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Full text of "Indian pigeons and doves"

FOR THE PEOPLE 

FOK EDVCATION 

FOR SCIENCE 




^Ujl^'; 



:3^ 




INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 



/ 




THE ASHY-HEADED GREEN PlGEON-05A!0/«i7eOA' P. fHAYHEl 

^^ Nat. Size— Male on right, female on left.) p„„„.^,«p,pr.p 



INDIAN PIGEONS 

'^ AND 

DOVES 



BY 



E^ C. STUART BAKER 

'(rJ F.Z.S., F.L.S., M.B.o.rr. 
Avihor of "Indian Dttoks and their Allies." 



WITH TWENTY-SEVEN COLOURED PLATES FROM DRAWINGS BY 
H. GRONVOLD and G. E. LODGE. 



WITHERBY & CO. 

326 HIGH HOLBORN, LONDON 
1913 






Printed br WITHBUBY & CO. 
St their Printing Press in 
Middle Row Place, London 



"il-lfO^bO -Cct^^ 



PREFACE. 

My reasons for writing a volume upon our Indian Pigeons and Dovea 
are several, and I trust will be deemed sufiBcient by my readers. 

In the first place, there has as yet been no book published which 
deals with these most beautiful birds from the point of view of the 
Sportsman and Field-Naturalist as well as from that of the Scientific 
or Museiun -Naturalist, and as this is a gap in the records of our 
Indian Avifauna which badly needs filling, I may be forgiven for trying 
to bridge it. Skins — as skins — are, without doubt, full of interest, 
and especially so, perhaps, when the person studying them is more or 
less intimate with the life-histories of the birds themselves ; but Pigeons 
are well worthy of study in ways other than by dry skins. To the 
Field-Naturalist they are birds full of interest ; to the Aviculturist 
they are birds more charming and worthy of culture than has hitherto 
been generally admitted, and to the Sportsman they offer an object 
well worthy of attention, for he must have a quick eye, a sure hand, 
and considerable perseverance and patience before he has mastered 
their habits and is able to find them and, when foimd, bring them 
to bag. 

Books referring to Pigeons and Doves, of course, aboimd ; but 
they are difBcult of access and expensive to purchase. Volume XXI 
of the Catalogue of Birds in the British Museum, by Count Salvadori, 
is the standard work on these birds ; but one does not want twenty- 
seven volumes of a work, at a cost of something well over fifty 
pounds, for the sake of Pigeons only. 

In the same way, Blanford's Vol. IV of the Avifauna of British 
India deals with this family very thoroughly ; but the volimie is one 
of foiu", and contains much matter besides such as refers to the birds 
we are now considering ; and, moreover, it tells us but little about the 
Pigeon itself, except as a museum-specimen. Jerdon contains rather 
fuller accoimts, but, wonderful book as this still is, it was written 
nearly sixty years ago, and cannot but be somewhat out of date, aa 
well as being difficult to obtain. Hume's volumes of Stray Feathers 
have odd notes full of interest when one can find them, and in the same 



vi INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

way many other Natural History journals have references to Pigeons, 
but they also are scattered and difficult to find. Finally, so many 
of my friends and others have asked me to write a book on the Indian 
Pigeons, that I think there must be some groimds for hoping that 
a volume upon them wiU be kindly received. 

From a scientific point of view it is probable that this book will 
undergo considerable criticism, for it introduces for the first time 
into India the trinominal system — that is to say, the system which 
recognises subspecies. But India is essentially a country in which 
we find such a system necessary : for the variations in climate are so 
great, according to elevation, hvunidity, etc., that the same species 
in different locahties are bound to imdergo some degree of evolution 
which shall render them suitable to their surroundings. On the 
other hand, the variations so caused — ^though constant in definite areas 
— are often iodeterminate in the country which links these areas 
together, and which is itself often intermediate in character. Then 
again we find in India parallel evolution going on in districts very far 
apart. For instance, the httle Bustard-Quail (Turnix taijoor) in the 
dry area of Southern Burma nearly approaches the same form as that 
found in the drier portions of Central India. So too, with our Pigeons : 
we find our very first bird, the Bengal Green Pigeon, having well- 
defined variations occurring both in Burma and in Southern India, 
yet in the intervening countries many birds cannot be placed with 
certainty under either form. 

It would appear, also, that Pigeons and Doves are birds very 
susceptible to climatic variations, for we known that Beebe, one of 
the leading American Ornithologists, has obtained different specific 
phases of plumage in the same identical individual by merely trans- 
ferring it from a very dry area to others more and yet more 
humid. 

Grcographical variations I therefore accept as sufficient reason 
for the creation of subspecies as long as they are constant within a 
given area, though intermediate areas may be inhabited by inter- 
mediate forms. 

Broadly speaking, in giving geographical forms the status of sub- 
species, I have acted upon the following lines : When I have found 
differences in the plumage or in the size of birds, inhabiting different 
areas, which are quite plain to anyone's observation, I accept them as 



PREFACE vii 

constituting good species or subspecies, the former if they are not 
linked to one another by individuals which are intermediate, the latter 
if they are so linked. At the same time I have not gone out of my 
way to himt for minute differences in tint or in measurements, but 
have merely admitted them when they are too plain to be over- 
looked. 

In regard to nomenclature I have accepted the rules laid down 
by the latest International Zoological Congress and take my names 
according to strict priority and with effect from the date of the tenth 
edition of Linnaeus. 

In following accepted rules it is impossible to avoid tautonomy : 
I am therefore compelled to show the bird first described of the 
various subspecies with its specific name duphcated. Thus it is 
imperative to name the Bengal Green Pigeon Crocopus phvenicopterus 
phoenicopterus, instead of C. p. typicus, and the geographical variations 
or subspecies must be called C. p. viridifrons and C. p. chlorogaster. 

In classification generally I have adhered as closely as possible 
to that of Blanford in the Fauna of British India series, though this 
is, to some extent, altered by the use of the trinomial system and by 
the fact that a few other forms have had to be added to his list. 

An attempt has been made in the following chapters to collate, 
as far as possible, all information recorded up to date, and to add as 
many sporting and field notes as have been obtainable, together with 
a certain amount of original matter. Original matter, however, of 
this nature is very hard to obtain before a book is written, but it is 
to be hoped that once written and published readers will not be slow 
to become writers also and to add their quota of knowledge to that 
which has been previously recorded, whilst others may well be able 
to show where the present volume is incomplete or incorrect. 

The total number of species and subspecies dealt with in this 
work is fifty-one, Blanford having recognized forty-five of them as 
good species. 

The books referred to in the list of synonyms do not include all 
works of reference, for, as far as possible, only those have been 
noted which refer to the birds as occurring in India, with the addition 
from time to time of those which contain matter of importance to 
readers in India, such as the book in which the bird itself, or any- 
thing of importance concerning it, is first mentioned or described ; 



viii INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

references to the Ibis, the Zoological Proceedings, etc., have nearly all 
been omitted. On the other hand, as far as possible, full references have 
been given to Stray Feathers, the Asiatic Society's Records, the Bombay 
Natural History Society's Jourruil, and other Indian pubUcations. 

