The Zoologist/4th series, vol 6 (1902)/Issue 736/Birds Collected and Observed in the Darbhanga Districts, Tirhoot, Bengal

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Birds Collected and Observed in the Darbhanga Districts, Tirhoot, Bengal
by John Gordon Dalgliesh

part 2 of a series of three articles 'Birds Collected and Observed in the Darbhanga Districts, Tirhoot, Bengal'. This part published in: The Zoologist, 4th series, vol 6, issue 736 (October, 1902), p. 384–389


By Gordon Dalgliesh.

(Continued from p. 215.)

Crocopus phœnicopterus, Lath. (Bengal Green Pigeon).—Very common. Breeds in April, May, and June. These Pigeons are, as a rule, gregarious, and go about in enormous flocks.

Columba intermedia, Strickl. (Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon).—Very common about old buildings and ruins. They breed throughout the year.

C. livia, Gmel. (Blue Rock-Pigeon).—One out of a pair was shot at Dalsingh Serai in June, 1900. It was unfortunately too badly hit to preserve.

C. eversmanni, Bonap. (Eastern Stock-Pigeon).—Occasionally seen during the cold weather.

Turtur ferrago, Eversm. (Indian Turtle-Dove).—An uncommon winter migrant.

T. suratensis, Gmel. (Spotted Dove).—Very common. Breeds throughout the year. It lays two eggs, very seldom three.

T. risorius, Linn. (Collared Turtle-Dove).—Quite as common as the last. Breeds throughout the year. At Hattowrie Factory, Darbhanga, in May, 1901, I saw a Dove which I take to be a hybrid between this species and T. suratensis. The Dove was quite close to me feeding on the ground. The wings and upper plumage were that of T. suratensis, the breast was like that of T. risorius, and it had a distinct black collar. In size it was intermediate between the two forms.

Œnopopelia tranquebarica, Herm. (Red Turtle-Dove).—This beautiful little Dove is the rarest species to be found. I have only twice come across their nest.

Excalfactoria chinensis, Linn. (Blue-breasted Quail).—I once saw a small Quail which I took to be this species at Dalsingh Serai Mr. Inglis records having seen another at Hattowrie Factory, Darbhanga.

Coturnix communis, Bonn. (Common Quail).—Common in February and March, though the year (1901) was remarkable for its scarcity of Quail. I never saw a single specimen, neither were any brought me by native fowlers. Some are probably resident. Mr. Inglis procured one egg laid by a captive bird.

C. coromandelica, Gmel. (Black-breasted Quail).—Two eggs of this species taken in September by Mr. Rawlins, of this district, and sent to me. Several birds of this species were shot at Dalsingh Serai, so I have been informed, many years ago.

Francolinus vulgaris, Steph. (Black Partridge).—Usually one or more pairs are to be found in any grass jungle during the cold weather, but in summer they scatter, and are found among crops. They are the best birds I know at running, and are very difficult to flush, reminding one of the English Corn-Crake in this respect. They are very fair eating if hung for a day or two. One bird I shot had a number of large black ants in the crop.

F. pondicerianus, Gmel. (Grey Partridge).—A rather scarce bird, and I have only shot it twice.

Turnix dussumieri, Temm. (Little Button-Quail).—Mr. Inglis informs me that he had a pair of this species snared at Jainagar.

T. tanki, Blyth (Indian Button-Quail).—Not often seen, probably on account of its shy skulking nature.

Porzana pusilla (Eastern Ballion's Crake).—A male of this species was snared by native fowlers at Hurnella Jheel, Darbhanga, and brought to Mr. Inglis, who afterwards gave me the skin.

Rallus aquaticus, Linn. (Common Water-Rail).—One specimen (a male) was shot by me at Hattowrie Factory, Darbhanga, on Feb. 12th, 1898. The only other places where this bird has been recorded from India are Gilgit (Scully), Kulu (Hay), and Dera Dun (Hume). Mr. R. George killed a specimen near Skikarpur ('Fauna of Brit. Ind., Birds,' vol. iv. p. 160). One (a female) procured by Mr. Jesse at Lucknow was recorded in the 'Field.'

R. indicus (Indian Water-Rail).—A Rail, which I think was this species, was seen by me on a small pond near Bunhar Factory, Samastipur, in February, 1899. I fired at it, but it was only wounded, and escaped by diving; and, though I had men searching for a long time, they failed to find it.

Amaurornis phœnicurus, Penn. (White-breasted Water-hen).—Very common. Found by nearly every piece of water. It is an exceedingly noisy bird, and its loud harsh cry is heard both day and night. In the year 1900 I was stopping at a house, the garden of which was inhabited by a pair of these birds, which kept me awake most of the night by their cries. They breed during July and August, making a nest of rushes, placed, as a rule, near water. They are very pugnacious birds, and I have often seen them fighting furiously with each other; a pair were so engaged on one occasion, that I approached to within a few yards of them before they were aware of my presence.

Gallinula chloropus, Linn. (Moorhen).—Common. Breeds in August.

Porphyrio poliocephalus, Lath. (Purple Moorhen).—Fairly common. It breeds during July and August in marshes and rice-fields. The nest is a huge mass of rushes or rice placed on water.

Fulica atra, Linn. (Coot).—Very common during winter, and a few remain to breed.

Grus antigone, Linn. (Sarus Crane).—Occasionally seen during the cold weather.

G. communis, Linn. (Common Crane).—Once seen near Hattowrie Factory, Darbhanga, in December, 1897.

Anthropoides virgo, Linn. (Demoiselle Crane).—A not very common cold weather migrant. Often heard at night as they fly to their feeding-grounds.

