Birds – The Indian Bustard

(E. edwardsii) is a little smaller than the Rod and differs, among other points, in having the greater wing-coverts ashy black, with a terminal white spot, instead of white, freckled with black. This species, according to Hume, is common throughout the drier, wilder, and more barren portions of central India and the Punjab, congregating during the rainy season in small flocks. Its favorite food consists of grasshoppers, but it also eats various seeds and fruits. During the breeding season the males display themselves before the females in a manner not unlike that described for the various other species, puffing out the throat, until “he seems to have a huge bag of feathers hanging down between his legs, which wabbles about while he struts here and there, with wings partly unclosed, and occasional sharp snappings of his bill.” The nest is a slight depression in the ground, and unlined or thinly lined with a few blades of grass. Hume thinks that but a single egg is laid, since out of a hundred specimens two were never found side by side, although sometimes within a yard or two of each other, these he thinks belonging to different birds.

Still smaller and slightly darker is the Australian Bustard (E. australis), which is the native Turkey of the Swan River colonists. It is a fine-appearing bird, “and,” says Gould, “when seen at freedom slowly stalking over its native plains, no Australian bird, except the Emeu, is so majestic, or assumes in its carriage so great an air of independence.”