My thanks are especially due to Mr. OgUvie-Grant and the Staff 
of the Bird Section of the British Museum, for the use of the Bird" 
room and access to the skins therein, as well as for the constant 
courtesy shown me and help rendered, without which this book could 
never have been written. 

Finally, an apology is due to my readers for the egoism in the 
whole programme, but it is difficult to avoid this when writing upon 
a family of birds about which so little has as yet been recorded 
from a Sportsman's point of view. 

E. C. S. B. 



CONTENTS. 

PAOB 

Preface v 

List of Plates xi 

BlBLIOGEAPHY xiii 

1. BengaA GTeen Pigeon (Crocoptts phoenicopterus phoenicopterus) ... 7 

2. Buimese Green "Pigeon {Crocoptisphoemcopterusviridifrons) ... ... 18 

3. Southern Green Pigeon {Crocopus phoenicopterus cMorogaster) ... 21 

4. Ashy-headed Green Pigeon [Osmotreron pompadora phayrei) ... ... 27 

5. Grey-iionted Green Pigeon (Osmotreron pompadwa a/finis) ... ... 37 

6. Pompadour Green Pigeon (Osmotreron pompadora pompadora) ... 40 

7. Andamanese Green Pigeon (Osmotreron pompadora chloroptera) ... 43 

8. Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon (Osmotreron /mZotcoWjs) ... ... 46 

9. Orange-breasted Green Pigeon (Osmo/rerow 6ismc<a domOTHw) ... 49 

10. Lesser Grange-breasted Green Pigeon (Osmotreron hisincta bisincta) ... 56 

11. Pink-necked Green Pigeon (OsTOOirerow vermaws) ... ... ... 59 

12. Large Thick-billed Green Pigeon (5M<rerom cape&V) ... ... ... 64 

13. Thick-billed Green Pigeon (Trerow wipaZeTJsts) 66 

14. Pin- tailed Green Pigeon ((SpAewocercMs apjca«<ia) ... ... ... 72 

15. Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon (<Sj3^e?i.ocercMS spAewwra) ... ... ... 80 

16. Green Imperial Pigeon (CarpopAagra aeweo aemea) ... ... ... 91 

17. Nicobar Imperial Pigeon (Car^JopAagra aewea jwsMZarts) ... ... 97 

18. Hodgson's Imperial Pigeon (DmcmZo t«s«srms jMSjgrms) ... ... 100 

19. Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon (Dmcm^o »?is»g'm5 gnseica^M'/fef) ... ... 104 

20. Jerdon's Imperial Pigeon (DiicwZa «nsjj?ijs cwpreo) ... ... ... 106 

21. Pied Imperial Pigeon (i/yris/jcjzjora fttco/or) 110 

22. Nicobar Pigeon (Ca?ae»Mss wico&ar»ca) ... ... ... ... ... 114 

23. Bronze-winged or Emerald Dove (Chalcophaps indica) 121 

24. Blue Rock-Pigeon (CoZwrnfea Zma /»i;ja) ... ... ... ... ... 130 

25. Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon (Columha livia intermedia) ... ... ... 135 

26. Blue Hill-Pigeon (CoZwrnfea rMpes<r»s) ... ... ... ... ... 144 

27. Eastern Stock-Pigeon (Columha oenas eversmanni) ... ... ... 148 

28. ^now-Pigeon (Columha leuconota) ... ... ... ... ... 152 

29. Speckled Wood-Pigeon (Dendrotreron hodgsoni) ... ... ... 156 

30. Eastern Wood-Pigeon, Ring-Dove, or Cushat (Palumbus palumbus 

casiotis) 160 

31. Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon (Alsocomus elphinstonii) 164 



INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 



32. Ceylon Wood-Pigeon (Alsocomus torringtonii) ... ... ... ... 168 

33. Ashy Wood-Tigeon (Alsocomiis pulckricollis) ... ... ... ... 172 

34. Purple Wood-Pigeon (^feocowiMs panice-iw) ... ... ... ... 176 

35. Andamanese Wood-Pigeon (Alsoconms palumboides) ... ... ... 180 

36. TuTt\e-Dove {Streptopelia turtur turtur) ... ... ... ... ... 186 

37. "PeTsiein TxiTtle-Dove {Streptopelia turtur arenicola) ... ... ... 188 

38. Indian Rufous Turtle-Dove, or Sykes's Turtle-Dove {Streptopelia 

turtur meena) ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 190 

39. Hiuiona Turtle-Dove {Streptopelia turtur orientalis) ... ... ... 196 

40. IndisbnTuiUe-Do-ve {Streptopelia turtur ferrago) ... ... ... 199 

41. Sjpotted Dove {Streptopelia suratensis suratensis) ... ... ... 203 

42. Malay or Burmese Spotted Dove {Streptopelia suratensis tigrina) ... 210 

43. Little Brown Dove {Streptopelia carribayensis) ... ... 214 

44. \nd\?in^mg-Dove {Streptopelia risoria risoria) ... ... ... 219 

45. Burmese Ring-Dove {Streptopelia risoria xanthocycla) ... ... 225 

46. Indi&n Red Turtle-Dove {Oenopopelia tranquebarica tranquebaricM) ... 229 

47. Burmese Red Turtle-Dove {Oenopopelia tranquebarica humilis) ... 234 

48. 'Bar-tsiiled Cudkoo-Dove {Macropygia tu^alia) ... ... ... ... 238 

49. Andaman Guckoo-Dove {Macropygia rufipennis) ... ... ... 244 

50. Little Malay Cuckoo-Dove (il/acrop2/?»« '■M^ceps) ... ... ... 248 

51. Barred Ground-Dove (G'copdjo sinata) ... ... ... ... ... 254 

Index 257 



LIST OF PLATES. 



Osmoireron p. phayrei (Ashy-headed Green Pigeon) (Frontispiece) 



