Above brown; throat and front of the neck reddish white, bounded by a black line: tail very much forked.
G. Pratincola, Leach in Linn. Tram: vol. xiii. p. 131. pl. 12. G. torquata, Temm. Man. d'Orn. torn. ii. p. 500. Collared Pratincole, Selb. Illufii. vol.ii. p. 213. parti, pl. 63. Austrian Pratincole, Mont. Orn. Diet. Supp. with fig.
Entire length ten inches. Mont.
(Adult). All the upper parts brown, more or less inclining to gray, occasionally with a reddish tinge on the crown and nape; back and scapulars with faint reflections of greenish bronze: throat and front of the neck reddish or yellowish white, bounded by a black line passing upwards to the corners of the bill; space between the bill and the eye black; breast clouded with brown; under wing-coverts bright ferruginous; belly, abdomen, upper and under tail-coverts, white, the two former sometimes tinged with reddish: quills dusky brown: tail very much forked, dusky, with more or less of white at the base: bill black, the base reddish: irides reddish brown: eyes surrounded by a naked red circle: legs rufous brown. (Young). Upper parts cinereous brown, shaded with brown of a darker tint; the feathers edged with reddish white: throat whitish, the surrounding black line simply indicated by a few spots: breast and belly deep gray, occasionally spotted with brown: tail but little forked; the outer feathers much shorter than in the adult bird. Obs. This species is subject to considerable variation of plumage: the colours are more or less intense even in individuals of the same age. (Egg). White: long. diam. one inch two lines; trans, diam. ten lines.
This species, which is a native of some parts of Europe and Asia, must in this country be regarded as an extremely rare and accidental visitant. The first recorded British-killed specimen was shot near Liverpool on the 18th of Mav 1804, and is now in the collection of Lord Derby. A second crex] aves grallatores. 217 individual was killed by Mr Bullock in the Isle of Unst, about three miles from the northern extremity of Britain, on the 16th of August 1812. More recently (May 1827) a pair are recorded to have been shot on the Breydon-wall, Yarmouth*. Said to frequent the banks of rivers, lakes, inland seas, and extensive marshes. Builds in the reeds and other thick herbage growing in such situations. Lays three or four eggs. Flight extremely rapid. Food, principally insects, which are taken on the wing.