Zoology: India

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Leopards or panthers
Mammals Primates
Indian Elephant

india jackal



Zoology: India


Animal life is not only abundant in British India, but it is Richness remarkably varied. The contrast between the damp, tropical, of * auna - richly wooded hill ranges of Malabar or Tenasserim and the cold barren islands of Ladakh in the Upper Indus drainage area is absolute, and the difference in the animals found is as great as in the climate. The beasts, birds, reptiles, and insects that inhabit the dense forests east of the Bay of Bengal and the man<.rrve swamps of the Burmese coast, where the annual rainfall exceeds 100 inches, could not exist in the almost rain- less deserts of Sind and the Punjab. Although the Fauna of the dry regions is poor, that of the damp forests of Malabar, the Eastern Himala>as, Assam, and Burma is singularly rich; and the combined effect of local richness and of great differ- ences of climate is that the number of kinds of animals in- habiting India and its dependencies is very large, far surpass- ing, for instance, that of the species found in the whole of Europe, although the superficial area of Europe exceeds that of the Indian Empire by about one-half.


The following figures show the number of geneia and species of Vertebrates described in the eight volumes of the Fauna of Jtritish India (1888-98). The lists include animals found in Ceylon as well as those of India and Burma :

Genera. Species.

Mammals . . . 115 401

3 1,617

Reptiles . . . 146 534

Hatrachians . 24 130

Fishes . . . 351 1,418

A few additions have since been made, but the increase is small except in the fishes. The number of Indian Invertebrata is very large, but few groups are sufficiently known for a trust- worthy estimate to be made. Of moths alone 5,618 species were described by Sir G. Hampson as having been discovered up to 1896, and some hundreds have since been added.


Nearly the whole Indian area is included within the zoolo- - gical region known as Indo-Malay, Oriental, or Indian, which comprises South-eastern Asia and the neighbouring islands.

The Punjab, Sind, and Western RiijputSna, however, have a Fauna differing considerably from that of other parts of India, and resembling that found in South-wes|em Asia and Northern Africa, whilst the animals of the Higher Himalayas and the Upper Indus Valley resemble those of Central Asia ; and both of these areas belong to the zoological region extending over the greater part of Asia and all Europe, and known as Hoi- arctic or Palaearctic. After distinguishing these two areas as the Punjab and Tibetan provinces or sub-regions, the remain- der of the country may be divided into three well-defined zoological areas, each characterized by marked features. These are:

(1) The Indian Peninsula, from the base of the Himalayas and as far east as the head of the Bay of Bengal, together with Ceylon ;

(2) The forest-clad Himalayas, Assam, and Burma, as far south as the neighbourhood of Mergui ; and

(3^ Southern Tenasserim, which is part of the Malay Pen- insula, and belongs, with the greater part of the Malay Archipelago, to the Malayan sub-region.

The first is known as the Indian or Cis-Gangetic sub-region ; the second, which includes Southern China, Siam, and Cochin China, as the Himalo-Burmese or Trans-Gangetic. It will easily be understood that animal life is by no means uniform even within these subdivisions : thus, the forests of the Kon- kan, Malabar, and South-western Ceylon harbour a far richer Fauna than that found in the Bombay Deccan, the Carnatic, or Northern Ceylon; and while the animals of the Eastern Hima- layas closely resemble those of Burma, the Burmese types die out gradually in the Himalayas to the westward and are re- placed by kinds inhabiting the temperate parts of Asia.

It is proposed in the present sketch to pass briefly in review the principal Vertebrate animals of India, beginning with the higher forms. The Mammals will therefore be first noticed, and among them the monkeys, as being the most highly or- ganized. To deal with the Invertebrata in a similar manner would require more space than can be spared.

Mammals Primates

The monkeys of India are numerous, and some of them are among the commonest wild animals of the country. The Apes (Simiidae), distinguished by the absence of tails, are no longer found in India itself or the Himalayas, though they may at one time have been reckoned among the inhabitants, for remains of animals closely related to the Chimpanzee of Africa and the Orang-utan f the Malay Archipelago occur in the Pliocene Siwalik beds at the base of the Western Himalayas.

But two species of Gibbon (Hylobates\ which, although much smaller, resemble man in some details of structure as much as do the Gorilla and Chimpanzee, are found in Assam and Burma. One of these is the White-browed Gibbon or Hoolock, the latter name being derived from the animal's call; the other is the White-handed Gibbon. Both inhabit forests in large parties, and are conspicuous by their agility and by the speed with which they travel, holding on by their long arms and throwing themselves from branch to branch, and from tree to tree. They feed chiefly on fruit, but partly on insects, the eggs of birds, and such small birds as they can capture. Wherever they are found they make their presence known by their loud and not unmusical calls, frequently uttered in chorus.

The common monkeys (Macacus\ called bandar -in Northern India, are found almost throughout the Empire. Eight or nine species are known within Indian limits, comprising the long- tailed Macaque or Crab-eating Monkey (Af. cynomolgus) of Burma and the Malay countries; the similarly long-tailed Bonnet Monkey (Af. sinicus) of Southern India, and the Toque Monkey (Af. pileatus] of Ceylon; the shorter-tailed Bengal or Rhesus Monkey (Af. rhesus) of Northern India, with its ally the Himalayan Monkey (Af. assamensis\ which is found through- out the Himalayas ; the Lion-tailed or Silenus Monkey (Af. silenus\ often wrongly called 'Wanderoo' by European naturalists, from the hills near the Malabar coast ; the Pig- tailed Monkeys (AL nemestrinus and Al. leoninus) from Burma and Malayana ; and a monkey with a very short, almost rudimentary tail, known as the Brown Stump-tailed Monkey (Af. arctoidcs\ also Burmese. All of these live in flocks of considerable size, and inhabit trees, but often descend to the ground. They are active animals, though much less so than the next group. None are large; they rarely exceed in size a fox terrier, and generally are about as big as a domestic cat, but old males greatly exceed ordinary members of the flock in dimensions.

They live chiefly on fruit, grain, seeds, &c., but all eat insects as well ; one kind subsists largely on crabs and other Crustacea, and individuals have been seen devouring lizards and frogs. All are occasionally tamed and many are very gentle and affectionate, but they are rarely docile and often ill-tempered. Among those most commonly tamed are the three long-tailed species, and the Rhesus, all of which are carried about by jugglers and mountebrnks throughout India, and taught to go through various performances. Those whc have only seen monkeys in cages are apt to form a low idea ol the intelligence, love of fun, and power of imitation which these animals possess.

The last genus of Indian monkeys consists of the Langurs or Hanumans, renowned in Indian legend for having aided Rama in his expedition to Ceylon in puisuit of Rfivana, the ravisher of Sita. They are larger monkeys, with longer limbs and tails, than the Macaques ; and flocks of the common Hanuman of Northern India (Semnopithccus entcllus\ being generally protected and even regarded as sacred animals by many Hindus, are commonly found in groves near villages, or even in the village trees, and it is not unusual to see them perched on the roofs of houses. They are purely vegetable feeders, their food consisting of the young shoots and leaves of trees, with fruit and gram. They are very active, whether

on the ground or on trees, and run, or rather bound, on all fours with great rapidity for a short distance. Their calls are loud and peculiar, the principal being a joyous, rather musical whoop, uttered when bounding or playing about ; another is a harsh guttural note, denoting alarm or anger a familiar signal

to many sportsmen, for it is the sound uttered by the Hanuman who has seen a tiger. In confinement Langurs are sedate and indolent, and sometimes morose and savage, and they are but rarely long lived. Two grey species (S. tnttllus and S. f>namus) inhabit the Indian Peninsula, one in the north and the other in the south and in CeUon, in the more open parts of the country, while at least four other species of darker hue are found in the hills and forests of Southern India and Ceylon. One of these (S. joh ////), which is quite black, occurs on the plateau of the Nilgins and in the Anaimalai and Travanrore ranges; another kind, the Purple-faced Monkey (.V. Kphalo- pterus\ is met with throughout Ceylon at low or moderate elevations. It is to these Ceylon Langurs that the name Wanderoo, wrongly applied to the Malabar Lion-tailed Macaque by European naturalists, properly belongs. A large kind of Langur (S. schistaceus) is found in the Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan, at elevations of from 5,000 to 12,000 feet, and has been observed sporting amongst fir-trees loaded with snow. Five more species are met with in parts of Assam and Burma.


The majority of the living forms of Lemurs are peculiar to Madagascar, but two species inhabit the Indian area. One of these, the Slender Loris (Loris gracilis), is met with in the lowland forests of Southern India and Ceylon ; the other, the Slow Loris (Nyctucbus tarJigmdus), occurs throughout the countries east of the Bay of Bengal, from Assam to Borneo and Java. No kind of Lemur is found in Northern India or the Himalayas. Lemurs are nocturnal and arboreal animals, and slow in movement ; they feed on leaves and shoots of trees, fruit, inserts, birds' egg->, and young birds.

The Carnivores include the wild beasts of story, the bites Caraivora. fanves of the French ; and comprise, in India, cats, civets, ichneumons, hyenas, dogs, martens, weasels, badgers, otters, and bears, while an aberrant member of the racoon family is found in the Himalayas. Seals are the only important section of the Older not represented in the Indian Fauna.

Of the family of cats ( Felidae) no less than seventeen species are found within Indian limits. Three of these, however the Ounce or Snow Leopard (FcJis uncia\ Lynx (F. /v;/.v), and Pa lias's Cat (F. manul) are confined within our area to Tibet and the Higher Himalayas, while the Lion, now almost extinct in India, and the Indian Desert Cat (F. ornata) inhabit only the drier north-western parts of the country.

The Caracal (F. caracal) and the Hunting Leopard ( Cynaditrus jubatus) have, like the Lion, a wide range in Western Asia and in Africa, and both occur sparingly throughout a considerable portion of the Indian Peninsula, but not in the southern extremity nor in Ceylon. On the other hand, the Rusty-spotted Cat (F. rubi&itiosa) is peculiar to Ceylon and Southern India, while three kinds the Clouded Leopard (F. nebulosa), the Marbled Cat (F. marmorata^ and the Golden Cat (F. tem- mincki) occur in the Eastern Himalayas and range through Burma to the Malay countries.

The remaining Indian cats, five in number (neglecting the doubtful F. ton/uafa) the Tiger, Leopard or Panther, Fishing Cat (F. vivcrrina\ Leopard Cat (JK bcngaleHSt\') J and Chans or Jungle Cat (F. c/iaus) are more or less generally distributed throughout India and Burma. The distribution of the family Felidae affords a fair epitome of that of the animal kingdom generally within the Indian Empire.

The larger cats are too formidable and important to be passed over without special mention. The lion was formerly found throughout the greater part of North-western and Central India. In the early part of the nineteenth century lions occurred in Harinna, Khandcsh, and Rewah, and as far east as

Palsmau, whilst up to 1860 or 1870 many existed in and parts of Rajputnna. Now the last remaining Indian lions are said to be confined to the Glr in KfithifLwflr. Tigers, though their numbers have been greatly diminished, are still found in all the wilder parts of India and Burma ; but none occur, or, so far as is known, ever have occurred, in Ceylon, a circumstance which may indicate that the tiger is a comparatively modern immigrant into Southern India, and did not exist there when Ceylon formed part of the continent.

Tigers ascend the Hima- layas occasionally to a height of 6,000 or 7,000 feet, though they generally keep to the base of the range. The lion is an inhabitant of rocky and sandy ground with brushwood, the tiger chiefly of forest and high grass near water. Both live on deer, antelope, and wild hog, and when they have an opportunity, kill cattle, horses, and even camels, for food. Both attack human beings occasionally ; but the destruction of human life by tigers in India is mainly, if not entirely, due to a small minority of these animals.

Ordinary tigers never kill men for food ; the terrible man-eater is a tiger, or perhaps more often a tigress, which, owing to age or partial disablement, or to the need of finding food for its young when game is scarce, has through hunger got over its fear of man, and has learned that he is the easiest prey to find and kill. Owing to the steady destruction of tigers in India, the tale of human victims has diminished, and only 866 deaths caused by tigers were reported in 1903, whilst forty years ago 700 people were said to be killed yearly in Bengal alone. Male tigers in Northern India weigh about 450 to 500 pounds, tigresses 350 to 400 pounds ; but in Southern India the weights appear to be rather less.

Leopards or panthers

Leopards or panthers are more widely distributed than tigers, and are scarcely less destructive. They are bolder and care less for the neighbourhood of water ; hence they are often found both in rocky hills and in gardens about villages. They vary in size and markings so much that many people, both Europeans and Indians, are of opinion that there are two different kinds in India ; and in some parts of the country, as in the Central Provinces, there appear to be two distinguish- able varieties, one much larger than the other.

But when many are compared it is impossible to find any constant distinctions. Black individuals occur not unfrequcntly in particular areas, as in Travancore, in Cachar, and again in the Malay Peninsula. (A black tiger was once recorded in Chitta- gong.) Leopards live upon any animals they can kill, and they have a particular liking for dogs. Several cases are on record of leopards that have become regular man-eaters.

Of the other cats, t!^e Fishing Cat haunts the banks of rivers and marshes, and feeds chiefly on fish ; the Ounce inhabits the Higher Himalayas and kills sheep and goats, wild or tame ; the Clouded Leopard, Marbled Cat, Golden Cat, and Leopard Cat are forest hunters, living much in trees ; and the Chaus and Rusty-spotted Cat prefer grassy plains.

The Hunting Leopard, generally known in Europe as the Cheetah (a name signifying i spotted/ and quite as often applied in India to the panther), is placed in a different genus (Cyn- aelurus) on account of its claws being only partially retractile and of its lighter build. It is not a common animal in India, and would attract little attention but for the circumstance that it has from time immemorial been tamed and used for hunting antelopes, which it catches by means of its extraordinary speed. The Indian antelope or black buck is, for its size, one of the swiftest animals known, yet a good observer records that he saw one with a start of 200 yards run down by a hunting leopard before it had traversed 400 yards more. This great speed can be exercised by the hunting leopard for a short distance only.

The civet family (Viverridae) is represented in India and Burma by twenty-one species, eight of which belong to the sub-family of ichneumons or mungooses. The true civets are four in number: the I^arge Indian Civet (Viverra zibcthd), found in Bengal, Onssa, Assam, Burma, &c. ; the Malabar Civet ( V. civettina), a representative form on the Malabar coast ; the Burmese Civet ( V. megaspila), occurring in Burma and the Malay countries ; and the small Indian Civet ( Viverricula mahucensis], inhabiting nearly the whole of India and Burma, with Southern China, Siam, &c.

All are some- what arboreal in their habits, and live partly on small animals and birds, partly on fruits and roots. The drug known as civet is obtained from these animals, which are kept in cages for the purpose of collecting it. Allies of the civets are the Linsangs or Tiger-civets (Linsang or Prionodon\ represented by one very pretty spotted species (Z. pardicolor) in the Eastern Himalayas and Burma, and by a larger form (Z. macu- losus) in Tenasserim ; and the Palm Civets (Paradoxurus\ often called in India toddy-cats.

The latter are common in all wooded parts of India and Burma, but owing to their nocturnal habits are but rarely seen. They have long tails, and are grey and black or brown in colour; they live on small animals, birds, lizards, and insects, and also on fruit and vegetables. Not infrequently individuals come into houses. The last of the sub-family, the Binlurongfor Bear Cat (Arctictis binturofig), called the Monkey Tiger (myouk-kya) in Burma, is larger than the Paradox uri^ and measures about 2\ feet from nose to insertion of tail.

It is a forest dweller, and is found east of the Bay of Bengal from Assam to Sumatra and Java. The colour is black. The most remarkable peculiarity about this animal is its possession of a truly prehensile tail, by which, at all events when young, it can suspend itself. It is the only known animal of the old continent Europe, Asia, and Africa that has this power.

The genus Htrpestes, comprising the ichneumons, contains ci^ht Indian or Burmese species varying in si/e and colour. Of these the best known is the Common Indian Mungoose (Herpestes mung>\ renowned as the deadly enemy of snakes, and famous in Indian folk-lore for its reputed acquaintance with an antidote to the poison of the cobra, a herb or root known as mungusuvl.

The story is apocryphal : the mungoose is so quick and agile that it generally avoids the snake's fangs and seizes its adversary by the head ; but if effectively bitten the mungoose, although apparently less quickly aflected than other animals of a similar size, succumbs to the poison. Besides the common mungoo&e, which weighs about 3 lb., and is found throughout India and Ceylon, there is a smaller species (// auropunctatus) inhabiting Northern India and Burma, and others ocxur in Southern India and Ceylon, one of which (//. vitticollis) is the largest Asian ichneumon. Another large kind (//. und) inhabits the Himalayas and Burma, and is said to haunt the neighbour- hood of streams and to feed on crabs and frogs.


The Striped Hyena (Hyaena striata) is the only member of the family H)acnidae now occurring in India, though remains of the Spotted Hyena, at present confined to Africa, have been discovered in the Pleistocene deposits of the Kurnool caves, and several species are represented in the Pliocene Siwaliks. Hyenas are not found in Ceylon, nor in countries east of the Bay of Bengal ; but they are common throughout the Peninsula of India, chiefly in fairly open country, where there are rocky hills and ravines. The striped hyena lives chiefly on dead animals, often on the bones which have been picked by vultures, and which it breaks with its powerful jaws ; but it occasionally carries off dogs, goats, and other small beasts. Its presence, wherever it occurs, is easily recognized by its peculiar dog-like tracks, in which the marks of the hind feet are much smaller than those of the fore feet, and by its droppings, which are hard, white, and not i^adily decomposed.


The dog family are represented by two wolves, a jackal, two so-called wild dogs, and five foxes. One of the wolves appears to be a race of the European Wolf (Cants lupus\ and is found in the Punjab and Sind ; while another variety of the same species, sometimes black in colour, inhabits Tibet. The Indian Wolf (C. palhpes), chiefly distinguished by smaller size, is met with throughout the Peninsula. Neither wolves nor foxes are known to occur in Ceylon or Burma.

The Indian wolves, despite their smaller size, are dangerous animals, and in parts of the country carry away many children, besides numerous goats and sheep. They also kill antelopes, hares, and other small animals, such as foxes and occasionally dogs. There is, however, in many parts of India, a great aversion to destroying wolves, in consequence of a widespread belief that the blood of a wolf, if shed on the lands of a village, renders them unfruitful. Stories about children carried away and reared by wolves are common in Northern India, but it is doubtful whether any are authentic. The children said to have been thus brought up appear always to have been idiots.

The Indian Jackal

(C. (lureus) is one of the commonest and most familiar animals of the country, inhabiting the whole of India and Ceylon, but is very rare east of the Hay of Bengal. He is the common scavenger of towns and villages, feeding on carrion and offal of all kinds, from which he drives off the crows and vultures ; but he also occasionally kills small animals or poultry, and at other times lives on fruit or sugar-cane. His cry, a long wailing howl three or four times repeated, followed by a succession of usually three yelps, also repeated two or three times, is well-known to all who have lived in India ; and another rail, believed to be an alarm cry, is uttered by a jackal when a tiger or leopard is in the neighbourhood, and probably on other occasions. The animal producing this cry is known as phcdl or phnew in Northern India, and as bhalu or kol bhalu in the south ; and it is the jackal that is said in Indian folk-lore always to accompany a tiger. There can be very little doubt that some breeds of domestic dogs are derived from jackals, as others are from wolves ; and jackals breed freely with dogs.