TO FACE 
PAGE 



1. Crocopus ph. viridifrons {Burmese Green 'Pigeon) ... ... ... 18 

2. Osmotreron fulvicollis (Cmnamon-headed Green Pigeon) ... ... 46 

3. OsTTW^rerow 6. ftistwcia (Lesser Orange-breasted Green Pigeon) ... 56 

4. Btt^rerore capeW« (Large Thick-billed Green Pigeon) 64 

5. TreroM wjjraZewsis (Thick-billed Green Pigeon) 66 

6. Sphenocercus apicauda (Pin-tailed Green Pigeon) 72 

7. Carpophaga a. aenea (Green Imperial Pigeon) 91 

8. Ducida i. griseicapilla (Grey-headed Imperial Pigeon) ... ... 104 

9. Myristicivora hicolor (Pied Imperial Pigeon) ... 110 

10. Calaenas nicobarica (Nicobar Pigeon) ... ... ... ... 114 

11. Chalcophaps indica (Bronze-winged Dove) ... ... ... ... 121 

12. Columba rupestris (Blue Hill-Pigeon) ... ... ... ... 144 

13. Columba o. eversmanni (Eastern Stock-Pigeon) ... 148 

14. Columba leuconoia (Snow-Pigeon) ... ... ... ... ... 152 

15. Dewrfro/reroji Ao<f^.sont (Speckled Wood-Pigeon) ... ... ... 156 

16. Palumbua p. casiotis (Eastern Wood-Pigeon^ ... ... ... 160 

17. Alsocomus pulchricollis (Ashy Wood-Pigeon) ... 172 

18. Alsocomus puniceus (PwrpleWoodi-Vigeovi) ... ... 176 

19. ^isocoTOiAS poZMm&otfias (Andamanese Wood-Pigeon) ... ... 180 

20. (S^reptopeZta i. wieena (Indian Rufous Turtle-Dove) 190 

21. <S<reptopeKa s. %n7ia (Malay Spotted Dove) 210 

22. Streptopeliacambayensis (Little Br ov.-n Dove) 214 

23. OeTwpopeZia <. ^m«m7js (Burmese Red Turtle-Dove) 234 

24. Macropygia tusalia (Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove} ... ... ... 238 

25. i[facrop2/gta rM^pemwjs (Andaman Cuckoo-Dove) ... 244 

26. Geopeita strtato (Barred Ground-Dove) 254 



BIBLIOGRAPHY. 



The following is a list of the principal works herein referred to, and 
explains the abbreviations used. 

AiTKEN (E. H.) : The Common Birds of Bombay, 
a reprint of papers published in The Times 
of India. 

of Natural History 



Aitken, Com. B. Bom. 



Ann. Mag. N.H. 
Barnes, B. Bom. 
Blanf., Avi. Brit. I. 

Blanf., E. Persia 

Bp., Con. Av. 

Blyth, Cal. J.N.H. 

BIyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B. 

Blyth, J.A.S.B. 

Blyth and Wald., B. Burma 

Briss., Om. 

Everett, J.S.B.A.S. 

Gm., Syst. Nat. 
Gray, List Gall. B.M. 

Gray, in Griff. An. Eangd. 



Annals and Magazine 
(1841-1913). 

Baekes (H. D.) : Handbook of the Birds of 
the Bombay Presidency (1885). 

Blanford (W. T.) : Fauna of British India, 
including Ceylon and Burma ; Birds, Vols. 
I-rV (1889-98). 

Blanford (W. T.): Eastern Persia; Vols. I 
and II, Journeys of the Persian Boundary 
Commission, 1870-71-72 (1876). 

Bonaparte (Minee Charles Luoien) : Con- 
spectus Generum Avium (1850-57). 

Blyth (E.), in the Calcutta Journal of Natura 
History (1841-46). 

Blyth's Catalogue of the Birds in the Museum 
of the Asiatic Society (1849). 

Blyth (E.) : Journal of the Asiatic Society of 
Bengal, 1832-1913. 

Blyth (E.) : Catalogue of Mammals and Birds 
of Burma (1875) ; reprint from the Journal 
of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 

Beisson 
(1760). 

Everett (A.) : Journal Straits Branch of the 
Royal Asiatic Society, No. 20 (1889). 

Gmelin : Systema Naturae (1788). 

Gray (George Roberts) : List of the Speci- 
mens of Birds in the Collection of the British 
Museum, Part III — Gallinae (1844). 

Gray (J. E.) Griffin (E.) : The Animal 
Kingdom {1821-35). 



(M. J.) : Ornithologia, Vols. I-VI 



XIV 



INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 



Gray, Cat. Hodg. CoU. B.M. 
2nd ed. 



Gray and Hard. 

Harington, B. Burma 
Hodg., As. Res. 

Hume, Cat. 

Hume, Nests and Eggs 

Hume and Hen., Lah. to 

Yark. 

Jerdon, 111. Om. 

Jerdon, B.I. 

Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S. 

J.A.S.B. 

J.B.N.H.S. 

Lath., Ind. Om. 
Lath., Syn. 

Legge, B. Cey. 

Linn., Mant. 
Linn, Syst. Nat. 

Oates, B. Burma 

Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M. 



Gray (J. E.) : Catalogue of the Specimens and 
Drawings of Mammals, Birds, Reptiles and 
Fishes of Nepal and Tibet, 2nd ed. (1863). 

Gray (J. E.): Illustrations of Indian Zoology, 
chiefly selected from the collection of Major 
General Hardu-icke, Vols. I-XII (1830-34). 

Haeington (Major H. H.) : The Birds of 
Burma (1909). 

Hodgson (B. H.): Asiatic Researches 1836, 
or Transactions of the Society instituted in 
Bengal for inquiring into the History, the 
Antiquities, the Arts and Sciences and Litera- 
ture of Asia. Vols. I-XX (1785-36). 

Hume's Catalogue of Indian Birds : a reprint 
from Vol. VIII of Stray Feathers. 

Hume (A. O.): Nests and Eggs of Indian 
Birds (1873-75). 

Hume (A. O.) and Henderson (G.) : Lahore 
to Yarkand (1873). 

Jerdon (I. C.) : Illustrations of Indian 
Ornithology (1847). 

Jerdon (I. C.) : The Birds of India, Vols. 
I-III (1862-64). 

Jerdon (I. C.) : Madras Journal of Literature 
(1833-64). 

Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal 
(1832-1913). 

Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 
Vols. I-XXI (1886-1913). 

Latham (J.) : Index Omithologicus (1790). 

Latham (J.) : A General Synopsis of Birds 
(1781-1885). 

Legge (W. V.) : A History of the Birds of 
Ceylon (1878-80). 

LiNNAETJS (C.) : Mantissa Plantarum (1771). 

Linnaeus (C.) : Sy sterna Naturae, 10th ed. 

(1758). 

Oates (E. W.) : A Handbook to the Birds of 
British Burmah (1883). 

Oates (E. W.) : Catalogue of the Collection of 
Birds' Eggs in the British Museum (1901), 
I-IV (1901-12). 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 



XV 



P.Z.S. 

Proc. N.M.U.S. 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI. 

Scop., Del. Flor. et Faun. 
Insubr. 

Seebohm, B. Jap. Empire 
Sharpe, Hand-List Birds 
Str. Feath. 

Temm., Pig. 
Temm., PI. Coll. 

T.Z.S. 

Wagl., Sys. Av. 



Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 
(1835-1913). 

Proceedings of the National Museum, U.S.A. 

Salvadori : Catalogue of the Birds in the British 
Museum, Vol. XXI (1893). 

ScoPOLi (J. A.) : Deliciae Florae et Faunae 
Insubrieae (1786-88). 

Seebohm (H.) : The Birds of the Japanese 
Empire (1890). 

Shaepe : Hand-List of the Genera and Species 
of Birds, Vols. I-V (1899-09). 

Stray Feathers : A Journal of Ornithology for 
India and its Dependencies, Vols. I-XII 
(1873-99). 

Les Pigeons : par Madame Knipp and C. J. 

Temminck (1811) (1808-43). 

Temminck (C. J.) et Meiffret: Laugier Nouveau 
Recueil de Planches colorees d'Oiseaux, Vols. 
I-V (1820-39). 

