsewhere, and lay four eggs of the usual type, thinly speckled, and measuring 1.14 by .84.