The two kinds of Wild Dog (Cyon) differ in their teeth from wolves and jackals, having two true molars instead of three on each side of the lower jaw ; and they are thus, in opposition to the view not uncommonly entertained, less nearly connected with domestic dogs than jackals and wolves are. They are forest animals of a rusty red colour, and occur in all the well- wooded parts of India and Burma, and/ even in the highlands of Tibet. They hunt in packs and kill many deer, antelope, wild sheep, hog, c. ; but they rarely attack domestic animals, and have never been known to assail men. Throughout India there is a general belief that wild dogs hunt and kill tigers, but it is still an open question whether the story is credible.

Indian foxes

Of the Indian foxes, one very small species ( Vulpes cana) is found only in Baluchistan, another (V.ferrilatus) is Tibetan, a third (V. kucopus\ a small animal allied to the common European fox, is common in the dry regions of North-western India, while a fourth is a race of the common European fox inhabiting the Himalayas. The fifth, the Indian Fox ( V, ben- gaknsis), a small greyish animal with a black tip to its tail, is common in all open parts of India proper, from the Himalayas to Cape Comorin and from Sind to Assam.

Martens and weasels

Are poorly represented, and are unknown in the plains of India and Burma. The Indian Marten (Musttla fiavigula) inhabits the whole of the Himalayas, and is also found in the higher ranges of Burma and the Malay Peninsula. A dark form occurring on the hills of Southern India is by some authorities regarded as a distinct species (Af.gwatkinsi). The European Beech Marten (M. foind) is met with in Afghanistan, Ladakh, and Kumaun. A polecat (Putorius larvatus) has been obtained in Ladakh and Tibet; and another species, the Mottled Polecat (P. sarmaticus\ which inhabits parts of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, is not rare about Quetta in Baluchistan. Six species of stoats and weasels are also found in the Hima- layas, and two of them range into the Burmese hills.

Badgers are represented by two species of the genus Helictis^ one of which is Himalayan, the other Burmese ; by the Indian Ratel (Mellivora indica), found in the Indian Peninsula and in parts of Western Asia ; and by two species of Hog-badger (Arctonyx\ which are met with in the Eastern Himalayas, Assam, Burma, and the countries to the east and south-east.


Three kinds of otter are known from India. One of these, having a very wide distribution, appears not to be distinguishable from the Common Otter of Europe (Lutra vulgaris) ; a second of the same size, but with a very differently shaped head, (Z. macrodus) is also found throughout India and Burma; while the third (L. cinered), the Clawless Otter, is a much smaller species, inhabiting the Himalayas, Bengal, Assam, Burma, Southern China, and the Malay countries, but only found in Southern India on the Nilgiris and some other hill ranges. The habits of all are similar. Otters are easily tamed, and are kept by fishermen in several parts of India, as the Bengal Sundarbans and Sind, being used to drive fish into nets.


One of the most interesting members of the Indian Fauna is the Cat-bear or Himalayan Racoon (Aelurus fulgens\ now generally recognized as belonging to the Racoon family (Pro- cyonidae), the majority of which are American. The Aelurus is a brightly rufous animal, measuring two feet from nose to tail, with a tail of about eighteen inches. It is a forest haunter, and is met with in Nepal, Sikkim, the Eastern Himalayas, and Yunnan ; it is, like most Carnivora, nocturnal in its habits, but feeds chiefly on fruits, bamboo sprouts, and roots. It is the only living member of the genus, but within the last few years remains of other species have been found fossil in late Tertiary deposits both in Britain and in Hungary. A curious black and white bear-like animal inhabiting Eastern Tibet (Aeluropus mtlanoUucus) is now ascertained to be a second Asiatic mem- ber of the Racoon family.


The last family of the Carnivora is that of the bears (Ursidae), with four Indian representatives. A variety of the European Bear (Ursus arctus), sometimes distinguished as the Isabelline Bear, is found in the Higher Himalayas above the forests; the Himalayan Black Bear (U. torquatus) is met with at a lower elevation, in the higher forests, occurring not only to the eastward in Assam, Burma, and South China, but also in parts of Afghanistan and Baluchistan. The Malay Bear, a small forest form, with especially arboreal habits, ranges from the Malay countries through Burma to the Eastern Himalayas, and has quite recently been found in Sikkim.

The bear of the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon, commonly called the Sloth Bear (Mc/ursus ursinus), belongs to a different genus, having much smaller and rather fewer teeth and more powerful claws than the typical bears. It is a smaller animal than the European bear, and is even more uncouth and clumsy.

It is black and covered with long coarse hair, but appears nevertheless not to be very sensitive to heat, for it inhabits some of the hottest parts of India. It haunts bush- and forest-jungle and hills, and passes the day in caves, or in shady ravines, or beneath bushes, wandering about at night for food, which consists chiefly of fruit and insects. Among the latter are the combs of the termites or white ants, which the bear digs out of the ground from a depth sometimes of four to six feet. The holes made, easily recognized by the marks of the bear's claws, afford unmistakable evidence of the animal's neighbourhood. Although generally a timid animal, the Indian bear is occasion- ally savage and makes unprovoked attacks upon men whom it meets, frequently injuring them about the head and face. Bears when taken young are, as a rule, easily tamed.

Icscctivora, The next Order of Mammals comprises the tree-shrews, hedgehogs, moles, and shrews, together with a very remarkable animal of doubtful affinity the flying lemur. The tree-shrews (Tupaiidae) are only known from the Indo-Malay region ; and the typical genus Tupaia is represented by one species in the Indian Peninsula, another in Burma and the Eastern Hima- layas, and a third in the Nicobar Islands. They are arboreal animals, closely resembling squirrels externally and with very similar habits, but living on insects as well as on fruit. They may at once be distinguished from squirrels by their differently shaped ears, and of course by their teeth.


The hedgehogs (Erinaceidae) are represented by two groups belonging to distinct sub-families. True hedgehogs are found in India proper, but not in the Himalayas or Burma; four species occur in North-western India, and one (Erinaceus tnicropus) in the plains of the Carnatic. The other sub- family (Gynmurinae) does not inhabit the country west of the Bay of Bengal or the Himalayas; but one species {Hylomys suillus) is found in Burma, and the typical form (Gymnura rajfflesi) in Southern Tenas>erim. Both inhabit the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago. They somewhat resemble large rats, having a pointed head and a naked tail, but their teeth are like those of hedgehogs.

Two moles have been reported from the Himalayas, but the presence of one of these, which is identical with the Common Mole of Europe, needs confirmation. The second kind (Talpa micntra] is common in the forests of Nepal, Sikkim, and the Assam hills, at an elevation of about 5,000 to 8,000 feet above the sea. A third species (T. lmcura\ usually brown in colour with a short white tail, inhabits the ranges south of Assam and the Burmese hills.

Shrews are numerous and ubiquitous. A genus of brown- toothed shrews (Soriculus), with three known species, is found in the Eastern Himalayas and Manipur; while the white- toothed division is represented by four genera Crocidura^ with thirteen species, very widely distributed ; Anurosorex, with one kind, found in Assam; and two water-shrews.

The best-known of Indian shrews is the Grey Musk Shrew (Crocidura caeruled), widely and unfavourably known as the Musk Rat/ It has a peculiar, rather fetid, musky smell, due to the secretion of large glands, one on each side of the body. Its diurnal haunts generally retain the scent, but it does not communicate the smell to anything it merely walks over, although it is commonly believed to do so. It is nocturnal in its habits, and frequents houses at night, feeding on cockroaches and other insects, never on grain or vegetables.

Singularly enough, this large grey shrew has not been observed far from human habitations ; but a very similar, rather smaller animal of a brown colour (C. murina) is common throughout the Indo-Malay region, and Dobson has suggested that the grey shrew may, like the cockroaches on which it feeds, be a semi-domesticated variety a commensal, in fact, of man.

The two water-shrews live in streams, one (Chimarrogale himalayica) in the forests of the Himalayas and Northern Burma, the other (Nectogale sikhimensis) in Upper Sikkim at 10,000 to 15,000 feet elevation. The latter has beautiful deep-brown fur sprinkled with glistening white, and the soles of its feet are furnished with suckers.

The so-called Flying Lemur (Galeopithecus volans) inhabits the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago, ranging into Siam and Southern Tenasserim. The body is about as large as a rabbit's, but a lateral expansion of the skin begins from the throat, includes all the limbs to the toes, and extends to the end of the tail. This expanded skin serves as a parachute, and enables the animal to glide from tree to tree. The Flying Lemur is said to be purely herbivorous, and is by many "naturalists regarded as forming an Order distinct from the Insectivora.

No less than ninety-five species of bats were enumerated Chiroptera. from within Indian limits when the mammalian section of the Fauna was published in 1891, and two or three have since been discovered. Eleven of these belong to the Pteropodidae or fruit-eating bats, the largest of which are known as flying foxes. One of these {Fteropus edulis) is the largest bat known, having an expanse of wings of fully five feet ; it inhabits the Malayan Peninsula and Archipelago, the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, and parts of Southern Tenas- serim. The common Flying Fox of India and Burma (P. mcdtus) measures about four feet across the expanded wings, and is very common in many parts of the country. These bats remain hanging in trees during the day, many hundreds often occupying one particular tree, and fly off singly, not in flocks, each evening, in search of food, which consists entirely of fruit. The other fruit-eating bats are smaller.

The insectivorous bats belong to four distinct families the Rhinolophidae, which have a nose-leaf consisting of a peculiar series of foliaceous skin-processes arranged more or less in the form of a shield around the nostrils, but want the tragus, a lengthened process arising inside the margin of the ear; the Nycteridae, which have a small nose-leaf and also a tragus ; and the Vespertilionidae and Emballonuridae, which have a tragus but no nose-leaf. Most of the species are rare, the forms most commonly met with being a yellowish brown bat (Nycticejus or Scotophilus AW///), and a very small species of Pipistrelle ( Vesperugo or Pipistrellus abramus) ; and one reason why these two are so often seen is that they appear on the wing rather early in the evening. The species of Megadcrma, belonging to the Nycteridae, have a peculiar dentition ; they feed on other bats, and also on frogs. The

remainder of the species are insectivorous.


This is another large Order of small animals, comprising squirrels, marmots, rats and mice of various kinds, porcupines, and hares, all distinguished by a peculiar dentition with two large chisel-shaped incisors in the front of each jaw. As many as 106 species were known from the Indian area in 1891, and seven species have since been added, so that considerably more than a quarter of the Mammals found in India and its dependencies belong to the present Order.

Indian squirrels

Belong to several types. There are no less than three different genera of flying squirrels, which have their limbs connected by a membrane or parachute to enable them to glide from tree to tree, and are distinguished from other squirrels by being nocturnal. One of these, the Woolly Flying Squirrel (Eupetaurus cinereus), an inhabitant of Tibet, is very imperfectly known; but the members of the genera Ptcromys and Sciuropterus are generally distributed in all well-wooded parts of India ; the majority of them, however, inhabit the Himalayas or Burma.

The ordinary squirrels are now divided into three groups, one of which, constituting the genus or sub-genus Ratufa, is represented in the forests of the Indian Peninsula by the Large Indian Squirrel (S. indicus), a very beautiful kind, chestnut and black above and buff beneath ; by the Large Malay Squirrel (S. bicolor\ black above and buff beneath, in the Himalayas and Burma and by a third kind, the Grizzled Indian Squirrel (S. macrurus\ in Southern India and Ceylon. All these vary much in colour.

The sub-genus Sdurus, as restricted, is wanting in India proper and Ceylon, but is represented by a large number of species, varying greatly in coloration, in the Eastern Himalayas and Burma. The third section (Funambulus] consists princi- pally of striped squirrels, less arboreal than the others, and less restricted to high forest. Of these the best known is the common so-called Palm-Squirrel (Sdurus vel Funambulus Palmarum), which is a familiar inhabitant of gardens and groves near human habitations, and is often seen feeding on the ground under trees.

The name ' palm-squirrel' is misleading, as this animal is far more frequently seen about mangoes, banyan, or pipal trees than on palms. The mem- bers of this group are not all striped ; one (S. locria), inha- biting the Eastern Himalayas and Assam hills, so closely resembles S. locroides, a typical squirrel found in the same forests, that the skins of the two are not easily distinguished. On the other hand, some very small striped typical squirrels (S. macdellandi) are common in the forests of the Himalayas and Burma.


Of marmots, which are nearly allied to squirrels, three species are found in the Higher Himalayas and Tibet. Two of these (Arctomys himalayanus and A. hodgsoni] are of a greyish tawny colour and differ chiefly in size ; but the third, which occurs in Northern Kashmir, is orange tawny in hue, and has a comparatively long tail, hence its name (A. caudatus). It is large, measuring about three feet, ot which the tail forms a third.


The jerboa family (Dipodidae) is represented by a single species (Alactaga indicd), belonging to a genus common in Central Asia. Despite its name, this species is not Indian ; it is found around Quetta in Baluchistan, but not farther to the eastward. The next animal to be noticed, the Malabar Spiny Mouse (Platacanthomys lasiurus), has long been regarded as an ordinary rat, but has recently been referred by Mr. Thomas, as it was by its original discoverer, Blyth, to the dormouse family (Gliridae). It is not unlike a dormouse in both coloration and form, and it has a similar bushy tail, but the fur is mixed with spines. It lives on trees in the Anaimalai and Travancore hills.

rats and mice

The rats and mice (Muridae) comprise in India three sub- families : the gerbils, the true mice and rats, and the voles and hamsters. The gerbils (Gerbillus) are unknown in the Himalayas and Burma; but one species (G. indicus) occurs throughout India and Ceylon, and four others are met with in Sind, Baluchistan, and the Punjab. All are graceful, active creatures, with hairy tails tufted at the end. The Indian Gerbil, known in Northern India as harna mus or Antelope Rat, is one of the species that occasionally increase greatly in numbers and destroy the crops. It is nocturnal ; but another kind (G. hurrianae}, which swarms in the Indian desert in Sind, Rajputana, and the Punjab, is diurnal in its habits. It is characteristic of the Aryan people inhabiting Northern India that this animal, which is purely frugivorous, is not used as food, although the common Indian species and other rats are eaten by some of the tribes in Southern India, especially by the Waddas or tank-diggers.

The mice and rats proper comprise three arboreal genera, all of which are Burmese, while only one (Vandeleuria oleracea) is found in India. This, a long-tailed mouse of light chestnut-red colour, makes a grass nest in which it rears its young on a bush, tree, or bamboo. The genus Mus com- prises twenty-three or twenty-four Indian species. Of these the most important are the common Indian Rat (Afus rattus}^ of which the European Black Rat is a variety ; the Brown Rat (M. decumanus), and the domestic mice.

The Common Rat (M. rattus) is clearly indigenous, and is found everywhere in forest and cultivated ground, as well as about houses; while the Brown Rat, the pest of the world, is an immigrant, for it is confined to seaports and towns on the principal lines of traffic. House mice are of two kinds : one, a variety of the common M. musculusof Europe, is generally distributed throughout India and Burma, while the rather shorter-tailed and more brightly coloured Persian House Mouse (M. bactrianus) occurs in North-western India. In Burma the rat commonly found about houses is M. concolor, a smaller species than M. rattus. One other kind, the metador Soft-furred Field Rat (M. mettadd), peculiar to the Peninsula of India, requires notice on account of its becoming at times, like Gerbillus indicus in India, and like some species of vole in Europe, a pest on account of its numbers and the destruction it causes to the crops.


The Indian Mole-rats and Bandicoots form the genus Nesocia, distinguished by robust form and in some cases by large size. The Common Mole-rats (N. hardwickii and JV. bengalensis) are about as long as a black rat, but stouter, and they throw up, beside the holes they make in fields and banks, small heaps of earth, which have erroneously been attributed to moles; while the Bandicoots (N. bandicota of the Indian Peninsula and N. nemorivaga of Bengal, the Eastern Himalayas, and Burma) are very large rats, N. bandi- cota weighing as much as 2^ to 3 Ib. and measuring 12 to 15 inches without the tail, which is nearly as long.

The name bandicoot is a corruption of the Telegu pandi-koku or ' pig rat/ a term conferred because this rat is said to grunt like a pig. The North African and Western Asian Spiny Mouse (Acomys dimidiatus] has been obtained in Sind ; and a blunt- headed yellowish brown bush rat with coarse hair (Golunda clliotti] is found throughout the Peninsula and Ceylon, where it proved at one time very destructive to coffee trees.


About a dozen kinds of Vole (Microtus or Arvicold) are found in the Himalayas and Tibet, most of them being inhabitants of Kashmir or Ladakh. One species only, of a peculiar section, is met with in the Eastern Himalayas, and one in the Kakhyen hills north of Burma. A species of EllobiuSy a mole-like rodent allied to the Voles, has been obtained at Quetta. Three kinds of Hamsters (Cricetus) of an ashy grey colour have been brought from Gilgit.


The Bamboo-rats (Rh>'zomys\ are stoutly-built animals, with cylindrical bodies, short limbs, large claws, and rudi- mentary tails, belonging to the family Spalacidae, the members of which are sometimes called ' rodent moles. 7 Three or four kinds of Bamboo-rat, of which the largest is the size of a rabbit, inhabit the Eastern Himalayas, Assam, and Burma.

Four Porcupines occur in our area. The Indian Por- cupine (Hystrix leucurd] inhabits India with Ceylon, and ranges into Western Asia. Two other species of Hystrix and one of the brush-tailed porcupine Athentra (of which another species is West African) are found in the Himalayan forests and in Burma.

Hares and Pikas

The Hares and Pikas form a group which differ considerably in structure from other rodents. Hares are found in most of the open parts of the Indian area, but not in forest. Two species, one northern (Lepus ruficaudatus) and one southern (Z. nigricollis\ inhabit the Indian Peninsula ; another (Z. dayanus) occurs in Sind ; a fourth (Z. peguensis} in Burma ; three kinds are found in the highlands of Tibet and on the Himalayas above the forest; and one species, the Hispid Hare (Z. hispidus\ is met with at the base of the Himalayas from Gorakhpur to Upper Assam. This last is a little-known species, and is said to burrow. The Pikas or Mouse-hares

(Lagomys] are considerably smaller than a rabbit, and are chiefly confined to Central and Northern Asia. Of five kinds occurring within Indian limits, four inhabit the Higher Himalayas and Tibet, and one is found in the neighbourhood of Quetta.

Ungulata. To the next Order belong elephants, horses, rhinoceros, tapirs, oxen, antelopes, goats, sheep, deer, camels, and swine, besides several generic forms not now found in India. Some of these, however for instance species of giraffe and hippopotamus inhabited the country in past times. All the most valuable domestic animals are Ungulates.

Indian Elephant

The Indian Elephant, one of only two existing species of the Proboscidea, of which no less than seventeen extinct kinds flourished in India in the later Tertiary times, differs widely from all other Ungulates. * The beast that hath between his eyes a serpent for a hand/ although specialized to an extra- ordinary degree, so much so that its gait, its method of feeding, and its dentition are quite peculiar, is nevertheless in many respects inferior in organization to other members of the Order to which it is assigned. The numbers of the Indian elephant have decreased greatly in India and Ceylon during the course of the last century, though east of the Bay of Bengal the great beast is more common. Elephants are still found wild in places along the base of the Himalayas, as far west as the Dehra Dun ; a few are met with in parts of the great forest tract east of long. 8o c E. between the Ganges and the Kistna; and a larger number in the wild hill ranges that extend from Mysore to Cape Comorin. They generally live in herds, the males, as with other Ungulates, being often found solitary; and they usually haunt forest, and live on grass and bamboos, wild plantains (Musa\ and the leaves and bark of particular trees, especially of kinds of Ficus. As a rule elephants are timid inoffensive animals, but solitary males, known as 'rogues/ are sometimes savage and cause many deaths of men and animals. In India, elephants very rarely breed in confinement, though they often do so in parts of Burma and Siam. The greater number by far of the tame animals belonging to the Government of India, to native princes, and to private individuals, have been caught and tamed when adult. As a rule elephants are captured in stockades (kheddas) into which whole herds are driven, a few are caught in pitfalls, others are run down and noosed by men riding fast tame animals.