Transactions of the Zoological Society of London, 
Vols. I-XX (1855-1913). 

Wagler (J.) : Sy sterna Avium. 



Order-COLUMBAE. 

PIGEONS. 

IT IS now an accepted fact amongst naturalists, whether museum 
or field, that the Pigeons and Doves are more satisfactorily 
placed in an Order by themselves, than in conjimction with any 
other of the game-birds. 

In their anatomy Pigeons are very closely related to the Galhna- 
ceous birds, and yet more closely to the Pterocletes, or Sand-Grouse, 
though they differ widely from either of these groups in having their 
young bom naked and helpless, a character which has induced some 
wTiters to classify them with the Passeres. Certain other anatomical 
characteristics would seem to show their affinity to both the Strigidae, 
(Owls) and the Vulturidae (Vultures), greatly as they differ from both 
of these in general formation, structure, and external appearance. 

On the whole their place among Aves would seem to come best 
next to the Pterocletes, where Blanford has located them. 

Family COLUMBIDAE. 

Salvadori, in Volume XXI of the British Museum Catalogue of 
Birds, divides the Pigeons into five famiUes, but Blanford does not 
recognize these differentiations as bemg of so great value, and combines 
all our Indian birds into one family, though doubtless he would have 
accepted the Gouridae and Didunculidae as separate famiHes had he 
not been deahng with Indian birds only. 

The family Gouridae contains the magnificent Crown-Pigeons of 
the Papuan Islands, birds which differ to some extent in internal con- 
struction as well as external appearance from other Pigeons, and the 
Didunculidae contains the one small Pigeon Didunculus strigirostris 
of the Samoan Islands. 

Salvadori's other three families are the Treronidae or " Green 
Pigeons," which frequent and roost in trees ; the Columbidae or True 

B 



2 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Pigeons, which frequent trees principally, but can abo walk and run 
well ; and the Peristeridae or Doves, which are much given to walking 
on the ground. Following Blanford, I unite all Indian Pigeons and 
Doves in the one family Colunibidae, which contains the structural 
featiu'es of the Order Columbae in so far as that refers to the regions 
with which we are dealing. 

The internal characters are as follows : Palate schizognathous, 
nostrils schizorhinal ; basipterygoid processes present ; dorsal vertebrae 
heterocoelus, cervical vertebrae fifteen in number ; sternum with four 
deep posterior notches, the inner pair of which may be converted into 
foramina ; the external lateral processes are much shorter than the 
internal ; furcula U-shaped. Deep plantar tendons imited with a 
vinculum, the hallux connected with the flexor longus hallucis, and 
three front toes with the flexor perforans digitorum. Ambiens muscle 
sometimes present ; the femoro-caudal, semitendinosus, accessory semi- 
tendinosus, and accessory femoro-caudal all present in Indian species ; 
oil-gland nude or wanting ; caeca and gall-bladder sometimes present, 
sometimes absent ; both carotids always present. 

The external characteristics are : Upper mandible having the most 
slender portion posterior to the tip, the basal portion, which contains 
the nostrils, is covered with a cere or soft skin ; the tip is swollen, hard 
and convex, giving the appearance of having a small knob. The four 
toes are on the same level, webless, with the hallux or hind toe well 
developed ; the soles are broad, but differ in degree in this respect in 
different subfamihes, being most greatly expanded in the Treronidae 
or Green Pigeons. Wings aquincubital, with eleven primaries and the 
fifth secondary wanting, long and pointed with close-set coverts. 
Spinal feather-tract well defined on the neck and forked on the 
interscapulary region ; after-shaft either not present or only 
rudimentary. 



SUBFAMILIES. 

When we come to consider the subfamilies into which our Indian 
Pigeons are divided, we find that the only difference between the classi- 
fication of Salvadori and Blanford, is that the former adds two sub- 
famiUes, i.e. the Macropygiinae and Turturinae. The first subfamily 
Salvadori gives as one of his family Columbidae, and the latter as a sub- 
family of his family Peristeridae, whereas Blanford unites both in one 
subfamily Columbinae. This shows well how very artificial the distinc- 
tions are upon which naturalists rely in dividing Pigeons into famiHes and 
subfamilies, for the genus Macropygia is far more closely allied in habits, 
plumage, shape, and everything else to the Doves than to the Pigeons. 
As Blanford says, " Even the subfamilies of the Pigeons and Doves 
are founded on distinctions, several of which are not usually regarded 
as more than generic. It is rather in deference to the usual practice 
than from conviction of their real existence that some of the following 
subfamilies are adopted." 

For the sportsman and the field-naturalist, the divisions adopted 
by Blanford are very convenient, and there is no scientific reason 
against their adoption, even if in every case there is no very scientific 
reason m their favom*. I therefore follow Blanford, and accept his 
six subfamilies, as given in the fourth volume of the Avifauna of 
British India. 

Key to the Svhfamilies. 

A. Tail of fourteen feathers : 

a. No ambiens muscle present : 

a' Oil-gland present ... ... Treroninae. 

b' Oil-gland absent ... ... ... Geopeliinae. 

b. Ambiens muscle present ... ... ... ... Carpophaginae. 

B. Tail of twelve feathers : 

c. Ambiens and oil-gland present ; no caeca : 

c' Tarsus longer than middle toe ... ... ... Calaenadinae. 

d' Tarsus moderate ... ... ... ... Phabinae. 

d. Ambiens, oU-gland, and caeca present ... ... Columbinae. 

The above scientific key, relying as it does almost entirely on 
anatomic characteristics, may present some difficulties to the sportsman, 

B 2 



4 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

and the following key to our Indian subfamilies will be easier to work 
by in the field : — 

A. Tail of fourteen feathers : 

a. Plumage principally green, with one or two con- 

spicuous yellow bands on the wings ; wings 
always over 5 in. and always under 8.5 in. ; 
soles of feet and toes considerably broadened ... Treroninae. 

b. Plumage dull, and greyish all over; wings 

always under 5 in. ; soles of feet not much 
broadened ... 



c. Plumage various, but size large and wings always 

over 8.5 m. ; soles of feet not much broadened 

B. Tail of twelve feathers : 

d. Long metalUc green neck-hackles 

e. No neck-hackles : 

a' Plumage above dark and metallic -green ; bill 
red; wings imder 6 in. 

b' Plumage sometimes glossy and to some extent 
metallic about neck, but m such cases the 
wing is over 8 in. The other genera have 
dull plumage with no gloss any^vhere 



Geapeliinac. 
Carpophaginae. 



Calaenadinae. 



Pkdbinae. 



Columbinae. 



SuBFAiviiLY TRERONINAE. 



This subfamily is very well represented in India, no less than five 
out of its seven genera being found within our limits. AU five of these 
cenera contain what are generally known in India as " Green Pigeons " — 
gomparatively small Pigeons which may be known at a glance by their 
beautifully soft green plumage, often mixed with maroon or lilac on the 
shoulders or back, and always with one, and sometimes with two, bold 
yellow bars across the wings. By ear, too, these lovely birds may always 
be identified as belonging to the Treroninae, their musical whistUng-call 
being quite unlike the coo of any Dove or Pigeon of other groups. 

