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OUT of compliment to the zealous amateur who first made known an example captured in autumn in Lorraine, the name of Richard's Pipit has been bestowed on this bird, which is becoming better known to ornithologists in this country every year. Its superior size, stouter bill, greater length of leg, and longer hind claw, at once serve to distinguish it from the commoner species. As compared with the Rock Pipit, the largest of those with which
we are most familiar, its dimensions are as follows:
Hind toe Bill. Wing. Tarsus, with claw.
Inches. Inches. Inches. Inches.
A. obscurus . . -5 . . 3-2 . . '9 . . '8 A. Richardi . '6 . . 3-6 . . i'2 . . n
Its occurrence in England has been noted, as might be expected, chiefly on the east and south coasts, in every month between September and April, both inclusive. At least fifty specimens have been seen or procured, distributed as follows: Northumberland, 2; Norfolk, 5; Shropshire, 1; Oxford, 1; Middlesex, 12; Kent, 3; Sussex, 5; Devonshire, 11; Cornwall and Scilly, 8. In the west of England, therefore, it would appear to be very rare, and in Ireland it is unknown.
The most northern locality, I believe, whence this species has been procured, is Heligoland, on which island, according to Professor Blasius, it is said to have been obtained by Herr Gatke.1
1 Cf. "Naumannia," 1858, p. 425.
When staying at Antwerp in May, 1870, I saw three or four specimens which had been taken in that neighbourhood, but the owner of them considered the bird a rarity there. Mr. Howard Saunders obtained a couple near Malaga in the month of February, and learnt that in some winters it is not uncommon in southern Spain ("Ibis," 1870, p. 216). Signor Bettoni, in his grand work on the birds which breed in Lombardy, mentions Richard's Pipit as one of the characteristic species of the Lombard plains. "Nevertheless," says Mr. Saunders ("Ibis," 1869, p. 392), "he must not be understood to mean that it is in any way abundant, or even constant in that province; for the Count Turati assured me that it has never been discovered breeding there, and that, judging from the number of specimens enumerated as obtained in England, it is more common with us than with them. That its appearance is confined to the plains of Lombardy is probably the author's meaning." In Malta it is only found accidentally in spring and autumn, and Mr. Wright, who has paid so much attention to the ornithology of that island, has only been able to mention three examples as having come under his own notice.
It is rather singular that this bird should not cross the Mediterranean, and be found with other European Pipits during the winter months in North Africa. Nevertheless, I have not been able to find any mention of it in any of the North African lists which I have consulted, neither is it included in the late Mr. Strickland's List of the Birds found in Asia Minor in winter (" P. Z. S.," 1836, p. 97).
It is much commoner, however, in Asia than in Europe. Mr. Hodgson found it in Nepal,1 and Mr. Hume says it breeds in Ladakh; Mr. Blyth has recorded its occurrence in the neighbourhood of Calcutta, and Mr. Blanford met with it in the Irawadi Valley. It is included by Sir R. Schomburgk in his List of the Birds of
1 Capt. Beavan recorded it from Simla (" Ibis," 1868, p. 79), but Mr. Hume showed this to be an error, the species mistaken for it being A. sordida (" Ibis," 1869, p. 120).
Siam ("Ibis," 1864, p. 249), and, according to
THE TAWNY PIPIT.
ASILY mistaken for Richard's Pipit, this bird is, however, of a more sandy colour, and may be distinguished by its short hind claw. In Richard's Pipit, it will be remembered, the hind claw is very long. Its real habitat may be said to be North Africa and Palestine. Canon Tristram calls it the common Pipit of the Sahara, and Mr. O. Salvin found it abundant on the plateau of Kef Laks and on the plains of Djendeli, in the Eastern Atlas. In Upper Egypt and Sinai it is occasionally plentiful, and is found all over the cultivated coast and hill districts of Palestine, where it is a permanent resident.