Wild horses

Wild horses, rhinoceros, and tapirs are not widely distributed in India and Burma. They form the group of odd-toed

or Perissodactyle Ungulates. The only wild horses or asses are the ghorkhar of Western India and Baluchistan, found in herds in the Indian desert in places from Cutch to Blkaner, and also west of the Indus near Mithankot ; and the kiang of Tibet. These appear to be merely varieties of one species (Equus htmionus). Of rhinoceros three kinds are met with, two of which are one-horned, one two-horned. Of these the largest is the Great Indian Rhinoceros (R, unicornis\ still inhabiting Assam and found in very small numbers in the Nepal tarai, but formerly occurring along the base of the Himalayas to Peshawar, where in the early part of the sixteenth century it was hunted by the Emperor Babar. It lives in high grass as a rule. The second one-horned species, often called the Javan Rhinoceros (R. $ondaicus\ occurs in the Bengal Sundarbans, in Eastern Bengal, and locally through Burma to the Malay countries. It is rather smaller than R. unicornis^ and may be recognized by different markings on the epidermis and by the great folds of the skin being differently arranged. The third kind, the two-horned R. sumatrensis, is the smallest of the three, and has been met with from Assam, where it is rare, to Borneo, being rather common in Tenasserim. The Malay Tapir is only found within our limits in Southern Tenasserim south of about 15 N. lat.

Wild Yak

The even-toed or Artiodactyle Ungulates are much more numerous. Of wild cattle alone no fewer than five species are met with in different parts of the area. Of these, one, the Wild Yak (Bos grunniens\ is peculiar to the Tibetan plateau, and only just comes within Indian limits in the Kashmir territories, but tame yaks are kept throughout the Higher Himalayas. The Wild Buffalo (Bos bubalus) is met with in Assam, Bengal, and Orissa, and here and there in the forest country to the westward as far south as the Kistna river ; it is also common in the lower parts of Ceylon, being chiefly found in grassy plains near water and often in marshes. The Gaur (Bos gaurus), the Gayal (. frontalis\ and the Tsine or Banteng (/y. sondaicus) form a particular group of typical oxen, distinguished by flattened horns, a high dorsal ridge terminating about half-way down the back, and peculiar coloration, very dark and often almost black on the upper parts, with the legs white from above the knees and hocks. In the Tsine the cows and young are reddish, in the other kinds dark-brown ; the white too extends in the Tsine up the inside of the legs and to the buttocks. The Gaur (bison of Anglo-Indian sports- men) is a magnificent animal, almost the finest, if not actually

the grandest, of living bovines. Large bulls sometimes measure over six feet in height at the withers, whilst their horns are occasionally each three feet long and as much as eighteen to twenty inches round the base. Cows are smaller. This noble wild bovine is found in all the great hilly forest tracts of India, Burma, and the Malay Peninsula; but owing to the extension of cultivation and the more general use of guns its numbers in India are rapidly diminishing, and in many places it must soon, unless preserved, completely disappear. The Gayal or Mithan is known only in a domesticated or semi-domesticated state. It is thus kept by several tribes north and south of the Upper Assam valley, but the original wild animal has never been satisfactorily identified. Some writers regard the Gayal as a domesticated race of the Gaur, which inhabits the same tract, but the differences in the form of the skull and horns are opposed to this view. The Tsine or Banteng is smaller, of rather slighter build than the Gaur, and appears to be less of a hill animal, being found chiefly in grassy plains. It is met with locally throughout Burma and to the southward as far as Java and Borneo, but the Burmese race is said to differ some- what in coloration from the Malay. This animal is domesti- cated in Java. Both the Yak and the Buffalo are domesticated. Tame yaks are kept only at considerable altitudes in the Himalayas and in Tibet; tame buffaloes are common through- out the plains of India and Burma. They are chiefly kept in India as milch cattle, though they are also used for draught and for the plough, and in some cases as baggage animals. In Burma, where milk is not used, a very fine race of buffaloes exists, especially in Pegu. Another very fine breed is that owned by the people of the Toda tribe on the top of the Nilgiri Hills in Southern India.

cattle of India

The common humped cattle of India (B. indicus) belong to a perfectly distinct species from European cattle (. taurus). The two kinds differ in structure, coloration, markings, habits, and voice. The prevailing colour of B. indicus is a pearly grey with a few black markings, especially on the fetlocks. The origin of the humped cattle is quite unknown ; no similar animal exists now or is known to have existed in former times in a wild state, although common cattle, in India as elsewhere, have run wild occasionally. Humped cattle are found domesti- cated throughout Southern Asia and in Tropical Africa. The two species of cattle breed together, or with the yak and the gayal, never with the buffalo.

Wild sheep

Wild sheep are found within Indian limits in the Himalayas,

and In hilly parts of the Punjab and Sind. The Great Tibetan Sheep (Ovis hodgsoni\ an animal standing from 3^ to 4 feet high at the shoulder, and with very massive horns in the male, and the Great Pamir Sheep (O. poll), which, although slighter and smaller than its Tibetan ally, carries huge spiral horns sometimes measuring more than six feet apiece round the curve, only just appear within the boundary of British India. The Tibetan sheep has long been called Ovis ammon, but that name properly belongs to an even larger kind inhabiting the Altai Mountains in Siberia. The remaining two species, the urial or sha (Ovis vignei) and the bharal (O. nahura\ have stronger claims to be included in the Indian list.

In O. vignei two varieties are comprised : the typical upland form or sha } which is larger, has slightly thicker horns, and is found in the Upper Indus Valley and parts of Afghanistan ; aad the urial of the Punjab Salt Range, and koch or gad of the Sulaiman Range and Sind hills. By some the two are regarded as distinct, but they differ very little and pass into each other, although the Sind sheep is met with close to the sea-level and the Ladakh sha at 12,000 to 14,000 feet above the sea. The bharal is met with throughout the Higher Himalayas above the forest limit, and is in both structure and habits a link between sheep and goats. Like the latter it often takes refuge in cliffs and rocky scarps, while the true sheep keep to plains or moderate slopes.

Wild Goats

The Indian wild goats are five in number, of which three belong to the genus Capra and two to Hemitragus. Like the sheep they are chiefly but not exclusively Himalayan, one species of Ifcmitragus inhabiting Southern India. The members of the genus Capra are the Asiatic Ibex (Capra sibirica)^ the Markhor (C.falio?ieri\ and the Persian Wild Goat (C. acgagrus).

The Asiatic Ibex is widely distributed on the mountains of Central Asia, and is found in the Higher Himalayas as far east as Gathwal, but not, it is said, east of the Sutlej drainage area. The Asiatic differs from the European ibex by the shape of the horns and the presence of a distinct beard in the male; but there is some variation in the horns and more in the coloration of the fur in different Asiatic ranges. The colour varies also with the time of year, age, and sex. The Persian Wild Goat is found throughout South-western Asia, its eastern limit being, in the Sind hills, where it is often called the 'Sind ibex. 1 It has the horns compressed and sharply keeled in front. This animal is the wild stock, from which tame goats are principally derived. The Markhor, the finest of all wild goats, is found

in the hill ranges north and south of Kashmir, in parts of Afghanistan, and in the Sulaiman and neighbouring ranges west of the Punjab as far south as Quetta, where it meets the Persian wild goat. It inhabits steep hill slopes at a moderate elevation, below those on which ibex are found. MSrkhor vary greatly, and the shape of the horns is very different in Kashmir from what it is in the Sulaiman range. In the Plr Panjal, south of Kashmir, the spiral is open, and even more so in Astor; while in the range to the west of the Punjab, the horns are straight with their anterior and posterior keels wound spirally around them. Heads from the neighbourhood of Kabul are intermediate in character. The two species of Hemitragus, which possess much smaller horns than Capra^ are the Tahr (//. jemlaicits\ found throughout the Himalayas, and the Nilgiri Wild Goat, or 4 ibex ' of European sportsmen (H. hylocrius), found on the ranges of Southern India in the neighbourhood of the west coast, froro the Nilgiris to Cape Comorin. The only other species of the genus that is known occurs in Southern Arabia. All these goats occur in small herds, the males being frequently solitary, and they keep chiefly to crags and precipitous cliffs.

The goat antelopes are nearly allied to the true goats, from which they are distinguished by more rounded horns and by the absence of the peculiar strong odour characteristic of male goats. They have a very different distribution, for they are wanting in Europe, Western Asia, and the Indian Peninsula, but represented in the Himalayas, Burma, China, Japan, the Malay countries, and in North America. The Himalayan Serow (Nemorhaedus bubalinus] and the Gural (Cemas gorat) are members of this group. The Serow inhabits the Hima- layan forests from Kashmir to the Mishmi Hills at moderate elevations; it is also found in the Assamese and Burmese hills. It is, as a rule, a solitary animal. Several races have been distinguished, varying in colour from rufous brown to black, but it is doubtful whether there is any constant difference. The Gural is a much smaller animal than the Serow, being about the size of a roe-deer, and it inhabits rugged grassy slopes in the forest area, usually in small parties not exceeding six or eight in number. It is found throughout the Himalayas, has been reported from the ranges south of Assam, and quite recently has been discovered in Upper Burma.

Indian Mammalia

The true antelopes form a very important portion of the Indian Mammalia, because three genera out of the four occurring in the Peninsula are peculiar to the area and no

antelopes are found elsewhere in the Indo-Malay region. These three Indian antelopes are the Nilgai (Boselaphus tragocamelus\ the Four-horned Antelope (Tetracerus quadricornis), and the Indian Antelope or * black buck 1 (Antelope cervicaprd). All these inhabit a large part of India, and the Hindus themselves some- times define their country (Hindustan) as corresponding with the range of the Indian antelope. This antelope is found in suit- able localities, chiefly open plains with grass of moderate height, from the Indus to Assam, and from the base of the Himalayas to the neighbourhood of Trichinopoly. Formerly it was far more abundant, and in the first half of the nineteenth century it was seen occasionally in vast herds 8,000 to 10,000 in number ; but its numbers have been greatly reduced since rifles have become common. The Nilgai is an inhabitant of open forest more often than of grassy plains, though in places it haunts cultivated tracts, and when numerous it is met with in herds ; while the Four- horned Antelope is chiefly found in hilly countries covered with brushwood or forest, and is usually solitary or in pairs. A variety with only two horns, the anterior pair not being developed, is said to be common locally in the Madras Presidency, and certainly adult two-horned individuals are occasionally found, but all young males possess only the posterior pair. In the Nilgai, Four-horned, and Indian Antelopes the females are hornless. The Tibetan Antelope (Pantholops hodgsoni), with fine sub-lyrate horns, is found only on the higher Tibetan plateaus, and is said never to descend much below about 15,000 feet. It occurs in the higher portions of Ladakh. Three true gazelles are met with within Indian limits, but two of these only just come within the boundary. These are the Tibetan Gazelle (Gazella picticaudata), peculiar to the Tibetan plateau ; and the Persian Gazelle (G. suf>gutturosa\ which has a wide range in Persia and Turkistan, but is known within Indian limits only about Pishm, north of Quetta. It probably inhabits the higher parts of Baluchistan. Both these species, like Pantholops and Antelope, have hornless females, but in the Indian Gazelle (G.bennetti) the females have small horns. The Indian Gazelle is found in North-western, Western, and Central India, as far east as PalSmau and as far south as western Mysore. It usually occurs singly or in small parties, and is called chinkara in Hindi, while the antelope is hiran^ a name often applied loosely, like the English ' deer,' to various ruminants.


The deer family (Cervidae), though less numerous than the hovines, are abundantly represented. The first to be men- tioned is the Muntjac or Barking-deer (Cervulus muntjac\ a

small kind, deep-chestnut in colour, the males bearing short horns on bony pedicels as long as the horns themselves or longer. This is an animal of hill forest, found in suitable places throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma, and on the slopes of the Himalayas up to 5,000 or 6,000 feet. Its name of

  • barking-deer ' is derived from its call, which resembles the

bark of a dog. A second species (C.ftac) has been obtained on Muleyit mountain, west of Moulmein. The genus Ccruus is represented by six different species. One of these belongs, like the European Red Deer and the American Wapiti, to the Klaphine group, distinguished among other characters by having two tines, the brow and bez tines, near the base of each horn. This fine deer, the hcingal QI Kashmir Stag (C.cashmiria- nus), inhabits the pine forests of Kashmir between 9,000 and 12,000 feet above the sea in summer, coming lower in winter. The other Indian deer belong to the Rusine section, and have a brow but no bez tine. The barasingha or Swamp Deer (C. duvauccli) has, when full-grown, five or six tines on each antler, all but one on the terminal bifurcated portion. It inhabits open grass plains in Northern India, from Upper Assam to Sind, and as far south as the Godavari, but is very locally distributed. The Brow-antlered Deer or thamin^ which replaces the barasingha in Manipur and Burma, has a peculiarly curved long brow tine : it is chiefly found on flat alluvial ground in the Irrawaddy Valley and to the eastward in Cambodia and Hainan. The finest of Indian deer, with ex- ception of the Kashmir stag, is the sambar oijarau ( C. unicolor), which is found almost throughout the Indo-Malay region wherever there is hilly or undulating country covered with forest. It occurs on all the hill groups of India, ascends the Himalayas in places to 9,000 or 10,000 feet, and is met with up to the summits of the ranges in Southern India and Ceylon. The next species to be mentioned, the Spotted Deer (C. axis), is certainly the most beautiful of Indian deer and perhaps of the whole family. It is smaller than the four species already noticed, and rufous-fawn in colour spotted with white. It retains its white spots throughout the year, in this differing from the Hog Deer. The Spotted Deer is met with at 'the base of the Himalayas but does not ascend the hills like the satnbar, and it ranges throughout the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon but is not found east of the Bay of Bengal. Its usual haunts are brushwood and thin forest, and especially bamboo jungles in the neighbourhood of water. Spotted Deer are more gregarious than other Indian species, and occasionally associate in large

numbers. The last deer on the list is also the smallest of the genus, and it bears the smallest horns. This is the Hog Deer (C. porcinus), which inhabits the alluvial flats of the Indo- Gangetic plain from Sind to Assam, and is also found abun- dantly in similar localities in Burma. It does not occur in the Indian Peninsula generally ; and, though it is found in part of south-western Ceylon, its presence there is due to its having been introduced by man. It is a brown animal, spotted in summer but not in winter, and is not gregarious.


The only other Indian representative of the Cervidae, if it belongs to the family, is the hornless Musk Deer (Moschus moschiferus), which is common in the Higher Himalayas and in parts of Central Asia. It is a dark-brown animal, about the size of a roe-deer, with coarse brittle hair, and is chiefly known as the source of musk, which is the secretion formed in a glandular sac on the abdomen of the male. In winter about an ounce of musk is obtained from each male animal. The flesh has no musky flavour.

The Chevrotains (Tragulidae) differ greatly from true deer in structure, but resemble them in form, and like the Musk Deer are hornless. All are small, some very small. One species, the Indian Chevrotain or Mouse Deer (Tragulus meminnd], inhabits Ceylon and the Indian Peninsula, but is not known north of the Narbada ; while two species (T.javanicus and T. napu} occur in Southern Tenasserim and range into Malaysia. The Indian Chevrotain and T. napu are about a foot high at the shoulder, T. napu being the larger ; the little T.javanicus is considerably less. All inhabit dense thickets in forest country.


Three different pigs belong to the Indian Fauna. The Indian Wild Boar (Sus cristafus) stands higher on its legs than the European animal, and is much less shaggy ; it has a more developed crest or mane, and the molar teeth exhibit well- marked differences. The common tame pig of India is doubt- less descended from the wild animal and certainly breeds with it. Wild swine occur everywhere in India and Burma, and are often as common in cultivated land as in wild forest. No animals do more damage to crops. Spearing wild hog from horseback, or 'pig-sticking/ as it is called in India, is the favourite sport of the country, and owes its attraction to the extraordinary courage of the wild boar. The Andaman Pig (5. andamanensi^ is a much smaller kind, peculiar to the Andaman Islands ; and a still smaller species, not more than a foot high, known as the Pigmy Hog (5. saivanius\ is only known from the grass jungles of

the tarai at the base of the Himalayas in Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan. A wild pig found in the Nicobars has just been named S. nicobaricuS) but is probably a variety of the Andaman species.


Several kinds of whales and porpoises inhabit the seas around India, and two species are found in some of the larger rivers. Though no Right Whale (Balaena) has been seen in Indian waters, four kinds of Fin Whale (Balaenopterd) have been more or less clearly indicated, although none of them has been thoroughly identified. One of these, which has received the name of B. indica, is 80 or 90 feet in length, or as large as the B.sibbaldi of Northern seas, which exceeds in size any other known animal, extant or fossil. This great whale is not rare off the Baluchistan coast. A kind of hump-backed whale (Megaptcra) also appears to have been seen near the coast of India on more than one occasion. The Sperm Whale (Physettr macrtKephalus) has been hunted in the Bay of Bengal, and the Small Sperm Whale (Cogia), the size of a porpoise, was obtained by Elliot at Vizagapatam. Porpoises and dolphins abound, and fifteen species have been recorded from Indian seas, varying in size from the little Indian Porpoise about four feet in length to the Indian Pilot W T hale, a representative of the Caing Whale of European seas, measuring over fourteen feet.

The two forms that particularly deserve notice are those inhabiting the rivers. In the Irrawaddy from below Prome to above Bhamo there is found a blunt-nosed porpoise (One/la fluminalis\ about seven to eight feet long, closely allied to a species ( 0. brevirostris) that inhabits the Bay of Bengal. This Cetacean is not known to occur in any other river. A far more interesting kind is the Gangetic Dolphin or susii (P/atanista gangetica >, living in the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra and their tributaries ; for the family to which it belongs (Platanistidae), once probably widely spread, has only three surviving representatives : one (Into) in the River Amazon, a second (Pontoporia) in the Rio de la Plata estuary, and the Indian type. This last is provided with a long compressed beak-like rostrum, and is blind, having only minute rudimentary eyes without a crystalline lens. It is quite confined to the rivers, never, so far as is known, entering the sea.


The Dugong {Halicore dugong) inhabits the shores of the Indian Ocean from East Africa to Australia, and has been found on the coasts of Malabar, Ceylon, the Andaman Islands, and the Mergui Archipelago. Formerly it was more common ; but as it yields excellent meat and a valuable oil, and is also,

by all accounts, tame, stupid, and easily killed, it is approach- ing extermination in Indian seas.

The last Order of Mammals is represented in the eastern Edentata. tropics by the Pangolins (Manis), of which three species occur within Indian limits. These are the Indian Pangolin (Af.penta- dactyla\ in the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon ; the Chinese Pangolin (M. aurita\ in the Himalayas; and the Malay Pangolin (A/, javanica), in Burma and other countries to the south-eastward. All are covered with large imbricate horny scales, and resemble a reptile rather than a mammal. They are toothless and live chiefly on ants. The Indian species is popularly regarded as a fish, and one of its vernacular names, ban-whit^ means * jungle carp.'