The birds of this subfamily are typically perchers, living almost 
entirely on the fruit of large trees, and they have the soles of their 
feet curiously broad, being a great deal wider than the toes above. The 
tarsi are short and stout, and are covered with densly growing short 
feathers on the upper part in front. 

The genera, which again are to a great extent employed a& a matter 



SUBFAMILIES AND GENERA 5 

of convenience rather than of anatomical necessity, are fairly easily 
divisible by simple characteristics in outward form. 



Key to the Genera. 

A. A deep notch in inner web of third primary ; tail neither 

greatly graduated nor with central tail-feathers 
prolonged : 

a. Homy part of bUl does not extend along culmen to 

edge of feathers of fore-head : 
a' First three primaries acuminate, legs yellow Crocopus. 

V First three primaries not acuminate ; legs red : 
a" Homy part of biU less than two-thirds 

of culmen ... ... ... ... Osmotreron. 

h" Homy part of bill more than two-thirds 

of culmen ... ... ... ... Butreron. 

b. Homy part of bill extends along the culmen to the 

feathers of fore-head ... ... ... ... Treron. 

B. Inner web of third primary with no notch ; tail much 

graduated and lengthened ... Sphenocercus. 



Genus CROCOPUS. 

This genus contains but one species which m, however, easily 
divisible into three geographical subspecies with weU-defined char- 
acteristics which overlap no more than such characteristics generally 
do where the respective ranges meet. 

This genus, with the exception of Butreron, is the largest of our 
Indian " Green Pigeons," having a wing of about 7.5 in., whereas none 
of the others exceed 7 in., and some are under 6. It is also, in one form 
or another, the most widespread, being found throughout the greater 
part of the countries with which we are now deahng. 

A very distmctive feature of this bird is its yellow legs and feet, 
all our other species of this subfamily having red legs and feet. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Breast yellow; abdomen grey; upper tail -coverts and 

base of tail both yellonish and not contrasting... C.ph.pJioenicopterus. 

B. Yellow of fore-head extended to crown ; upper taU- 

coverts grey contrasting with yellowish base of tail C. ph. viridifrons. 

C. Under-parts unicoloured yellow ; tail-feathers with very 

little or no trace of yellowish -green ... ... ... C. ph. chlorogaster. 



(i) CROCOPUS PHOENICOPTERUS PHOENICOPTERUS. 
THE BENGAL GREEN PIGEON. 

Columba phoenicoptera Lath., Lid. Orn., II p. 597 (1790). 

Columha militaris (part) Temm., Pig., pt. i (1808). 

Columba liardwickii Gray, in Griff. An. Kingd., VIII (1829). 

Treron phoenicoptera Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 849 ; id.. Cat. B.M., p. 229 ; 
Gray, Cat. Hodg. Coll. B.M., 2nd ed. p. 66. 

Crocopus phoenicoptents Jerdon, B.I., III p. 447 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., 
XXXIX pt. n p. 272 ; Str. Feath., I p. 390 ; Ball, ib., II p. 432 ; Hume, 
Nests and Eggs, p. 491 ; id., Cat. no. 772 ; id., Str. Feath., IV p. 2 ; 
Cripps, ib., VII p. 296 ; Scully, ib., VIII p. 339 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests 
and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 370 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 20 ; Blanf., 
Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 5 ; Sharpe, Hand-List Birds, I p. 153 ; Gates, Cat. 
Eggs B.M., I p. 81 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 63 ; id. ib., XUI 
p. 568 ; Inglis, ib., XIV p. 561 ; Stuart Baker, ib., XVII p. 970. 

Vernacular Names. Harial H. ; Haitlm or Bor HaitJia, Assamese ; 
Daorep gadeba, Cachari; Inruigu, Naga. 

Description. — Adult male. Fore-head as far back as the eye, lores, chin, 
and throat greenish-yellow ; from fore-head to the nape and including the 
upper part of cheeks and ear-coverts ash-grey, changing on the neck to bright 
chrome, following which comes a band of grey, purer and brighter than the 
crowTi. Remainder of the upper-plumage including ^^^ng-coverts and inner- 
most secondaries oUve-green, with a strong tinge of yellow ; upper tail-coverts 
the same but sometimes tinged -ndth grey. Tail above, grey with a broad 
basal band of oUve-yeUow, contrasting strongly with the rest of the tail though 
not mth the upper taU-coverts ; the outermost tail-feathers hardly show 
this band on the outer-web, and on the inner-web each pair of feathers has 
the yellow decreasing in extent towards the outermost. Below, the rather 
greenish-yeUow of the throat runs into a purer king's-yeUow on the breast ; 
lower-breast, flanks, and abdomen grey ; the tibial feathers, the centre of the 
abdomen, and patches about the vent yellow, and the thighs and long flank- 
feathers covering them, with deep green-grey centres and pale whitish fringes ; 
under tail-coverts deep purple-chestnut, with broad whitish bands at the 
end of each feather ; under aspect of tail grey with a broad black band at 
base nearly concealed by the tail-coverts. 

A band of lilac-purple on the innermost smaller wdng-coverts ; greater 
wing-coverts and secondaries boldly edged -with pale yellow, forming a bar 
on the closed wing, running from near the edge of the shoulder to the end of 
the longest secondary ; primaries dark brown, edged with yellow, the inner 
changing to the same colour as the hack ; bastard-wing black and the greater- 
coverts next the yellow edging, dark brown. 

BiU, very pale bluish- or greenish-white, the cere more strongly tinged 
with this colour than the rest of the upper mandible ; lower mandible sometimes 



8 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

darker at the base ; legs and feet bright chrome-yellow, sometimes almost 
orange-yeUow, but never red or pink ; iris with two rings of colour, the inner 
blue and the outer ranging from pink to bright crimson. 

Length about 13 to 14 in. (= 330 to 355 mm.) ; wing 7.25 to 7.80 in. 
(= 184 to 200 mm.), average of sixty-three birds 7.42 in. (= 188.4 mm.) ; 
tail about 4.5 in. (= 114.3) varying a good deal in length ; bUl at front about 
.75 (=19.0 mm.) or a Uttle over, and from gape a little over 1 in. (^25.4 mm.) ; 
tarsus about 1 in. (= 25.4 mm.). 

Young males of the year have the colour of the plumage rather less vivid, 
and the hlac-purple of the wing-coverts absent until after the first moult. 
They also average a good deal smaller, with a wing often as little as 7 in. 
(= 177.8 mm.) and seldom over 7.2 in. (= 182.8 mm.). 

Adult female. The female only differs from the male in degree of colour- 
ing, and a brightly-coloured female cannot be distinguished from a j'oung or 
duUy-coloured male. As a rule the hlac on the wing is less in extent and 
duller in colour ; the definition between the grey of the abdomen and the 
yeUow of the breast is not so clear ; the under tail-coverts also have the 
chestnut paler and less in extent and sometimes mixed with dark grey, 
whilst the pale edges are correspondingly broader. 

