In Bombay, on the apprOach of the monsoon, nearly all the kites, hawks, vultures, and other carrion birds disappear from the sea-coast, while the crows begin to build their nests and hatch their young just at the season that seems most unsuitable for incubation, for the eggs are often shaken out, or the nests themselves are destroyed. The carnivorous birds,. as the rains approach, withdraw themselves from a climate unsuitable to the habits of their young, betaking themselves to the comparatively dry air of the Dekhan, where they nestle and bring forth in comfort, and find food and shelter for their little ones.
In Bengal, the kites andr Brabmany kite breed chiefly in January and February, and disappear during the rains. The adult adjutants make their appearance as soon as the rains set in, and, be coming in fine plumage towards the close of the rains, depart at that time to breed in the eastern portion of the Sunderbuns upon lofty trees, and along the eastern coast of the Bay of Bengal upon trees and rocks. Vultures are permanently resident ; and the crows propagate chiefly in March and April, their nests being not infre quently destroyed by the fury of the nor'-westers.
Not a few migratory species are common to the polar circle and to Lower Bengal, and even further towards the equator, according to season ; but the individual birds may mot migrate so far north and south. The Calliope Kamschatkensis, a delicate little bird much like a nightingale, but with a brilliant ruby throat, which is not rare in the vicinity of Calcutta during the cold season, returns early in April, with the snowfleck, in the lower Kolyma district, in northern Siberia, as we are told by Von Wrangell,—that is to say, before the last of them have left Bengal. Another and non-migratoryspecies of the same genus (C. peetor alis), peculiar, so far as known, to the Himalaya, is enumerated in Mr. Hodgson's List of the Birds of Nepal. The hoopoe (Upupa epops), common in Southern Asia during the cold season, and on the table-lands at all seasons, is to all appear ance a bird of fluttering and feeble flight, but has repeatedly been observed, during the seasons of migration, at altitudes considerably above the limits of vegetation. On the western side of the Lanak pass, about 16,500 feet, I saw a hoopoe,' writes Major Cunningham ; and at Mornay (14,000 to 15,000 feet elevation); under the lofty Donkia pass in northern Sikkim, .Dr. Joseph D. Hooker observed, in the month of September, birds flock to the grass about Mornay ; larks, finches, warblers, abundance of sparrows (feeding on the yak droppings), with occasionally the hoo poe ; waders, cormorants, and wild ducks, were sometimes seen in the streams, but most of these were migrating south.' An enormous quantity of waterfowl,' remarks Dr. Hooker, 'breed in Thibet, including many Indian species that migrate no further north. The natives collect their eggs for the markets of Jigatzi, Giantchi, and Lhassa, along the banks of the Yarn river, Ramchoo, and Yarbru and Dacchen lakes.' Amongst other birds, the Sarus, or giant crane of India (Gros antigone) (see Turner's Tibet, p. 212), repairs to these
enormous elevations to breed. The Sams also breeds south of the Himalaya ; and specimens too young to fly are occasionally brought for sale even to Calcutta. Turner also says the Lake Ramchoo is frequented by great abundance of waterfowl, wild geese, ducks, teal, and storks, which, on the approach of winter, take their flight to milder regions. Prodigious numbers of the Sarus, the largest species of the crane kind, are seen there at certain seasons of the year, and any quantity of eggs may then be collected, found deposited near the banks. The European crane (Grits cinerea), also a common Indian bird, says Major Lloyd, as observed by himself in Scan dinavia, usually breeds in extended morasses, far away from the haunts of men. It makes its nest, consisting of stalks of plants and the like, on a tussock, and often amongst willow and other bushes. The female lays two eggs. Major Cun ningham, also, in his Ladakh, etc., remarks that he shot the wild goose on the Thogji, Chanmo, and Chomoriri lake at 15,000 feet ; and he and Col. Bates shot three teal on the Suraj Dal, a small lake at the head of the Bhaga river, at an elevation of upwards of 16,000 feet.
Many highly approximate races (considered, therefore, as species) maintain their distinctness, even in the same region and vicinity, as Falco peregrinus and F. peregrinator, Hypotriorchis subbuteo and H. severus, Circus cyaneus and C. Swainsonii in India. Coracias Indica of all India meets, in the Panjab, etc., the European C. garrula ; but in Assam, Sylhet, Tiperah, and, more rarely, Lower Bengal, it coexists with the C. affinis, specimens of which from the Burmese countries are ever true to their proper coloration, as those of C. Indica are from Upper and S. India ; but there is seen every conceiv able gradation or transition, from one type of colouring to the other, in examples from the territories where the two races meet ; so also with the Crocopus phcenieopterus of Upper India and the Cr. chlorigaster of S. India and Ceylon, which blend in Lower Bengal ; and Gallophasis albo cristatus of the W. Himalaya and G. melanotus of Sikkim, which produce an intermediate race in Nepal ; and G. Cuvieri of Assam and Sylhet, and G. lineatus of Burma, which interbreed in Arakan, etc., so that every possible transition from one to the other can be traced. If inhabit ing widely-separated regions, the (assumed) dis tinctness of such races would be at once granted, as with Phasianus colchicus and the Chinese Ph. torquatus, which readily intermix and blend, wherever the latter has been introduced in Europe. Such races as the crossbills, the Bauri and Shahin falcons of India, the British Phylloscopus trochilna and Ph. rufus, and the different European sparrows, maintain themselves persistently dis tinct ; and this while the common sparrow of India would probably blend with the British sparrow (though considered distinct by some), if an opportunity should occur of its doing so.
The following British birds are given in the Calcutta Review (March 1857) as common to Great Britain and Southern Asia:—