The birds of India have been more extensively collected and better observed than any other group of animals, and the number of kinds is so large that only the most conspicuous and important can be noticed here. Of the 1,617 species enumerated in the Fauna, 936, or considerably more than half, belong to the Order of Passeres, and of about thirty species added since the Bird-volumes of the Fauna were published a large majority are Passerine. No two authors agree as to the classification of the Passerine Order; the system used in the Fauna is here followed.


The first family (Corvidae) has been divided into three Passeres. sub-families ; one (Corvinae) comprising the crows, magpies, jays, nutcrackers, and choughs ; the second (Parinae), the tit- mice and their relations ; the third, Paradoxornithinac* By many writers these three groups are regarded as distinct families.

The common crows, which are ubiquitous in India, are the grey and black Indian House Crow (Corvus spltndens\ which is the common scavenger of the country, abundant in every town and village; and the black Jungle Crow (C. macro- rhynchus\ which keeps chiefly to forests and wild tracts. The former is represented by an allied form, rather darker in colour (C. insolcns), in Burma. Of the Raven (C. corax), one very large race inhabits the Higher Himalayas, and a smaller form, by some regarded as distinct and named C. laivrcncii, is found in the Punjab, Sind, and Western Rajputana. The Carrion and Hooded Crows, the Rook and Jackdaw are met with in the North-western Punjab and parts of Kashmir, but are for

the most part winter visitors. The Common Magpie (Pica rustica) is found in Kashmir, in Baluchistan, and also in Upper Burma, while a black-rumped species (P. bottancnsis) has been obtained in Upper Sikkim and Bhutan. Long-tailed Blue Magpies (Urocissd) and the Racket-tailed Magpies (Crypsirhind) inhabit the Himalayas and Burma; Green Magpies (Cissa) occur in the same countries and in Ceylon ; while the Tree-pies (Dendroritta) are generally distributed. Jays (Garrulus] of different species occur in the Himalayas and Burma ; two kinds of Nutcrackers (Nucifraga) are Himalayan; and in the higher ranges of that chain both the Cornish Chough and the Alpine Chough are found.


Among the Titmice, members of the typical genus Parus and of the much handsomer yellow and black Machlolophus are found almost throughout the Empire ; while species of the Long-tailed Titmouse (Atgithaliscus] occur in the Himalayas and in the hill tracts of Burma ; and Crested Tits (Lophophanes) are common in the Himalayas, chiefly above 6,000 feet elevation. One genus (Silviparus) is restricted to the Himalayas and Assam ranges.


The Paradoxornithinae are classed among the Corvidae in the Fauna, but are by many ornithologists regarded as a section of the next family (Crateropodidae). They are birds varying from the size of a sparrow to that of a thrush, having copious soft plumage, strong legs, and a stout bill resembling a finch's. They are an interesting group on account of their peculiar structure and their distribution, for they are confined to the Himalayas with the hills of Northern Burma and Southern China. The principal genera are Paradoxornis and Suthora.


The family Crateropodidae (or Timaliidae) is an exceedingly large and varied group, to which eighty-six genera of Indian birds, comprising 253 species, have been referred. Very few, if any, are migratory. About the position and relationships of some of the sub-families, six in number, there is much question, but the typical forms belong to the first two sub-families. Of these the first (Crateropodinat) contains the Laughing Thrushes and Babblers or Babbling Thrushes, of which the larger number, including the genera Garrulax, Trochalopterum^ and PomatorhinuS) are hill birds chiefly occurring in the Himalayas and Burma, but with representatives in the hills of Southern India and Ceylon ; while a smaller section, consisting of the true Babblers, belonging to the genera Argya and Crateropus^ inhabits the Peninsula of India and Ceylon, with a few repre- sentatives in Burma, Assam, and the neighbouring countries.

All these birds are excessively noisy chatterers; they are found in small flocks, and keep to bushes or the ground. They are about the size of a thrush, with strong legs, small wings, and rather long tails. One of the best known species is Crateropits canorus^ the sat-bhai (' seven brothers ') of Bengal.

The Timeliinae are smaller and rather quieter, but their structure and habits are similar. The majority are but little known. By far the larger number are Himalayan, Assamese, and Burmese ; and only one species, the Yellow-eyed Babbler (Pyctorhis sinensis), is commonly found throughout the greater part of India and Burma.


The Brachypteryginae are less characteristic forms, for some of them resemble thrushes, whilst others are nearer in appear- ance to wrens. The most important genus referred to the group is Myiophoncus, containing the Whistling Thrushes, very dark-coloured birds with the plumage strongly tinged with rich blue. They have a peculiar whistling note, and inhabit the Himalayas and the hill tracts of India and Burma.


The Sibiinat are forest birds, often with bright plumage and of small size, and with one exception they are absent from India proper and Ceylon. The exception is the genus Zosterofs, comprising the White-eye or White-eyed Tits, yellow- ish or olive green birds, which range almost throughout the tropics of the Old World from Africa to Australia, and are very doubtful members of the present sub-family. Sibiinac are abundant in the Eastern Himalayas and Assam ranges.

The l.iotrichinac chiefly differ from the Sibiinae by having the sexes differently coloured. The typical forms (Liothrix, Cutia y FtcruthiuS) Jlfesia, and Alinla) are found within our limits only in the Himalayas and the Burmese hills ; but the common lora (Acgithina tiphia\ and various species of ChloropsiS) commonly known as ' green bulbuls,' are common birds throughout the Empire. The Fairy Blue-bird (Irena puclla\ of which the male is clad in gorgeous ultramarine plumage (the female is less brilliant), inhabits the evergreen forests of Ceylon, Malabar, the Eastern Himalayas, the Assam ranges, and Burma.

The last Crateropodidine sub-family, are short-legged birds, in general about the size of a nightingale or rather larger. Some of them are familiar types, frequenting gardens. The majority of the seventeen genera found within Indian limits are Himalayan or Burmese ; but members of the genera Molpastes^ Ofocompsa, and Pycnotwtus y distinguished by having the under tail coverts either crimson or bright yellow, are the common bulbuls of India. Another genus deserving notice is Hypsipetes y dark-coloured, hill-forest birds, with red bills and forked tails, found in the Himalayas and the hills of Burma and South India.

The Nuthatches (Sittidae), small bluish or slatey-blue birds, which climb up the stems of trees or occasionally the surface of rocks, are represented in India by eleven species, which are non-migratory and for the most part of limited distribution ; but one or more of them are to be found wherever there are trees, and one species (Sitta ttphronota) even where there are none, in Baluchistan.

The Drongos (l)icruridae), of which the more common species are generally called * king-crows ' in India, form a well- marked family, having with few exceptions glossy black plumage and long forked tails. There are several genera, the common and familiar ' king-crows/ found in almost every garden, being members of the typical genus Dicrurus. Two species, the Larger and Smaller Racket-tailed Drongos ( Disscmurus paradi- seus and Bhringa remifer^ are handsome birds, with the outer tail leathers greatly prolonged and their shafts bare for some distance, though webbed near the ends. All Drongos hawk insects in the air, and have musical voices ; all, moreover, are given to imitating the notes of other birds.

Of the Tree-Creepers (Certhiidae), six species of the typical genus (Certhia) occur in the Himalayas, Assam hills, and Northern Burma, and a species of Salfornis is found in the forests of the Indian Peninsula. The latter is remarkable, because the only other known species of the genus, a vety near ally, is African. The European Wall-Creeper (Tichodroma muraria) is a winter visitor to the Himalayas, and occasionally to the plains of Northern India.

Wrens, generally placed in a distinct family (Troglodytidae), are represented by several species belonging to four or five genera in the Himalayas and Burma, but not in the Indian Peninsula. The European Goldcrest (Rcgulus cristatus\ which belongs to a separate family (Regulidae), is also Hima- layan.

Warblers (Sylviidae) comprise a great number of very small birds, usually with plain plumage; many of them are migratory. Among those generally distributed are Grasshopper Warblers (Locustella^ Reed Warblers (Acrocephalu$\ Tailor Birds (Or- tJiotomus\ Fantail Warblers (Cisticola) % Wren Warblers (Frank- linia and Prinia\ and Willow Warblers (Phylloscopus and (Acanthopneuste). Members of the genera Ifyfolais and Sylvia,

allies of the European Whitethroat, Blackcap, and Icterine Warbler, are common in the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon, but wanting to the eastward. The Tailor-birds are well-known from their habit of sewing two leaves together with a piece of grass as a receptacle for their nest Shrikes (Laniidae) are common throughout the Empire. Besides the true Shrikes (Lanius), the Pied Shrikes (Ilemipus), Wood Shrikes (Tephrodornis\ Minivets (Pericrocotus), and Cuckoo Shrikes (Campophaga and Graucalus) are distributed throughout the better-wooded tracts. Some of the Minivets are brilliantly coloured, the males being crimson and black, and the females yellow and black. The Swallow Shrikes (Artamus\ dull-coloured birds with a peculiar flight slightly resembling a swallow's, are found all over India and Burma.

There are no less than eight species of Golden or Yellow Orioles (Oriolidae) found within Indian limits, many of them local, but some widely diffused. A ninth species (Oriolus traillii\ inhabiting the Himalayas and Burma, has black and chestnut plumage instead of black and yellow.

The Crackles, Talking Mainas, or Hill Mainas (Eulabetidae), glossy black in colour with rich yellow cheek lappets, are well- known cage-birds with wonderful powers of imitating the human voice. Though often classed with the starlings, they are ap- parently distinct. Four representative species occur in the hill forests of the Himalayas, India, Ceylon, and Burma.

The Starling family (Sturnidae) contains the true Starlings, the Rosy Pastors, and the Mainas. Of true Starlings {Sturnus\ six closely allied species are found in Northern India, most of them being migratory. The Rosy Pastor (Pastor roseus) is also migratory, but it abounds throughout a great part of the Indian Peninsula in winter, and is notoriously destructive to grain crops, especially to millet. The Mainas are resident and numerous. The Common or House Maina (Acriciothercs tristis) is a familiar bird around human habitations almost throughout the Empire. The Bank Maina (A. ginginianus)^ the Black- headed Maina (Tcmcnuchus pagodarum\ the Jungle Maina (Acthiopsar fuscus), and the Pied Maina (Sturnopastor contra) are all common.

The next family, that of the Flycatchers (Muscicapidae), comprises rather more than fifty Indian species of small size. Though generally distributed, these birds are not of much importance. Perhaps the best-known kind is the Paradise Flycatcher (Tcrpsipkonc paradi$i\ of which the immature birds and females are black and chestnut, while the mature male

it 2

has the chestnut replaced by white. The tail in the male is very long, sometimes exceeding a foot in length.

Thrushes and their allies form the family Turdidae, divided into several sub-families. Of these the first is that of the Saxi- colinae^ comprising the Bush-chats or Whin-chats, Stone-chats, and Wheatears, mostly migratory birds, of which several species are winter visitors to Northern India, and a few are more gene- rally distributed. The Redstarts and their allies (Rutirillinae) are more numerous, but are chiefly hill birds. The Indian Robins (Thamnobia) are, however, common throughout the Indian Peninsula, whilst the Indian Magpie Robin or Dayal (Copsychus sauhiris), and that well-known songster, the Shama (Cittocincia macnini), range throughout the greater portion of the Empire, and the Indian Redstart (Rtitirilla rufiventris) is a winter visitor to almost the whole of India with Assam and Manipur. Other forms are the Forktails (ffenicurus) and their allies, black and \\hite birds haunting banks of streams in the Himalayas and Burma ; the nvgratory Blue Throats (Cyanecula)^ Ruby Throats (Calliope), and several others.

The Turdinac comprise the Thrushes and Blackbirds, which are in India almost confined to the hill ranges, the only forms found in the plains being the Migratory Blue Rock Thrushes (Petrophiln), and some equally migratory Ground Thrushes (Geocichld). Of the other two sub-families belonging to the Turdine family, the Dippers (Cinclinac) and the Accentors (Acccntorinae), none of the members range south of the Himalayas, and but few are found away from the higher mountains.

The Ploceidae comprise two sub-families, the Ploccinae or Weaver Birds, and the Viduinae or Munias, both found throughout the Indian Empire. The Weaver Birds are finch- like, and generally the males are more or less yellow in the breeding season ; they make curious flask-shaped grass nests, which may often be seen hanging from trees or bushes, some of them having long tubular entrances. The Munias and Avadavats are even smaller, and comprise several common cage-birds.

The Finch family (Fringillidae) are divided into the Haw- finches (Coccothrau$tinae\ True Finches (Fringillinae)^ and Buntings (Emberizinae). The Hawfinches or Grossbeaks are scarcely Indian; five species are known from the Himalayas, chiefly from the higher forests ; but one of these ranges as far as Manipur and the Burmese Shan States. Among the True Finches the great majority are Himalayan. Bullfinches, a Cross-

bill, Rose Finches of several genera and many of them beauti- fully coloured, a Goldfinch, two Linnets, a Siskin, a Greenfinch, and several Mountain Finches inhabit parts of the higher ranges, while a single migratory Rose Finch (Carpodacus erythrinus) visits India and Northern Burma in the winter. The Yellow- throated Sparrow (Gymnorhis), a bird with African affinities, inhabits the Indian Peninsula, and the House Sparrow is found wherever there are human habitations. Three more species of Sparrow are found in Burma; and two others, with the Bram- bling (Fringi/la montift ingilla) and the Desert Finch (Ery- throspiza githaginca), are met with in the Punjab or Sind. The Buntings arc mostly migratory. Of the fifteen species found within Indian limits the majority are winter visitors to the Himalayas or to North-western India or to both ; five are found in the Eastern Himalayas and Burma ; one (Emberiza striolatd) is resident in North-western India; and two mi- gratory birds, the Corn Buntings (E. mclanocephala and E. lutcold], are common winter visitors to India, the first being notorious for the ravages it commits in corn-fields. The Crested Bunting (Melophus melanictcnts), of which the male is a rather handsome bird, black and chestnut, is resident in many parts of India and Bui ma.

In the Swallow family (Hirundinidae) are included, besides the true Swallows, the Martins (Chelidoti), Sand Martins (Cotile\ and Crag Martins (1'tyonoprognt). The House Martins are chiefly Himalayan, though stragglers have been found in various parts of the Empire. Sand Martins of two closely allied species are very \\idely distributed. Crag Martins are met with about cliffs in the Peninsula of India and the Hima- layas, but are not known with certainty from Burma. Ten species of true Swallows occur within Indian limits, some of them migratory but the greater number resident. Among them are the common European Swallow (ff. rustica), a winter visitor everywhere ; the Wire-tailed Swallow (H. smitkit), with the shafts of the outer tail feathers produced beyond the webs; the Indian Cliff Swallow, which breeds on the high banks of rivers in large societies ; and several forms of Striated Swallow, with the lower surface streaked.

Pipits and Wagtails combine to form the family Motacillidae, and both comprise many species, and are found almost every- where. The Larks (Alaudidae) are represented by no less than ten genera, but several of these are very restricted in range. Thus the Desert Lark (Alaemon desertorum\ an African species, is met with 'in India only on the deserts of the Indus plain.

The Calendra Lark (Mtlanocoryphii) does not occur much farther to the eastward, while the Crested Larks (Galeritd) and the Finch Larks (Ammomanes and Pyrrhulauda\ com- mon in India, are unknown east of the Bay of Bengal. The Eared Larks (Otocorys) are Himalayan. Skylarks (Alau- da} and Bush Larks (Ulirafrd) are met with throughout the Empire.

The Sun-birds (Nectariniidae) are of small size and have long narrow bills. The males of one sub-family (Nectariniinae) almost rival the Humming-birds of America in the brilliancy of their plumage, and they are occasionally, though wrongly, called 'humming-birds*. Some of the species are found throughout India and Burma, but more kinds are peculiar to the hill forests. The other sub-family, known as Spider-hunters (Araeh- notJicrinac), are rather larger and of a dull olive colour ; their bill is longer. They inhabit the Himalayas, Burma, and the hills of Southern India.

The Flower-peckers (Dicaeidae) are small forest birds with a short triangular bill and the edges of both mandibles minutely serrated, as are also those of the Sun-birds. They are pretty generally distributed throughout India, but are more common in the Himalayas and Burma. Some of them have brilliantly coloured males.


The last Passerine family is that of the Pittidae, handsome birds about the size of a large thrush, living on the ground in woods and forests. One species (Pitta brachyura) inhabits Peninsular India and Ceylon ; three are met with in the Eastern Himalayas ; and the number of species increases in Burma, and especially to the southward in Tenasserim.


The Broadbills, although nearly allied to the Passeres, are distinguished by anatomical characters. The geographical dis- tribution of the Order is restricted, none being found outside the Indo-Malayan or Oriental region, while within that region species occur in the Himalayas, Burma, Siam and Cambodia, the Malay Peninsula and Archipelago as far as Borneo and the Philippines, but not in the Indian Peninsula or Ceylon. The Broadbills are small forest birds, living in little flocks among high trees and feeding as a rule on insects. Some are very beautifully coloured. Among the most notice- able are the Ix>ng-tailed Broadhill (Psarisomus dalhousiat\ which ranges from Mussoorie in the Western Himalayas to Borneo ; two kinds of Eurylaemus^ found in Burma ; the Dusky Broadbill (Corydon sumatranus), met with in Tenasserim and the Malay countries ; and the grass-green frugivorous Calypto-

mena, with the bill almost concealed by the loral feathers, having the same distribution.


Woodpeckers are very common and conspicuous throughout PicU the Empire, no less than eighteen genera and fifty-five species of true Woodpeckers being found, besides two ' Piculets ' (Picumnus and Sasia) and the common Wryneck (lynx tor- quil/a\ which is a winter visitor. The Woodpeckers and Piculets are not migratory. A large proportion of the genera are found, within the area, only in the Eastern Himalayas, Assam, and Burma; others are represented in the hills of Southern India; but the kinds generally distributed throughout India and Burma are not numerous. The two commonest in India are the Golden-backed Woodpecker (Brachypternus aurantius) and the Yellow-fronted Pied Woodpecker (Liopicus mahratten- sis\ Several species of Green Woodpeckers (Gednu/us\ Pied Woodpeckers (Dendrocopus\ and Pigmy Woodpeckers (fyngi- picus] are found in the hill tracts. Among other interest- ing forms are the Great Slaty Woodpecker (Hemilophi4s pulverulentus] of the Himalayas and Burma; the Black Wood- peckers (Thriponax\ represented within our limits only in Burma and Malabar ; and the three-toed Tiga, which is similarly distributed, but also represented in the Himalayas.


This Order, which resembles the Woodpeckers in having two Zygo- toes, the first and fourth, directed backwards, but differs in acty l " several structural characters as well as in appearance and habits, comprises two families represented in India, the Honey Guides (Indicatoridae) and the Barbets (Capitonidae). Only one species belongs to the first, and that is a very rare Himalayan bird (Indicator xanthonotus) ; but it and a Malayan species are closely allied to the African birds so well known for the assistance they afford in the discovery of bees* nests. Barbets are fruit-eating birds ; and all Indian and Burmese species, with one exception, are more or less grass-green in colour. The exception is a Malayan bird (Calorhamphus hayi], found in Tenasserim. Among the other Indian Barbets are birds as large as a jay belonging to the genus Mega/aema, with one Himalayan and one Burmese and Chinese species, and smaller forms representing the genera Thcreiceryx^ Cyanops y and Xan- tholacma^ some of which are found in all well-wooded parts of the Empire. These Barbets have peculiar calls of one, two, or three syllables repeated in a monotonous manner for some minutes ; the best-known species being the little * Coppersmith ' (Xantholatma haematocephald), found in most Indian gardens, and recognized by its monosyllabic metallic call


Next we have a somewhat heterogeneous group, comprising the Rollers (Coraciat\ Bee-eaters (M r f ropes), Kingfishers (Hafcyones), Hornbills (Bucerotes), and Hoopoes (Upupae). All are well represented throughout India. The Indian Roller (Corarias indica), commonly called the 'blue jay' (it is not related to the true Jays), is resident throughout India and Ceylon, being replaced by a nearly allied species (C. affinis) in Burma. It is a familiar bird, conspicuous by its blue plumage, and is often seen in gardens and orchards, where it hawks insects, and sometimes feeds on lizards or mice. It is associated with the worship of Siva. The European Roller (C. gam<la) 3 a migratory species, visits North-western India during migration and breeds in Kashmir and Central Asia. The Broad-billed Roller (Eurystomus oricntalis), a forest type, is found in the Himalayas, Burma, the Malabar forests, and Ceylon.