Length from 12 to 13 in. ( = 304.8 to 330 mm.) with a %ving of 7.1 to 
7.32 in. ( = 180.3 to 185.9 mm.), the average of forty bkds being 7.23 in. 
( = 173.6 mm.). The bill, tarsus and tail are all proportionately slightly 
smaller than in the male. 

Distribution. The Bengal Green Pigeon is found throughout Bengal 
and Behar up to the Himalayas and into Nepal, Sikkim, and Bhutan ; west 
it extends throughout the United Provinces and Oudh as far west as the 
Jumna, and Butler (Stray Feathers, IV) records it from Gujerat. It occurs 
in Central India and also in northern Orissa, but in the south of these 
presidencies it is replaced by chlorogaster, being found together with that 
form over much of its north-western range. To the extreme north-east it 
extends as far as Sadiya in Assam, birds from Dibrugarh, both north and 
south of the Brahmapootra, being typical phoenicopterus. In the Naga BQUs, 
Khasia, and north Cachar Hills, we stiU get fairly typical phoenicopterus, 
with here and there a bird more like viridifrons, but south of these ranges 
we find it overlaps with the eastern form ; birds from south Cachar, 
Hylakandy and Sylhet being more or less intermediate though nearer 
viridifrons than phoenicopterus, whilst birds from Chittagong are typical 
specimens of the former subspecies. 

Nidification. Green Pigeons are early breeders and commence to 
buUd very early in March, laying in the end of that month, and continuing 
to do so up to June, whilst I have also known eggs laid occasionally as late 
as the end of August. Their courtship, with its attendant attitudes and 
" showing off," is much the same as that of the domestic and aU other Pigeons, 
but as far as has been recorded hitherto, the attitudinizing never takes place 
on the ground. The male bird puffs out his throat and breast, lowers his 
wings, and ruffles out his feathers — and then prances solemnly up and down 
a branch, contmually bowing his head and whistling softly as he makes liis 
way backwards and forvvards, to and from the lady he imagines he is 
captivating. Unhke most birds, the female does seem occasionally to admire 
the display of the male and, if not feeding, wUl sometimes respond to the 
extent of warbling out a few liquid notes and doing a minor " skirt-dance " 
on her own account. 



BENGAL GREEN PIGEON 9 

The nest is a typical Pigeon's nest of twigs placed criss-cross over one 
another, but very hghtly intertwined, and always looking as if they would fall 
to pieces with the sUghtest excuse. They are, however, a good deal stronger 
than they look, and in spite of the exposed position in which they are so often 
placed, can stand a good deal of wind and shaking before they do actually 
come to grief. Generally the nests are placed in small trees and sapluigs 
at no great height from the ground, and, as a rule, on a horizontal branch, 
or a collection of such branches. Sometimes, however, large trees are selected 
for nesting purposes, and several observers have noticed its predilection 
for the mango tree. Hume found two in these trees in Etawah, and Captain 
Cock also writes that it, " Makes a rough stick nest, rather high up, usually 
in a Mango tree. The nest is of the usual type, but frequently placed on 
an excrescence, or where some parasitic plant shoots out and thickens the 
foliage, so as to render the bird more diificult to be seen." 

Rarely the bird builds its nest in a clump of bamboos, and in such cases 
it may be very well concealed. 

These Pigeons are extraordinarily close sitters, and when their eggs are 
approaching hatchmg will sit on them mitil the intruder is within a yard 
or two of the nest. They seem to be companionable during the breeding- 
season, and more than one waiter has mentioned finding two or three nests 
in close proximity. Inglis records in the Bombay Journal : " I have found 
three nests on the same tree, and have often found nests on trees close to 
one another." The same writer also reports having found three eggs in one 
nest, and in another nest a quite fresh egg and one on the point of hatching. 

The eggs take, I beheve, fourteen days to hatch. I have notes of having 
found a nest with one egg on the 3rd of April, and a second on the ith, and 
when I returned to the same place fifteen days later the nest contained two 
young, apparently about a day old. 

The number of eggs laid is invariably two, and they are, of course, pure 
white. In shape they are broader ovals than the egg of the true Pigeon 
and the Ring- and Turtle-Doves, but they vary somewhat in this respect. 
Typically they are broad ovals, but little compressed at either end, and with 
two ends sub-equal. Abnormal eggs tend to be rather elongated ovals, and 
more rarely stiU, to a somewhat peg-top shape. 

The surface is very smooth and shiny, if I ma}' use this expression, rather 
than with the hard gloss of the Woodpecker's egg. The texture is very fine 
and close, with a surface sUky to the touch, and the shell is stout and not 
brittle. The inner membrane is as pure a white as the outside shell. 

The average of nearly 100 eggs is 1.24 in. (=31.8 mm.) by .96 
( = 24.4 mm.). 

My largest egg is 1.38 in. ( = 35 mm.) by 1.03 ( = 26.1 mm.), but my 
smallest is not so small as that recorded by Hume, i.e. 1.12 in. by .90 
( = 28.44 mm. by 22.86). 

The Bengal Green Pigeon is a bird of hUl and level land, of forest, 
scrub, or plains, but it does not care for mountains of great height, 
and the barer plains must have an inducement, in the shape of scattered 
fruit trees of some sort, before he wiU take to them. Thus I have 
found him haunting the interior of forests where one may wander for 
days without meeting anything more civilized than a tiger or a barking 



10 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

deer, and, on the other hand, I have had fine shooting at these birds as 
they scuttled headlong from one banyan tree (Ficus indica) to another 
in the heart of a big miUtary cantonment. 

To some extent, however, their haunts are governed by the 
seasons of the year. During the breeding-season they are seldom 
found near the habitation of man, unless by man one refers to the wilder 
dwellers of the hills and jungles ; but once their young are fledged and 
on the wing, they will be found anjr^vhere where food is plentiful. 
Even the seasons, however, do not completely cut them off from 
civiUzation, for they have been foimd breeding in the Botanical Gardens 
in Calcutta, and a few may always be met with about the better wooded 
surroxmdings of Barakpore and Serampore. 

Although, however, it may be found in many liiUy districts and, 
indeed, up to some height in the foot-liills of the Himalayas, it i?, on 
the whole, more a Plains Pigeon than a mountain one. In North Cachar 
and the Naga Hills it is only to be met with below 2,000 ft. and is rare 
even at that height, whereas in the broken groimd where the hiUs and 
plains meet, it is decidedly more plentiful. In the Khasia Hills it has 
been shot, as a straggler only, up to 4,000 ft., and it is fomid all along 
the Terai in the foot-hills, and in the DarjeeUng districts ascends as high 
as in the Khasia Hills, though, here again, only in exceptional cases. 
In Nepal, Scully found it common in winter at Nawakot, at about 
2,200 ft. elevation, but he did not find it at any time in the higher hills 
surroTuiding that valley. It must be noted also that Nawakot, though 
fairly elevated and well inside the Himalayas, is said by Scully to be 
very hot, damp, and well covered by forest, and to contain many 
banyan and pepul trees. 