Sypheotis bengalensis, Gmel. (Bengal Florican).—I only saw one specimen, which was flushed from some heavy grass jungle.

Œdicnemus scolopax, Gmel. (Stone-Curlew).—Very common. Breeds, according to Mr. Inglis, in April.

Esacus recurvirostris, Cuv. (Great Stone-Curlew).—One seen by Mr. Inglis on the banks of the Kamla, and one shot by me at Hattowrie Factory, Darbhanga.

Cursorius coromandelicus, Gmel. (Indian Courser).—Very common in some parts during winter. They run very swiftly, and their flight resembles that of the Lapwing. They are excellent birds for the table.

Glareola lactea, Temm. (Small Indian Pratincole).—I have a pair of these birds given me by Mr. Inglis. I have never come across any myself.

Metopidius indicus, Lath. (Bronze-winged Jacana).—Not uncommon. They breed in weedy tanks in July and August.

Hydrophasianus chirurgus, Scop. (Pheasant-tailed Jacana).—Very common on all marshes. It breeds in July and August, and sometimes in September. They lay from three to four eggs. The cry of this bird resembles the "mewing" of a cat.

Sarcogrammus indicus, Bodd. (Red-wattled Lapwing).—Very common. Breeds from March to May. They are noisy birds, and are well known on account of their cry, which resembles the words "did he do it."

Sarciophorus malabaricus, Bodd. (Yellow-wattled Lapwing).—A rather scarce bird. I have not often seen it.

Hoplopterus ventralis, Wagl. (Indian Spur-winged Plover).—Very common on the banks of rivers. A nest found by Mr. Inglis's collectors in May contained two eggs.

Charadrius fulvus, Gmel. (Eastern Golden Plover).—Very common in some parts in winter. They are extremely wild birds, and difficult to approach.

Ægialitis mongolica, Pall. (Lesser Sand-Plover).—Common on ploughed lands, and on the banks of rivers.

Æ. alexandrina, Linn. (Kentish Plover).—A common cold weather migrant. A specimen shot by one of Mr. Inglis's collectors in April was in full breeding plumage.

Æ. dubia, Scop. (Little Ringed Plover).—Common on the banks of large rivers.

Himantopus candidus, Bonn. (Black-winged Stilt).—A common winter migrant.

Recurvirostra avocetta, Linn. (Avocet).—Rare. One brought to me by a native fowler in February, 1900.

Numenius arquata, Linn. (Curlew).—I shot one pair in February, 1900, and saw a few others.

Limosa belgica, Gmel. (Black-tailed Godwit).—Several seen at Dalsingh Serai in February, 1900. They were feeding in an enormous flock. Thirteen birds were the result of one shot fired.

Totanus hypoleucus, Linn. (Common Sandpiper).—Very common in the cold weather by nearly every piece of water.

T. glareola, Gmel. (Wood Sandpiper).—Very common from August to March.

T. ochropus, Linn. (Green Sandpiper).—More abundant than T. glareola.

T. stagnatilis, Bechst. (Little Greenshank).—Very rare. I only got one specimen.

T. glottis, Linn. (Greenshank).—Abundant during the cold weather.

T. fuscus, Linn. (Spotted Redshank).—A common cold weather migrant, arriving in October.

Pavoncella pugnax, Linn. (Ruff and Reeve).—Rare. I have a pair in my collection, given me by Mr. Inglis.

Tringa temmincki, Leisl. (White-tailed Stint).—Very common in the cold weather, in large flocks.

T. minuta, Leisl. (Little Stint).—Not quite as common as the last.

T. alpina, Linn. (Dunlin).—A male was shot by me in February, 1898. It was the only one secured out of a small flock.

Gallinago cœlestis, Frenz. (Common Snipe).—Very common from September to April.

G. sternura (Pin-tail Snipe).—Several shot near Darbhanga in December, 1900.

G. gallinula, Linn. (Jack-Snipe).—I shot several of this species in January and February, 1900.

Rostratula capensis, Linn. (Painted Snipe).—I only got one specimen in four years.

Larus ichthyaëtus (Great Black-headed Gull).—I saw this bird twice, but was unable to shoot it.

L. brunneicephalus (Brown-headed Gull).—Mr. Inglis obtained one specimen of this bird in the distict.

Hydrochelidon hybrida, Pall. (Whiskered Tern).—A common resident. Mr. Inglis found a colony of these birds breeding, and gave a very interesting account of it in the Bombay Natural History Society's Journal.

H. leucoptera, Meisn. & Schinz. (White-winged Black Tern). I shot a bird which I identified as this species, but unfortunately lost the skin.

Hydroprogne caspia, Pall. (Caspian Tern).—I once saw a number of these birds, but was unable to procure any.

Sterna seena, Sykes (Indian River Tern).—A very common resident.

S. anglica, Mont. (Gull-billed Tern).—I have on two or three occasions seen this species.

S. melanogaster, Temm. (Black-bellied Tern).—A common resident.

Rhynchops albicollis, Swains. (Indian Skimmer).—Not uncommon on large rivers.

Pelecanus philippensis, Gmel. (Spotted-billed Pelican).—Fairly common during the monsoon.

P. roseus, Gmel. (Eastern Pelican).—Mr. Inglis procured one specimen of this bird.

Phalacrocorax carbo, Linn. (Great Cormorant).—I only got one pair of these birds.

P.javanicus, Horsf. (Little Cormorant).—Very common on all large pieces of water, and in one place I counted some hundred, all fishing together.

Plotus melanogaster, Penn. (Indian Darter).—One was seen near Jhangaipur.

Ibis melanocephala, Lath. (White Ibis).—Not very common, though I have seen large numbers occasionally in the cold weather.

(To be continued.)

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