The Bee-eaters are slender-billed birds with, for the most part, green plumage. One of the smallest species (Mcrops viridis) is common almost throughout the Empire, except in the Himalayas. Besides several other species of Merops, the two kinds of Nyctiornis, rather larger forms, known as the Blue-bearded and Red-bearded Bee-eaters, should be men- tioned : the former occurring ;n the Himalayas, Burma, the Malabar forests, and near Sambalpur in the Central Provinces; the latter in Tenasserim and the Malay Peninsula.

Of Kingfishers eighteen species are recorded within Indian limits. The principal are the Common Kingfisher (A/cedo ispidd), a small variety of the European bird, which is generally distributed ; the Indian Pied Kingfisher (Ccryle varia)^ a black and white species closely allied to the South European and African C. rudis, also met with throughout the Empire ; a large form of Ceryle, found in the Himalayas; and the equally large blue and buff Pelargopsis, three species of which occur on the sea-coast and along estuaries and large rivers. The White-breasted Kingfisher (Halcyon smyrnensis), which is chiefly insectivorous, is common throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma.

Hornbills, sometimes wrongly called Toucans, are rather typical Indian birds, although the only kind found generally in the Peninsula is the Common Grey Hornbill (Lophoccros birostris), a small species. Two other forms of the same genus are met with in Malabar and Ceylon and others in Africa, but none occur in the Himalayas or in Burma, where, however, there are numerous kinds of the great Black and White Hornbills, belonging to the gtnet&Dichoceros, Rhytidoctros, and Aceros, birds 3 \ to 4 feet in length ; and other genera again are found in Southern Burma. The largest of all (Dichoceros bicornis), the garuda of many Hindus, with a broad concave casque, is also met with in the forests of the Western Ghats ; and the smaller Pied Hornbills of the genus Anthracococeros are represented in the forests of South-western Bengal, as well as those of Malabar and Ceylon, and in the Himalayas and Burma. All are mainly frugivorous, and have a remarkable habit of the female remain- ing built into a hollow tree during incubation, and being fed through a small cleft by the male. The larger kinds attract attention by the extraordinary noise they make when flying.

The common European Hoopoe (Upupa cpops) visits India in winter; the Indian Hoopoe (U. indicci), which is only just distinguishable from the European species, is a resident and found almost throughout the Empire.


The next group includes the Swifts (Cypseli), Nightjars Macro- (Caprimu/gi), and Frogmouths (Podargi). The relationship of chue *- these forms is an open question.

The Swifts comprise several species of Cypselus, among which is the Common Indian Swift (C. affinis), resident in the larger towns and breeding upon old buildings. It is replaced east of the Bay of Bengal by the Malay House Swift (C. subfitrcatus). The European Swift (C. apus] and the Alpine Swift (C. melba) are winter visitors to India. The little Palm Swifts (Tac/iornis\ common about fan-palms, in which they breed, are also represented by distinct species east and west of the Bay of Bengal. To the genus Chaetura, com- prising the Spinetail Swifts, belong two large species, one Himalayan only, the other Indian and Burmese; they are probably the swiftest of all birds and the most powerful flyers. There are also two smaller species; one (C. sylvatica) occurring in some of the larger Indian forests, and the other (C. Ituco- pygialis) in Tenasserim and the Malay Peninsula. The genus Collocalia consists of the small species sometimes called 'swiftlets,' chiefly inhabiting the sea-coast, and famous as the producers of the edible nests prized by the Chinese. One species, however, is common in the Himalayas. Last come the Crested Swifts (Macroptcryx}^ with the sexes differing in colour. One species inhabits well-wooded tracts and forests almost throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma; two others are found in Southern Tenasserim.

The Nightjars or Goatsuckers (Capri mulgus) are represented by seven species, all widely distributed. They are nocturnal, and have peculiar reiterated notes, chiefly uttered in the earlier and later parts of the night, and resembling strokes by a hammer on a plank, or a stone striking ice. The Large-eared Nightjar (Lyncornis cerviniceps) is found in Burma, the Eastern Himalayas, and Travancore.

Three species of Batrachostomus or Frogmouth, the Asiatic representative of the Australian Fodargus, occur within Indian limits : one in Ceylon and Travancore ; a second in the Eastern Himalayas, Assam, and Burma ; and the third in Tenasserim. They are shy nocturnal birds, and appear to be rare, but they resemble nightjars in appearance and habit.


Distinguished by the structure of their feet, the first and second toes being directed backwards (not the first and fourth as in Woodpeckers, Barbets, Cuckoos, and Parrots), and by their peculiarly soft and often beautifully coloured plumage, are found in the tropical forests of America, Africa, and the Indo-Malay region. Three species of Pyrotrogon or HarpacteS) the Asiatic representative of the Order, occur in Burma, one ranging to the Eastern Himalayas ; and a fourth is found in the forests between the Ganges and the Godavari, those near the western coasts of India, and in Ceylon.


Coccyges. Indian Cuckoos belong to one family (Cuculidae), and comprise fifteen genera and thirty species, divided into two sub-families not very easily distinguished. All members of the first family (Cuculinae) are parasitic, laying their eggs in the nests of other birds, while the majority of the second sub-family (Phoenicophatnae) build their own nests. To the first family belong four species of true Cuckoo, one of which, the Common Cuckoo of Europe (Cuculus canorus), is widely distributed throughout India, and breeds in the Himalayas, and apparently also in Chota Nagpur and some other tracts, where its well-known call is frequently heard in April and May. There are also four Indian or Burmese species of Hawk-cuckoo {Hierococcyx\ which resemble birds of prey even more than the common Cuckoo does. One of these (// varius\ found throughout India and Ceylon but not in Burma, has received the name of * brain-fever bird ' from its monotonous repetition of its call-note in the hot season. The Crested Cuckoos (Coccystes) and several smaller genera also belong to the sub-family ; one of these (Surnicu/us) is remarkable as being an almost exact imitation in form and plumage of the common 'king-crow 1 or Drongo, and thus affording one of the best examples of what is known as 'mimicry' in the animal kingdom. Another small genus

(Chry>sococcyx) has glossy metallic plumage, bright-green in the male in one species, violet in another.

Amongst the Phoenicophainae two well-known birds are found throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma. One of these is the Koel (Eudynamis honorata)> a frugivorous cuckoo, with the male glossy-black and the female brown and spotted. The loud note of this cuckoo may be heard from March to July in almost every grove in India, especially about dawn. Unlike most of the Phoenicophamac, the female Koel is parasitic and lays its eggs in the nests of crows. The other familiar member of this sub-family is the Coucal (Centropus sinensts), often called 'crow-pheasant' in India. The genus Centropus^ of which there are several species, is distinguished by having a long hind claw. The remaining members of the sub-family are long-tailed ground cuckoos of feeble flight, living in scrub, and belonging to several genera.


The majority of the Indian Parrots, including all the Psittaci. common forms, are Paroquets belonging to the genus PalaeorniS) distinguished by its long tail and prevailing green colour. Of this no less than fifteen species occur within Indian limits, but this number includes one species peculiar to the Andamans and two to the Nicobar Islands. The best-known kinds are the Large Paroquet, of which four different races inhabit Ceylon, India, Burma, and the Andaman Islands respectively ; the Blossom-headed Paroquets, of which one race (P. cyanocephalus) is found west and the other (P. rosa) east of the Bay of Bengal ; and, commonest of all, the Rose-ring Paroquet (P. torquatus). The only Indian parrots not included in Pa/acornis are two members of the small, short-tailed Loriculus, birds not larger than a starling, one inhabiting Ceylon, the other the Malabar forests, the Eastern Himalayas, and Burma; and the little Malayan Parrot (PsitttNus inccrtus), which is found in Southern Tenasserim.

Thirty-seven species of owls have been recorded within Striges. Indian limits, belonging to eight genera. Foremost among these is the Barn Owl {Strix flammea), of almost world-wide distribution. Other Indian owls are : (i) two species of PhotodiluS) small Screech Owls, one inhabiting the Himalayas and Burma, the other Ceylon ; (2) the Long-eared Owl (Asia otu$\ an occasional visitor to Northern India, and the Short- eared Owl (A. accipitrinus\ found throughout the area; (3) several Wood Owls belonging to the genus Syrnium, very handsome birds, of moderate size, without aigrettes but with feathered tarsi ; (4) three kinds of Fish Owl (Kctufa), larger

birds with naked tarsi, usually found near water and living chiefly on fish and Crustacea ; (5) Eagle Owls, belonging to the genera Bubo and Huhua, all of large size, with aigrettes and feathered tarsi ; (6) several small owls belonging to the genera Scops, Athene, and Glaucidium ; and (7) the Brown Hawk Owls (Ninox), one of which is said to be the 'devil-bird 1 of Ceylon, so named from the extraordinary sounds it makes. Of these the commonest and best-known forms are the Brown Fish Owl (Ketupa zeyhnensis) \ the Rock Horned Owl (Bubo tenga/ensis)y so often seen sitting on rocks or trees in hilly country throughout the Peninsula of India ; the variable Scops Owl (Scofs giu), one form or another of which may be met with almost everywhere in India and Burma ; and the Spotted Owlet (Athene brama), which is even more widely spread, and, being less purely nocturnal, is much more frequently seen.


Indian birds of prey belong to three families, one containing the O^prey alone, the second the Vultures, the third Eagles, Kites, Harriers, Buzzards, Hawks, and Falcons. The number and variety of diurnal birds of prey in India are very great, no less than eighty-two species having been recognized, representing thirty-five genera.

The Osprey is a winter visitor throughout India and Burma, and may be seen about large rivers and the sea-coast where fish, on which it lives, are numerous.

Vultures abound throughout India and Northern Burma ; they are less common in Tenasscrim, and wanting in Ceylon. The Cinereous Vulture (Vultur monachus) and the Griffon (Gyps fulvus) are met with only in Northern India ; but the Black Vulture (Otogyps sa/vus) 9 the Indian Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), and the White-backed Vulture (Pseudogyps bengalensis) are everywhere seen the first, however, being by no means abundant, while the last is extremely common. Two other species of Gyps also occur in the Himalayas. The White Scavenger Vulture (Neophron ginginianus) is ubiquitous in India, and haunts the neighbourhood of human habitations ; but it is very rare in Ceylon, and unknown in Burma or even in Lower Bengal.

First among the Falconidae comes the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeyer (Gypaetus barbatus\ supposed in the Alps to live upon lambs and occasionally upon children, but found in the Himalayas, where it is common, to subsist upon carrion and to have a particular preference for bones. Besides the Himalayas, this great bird haunts the higher ranges in the

Punjab and Sind, Of the true eagles, the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) is found in the Himalayas, and the Imperial Eagle (A. heliacd) is far from rare throughout Northern India, chiefly, however, as a winter visitor. The Steppe Eagle (A. bifasciata) is another North Indian migrant. The small Tawny Eagle (A. vindhiana) is common throughout the greater part of India and in Upper Burma, while the Spotted Eagles (A. maculata and A. hastata\ the latter peculiar to the Indian Peninsula, inhabit the neighbourhood of marshes. Bonelli's Eagle (Hieraetus fascia/us) and the Booted Eagle (//. pennatus) are also Indian, but the latter only is Burmese. The various Hawk Eagles (Lophotriorchis > Ictinaetus, and Spizaetus] are woodland birds, one or the other of which is found in all Indian forests ; while the European Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus ga/licus) is found through- out India but not farther east, and the Crested Serpent Eagle (Spitornis cfaelci) is to be met with almost throughout the Empire, and is easily recognized when soaring by its strongly banded wings and tail. It varies greatly in size and somewhat in colour. Two other species of the same genus occur in the Nicobars and Andamans. Next to the true eagles come the small Buzzard Eagles (Butas1ur\ with three species ; five kinds of Fishing Eagles or Sea Eagles (Haliaetus and Polioaetus), all of large size ; and the Brahmani Kite (Haliastur indus), associated with the Hindu deity, Vishnu. This handsome bird, with a maroon back and the head and lower parts white, lives chiefly on fish ; and is found commonly in the neighbour- hood of water.

The Common Indian Kite (Afilvits govinda] swarms about towns and villages throughout the Empire, and its peculiar squealing call is almost as well known as the call of the Indian crow. A larger kite also occurs, but is rare. Six or seven different Harriers are winter visitors to the country ; among these the commonest is the Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus], of which the handsome adult, so rare in Europe, is frequently seen in India. Two other species, the Pale Harrier (C. macrurus) and Montagu's Harrier (C. cineraccus\ are commonly noticed hawking over open, grassy plains ; and to the eastward the pied Harrier (C. nitlanoleucus) is found, especially in flat marshy tracts. Buzzards are represented by the Indian race of the Common Buzzard (Butco dcsertoruni) y widely distributed but rare; by the Long-legged Buzzard (B.ferox) in the Himalayas and North-western India, where it is common in winter ; and by two kinds, both rare, one of them a Rough-legged Buzzard,

in the Himalayas only. The Goshawk (Astur palumbariui) is also Himalayan and is largely tamed for hawking, while the Shikra (A. badius), a much smaller form, is common arid resident all over India and Burma. It too is tamed and trained to be flown at quails, partridges, and especially crows. The Crested Goshawk (Lophospizias trivirgatus) is a rare forest bird. The common Sparrow-hawk (Aca'fiter nisus) is a winter visitor, and the resident Besra Sparrow-hawk (A. virgatos) is rather locally distributed. The Honey Buzzard (Pernis crista- tus), easily recognized by the closely feathered sides of the head, is not uncommon.

Passing over the rare genera, Baza and Machaeramphns, the next birds requiring notice are the true falcons. The Peregrine (Fako pcrcgrinus) is a winter visitor, while the more deeply coloured Shahin Falcon (F. peregrinator) is resident in the Indian forests ; the Barbary Falcon (F. barbarus) and the Saker or Cherrug (F. cherrug) inhabit North-western India ; and the Laggar (F.jugger) occurs throughout the Peninsula in open and cultivated country. All these birds are occasionally reclaimed for hawking, but the sport has greatly declined in India during the course of the last century. The Hobby and Merlin are winter visitors, almost confined to Northern India. The Indian Hobby (Falco severus) is found in the Himalayas and scattered over India and Burma, while the turumti or Red-headed Merlin (Aesalon chicqncra) is common and resident in many parts of the Indian Peninsula. Kestrels (Tinnun- culus alaudarius) are generally distributed ; the majority are winter visitors, but a few breed in India. The Smaller Kestrel (T. ctnchris) and the Eastern Red-legged Falcon (Erythropus amurensis) are rare migratory forms, only occasionally seen. The only other members of the Falcon tribe requiring notice are the Pigmy Falcons or Falconets (Aficrohierax), small birds scarcely larger than a lark, feeding on insects, inhabiting open tracts in forests, and differing from all other Accipitrine birds by laying their eggs in holes in trees, like owls and parrots. One species (M. eutolmus), with much rufous beneath, is found in the Himalayas and Burma ; a second (M. melanoleucus)^ pure white beneath, in Assam; and a third ( M, fringillarius^ in Tenasserim.


Pigeons and Doves are common birds in all parts of India and Burma, and no less than six different groups, families, or sub-families are represented. The first of these, the Green Pigeons (Trcroninat)> are birds of yellowish-green plumage, often with patches of chestnut or lilac on the upper surface.

All have feet adapted for perching ; they live in flocks among the trees, and feed on fruit. The commonest forms are species belonging to the genus Crocopus, which are often met with near towns and villages, and which haunt the Banyan and Pipal when those trees are in fruit. The other species are forest birds, and are not found in the cleared and cultivated parts of the country.

The second group is composed of the large Imperial Carpo- Pigeons, most of which are dark-green or coppery-brown on p a inac * the back and grey below. They keep to the forest tracts, such as the Himalayas, Burma, Orissa, and the Malabar coastlands, and feed on fruit. One black and white bird, the Pied Imperial Pigeon, inhabits the Malay Archipelago and extends its range to the Andamans and Nicobars. The same area is inhabited by the only member of the third group, the beautiful Nicobar Pigeon (Caloenas nicobaricd], which has long neck-hackles and a prevailing coloration of metallic green with bronze reflections, it breeds in enormous numbers on Batti Malv, an uninhabited island of the Nicobars.

The fourth sub-family is also repre- sented in India by a single species, the Bronze-winged Dove (CJuilcofhaps indica], which haunts damp and thickly wooded tracts and, like the Nicobar Pigeon, feeds on the ground. The True Pigeons (Columlnnae) comprise the Indian Blue Rock Pigeon, a very near ally of the Blue Rock of Europe, and found, like that bird, breeding on rocks or buildings, and, very commonly in India, in the sides of wells, and also eastern races of the Stock Pigeon or Stock Dove and Wood Pigeon ; but while the first-named species is widely spread, the two latter are found only in North-western India. Several kinds, allied to the Wood Pigeon but belonging to distinct genera (Dendrotreron and Alsocornus\ are met with in the forests of the Himalayas, Burma, Southern India, and Ceylon ; but they are rare forms, whilst the Doves, of which eight species occur in India, furnish some of the commonest birds in the country. The only remaining group (Geopeliinae) is represented by a single Malay species, iound within our limits only in Southern Tenasserim.

The Sand-grouse are intermediate in structure between Pterocletes. Pigeons and the true Game Birds. They are chiefly found in open country, being most abundant in the dry semi-desert tracts of Sind and the Punjab. They are as a rule about the size of a pigeon a few being larger and of a yellowish-brown colour ; they are swift of flight, they always rest and feed on the ground, and they fly to water at particular hours in the morning and evening. Seven species occur in India, but none are known in the countries east of the Bay of Bengal, and only two of the seven are met with elsewhere in India than in the Punjab, Sind, Rajputana, and the United Provinces, while one species, belonging to a different genus (Syrrliaptes tibetanus), is peculiar to Tibet.


The Game Birds proper, Peafowl, Jungle-fowl, Pheasants, Partridges, Quails, &c., include fifty-eight species enumerated in the Fauna, a number raised to seventy-one in Mr. Oates's Game Birds of India. The difference depends partly upon the limits assigned to the area, and partly on the question whether certain pheasants should be regarded as species or varieties ; but some of Mr. Oates's additions are recent discoveries within Indian limits.

Peafowl are met with throughout the greater part of India, Ceylon, and Burma ; but the Burmese and Malay species (Pavo muticus) is distinct from the Common Peacock of India and Ceylon (P. cristotus), having the neck green instead of blue, and a different crest. In some parts of India peafowl are considered sacred by Hindus, and they live in a semi- domesticated state around villages in Gujarat, Rajputana, and Sind.

The great Argus Pheasant (Argusianus ar&us\ a Malay species, is known within Indian limits only in Southern Tenasserim. The Grey Peacock Pheasant (Polyplcctrum ehinquis) inhabits the forests of the Lower Himalayas east of Sikkim, and the hill ranges of Assam and Burma.