In their favourite country, such as is composed of a certain amomit 
of forest and scrub mixed with patches of cultivation and grass or 
bare land, their numbers do not seem to vary much all the year round, 
and they merety move locally according to where the supply of food 
is for the time being most plentiful. Thus in Chutia Nagpur, in the 
districts of Ranchi and Hazaribagh, they are always to be met with, 
provided one knows where to find their prevalent food growing. It 
was in the former of these two districts that I, personally, first made 
aquaintance with these most beautiful birds. A scattered Santhali 
village lay along the base of a rocky hill ; houses of thatch and bamboo 
being dotted here and there upon the stony bare soil, but almost 



BENGAL GREEN PIGEON 11 

completely screened the one from the others by magnificent specimens 
of pepul {Ficus religiosa) and the banyan. Here and there were Uttle 
patches of cultivation, and down below in the valley was a waving 
sea of yomig rice, the tender pale green gUnting and swaying in the 
simhght, when the breeze played on its surface as on water. 

After a long morning's shooting we were lounging about in the 
shade of a clump of mango trees, just finishing a well-earned lunch, 
when I heard the most beautiful soft whistHng coming from some 
pepul trees near by. Asking my older companions what the musical 
bird was, I was told, to my astonishment, that they were Green Pigeons. 
Jumping up, I at once went to the trees whence the sound proceeded, 
and for some minutes listened in silence : it was Hke that of a school- 
boy whisthng under his breath a succession of soft mellow calls, with 
no tune, yet full of melody. The sounds rose and fell, now high, 
now low, yet ever soft and sweet, and so ventriloquistic that I foimd 
it impossible to locate the singer. At last a movement amongst the 
leaves showed me where the bird was sitting, but so perfectly did its 
green and yellow plumage harmonize with its surroundings, that once 
my eyes were withdrawn and the bird quiescent, it was with the greatest 
difSculty I could again discover it. When I did find it I fired and 
brought down, not only the bird I aimed at, but two others of whose 
presence in that spot I was quite unaware. Frightened by the report, 
some ten or twelve others fiew from the tree, but a shot fired after them 
only hastened their movements. My admiration for the beauty of 
their plumage was no greater than my respect for their wonderful 
flight, and though I was then a fair shot at snipe, jmigle and spiu'-fowl, 
etc., it was some time before I could reahze the speed of this bird, and 
induce myself to shoot forward enough. ITieir flight is marvellously 
quick, and they go at a great pace from the start, in addition to which 
the way a flock of these birds alter their elevation as they fly is very 
disconcerting to a beginner. 

Over the greater portion of their range. Green Pigeons are hardly 
considered game-birds, and sportsmen seldom take the trouble to 
actually work them up and obtain bags of Pigeons alone. In Bengal 
Burma, and the Assam VaUey, however, Green Pigeon rank very high 
as game-birds, and much trouble is taken in the proper organization 
and arrangements for shoots, at which these birds alone form the 
objects of the sport. Full worthy, too, are they of the trouble spent 



12 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

upon them, for no greater variety of shots is obtainable ; no quicker 
shooting or straighter powder is required, than for the successful 
shooting and gathering of a big bag of these birds. 

The Bengal Green Pigeon, the largest of these lovely birds, is 
in Assam greatly outnumbered by some of its smaller cousins. Once, 
however, I shot over thirty couple of Green Pigeon, of which all but 
two were of the present species, and on another occasion Mr. C. I^awes 
and I shot twenty-one couple in less than an hour one evening, after 
returning from a long day's buffalo-shooting in north Lahkimpur. 

On this occasion we were riding home on our elephants, when 
we saw two or three flights of Green Pigeon making for some trees 
close to the path we were following. As we were near home we decided 
to get off and shoot one or two for the pot ; so down we got and took 
up our stands some hundred yards or so distant from, and on either 
side of, the trees which formed the attraction. Within a few minutes 
we were both hard at work, and in about half an hour, when cartridges 
gave out, we had each twenty-one birds to our credit. 

The shooting was very pretty, and nearly every shot seemed 
different from the rest. First a few birds would suddenly sweep up into 
sight, flying low over a belt of bushes in front of us, and going as if 
the next second would bring them into us ; then, at the last moment, 
with a turn and a twist, they would rise higher into the air and flash 
by at the rate of sixty mUes an hour. The next flock, perhaps, 
would come into sight far away, and give the impression that they 
were going to offer easy shots directly overhead, but before coming 
into range they would suddenly dip in their flight and scurry past us, 
a few feet from the ground. Then a smgle bird, or a pair of them, 
would give a glimpse of themselves as they sUpped past between the 
bigger trees, instead of following the other birds into the more open 
ground ; others, yet again, would come high overhead, but straight 
on, and offer the most satisfactory rights and lefts possible. Some- 
times a bird would flash past from behind us, and skim out of sight 
before we reahzed that it had come ; but, as a rule, all the birds came 
from the same direction. My bag of thirty odd couple of Bengal 
Green Pigeons was made in the same place as these twenty-one couple, 
but the birds were not quite so numerous, and my shooting lasted from 
about 4 p.m., when the birds began to come, untfl sudden diLsk made 
it too dark to see, and the last few birds came and went in peace. 



BENGAL GREEN PIGEON 13 

This curious habit of flightmg between their feeding-grounds and 
their roosting or restmg-places seems to be common to all Green Pigeons, 
especially where they are very numerous. Sunrise, as a rule, finds 
all birds on the wing coming steadily in one direction — towards the 
jimgle or clumps of trees upon which they are intent upon feeding 
and for an hour or two they wiU come thick and fast ; then the birds, 
unless they have been too disturbed to feed, begin to work back to 
the groimd where they rest during the heat of the day ; but the return 
journey is never as contmuous or as steady as is the first journey in 
the morning. When the heat of the mid-day sun begins to lessen — 
any time between three and four — the birds once more flight to their 
feeding-grounds, not returning in the evening to roost until dusk 
begins to fall, and then, as far as I have been able to ascertain, 
alwaj's retummg by some circuitous route and not by that which they 
have come by. 

The regularitj' with which, year after year, at exactly the same 
.season, and for exactly the same period, Green Pigeons flight over 
certain comitry, is most remarkable. Equally curious is the punctuaUty 
displayed as regards their coming and going, and, provided their food- 
trees are not destroyed, one may count almost to a certainty on seeing 
each year the first flights in the same week in the same month, at the 
same time of day, and fljTng from and to the same direction. Of 
course, if the trees upon the fruit of which the birds feed are cut 
down, the following j-ear a few flocks may turn up for a day or 
two to seek their food, and then the place is deserted for good 
and all. 

One of the prettiest pieces of shooting I have seen with these 
birds, was one which entailed the dropping of all birds within the 
narrow area of a high embankment, on which ran a road through 
swamps covered -with, dense cane-brakes. On either side of the embank- 
ment grew high forest-trees, by which the birds were screened from 
view until just as they topped them, so that a belated shot, if effective, 
sent the bird faUing straight into the swamp behind, where the dense 
and prickly canes prevented aU attempt to retrieve it. Equally, a 
hasty shot fired at a bird one had the luck to spot earlier than usual, 
lost it to the shooter in the swamp in front. 