The Indian Jungle-fowls are three in number. The Red Jungle-fowl (Callus ftrrugineus), from which all domestic fowls are derived, inhabits a large part of South-eastern Asia, including Burma, Assam, the Lower Himalayas throughout, and the Peninsula as far south as the Godavari to the eastward, but not west of about 80 E. long. The remainder of the Indian Peninsula is inhabited by the Grey Jungle-fowl (G. sonnerati)^ easily recognized by yellow and white spots of peculiar struc ture on the neck-hackles of the male ; while a third species (G.lafayetth) is peculiar to Ceylon. Each has its own peculiar call-note or crow. The Burmese race of Red Jungle-fowl differs from the Indian by having a red instead of a white ear-lappet, and it is said to be more easily tamed.

Jungle- fowls are very nearly allied to Pheasants, of which however, using the name as generally understood, none inhabit India proper or Ceylon, while four Himalayan genera are unknown in any other part of the Empire. These are the Chlr Pheasant (Catreus wallichi), the Koklas or Pucras (Pucrasia macrolopha\ the Monals (Lophophorus refulgens and L. imptyanus), and the Blood Pheasant (Ithagenes cruentus).

The Horned Pheasants or Tragopans, sometimes wrongly called Argus Pheasants, are represented by two species in the Himalayas, one (Tragopan melanocephalus) to the westward, and the Crimson Horned Pheasant (T. satyra\ in Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan, while a third species (T. blythi) is found in some of the higher hill ranges south of Assam. All of these genera are Central Asiatic and are represented in parts of China. The true pheasants of the genus Phasianus, occurring through- out temperate Asia, are represented by two species (P. humiae and P. elegans] in Northern Burma and Manipur; while the beautiful Amherst Pheasant (Callophasis amhcrstiae] has been met with on the frontier between Burma and Yunnan, and one species of the Malayan Fire-backed Pheasants (Lofhura rufa \ ranges into Southern Tenasserim.

The genus Gennaeus^ con- taining the Silver Pheasants of China and the Hinicllayan Kalij, comprises four species in the Lower Himalayas (one of them also inhabiting the ranges south of Assam), and several Burmese kinds, the precise number being rather uncertain, as they show a tendency to pass into each other. To the eastward these birds approach the Chinese Silver Pheasant in plumage and size ; to the westward they resemble more nearly the Hima- layan Kalij. They are known as Silver Pheasants in Burma.

The Spur-fowls (Gallopcrdix) are about the size of a partridge. They keep to forests and are found only in India and Ceylon, being unknown east of the Bay of Bengal and west of the Indus river, though one species occurs at the base of the Himalayas in Oudh. Their name is derived from the presence of two or more spurs on each tarsus in the male, and sometimes in the female. Two kinds inhabit the Indian Peninsula, and one is peculiar to Ceylon. A bird known as the Western Bamboo Partridge {Bambusicola fytchii\ found in the hills of Northern Burma and Assam, and congeneric with species inhabiting Southern China and Formosa, may represent the Spur-fowls of India.

A considerable number of small Indian gallinaceous birds not having any very definite relations to each other may for con- venience be classed collectively as Quails. The most important are the Common or Grey Quail (Coturnix com munis), a winter visitor to India and Burma, and the Black-breasted or Rain Quail (C. coromandclica), a resident species. To the eastward a few individuals of the Japanese race of the Grey Quail are said to have been obtained. Next in impor- tance are five species of Bush Quail : two of Perdicula^ peculiar to the Indian Peninsula, except that one of them occurs in Northern Ceylon; and three of Microperdix^ two of which inhabit the Indian Peninsula, while the third has recently been discovered in Manipur. Then there is the Blue-breasted Quail (Excalfactoria ehinensis\ resident in swampy country throughout the Empire ; and two species which only just come within our limits the Mountain Quail (Ophrysia suptrcilio$a\ of which a very few specimens have been obtained at Mussoorie and Nainl Tal; and the Green Wood Quail (Rollulus roulrout), a Malay bird found in Southern Tenasserim.

Another group may be classed as Partridges. This includes in the first place five species of Francotinus, beginning with the Black Partridge or Common Francolin of the Mediterranean countries (F. ru/garis), found throughout Northern India, but replaced in the Bombay and Madras Presidencies generally by the Painted Partridge (/". fief us) t and in Northern Burma by the Chinese Francolin (F. chinensis). Two other Indian partridges, by many arranged in a different genus (Ortygiornis\ are the common Grey Partridge, found throughout India and Northern Ceylon, and also westward as far as the Persian Gulf, but not east of the Bay of Bengal ; and the Kyah or Swamp Partridge, which inhabits the high grass jungles of the Ganges and Brahmaputra plains. The remaining partridges are not found in the Indian Peninsula.

They are the Chikor (Caccabis chucar] and the Sfsf (Ammoptrdix bonhami\ Western Asiatic types, both found in the hills of the Punjab and Sind, and the Chukor also throughout the Western Himalayas; a species of true Partridge (Perdix hodgsoniac\ allied to the European bird but inhabiting Tibet; and the Hill Partridges (Arboricola, Tropicoperdix, and Caloperdix\ three of which, belonging to Arboricola, are Himalayan, and five more Assamese or Burmese. All are about the same size as the common partridge, and they are rather handsome birds, inhabiting forest.

In the Higher Himalayas are found the Snow Partridge (Lerwa nivicold), a bird much resembling Red Grouse in size and appearance ; and two species of Snow Cocks (Tetraoga!lu$\ fine birds about the size of a Capercaillie.

Lastly, in the Nicobar Islands, a species occurs of the family Megapodiidae, the other members of which family inhabit the Philippines, Celebes, Papuasia, and Australia. Like their allies, the Nicobar Mcgapodes lay their eggs in mounds of decaying vegetable matter built by themselves and supplying the heat necessary for incubation.

Although differing in several important anatomical characters, HcmipodiL the five species of Hemipodes (Turnix) found in the Indian Empire much resemble quails in size, appearance, and plumage, but are distinguished by having no hind toe. Females are larger than males, and while the latter sit on the eggs and guard the young brood, the females challenge and fight each other. These birds are generally found singly in grass.

The next Order consists of Rails, Finfeet, Cranes, and Bustards. Grallae. The Rails (Rallidae) comprise nineteen species belonging to ten genera. Several are Water-rails, belonging to the genera Rallus, Hypotacnidia, and Porzana ; there are three kinds of banded Crakes (Rallina)^ and other Crakes, Water-hens, and Moor-hens, referred to Amaurornis and Gallinula.

These are seldom seen, as they hide in grassy swamps ; the only birds at all commonly observed are the White-breasted Water-hen (Amaurornis photnicurus) and the common Moor-hen (Gallinula cfdorofus), both of which are widely distributed throughout India and Burma. The Kora or Water Cock (Gallicrex cinered) inhabits warm swampy plains, especially in Bengal and Assam, and is often kept tame by natives. The Purple Moor-hen (Porphyrio poliocephalus) is common among high reeds around large marshes, and climbs about the reeds like a gigantic Grass-warbler; and the Common Coot (Fulica atra\ though very locally distributed, is found on many of the larger pieces of inland water.

The Masked Finfoot (Hcliopais personatd)^ the toes of which are lobed like a Coot's, is the only Asiatic representative of the family Heliornithidae, the few other existing members of which are African or American. It is found on the coast, or on rivers, from Assam through Burma to Malacca and Sumatra.

Six kinds of Cranes (Gruidae) are met with in India or Burma. Of these the Demoiselle (Anthropoidts virgo), the Common Crane (Grus communis)^ and the Great White Crane (G. leucogeranus) are winter visitors to Northern India, the Demoiselle and Common Crane being found as far south as the Deccan, often in large numbers. The Saras Crane (G. antigonc} and its Burmese representative (G. sharpii) are resident species, large and beautiful birds, generally protected and seldom or never molested by the inhabitants of the country. They are consequently very tame. Another Crane (G. monachus], a species of North-eastern Asia, has recently been obtained in Assam.

The Bustards are six in number. None of them occur in Burma or in Ceylon. The Great Bustard and Little Bustard of Europe have been occasionally obtained in the extreme North-west of the Punjab only. The Great Indian Bustard (Eupodotis edwardsi), males of which often weigh 25 to 30 lb., is resident ; it haunts open plains in North-western India and the Deccan as far south as Mysore. The Houbara (Houbara macquefni}^ a much smaller bird, is a winter visitor to the Punjab, Sind, Rajputana, and Northern Gujarat. The two Floricans (Sypheotis) are peculiar to India and breed in the country ; the smaller of them (S. auritci) being found throughout the Peninsula, while the larger species (S. bengakn- sis) is met with only in the plain of the Ganges and Brahma- putra. In both the male becomes black in the breeding season.


The next Order contains, besides the Plovers and Snipes, several families of wading-birds of small or moderate size.

The first of these families contains the Stone Curlews or Stone Plovers (Oedicnemidae)^ represented by the Common Stone Curlew, often called the Bastard Florican in India (Oedicntmus scoiopiix), an inhabitant of stony plains, and also two species of Esacus, the Great Stone Plo\er (7T. rccurvi- rostris)) found on the banks of rivers, and the Australian Stone Plover (E. magnirostris), which lives on the shores of the Andaman Islands. The next family (I)romadidae) contains a single species, the Crab Plover (Dramas ardeola)^ a white bird the size of a pigeon, found locally on the shores of the Indian Ocean. The third family (Glareolidae) comprises the Coursers and Pratincoles. The Coursers or Courier Plovers include two species of Cursorius (C. coromandtlicHS), peculiar to India, and a European bird (C. gal/icus), found in the Punjab, Sind, and Rajputana.

These birds inhabit open plains ; but the third Courser (Rhinoptilus bitorquatus}> a member of a genus that is with this exception purely African, is found in thin forests from the Godavari valley to the neighbourhood of Madras. Of Pratincoles or Swallow Plovers (Gtareota), three species are Indian, two being widely dis- tributed and breeding, whilst the third is the European Collared Pratincole, which has been found in Sind. A fourth family (Parridae) consists of the Ja^anas, marsh birds with enormously long toes and claws, by means of which they can run over floating leaves of water-lilies and other plants. Two species are Indian, the Bronze-winged Ja^ani (Metopidius indicus) and the Pheasant-tailed Jar;ana (ffydrophasianus chirurgu3\ both found throughout India and Burma in suitable localities.

The Plover family (Charadriidae) includes, besides Plovers and Snipes, a considerable number of waders, many of which are migratory, and it may be divided into four sub-families. The first of these (Charadriinae) contains, besides the Plovers proper, the Turnstone, a rare winter visitor to the sea-coast. Then come several birds more or less allied to the Lapwing (Vanel/us vulgaris)^ itself a winter visitor to North-western India. These are the Red-wattled (Sarcogrammus) and Yellow-wattled lapwing (Sarciophoms), common Indian types, known by their peculiar cries, that of the former being anglicized as ' Uid-you-do-it ' (' Pity -to-do-it ' is nearer the bird's cry). A species of Sarcogrammus occurs in Burma, but no Sarciophorus ranges east of the Bay of Bengal. Another allied form is the Indian Spur-winged Plover (Hoplopterus ventra/is), found on the banks of rivers, usually singly, in Central and North-eastern India and Burma. Here also belong some migratory birds included in the genera Micro- sarcops and C/iettusia y which visit parts of Northern India in winter. The typical migratory plovers are the Eastern Golden Plover (Charadriusfulvus), found in open country throughout the Empire in winter; the European Golden Plover (C. pluvialis), occasionally obtained in North-western India ; the Grey Plover (Squatarola hc!vctica\ not common but widely distributed ; and several species of Afgialitis or Sand and Ring Plovers, one of which, the Little Ringed Plover (Ac. duAia\ common throughout the Empire, breeds in large numbers in India, although even in this case the majority of the birds seen in winter are migratory. The Kentish Plover (Ac. alexandrina) also breeds at times in the Indian Peninsula.

The next sub-family (Ilaematopodinae} contains the Sea-Pie or Oyster-catcher (//aematofits ostra/egus\ a winter visitor to the Indian coast; the Black-winged Stilt (Ilhnantofus cattdidus\ a common, and the Avocet (Rccurvirvstris aroccfta\ a rare winter visitor, the former alone extending its range to Burma ; and the Ibis-bill (Ibidorhynchus $truthcrsi\ formerly known as the Red-billed Curlew, a Central Asiatic bird, found resident on the Higher Himalayas and the Naga Hills in Assam.

The Totaninac contain the Curlews, Godwits, Sandpipers, and Stints. Both the Curlew (Numcnius arquata} and the Whimbrel (N. fhaeofus) are winter visitors, and so is the Black-tailed Godwit (Limosa dclgica\ while the Bar-tailed Godwit (L* /tifltomca) has hitherto been obtained within Indian limits only in Sind. Sandpipers and Stints are found every- where, the commonest forms in India being the Wood Sandpiper (Totanus glareola) and the Green Sandpiper (7! ochropus), both known as ' snippets ' by Indian sportsmen. Redshanks, Spotted Redshanks, Greenshanks, Ruffs and Reeves, Sander- lings, Little Stints, and other kinds of Tringa % Dunlins, and Red-necked Phalaropes are among the migratory waders that visit India in winter, while some other forms, as the Grey Phalarope, have been obtained occasionally. The Red-necked Phalarope is common on the Baluchistan coast, where it spends the day in flocks on the sea, often several miles from land.

The Woodcocks and Snipes, with long, soft sensitive bills, form the last sub-family (Scolopadnae). The Woodcock breeds on the Himalayas, and in winter visits the Nilgiris and other hill ranges of Southern India in considerable numbers. The Snipes found generally in India belong to two species : the Common Snipe, or Fantail (Gallinago coclcstis), identical with the European bird; and the Pintail Snipe (G. stenura\ an eastern species, distinguished by having twenty-six tail-feathers instead of fourteen or sixteen, the outer eight on each side being narrow and stiff, and by some slight differences of plumage, especially by the wing-lining and axillaries being richly barred with blackish-brown.

The Common Snipe is the more abundant to the westward in India, the Pintail is the prevalent form in Burma. The Jack Snipe (G. galtinula) is rare, except occasionally in Northern India. Two large snipes, the Wood Snipe (G. nemoricold) and the Himalayan Solitary Snipe (G. solitaria), inhabit the Himalayan and Assam hills, and the former is also found in the hills of Southern India. The Painted Snipe (Rostratula capensis),& non-migratory bird of weak flight, with the sexes differing in plumage, is found throughout India, Burma, and Southern Asia, and also in Africa and Madagascar.


Gulls and Terns form an Order by themselves, nearly allied to the Plovers, as might be inferred from the similarity between the eggs.

Seven kinds of Gull are found on the coasts of Sind and Baluchistan ; of these only four are known from the Bay of Bengal, and only two in Ceylon, there being a considerable diminution in the numbers to the eastward and southward. The commonest kinds in India are the Laughing Gull (Larus ridibundus), the Brown-headed Gull (Z. brunneictphalus\ and the Yellow-legged Herring-gull (Z, cachinnans)^ with, to the westward, the Sooty Gull (Z. hemfrichi\ the Slender-billed Gull (Z. gcla$tes\ and the Dark-backed Herring Gull (Z. affinis). The first three are often seen about rivers and large marshes inland. None breed in the Indian Peninsula.

Terns are more numerous in India than gulls, there being twenty-one species known, including two kinds of Noddy (Anous\ only found on the open sea, and three other oceanic terns. The common terns found inland about rivers and marshes are the Whiskered Tern (Hydroc/ielidon hybrida\ the Caspian Tern (Hydroprogne caspia), the Gull-billed Tern (Sterna anglica\ the Indian River Tern (S. seenci), and the Black-billed Tern (S. mdanogaster), the last being one of the commonest of Indian water-birds. The Indian Skimmer, or Scissors-bill (Rhynchops albicollis\ with both mandibles of the bill com- pressed and the upper the shorter, is very tern-like in appearance, but differs in many respects. It keeps to rivers and large pieces of fresh water.

Richardson's Skua (Stcrcorarius crepidattts} occurs in winter on the Maknin and Sind coasts, and individuals of two other species of Skua have been recorded within Indian limits.

Pelicans, Frigate-birds, Cormorants, Gannets or Boobies, Stegano- and Tropic-birds, all distinguished by having the four toes P ^- united by a web, form the next Order. Only the Pelicans and Cormorants are found inland ; members of the other three families are oceanic; two kinds of Frigate birds, three Boobies, and three Tropic-birds have been observed in the Indian seas.

Four kinds of Pelicans occur in India ; but of these the Dalmatian Pelican (Pelicanus erispits) is only found in winter in the north-western part of the country, and P. onocrotalus is rare as an Indian bird. The other two species, the Eastern White Pelican (P. roseus) and the Spotted-billed Pelican (P. philippensis\ are more generally distributed, the latter being the commonest, and breeding in the country.

Three Cormorants are among the resident Indian water- birds : the I^arge Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo), the Indian Shag (P. fuscicollis), and the Little Cormorant (P.javanicus\ the latter being by far the commonest. The Indian Darter or Snake-bird (P lotus melanogas(er) is also generally distributed. Of the four Indian members of the Cormorant family, the Large Cormorant alone is met with on the sea.

The Petrels are oceanic' birds. Five species have been Tubinares. recorded in the seas around India, and others indicated. Small Stormy Petrels are not rare, and probably two or three species are represented, but very few specimens have been obtained. A Shearwater (Pujfinus fenicus) is met with off Bombay and Sind, and another species (P. chlororhynchus) has been occasionally recorded from Ceylon and Makr^n. llcrodioncs. The Ibises, Spoonbills, Storks, and Herons form a far more important part of Indian bird life.

The Ibises are the White Ibis (Ibis melanocephahi), a near relative of the Egyptian Sacred Ibis; two kinds of Black Ibis (Inocotis papillosus of Northern India, and /. davisoni of Southern Burma); and the Glossy Ibis. All except the last are resident, and even the Glossy Ibis breeds in Sind and in Ceylon. Spoonbills (Platalea Uucorodia) are somewhat local, but they occur and breed in several parts of India, though not in Burma.

Among Storks, the common White Stork (Ciconia alba] and the Black Stork (C. nigra] are winter visitors to Northern India, while the White-necked Stork (Disst4ra <piscopus\ a common Indian bird, the great Black-necked Stork (Xenorhyn- chus asiaticus\ two kinds of Adjutant (Leptoptilus dubius and L. javanitus}, the Painted Stork (Pstudotantalus kucocephahts\ and the curious Open-bill (Anastomus osritans) are resident. The Larger Adjutant (Z. dubius) was formerly common in Calcutta from March to October, being attracted by the heaps of refuse ; but improved sanitary regulations have banished both offal and Adjutants from the city. All the storks named are widely distributed, but Anastomus is par- ticularly common in the great plain of Northern India.

The Heron family (ArdeiJae) is represented by eleven genera and twenty-one species. The principal of these are the Common Heron (Ardea dnerea\ the Eastern Purple Heron (A. manillensis\ and the three White Egrets (Herodia alba, large; //. intermedia, smaller; and //. garzctta, smaller still), with the Cattle Egret (Bubulcus coromandus}, which is white in winter, but becomes buff-coloured in the summer. All of these are common and widely distributed. The Reef Herons (Leptcrodius) keep to the coasts, and present the remarkable peculiarity of some individuals being pure white, others slaty grey. The small Pond Herons, or * paddy-birds ' as they are commonly called in India, belong to the genus Ardcola. One of them (A. grayi) occurs throughout the Empire and is very common ; it is dull greyish-brown when sitting, but makes a startling display of its white body and wings when it flies away. A second species (A. bacchus) inhabits Burma. The Little Green Heron (Butoridcs javanicd) and the Night Heron (Nycticorax griseus) are crepuscular in their habits, as are the Malay Bittern (Gorsachius), several species of Little Bitterns (Ardttta\ the Black Bittern (Dupetor flavicollis), and the European Bittern (Botaurus stellaris), the latter alone being migratory. None of the Bitterns are common ; all hide in long grass and reeds during the day.

Two Flamingoes are found in India and Ceylon, none being Phoeni- known to the east of the Bay of Bengal. The Common c P tcri - Flamingo (Phoenicopterus rosens) is locally common, especially in the north-west of India. The Lesser Flamingo (P. miner) is a rare bird.

Two kinds of swan, the Mute Swan (Cygnus olor) and the Anseres. Whooper (C. tnusicns), have been obtained as rare stragglers in North-western India. Of geese, five species visit the country in winter, but only two are anywhere common. These are the Grey Lag (Anser ferus\ which is a visitor to Northern India and Northern Burma, and especially to North-western India ; and the Barred headed Goose (A. indicus), which is common in winter in Northern India and Burma, and rarer, though occasionally met with, as far south as Mysore.

Ducks are numerous, most of the common European kinds visiting India, and there are several resident species as well. Altogether twenty-one genera are represented, or, including Smews and Mergansers, twenty three. The majority are winter visitors ; and of these the Sheldrake, Mallard, Widgeon, and Marbled Duck, as well as some occasional visitors, such as Falcated Teal, Baikal Teal, Eastern (or Baer's) White-eyed Duck, Scaup, and Golden-eye, appear only in the northern part of the country ; others, like the Gadwall, Shoveller, Pochard, Red-crested Pochard, White-eyed and Tufted Ducks, range about as far south as Mysore in India and Ava in Burma, but arc rare or wanting farther to the southward. A few, however, of which the principal are the Ruddy Sheldrake or Brahmani Duck, commonly seen in pairs on the banks of rivers, the Pintail, Common Teal, and Blue winged Teal or Garganey, are found almost throughout the Empire in winter. The Mallard and White-eyed Duck breed in large numbers m Kashmir.

The resident Ducks, which breed in tropical India, are the following : the Comb Duck or Nukta (Sarcidiornis\ widely distributed ; the rare White-winged Wood Duck of Assam, Burma, and the Malay countries ; the Pink-headed Duck (Rhodonessa), almost peculiar to Upper Bengal ; the two Whistling Teals (Dendro<ygna\ found generally throughout the Empire, the smaller kind (D. javanicd) being very common ; the little Cotton Teal (Nettopus coromandeliamis\ with similar distribution ; the Spotted-billed Duck (Anas foccilorhyncha)) common in India and Northern Burma, but replaced in parts of the Shan States by the allied Chinese species (A. zonorhynchd) ; and the Andaman Teal, almost pecu- liar to the Andaman Islands, though it has been obtained in Pegu.

Smews visit Northern India in winter, and the Goosander (Merganser castor) is common along the base of the Himalayas at the same season. The Goosander has also been found in parts of Bengal and in Northern Burma, and it breeds in the interior of the Himalayas. The Red-breasted Merganser is a rare visitor in winter to the coasts of Sind and Bombay,

Fygo- The Indian Little Grebe (Podicepes captnsis> v. albipcnnis) is a

podcs. permanent resident generally distributed in India and Burma. The Great Crested Grebe (P. cristatus) visits Northern India and Burma in winter ; and the Eared Grebe (P. nigru'ollis) is of much rarer occurrence.


The Reptiles of India are far more numerous than the Mammals, and more destructive to human life ; snake-bites alone cause more deaths than all the wild beasts together. As already stated, 146 genera and 534 species of Reptiles were described in the Fauna in 1890; but a fresh enumeration made ten years later, in 1900, shows an increase in the num- bers to 153 genera, containing 558 species. These belong to three Orders: (i) Emydosauria^ or Crocodiles; (2) Chelonia> or Tortoises and Turtles ; and (3) Squamata^ or Lizards and Snakes.


Three kinds of Crocodile inhabit India, two with broad snouts belonging to the genus Crocodilus, and one with an elongate snout belonging to the genus Gaviaiis or Ghariyll. The former are often called ' alligators ' in India ; but no repre- sentative of the American crocodries, to which the name 'alligator* properly applies, is Indian, although one is Chinese.

The common fresh-water Crocodile of India, Ceylon, and Burma, found in almost every river and marsh and often in ponds, is C. palustris, the magar of Northern India, a species that seldom, if ever, exceeds 12 feet in length. The large crocodiles found in Indian and Burmese estuaries and in some of the larger rivers, and occasionally seen in the sea, belong to another species (C. porosus\ which attains much greater dimensions and has even been known to measure more than thirty feet long.

This large crocodile is found in suitable localities all round the Bay of Bengal, and also west of Cape Comorin in Travancore and Cannanore, but it has not been positively identified farther to the north-west. It is still un- certain which species inhabits the delta of the Indus, but C.palustris is found at Magar Plr, west of Karachi, and in Baluchistan. C. porosus is distinguished from C. palustris by having a snout more than \\ times as long as it is broad, and generally by wanting the two pairs of small anterior nuchal shields just behind the occiput and considerably in front of the four large shields, with two or four smaller scutes at the side, at the back of the neck, which are found in both species. In C.palustris the snout is less than \\ times as long as it is broad.

The Ghariyal has had its name converted into * Gavial/ pro- bably through a blunder or a misprint. It is purely a fish- eating river crocodile, never found in ponds or marshes, nor (so far as is known) in tidal estuaries. It inhabits the rivers Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra and their tributaries. It is also found in the Mahanadi river in Orissa, and the Kaladan in Arakan ; and as the Ghariyal never crosses the land as C. palustris does, nor enters the sea as C. porosus is in the habit of doing, its presence in the Mahanadi and Kaladan may indicate that these rivers were at one time tributaries of the Ganges. The Ghariyal is a species of considerable antiquity, and its remains are found abundantly in the Pliocene beds of the Siwalik hills.

The few species of land tortoises properly so called that are Chelonia. found in India and Burma are of no particular interest. The commonest, Testudo e/egans in India and T. playtynota in Burma, have prettily marked shells with radiating yellow streaks on a black ground. The ordinary fresh-water tortoises inhabit* ing rivers and marshes are numerous and belong to various genera ; more are found in Burma than in India, but eight species are recorded from the Gangetic area. Among these are the comparatively large Batagur baska and one or two allied species, of which the carapace is often i \ to 2 feet long. These are herbivorous and edible.

The river turtles of the genus Trionyx and its allies are generally depressed in form and have the carapace covered by a soft skin. Some grow to a considerable size, exceeding the measurements usually given in books ; thus Chitra indica is said by Theobald to have a carapace three feet long. These turtles are carnivorous and aggressive. The genus Emyda, belonging to the same family, is smaller and more globose. All are widely distributed.

In the seas around India are found the Green Turtle (Chclonc mydas\ the Hawk's-bill Turtle (C. imbricatd), both with four pairs of lateral or costal shields above, the Logger- head {Thalassochelys caretta} with five pairs, and the great Leathery Turtle (Dermoc/ie/ys coriacea). The Green Turtle alone is herbivorous and edible. The Hawk's-bill Turtle yields the tortoise-shell of commerce.


Lizards and snakes are remarkably numerous, the former being represented in India, Ceylon, and Burma by 55 genera and 225 species, besides a Chameleon ; and the latter by no less than 78 genera and 286 species. The distribution within the Indian area of these two groups, of which only a few types are fluviatile or marine, is different from that of the crocodiles, which are entirely aquatic, and the tortoises, which are mainly aquatic. Among the land Reptiles there is a greater distinction between the genera inhabiting different parts of the area than is the case with the Mammals and Birds.

Eight different families of Lizards are represented in the Indian Empire, but three of them furnish the bulk of the genera and species. These three are the Geckoes (Geckon- idae), Agamoids (Agamidae\ and Scinques (Scincidae), comprising between them thirty-five genera and 200 species. Geckoes are the most familiar of all, because several speries, belonging to the genus Ilemidactylus, are found in houses, and are well-known by the facility with which they cling to walls and ceilings by means of the peculiar plates with which the lower surface of their digits is furnished. Besides the small House Geckoes found commonly in India, a larger species, often a foot long (Gecko Tertidllatus) y enters human habitations in Eastern Bengal and Burma, where it goes by the name of touk-tai, a name derived from its loud call. Other Geckoes also have calls, though generally less loud. The great majority of the Geckoes are nocturnal ; they are found on rocks, stems of trees, or the ground.

Several of the agamoid lizards are forest-dwellers, among these being the so-called Flying Lizards belonging to the genus Draco, represented by several species in Assam and Burma, and by one species isolated in Malabar. Most of the agamoids are, however, ground lizards. Two kinds, Uromastix of North-western India and Liolepis inhabiting Burma and Travancore, live in holes in the ground made by themselves. Both are herbivorous, whilst other agamoids are insectivorous. By far the commonest agamoid lizard is Calotes vtrsicolor, found all over the Empire, and known as the 'bloodsucker' in Southern India.

Males of this lizard assume brilliant colours in the breeding season, red and black predominating. Scinques are ground lizards, usually of small size, with short limbs (occasionally rudimentary or wanting), and a more or less anguiform mode of progression. In their movements, and in their being clad in small and generally polished scales, they approach the snakes. The other families that require notice are the Lacertidae or true lizards, of which fifteen species are known in various parts of India, and the Varanidae or Monitors, called goh-samp in Hindi. These last are much larger than other lizards ; one species ( Varanus salvator) grows to a length of over six feet, and is found about rivers, estuaries, and marshes, often in the water. Other species of smaller dimensions inhabit drier localities ; one ( V. griseus) is found in the desert regions of North-western India. A single species of Chameleon inhabits the wooded regions of the Indian Peninsula and Ceylon ; but no representative of this typically African group is found to the east of the Bay of Bengal, nor even, so far as is known, in the Himalayas.


Snakes constitute more than half of the Indian Reptiles. Snakes. In many, perhaps in most, parts of India it would nevertheless be difficult to find more than about a dozen species, and these would need some searching for ; the large total is made up by a great number of local forms inhabiting particular localities. Thus, one whole family of small snakes, the Rough Tails (Uropeltidae), comprising seven genera and forty-two species, is peculiar to Southern India and Ceylon, and almost confined to the hill tracts. This is the only instance known of a family of snakes having so small a range. In fact, India is the only country in the world inhabited by all the known families of living snakes.

The Typhlopidae, thirteen species, are still smaller than the Uropeltidae, some of them almost resembling worms in appearance. One species (Typhlops braminus\ 7 inches long and \ to \ inch in diameter, is common, and is occasionally met with in large numbers in decayed wood. Passing over one or two other small groups, the next that deserves notice contains the largest living snakes.

This is the Boidae, to which Pythons and Boas belong. One species of Python (P. molurus] is found in parts of India, another (P. reticulatus} inhabits Burma and the Malay countries. The latter is the larger, and is said to grow to 30 feet in length ; P. molurus rarely exceeds 12 feet, though individuals up to 20 feet long have been recorded. Allied to the Boas are the genera Gongyhphis and Eryx % none of which much exceed 3 feet in length. They have very blunt tails, and one species (Eryx johnii) is commonly carried about by snake-charmers and exhibited as a two-headed snake, the tail being occasionally manipulated and furnished with glass eyes to assist in the delusion.

The great majority of Indian snakes, however 57 genera out of 78 and 200 species out of 286 belong to the family Colubridae, divided into three sections, the first comprising forms with solid teeth, the second including those with one or more of the posterior maxillary teeth grooved, and the third with the anterior maxillary teeth grooved or perforated. Snakes of the first section are harmless ; those of the second division are probably all slightly poisonous, but they are in no case dangerous to human life ; the third section includes some of the most poisonous snakes known. It should be added here that k is extremely difficult to distinguish a venomous snake from a harmless one except by the examina- tion of its teeth. All dangerous venomous snakes, whether belonging to the Colubrine family or not, have a perforated or grooved fang in front of all the other teeth on each side of the upper jaw, and this fang is almost always considerably elongate.

To the first section of Colubrine snakes and the sub-family Colubrinae belong a very large number of Indian species, of which the best known and commonest are the following. Lycodon aulicus, sometimes called the * carpet snake/ rarely exceeds 2 feet in length ; it is dark brown or blackish with, in general, whitish reticulation. This snake is often mistaken for the venomous karait, which is similarly marked, but which grows to a considerably larger size. The dhdman or Rat Snake (Zamenis mucosus\ the largest of the common snakes, often measures between 6 and 7 feet in length. This snake lives on small mammals, lizards and frogs, and is found throughout the Empire, while an allied species (Z. korros) inhabits Burma and the Eastern Indo-Malay region. Another and smaller Zamenis (Z. vtntrimaculatus] is perhaps the commonest snake in the dry regions of North-western India. Some of the species of Tropidonotus are also common, es- pecially the pretty little T. stolatus, which is particularly abundant in Bengal and Burma, and the larger T. piscator> generally found in or near water.

The second section of the Colubrine snakes, having one or more of the posterior maxillary teeth grooved, comprises three sub-families all represented in India. One of these, however, distinguished by the possession of gular teeth, contains a single rare species (Elachistodon westermanni)> of which hitherto only two specimens, both from Bengal, have been recorded. Of the other two sub-families, one, the Homalopsinae^ consists of water snakes, chiefly inhabiting estuaries, though some are found in large rivers and others in the sea. They are easily recognized by the position of their nostrils on the upper surface of the snout. The commonest kind is Cerberus rkynchops, which lives in the mud of estuaries and the coast, and feeds on fish. The other sub-family (Dipsadinae) contains several Indian snakes belonging to the genera Dipsadomorphus (Dipsas], Psammophis, Dryophis, Chrysopelea, and others, some of which are locally common. One of those most frequently seen is the very slender Dryophis mycterizans, sometimes called 'whip snake,' which is found in grass or bushes, twined among the stems.

The poisonous Colubrine snakes belong to two sub-families, the Hydrophiinae and the E/apinae. The Hydrophiinae are sea snakes, and are commonly seen swimming in the sea near the coast ; they abound all round India, and some kinds enter tidal streams. Some twenty-seven Indian species are known, but most of them are rare. The Elapinae include the Cobra (Naia tripudians), one of the commonest and most deadly of Indian snakes ; the larger Cobra or Hamadryas (N. bungarus) ; the karait (Bungarus candidus or caerulcus} ; and the raj-samp (JS. fasciatus). Cobras are found almost throughout the Empire, and are commonly three to four feet long, though individuals have been measured between five and six feet in length. The hood, formed by the expansion of the neck-skin, is characteristic of the species. The markings on the hood vary. In India generally the ' spectacle-mark/ two ocelli connected by a curved line, is the commonest ornament ; but in Bengal and Burma a single large ocellus, often imperfect, is the prevalent marking. Many individuals have the hood unmarked.

A black variety of the cobra is common in parts of the Himalayas and in the Malay Peninsula, but the colour is generally greyish-brown above, paler below. The Great Cobra, Hamadryas or Ophiophagus (N. bu?tgarus\ is a compara- tively rare snake, but more common in Burma than in India. It is often found twelve feet in length, sometimes even thirteen. The colour is olive-brown with darker or paler cross-bands ; the young are black with yellow rings.

This cobra feeds principally upon other snakes, and has the reputation of being excessively fierce and aggressive. The karait grows to about 4^ feet in length ; it is dark-brown or bluish-black above, reticulated with white streaks. The raj-samp or King-snake is larger, being frequently six feet or more in length, and is a very handsome snake banded alternately black and yellow. It, like the Great Cobra, lives upon other snakes. The karait is common in most parts of India but rare in Burma ; the raj-samp is met with very rarely in Southern India, more frequently in Bengal and Burma. Four other species of Bungarus are found in parts of India or Burma, and a few more venomous Colubrines are locally distributed.

These, however, are not the only poisonous Indian serpents, for there are also the Viperine snakes to be mentioned. These are the typical venomous forms with, as a rule, broad flat heads, and large canaliculate erectile fangs in front of the upper jaw. Representatives are found in India of the true Vipers (Vipcrinae) and also the Pit Vipers (Crotalinac).

Among the former, Russell's Viper (I'ipera russellii}, known also as Chain- viper and Cobra monil in Southern India, and as tic-pplonga in Ceylon, is the most important and dangerous ; it grows to about 4 feet in length, but it is considerably thicker than a cobra, and is handsomely marked with rows of large ocelli down the back and sides. It is a snake of very ^luggi.sh habits. The only other species of importance is Echis cannata, a small snake, rarely exceeding 2 feet in length, but very fierce and venomous. It is common in North-western India, where it is known as the Kappa, and in the Konkan ; less common in other parts of the Peninsula, and not found east of the Bay of Bengal.

The Crotaline sub-family or Pit Vipers, to which the American rattlesnakes belong, are distinguished by having a deep loreal pit between the nostril and the eye. The Indian representatives are two species of Ancistrodon (///>$), one found in the Hima- layas, the other in the Western Ghats and Ceylon, and ten species of Lachesis ( Trimcresurus), mostly confined to the hill fotests. Several of the latter are of a green colour and are arboreal in habit. Although they attain a length in some cases of 3 to 4 feet, none of them appears to cause death in man by their bite.


The Batrachians are divided into three Orders : (i) Ecaudata, or Frogs and Toads; (2) Caudata, or Newts and Salamanders; and (3) Apoda, or Caecilians. All are found in India, but the first alone is represented by numerous species.

Not only are the frogs and toads of India numerous the Ecaudata. number known in 1901 was 22 genera and 134 species but their distribution is of considerable interest. As in the case of the Reptilia, the Himalayan genera are few in number, only 6 being found in those mountains, and only one of these is peculiar to the area, while 14 genera occur in Peninsular India and Ceylon, and of these one half are not known to exist elsewhere. All of the peculiar forms inhabit the Malabar and Ceylon hills, which have perhaps the richest Ecaudate Batrachian Fauna in the world. In Burma with Assam 14 genera also occur, of which 7 are not found in Peninsular India or Ceylon.

The majority of the species belonging to the various genera are small and rare ; the number of kinds often met with is not great. Among the commonest is a small species of frog which is found all over the country about ponds and marshes, and which attracts attention by its peculiar habit, when alarmed, of jumping along the surface of the water. In books of natural history this habit is wrongly attributed to Rana tigrina^ a large frog with rather short webs to the toes ; but the jumper is really a much smaller species (R. cyano- phlyctis\ the body of which is from 2 to 2\ inches long and the toes fully webbed.

Another common small species, with half-webbed toes, and less aquatic than R. cyanophlyctis, is R. limnocharis. R. tigrina is a fairly common frog, measuring 6 inches in length ; it is often found at some distance from water, and is said occasionally to devour young ducks and chickens. Another frog that is not uncommon in Peninsular India and Ceylon is the 'Chunam frog ' of Madras (Rhacophorus maculatus). This is one of the frogs distinguished by having the tips of the fingers and toes expanded, an arrangement which, by increasing the power of the animal to cling to inclined or vertical surfaces, enables it to climb trees or rocks.

This expansion of the finger and toe-tips is also found in several Indian kinds of typical Rana, which is distinguished from Rhacophorus by wanting the intercalary ossification between the penultimate and distal phalanges of the digits characteristic of the latter. Another genus of tree-frogs well represented in the hills of Southern India and Ceylon, and distinguished from Rhacophorus by the want of vomerine teeth, is Ixalus, among the members of which some species, one of them occurring on the Nilgiris, have become well known by their * peculiar loud clear metallic tinkling call,' as Jerdon described it. The genus Ixalus is remarkable for its geographical distribution.

No less than fourteen species out of about twenty-five recorded are peculiar to Southern India and Ceylon, none are known to occur in the Indian Peninsula north of North Kanara (about 15 N. lat.), in Northern India or the Himalayas; the other species are Chinese, Burmese, or Malayan. Another extra- ordinary instance of distribution is afforded by Calluella guttu- lata, a small peculiarly marked species inhabiting Pegu and Tenasserim, as the whole of the family Dyscophidae, of which this species is a member, with this single exception, is peculiar to Madagascar. The genus Rhacophorus is also represented in Madagascar but not in Africa.

One species of true toad (Bufo mclanostictus) is common throughout India and Burma, and ascends the Himalayas to a considerable elevation. About fifteen other species of Bufo have been described from various parts of the Empire. Among the Batrachians somewhat resembling toads are the curious burrowing forms belonging to the genera Callula^ Cacopus, and Glyphoglossus, with heavy bodies and short limbs. They are but rarely seen, being nocturnal, and they are imperfectly known. They are said to live on ants and termites.


Caudata Of the tailed Batrachia, to which belong salamanders and newts, only a solitary representative is found within Indian limits. This is Tylototriton verrucosus, originally discovered in Yunnan, but afterwards found in the Eastern Himalayas of Sikkim.

Apoda, The curious worm-like, burrowing, apodous Batrachia, the

Caecilians, are rare, but their distribution in India is remark- able. The whole Order is irregularly but widely dispersed throughout the tropics, as is frequently the case with groups of animals that were formerly more fully developed and more generally distributed than they now are. Out of the sixteen genera known to exist, three genera, comprising among them five species, are found in British India. All of the species occur in the hills of Malabar, but only two of them, both belonging to one genus (Ichthyophis) y are found in other parts of the Indo-Malay region, such as Ceylon, the Eastern Himalayas, Burma, and Malaysia. In this case, as in some others, the richness of the Fauna inhabiting the Southern Indian hills is noteworthy.


In Day's two volumes, published in 1889, in the Fauna of British India, 351 genera and 1,418 species of fishes were enumerated. To those, 86 genera and 200 species were added by Alcock from the collections made by the Marine Survey steamer Investigator up to 1896, the additions consisting chiefly of deep-sea forms. A few more species have been recorded since. Of the whole, 79 genera and 361 species, mostly carps or siluroids, are fresh-water fishes, living in rivers, brooks, ponds, tanks, or marshes. Another large group of fishes inhabit the brackish water of estuaries, creeks, and lagoons; but it is a difficult task to distinguish estuarine types from the truly marine forms on one side, and from fluviatile species on the other. Some fishes are migratory, like the salmon and the common eel in Europe, and pass part of their existence in the sea, part in fresh water ; but the number of migratory species in India is not large, though certain kinds are of importance for food.

The fishes of India belong to two sub-classes, Chondro- pterygii or cartilaginous fishes, and Teleostii or bony fishes. Neither ganoids (Sturgeons, Dipnoans, &c.) nor Cyclostomata (Lampreys and Hags) inhabit Indian waters.

The highest Order, comprising the cartilaginous fishes, Chondro- consists chiefly of sharks, dog fishes, and rays or skates. P These forms abound in the Indian seas, and at least one shark (Carcharias gangcticus) and one or more rays belonging to the genus Trygon ascend the larger rivers far beyond the limits of the tide, rays occurring some hundreds of miles from the sea. All the common tropical sharks and rays are found on the Indian coasts, the most ferocious of the former belonging to the genera Carcharias (which comprises the Gangetic Shark) and Ga/eocerdo. The Hammer-headed Sharks (Zygaena), with their extraordinary *T '-shaped heads, are also greatly dreaded, and they are in places very common. The Saw Fishes (Pristidae), with the snout produced into a long flat lamina armed with strong teeth on each side, are said to use their * saws ' as offensive weapons, and are regarded as equally dangerous with the true sharks ; as some of them attain a length of 16 feet or more, they are formidable animals.

They are classed with the rays and skates. Of this group the commonest members in the Indian seas are the Sting-rays (Trygonidae), generally having a long whip-like tail armed above with one or sometimes two serrated spines. The great Eagle-rays, or 'devil-fish/ said to attain a breadth of 18 feet across, and other smaller forms, are occasionally captured on the Indian coast. The dried fins of both sharks and rays are exported to China, and the flesh of some species is eaten, chiefly by the poorer classes, while oil for commercial purposes is obtained from their livers.



The great majority of living fishes, both fluviatile and marine, are bony fishes, distinguished from the cartilaginous fishes by the more perfect ossification of their skeleton, especially of the vertebrae. The Teleosteans, as arranged by Day in the Fauna of British India, comprise five Orders, Physostomi, Acantho- pterygii, Anacanthini^ Lophobranchii, and Plectognathi.

In the first Order the fin rays are articulated and not spinose, with the occasional exception of the first rays in the dorsal and pectoral fins. The ventral fins are spineless and are 'abdominal,' being situated behind the pectoral fins. Several important families are included, and among them the two 4 to which most of the Indian fresh-water fishes belong.

Two of the families consist of eels, the Symbranchidae and the Muraenidae. To the former belong three Indian species inhabiting fresh and brackish water ; the latter, which are distinguished from the former by anatomical characters, and which include the Common Eel of Europe, the Conger, and the Muraenas, are represented by one Indian fresh-water eel belonging to the same genus (Anguil/a) as the European species, and by many marine forms of several generic types. Some of these grow to ro feet in length or even longer, while several of the true Muraenas, which inhabit rocky shores, are beautifully coloured, being spotted or banded. The fresh-water fish most commonly known as an eel in India, the Alastacem- belus or Spiny Eel, is an Acanthopterygian.

The Siluridae or Cat-fishes are represented in India by thirty-two genera containing 117 species. Most of these inhabit fresh water, and are chiefly found in muddy rivers ; a few, however, occur in rapid mountain streams. Several are found in estuaries, and species of Arius with a few other kinds are marine. All are scaleless fishes, and the majority have large heads furnished with feelers or barbels ; in very many forms the dorsal and pectoral fins are each preceded by a strong osseous spine, which is sometimes venomous. A few species attain a large size. Wallago attu and the gunch (JBagarius yarrellii) both grow to a length of 6 feet; the latter is sometimes spoken of as the ' fresh-water shark/ A few kinds are good eating, one of the best being the/a/?a or Butterfish (Callichrous\ but the majority are poor and coarse.

The Carps (Cyprinidae) are even more numerous than the Siluroids, for in Day's account of the Indian fishes no fewer than 36 genera and 230 species are enumerated; of these 9 genera and 46 species belong to the Cobitidinae or Loaches. It is very doubtful, howevfer, whether some of the forms which have received names among both the carps and the cat-fishes are entitled to specific distinction. The Cyprinoids are exclusively inhabitants of fresh water. Nearly all are covered with scales ; the mouth in all is toothless, but pharyngeal teeth exist in the throat. All carps are edible, and many are well flavoured, although a considerable proportion are bony.

Among the best-known Indian carps are the rohu or rohi (Labeo rohi fa) and the catla (Catla buchanani\ both common in Northern India but wanting in the south. Both grow to a large size in tanks, the catla having been known to attain a length of 6 feet. Other species of Labeo abound in all streams, and some of them may be known by their dark colour.

The next carp to be mentioned is Barbus tor, the famous mahseer (?ma/hi~sir, or big head), found in all rapid streams, and grow- ing certainly to 60 or 70 Ib. weight, and according to some accounts to 90 Ib. Sonic other allied species of Barbus are known from parts of India, and are equally distinguished by the sport they afford to anglers. Other inhabitants of mountain streams belong to the genus Barilius ; several of the species are spotted and have many of the habits of trout. They are common in Kashmir and along the Western Ghats, and are often called 'trout' by sportsmen. Small carp inhabit all streams and rivers in great numbers; some of the best known are called chilwa (Chela, Aspidoparid).

No Salmonidae (salmon, trout, char, grayling, smelts) are known in India or Burma ; the nearest locality where any Salmonoid occurs is north of Afghanistan in the upper tributaries of the Oxus.

The Herring family (Clupeidae) are well represented in Indian seas, and to this family belongs the most important species of migratory Indian fish. This is the hi/sa of Bengal, 'Sable fish' of Southern India, and Talla' of the Indus (Clupta ilisha), a true shad, closely allied to the Alike Shad of Europe, and bearing, curiously enough, the same name, for there can be little question that the words Ilisha and Allice Shad are identical in origin. The Indian fish, it may be mentioned, is more finely flavoured than its European relative. Another species of herring (C. longiceps) is the * oil-sardine' of the Malabar Coast, largely used in the production of fish oil. Several species of Anchovy (Engraulis) also occur on the Indian coasts and in the estuaries, and are largely salted for consumption.

The remaining families of Physostomi are less important. The Notopteridae, very compressed fish, with the anal and caudal fins confluent, and rudimentary ventrals, contain two fresh-water species only. To the Scopelidae belongs Harpodon neAtreus, known in the dried state as Bummaloh or * Bombay duck/ which abounds in parts of the Indian coast, but, as Giinther points out, has the appearance of a deep-sea form, like many other members of the family Scopelidae.

A second species (H. squamosus} has been described from a depth of about 250 fathoms in the Bay of Bengal by Wood-Mason and Alcock, and has quite recently been obtained in the Arabian Sea. The Cyprinodontidae are small fishes inhabiting the sea, brackish and fresh water ; five species are Indian. The Scom- bresocidae comprise the Gar-pikes (Betone\ with six Indian species, one of them fluviatile; the * Half-beaks' {Htmirhamphus\ which are Gar fish with the lower jaw elongated and the upper short, and include thirteen species, some of them estuarine ; and seven species of flying fishes (Exocotus\ which abound in the open sea.


In the next Order, which comprises the large majority of marine fishes, part of the rays in the dorsal, anal, and ventral fins are spiny and not articulated. The families are numerous, and only the more important need be noticed.

The Perch family (Percidae) is one of the largest, 30 genera and 1 68 species being referred to it from Indian waters. The fresh-water Perch of Europe is not represented, but a genus of small, much compressed, semi-transparent fishes called Ambassis is represented in Indian rivers by several species. One of the most valuable food fishes of this family is the estuarine kind called bcgti in Bengal (Lates calcarifer), which grows to a weight of 200 Ib. Then there are many sea perches of the genera Strranus, Lutjanus, and their allies, most of which are eaten, though they vary greatly in flavour. Some are beautifully coloured, but in this they are surpassed by members of the next family (Squamipinnes), curiously shaped compressed fishes as high as they are long. One of these {Heniochus macrolepidotus) is crossed diagonally by broad curved bands alternately rich-blue and orange. Of course these brilliant colours disappear with the life of the fish.

To the Mullidae, of which the type is the Red Mullet of Europe (Mullus barbatus)^ are referred fourteen fishes found in the Indian seas; but they are held in no estimation by Europeans, although, as they are all near allies of the far- famed European fish, some of them are probably excellent eating. It may, however, be noted that Anglo-Indians are generally very imperfectly acquainted with Indian fishes and especially with marine species.

The Sparidae, or Sea Breams, and Cirrhitidae comprise several edible fishes, especially the members of the genus Chrysophrys, one of which (C. berda) is known in parts of the Madras Presidency as 'Black Rock Cod.' The Scorpaenidae are very spiny fishes with large heads. The Indian forms are but little eaten ; among them are Synanceia and its allies, fishes of a repulsive aspect, and justly dreaded on account of the venomous dorsal spines, each of which is grooved and has a small poison-bag attached.

The Nandidae are a small family with one marine genus (Plesiops] and three fresh-water genera (Badis, Nandus, and Pristolepis), small perch-shaped fishes, peculiar to India and South-eastern Asia. Passing over the less important Teu- thididae, Berycidae, and Kurtidae, the Polynemidae are the next family requiring notice. The Indian representatives consist of eight species belonging to the genus Polynemus, distinguished by having lengthened free rays below the pectoral fins. Several of the species enter estuaries, especially P. paradiseus, the Mango-fish or tapsi macfuhi of Bengal, one of the most delicious fishes known, which ascends tidal rivers in Bengal and Burma during the south-west monsoon. It is a small fish, not exceeding about 9 inches in length ; but P. indicus attains 4 feet and P. tttradactylus 6 feet or more. Both enter the mouths of rivers, and both are excellent eating. From the air- bladder of the former isinglass is prepared.

The family Sciaenidae contains several species of the genera Umbrind) Sciaena, Sciaenoides, and Otolithus. Many of these haunt estuaries, and one or two ascend rivers above tidal waters ; nearly all are good to eat, and all furnish isinglass, which is prepared in large quantities from their air-bladders. Of the Xiphiidae or Sword-fishes three species of Histiophorus have been obtained on the Coromandel coast, where the large H. g/adius is common in the cold season. The Scabbard-fishes (Trichiuridae) and Lancet-fishes (Acanthuridae) are common, hut of no great importance ; but the Carangidae, containing the Horse-mackerels (Caranx) and their allies, are among the most important food fishes of the Indian seas, on account of their abundance and the excellence of their flesh. Besides twenty-six Indian species of Caranx, the Pilot-fish (Naucrates ductor\ well-known as an attendant on sharks, and the remark- able genus Platax, the members of which are known as * Sea- bats ' on account of their peculiar deep compressed form and their enormously developed and pointed dorsal and anal fins, belong to the Carangidae.

The family Stromateidae contains the Pomfrets, which

approach Platax in shape. The three Indian species are

highly esteemed as food. The commonest species (Stromatcus

anereus) is known as 'Silver Pomfret* when young and as

'Gray Pomfret* when adult. The White Pomfret (S. sintnsis]

is regarded as even superior in flavour. The so-called Dolphins

(Coryphaenidae) are common at times on the Coromandel

coast. The Mackerel family (Scombridae) contains several

well-known and valuable Indian fishes, among which are

three species of true Mackerel (Scomber}, the Tunny (Thynnus\

the Bonito ( 7! pelamys\ and Seer fishes (Cybium\ all excellent

food either fresh or salted. The Tunny of the Indian seas is

identical with the famous Mediterranean fish.

Amongst the next families recorded in the Fishes of India the only form worthy of notice is Sillago sihama, known as ' Whiting ' in Madras, which is a member of the Trachinidae. In Calcutta the fish known as ' Whiting' is Sciaenoides pama^ a species of the Sciaenidae. Neither has any affinity to the whiting of Western Europe, which is a member of the cod family.

The 'Anglers' or 'Fishing Frogs' (Pediculati) are well represented, and several additional species have lately been described from the collections of the Marine Survey steamer Investigator. Gobies (Gobiidae) abound on the shores of the sea, several occurring in fresh and brackish water. All are small. Among them the peculiar ' mud-skippers ' (Pcrioph- thalmus and I)oleophthalmus\ small fishes 3 to 8 inches long, with blunt heads and prominent eyes, are common in all estuaries, living chiefly on the mud between tidemarks, and moving by a series of jumps along the surface. 'Dragonets' (Callionymidae) and Blennies (Blenniidae) are other shore fishes, mostly of small size. The Rhynchobdellidae are the Spiny Eels (Rhynchobdtlla and Mastactmbelus\ common in the rivers and estuaries of India and Burma, and easily distin- guished from true eels by their spiny fins. They are excellent to eat. The Sphyraenidae are large voracious fishes, some- times known as ' Barracudas/ and dreaded almost as greatly as sharks are. The Atherinidae are small fishes resembling smelts ; they are often captured for food in large numbers. Grey Mullets /Mugilidae), of which numerous species occur in all Indian seas and estuaries, and even in some cases in fresh water, are also extensively caught and eaten.

Several species of Ophiocephatus (Ophiocephalidae), called Murrel in Northern India, are found throughout India and Burma, inhabiting rivers, ponds, and marshes. All have peculiar flattish, snake-like heads. They take live bait, especially a frog, freely, and are good to eat. They have a bronchial cavity, by means of which the blood is oxygenated directly. They gain access to the air by rising to the top of the water if necessary, or by lying on the surface. They die if unable to obtain air. On the other hand they can live for a long time out of water ; and they form one of the kinds of fish which exist in dried mud throughout the hot season, and recover when the pond or marsh which had dried up is again flooded in the monsoon.

The Climbing Perch (Anabas scandens] and its allies {Poly- acanthus and Trichogaster\ belonging to the Labyrinthici, are common in the lower plains of India and Burma, and possess the power of living without water to an even greater extent than the Ophioccphali, as their accessory bronchial cavity is more complicated and contains a peculiar laminated organ. Anabas and its allies are small fish. The 'Gourami' (Osphromenus o/fax) of the Malay Archipelago, which belongs to the same family and has a reputation for delicacy of flavour, attains to a considerable size.

Glyphidodontidae and Labridae are two families of marine fishes found chiefly about corals and rocks. They are con- sequently not common on the Indian coasts, which are for the most part sandy or muddy ; but many species occur on the shores of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. The general form is percoid, and many of the species are brilliantly coloured.

The last Acanthopterygian family (Chromididae) consists of African and South American fresh water fishes, of which repre- sentatives are found in two Asiatic localities only, the Jordan Valley in Palestine and Southern India with Ceylon. In India three species are found, belonging to the genus Etroplus, one of them ranging as far north as Orissa, and being found both in fresh and in brackish water. A closely allied genus (farctroplus) occurs in Madagascar.

The only important families in the next Order are the Gadidae Anacan- and Pleuronectidae. The first contains cod, haddock, whiting, thini - ling, hake, and other important food fishes of the North Atlantic, but is represented in the Indian Ocean only by a small pelagic type (Brcgmaceros macckllandi\ A nearly allied family (Macruridae), not recorded from Indian seas when Day's Fishes of India was published, is now represented by twenty species obtained from depths between 100 and 1,400 iathoms. Sixteen species have also been obtained from deep water of another family (Ophidiidae), of which previously only five were known from the seas of India.

The Pleuronectidae, or Flat Fishes, are numerous ; for in addition to the thirty-nine species enumerated by Day, no less than thirty additional forms have been obtained by the Investi- gator's researches. But although several are eaten, none of the species have the high repute attaching to the sole and turbot of the North Atlantic.


The Pipe-fishes and Sea-horses are so unlike ordinary fishes brancbiL that it is not easy at first to recognize their affinities. They are encased in a dermal skeleton, and their gills are not laminated but composed of rounded tufts, while the gill open- ings are very small. The members of the genus Hippocampus have prehensile tails, and attach themselves to seaweed. All are very poor swimmers. Several species are found in Indian seas.


The ' File-fishes/ * Globe-fishes/ and their allies are also we n represented in the seas of India, and one or two species of Tetrodon are found in rivers. Most of the genera are more or less globose in form ; and Tetrodon has the power of blowing itself out into a ball when removed from the water, thus erect- ing its dermal spines. The Sea Hedgehog (Diodori] bears far larger and stronger spines, and adopts the same method of raising them. The flesh of several species, both of file-fishes like Batistes and of Tetrodon, is poisonous ; but certain kinds are eaten by the Burmese and Andamanese.

In conclusion, it should be mentioned that the Lancelet (Branchiostoma or Amphioxus\ the lowest of fishes, without head or brain, and placed by many naturalists in a distinct class, is not uncommon in the seas around India. It is in fact almost cosmopolitan.


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