Shooting one day on this embankment my host, the late Mr. F. 
Holder, brought down sixteen birds in succession, many of these being 



14 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

rights and lefts, and all the birds killed fell, I believe, upon the embank- 
ment itself. My own shooting, alas, was rewarded by many splashes 
in the water behind and by one or two in front, but faU on land these 
contrary Pigeons would not, and at the end of the afternoon's shoot I 
had gathered five birds to my companion's thirty or forty. The plumage 
of aU Pigeons, especially perhaps of Green Pigeons, is very dense and 
close in proportion to their size, and they take a lot of hitting to bring 
them down clean ; more particularly so when the shooter is forced to 
fire at them coming towards him. The size of shot generally used 
is No. 7, but many use No. 6 and a few No. 5. This latter is, however, 
too large, and does not give as good an average as Nos. 6 or 7. Person- 
ally I always used the latter, and foimd this shot, with a full charge 
of one's favourite powder, whatever that may be, and a choke or semi- 
choke 16-bore, gave the best aU-round results. 

The Bengal Green Pigeon does not, as a rule, collect in very large 
flocks — some eight to a dozen birds form the majority of flocks — 
but others of twenty or even thirty may occasionally be met with. 
In their favourite feeduig-haimts when the fig trees are in fruit, several 
flocks often collect on the same tree, and in such circumstances 
I should think I have seen sixty birds on one tree. These, however, 
though at the first alarm they all go off together, soon spUt up into 
their component parts. Sometimes single birds or pairs may be met 
with in the non-breeding season, but they are very sociable, and 
where this particular species is rare, I have often seen it associating 
with other Green Pigeons and keeping with them as they moved from 
one spot to another. In spite of their fondness for society they are, 
all the same, very quarrelsome birds — a characteristic, it is to be feared, 
of nearly all the " gentle " dove tribe. They are not so bad, however, 
in this respect as the true Pigeons, and can be kept in some numbers 
together in a cage, provided it is large enough. I had five or six pairs 
once in quite a small aviary, about 6 ft. by 8 and about 6 ft. high, 
and here they hved quite amicably, seldom fightmg except over what 
they conceived to be the finest nesting-places. 

Pigeons are greedy drinlcers, drinking as everyone knows by 
bur3'ing their bills in the water and taking long draughts without 
withdrawing them. The hiU-tribes firmly beheve that Green Pigeons 
never come on to the groimd to drink, but chmb down creepers hanging 
over the water, or down reeds growing in it, imtil they are close enough 



BENGAL GREEN PIGEON 15 

over to bend do^vn and drink. It is not correct, however, to say that 
they never descend to the groimd to drink, as I have myself seen them 
thus drinking, and have shot them as they rose. At the same time 
I have also often seen them drinking by climbing down overhanging 
canes and bushes until they were near enough to reach the water, and 
this latter manner of drinking is, perhaps, that most often resorted to. 
An interesting experiment with my cage-birds seemed to prove that 
the birds preferred drinking thus, and did not do so merely because 
there was no bare ground near to the water convenient to drink from. 
The birds referred to were suppHed with wide shallow pans from which 
to drink, and when split bamboos, with one end resting in the water 
and the other slanting up to the perches, were placed in the aviary, 
it was found that more birds crept down the bamboos to drink than 
came right down on to the ground for this purpose. 

The belief of the hill-tribes in north-eastern India, which has been 
above referred to, is curiously supplemented by Cripp's note in the 
seventh voliune of Stray Feathers, where he -mites that the natives of 
Furredpore in eastern Bengal " say that whenever this bird descends 
to the water's edge for a drink it holds a twig in its claws ; it prides 
itself on Hving altogether on trees, and in order that it may not be 
accused of perching on the ground when it descends to drink, brings 
down with it a twig to stand on." 

They are greatly prized as cage-birds in India, being regularly 
exposed for sale in the Chiretta Bazaar in Calcutta ; but though they 
whistle freely in captivity, and are not difficult to keep, they soon get 
rather dishevelled in appearance, especially when, as is generally the 
case, they are confined in bamboo cages so small that their tails 
constantly rub against the bars, and get very frayed and dirty. 
Captive birds are fed principally on plantains and suttoo, a mixture 
of meal and water, but a native bird-fancier told me that he had 
to vary this diet with dry grain and boiled rice, and also that he gave 
his birds practically any fruit which happened to be in season. Of 
fruit, however, the favourite seemed to be the jamans — a kind of wild 
plum — the fruit of the ber tree, and any kind of fig, such as pepul, 
banyan, etc. 

I never heard of anyone succeeding in getting them to breed in 
an aviary, or even to nest, though, as in my own case, they always 
grew very quarrelsome in the breeding-season, and would often spend 



16 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

a long time trying to balance t^vigs in quite impossible positions. 
Nesting-sites, such as branches or boards put in convenient positions 
for them, never seemed to catch their fancy, and they appeared 
infinitely to prefer trying to make a foundation of twigs on a perch, 
wliich, invariably blew or tumbled off before it had advanced far 
enough to be of any use. 

They are great climbers, and if one is fortunate enough to get 
under a tree upon which they are feeding, without being noticed, he 
will see them clambering about from branch to branch, and from one 
twig to another, often leaning over to seize some special tit-bit, until 
they appear to be standing on their heads. They are not very shy 
birds, and many a time have I watched them for half an hour until 
some awkward movement of mine, or a sound of some kind, has startled 
them. Once frightened they all immediately sink into absolute 
silence, trusting to the way their green plumage and the green leaves 
blend to preserve them from molestation. Naturallj^ when much 
shot at, they soon become wild, and then the would-be observer must 
be quiet indeed if he can steal under a tree upon which they are 
feeding without driving them headlong out of it. Yet sometimes, 
even when a good deal fired at, they show great persistence in the 
way they cling to one place, or one set of trees, and it may take several 
evenings shooting before they finally make up their minds that the 
place is too hot for them. I remember one tree at which these birds 
continued to feed for some six or eight evenings and mornings, although 
they were more or less shot at every evening, and once or twice in the 
mornings as well. In this case the tree was an enormous .single wild- 
plum standing isolated from all jmigle in the middle of a tea- 
garden, and so lofty that the top of the tree was quite beyond shot. 
At first the birds fed all over this tree, and flighted mto it quite low 
down, giving excellent shots as they approached ; but the last day or 
two they altered their tactics, and arriving out of shot high overhead 
plunged into the tree at the very summit, and were off agam like a 
flash when some unwise bird, flying lower than the rest, tempted us 
to have a shot. 

Swift as the flight of these birds undoubtedly is, it is not perhaps 
as quick as some of its smaller relations, such as Treron nepalensis 
and Osmotreron pJiayrei, but it is decidely faster than either of our 
Indian species of Sphenocercus. I have often noticed that, after firmg 



BENGAL GREEN PIGEON 17 

several consecutive shots at the Bengal Green Pigeon, I was inclined 
to shoot beliind the smaller birds unless I remembered this fact. 

AU Green Pigeons have the habit of clapping their wings over 
their backs when first taking to flight, and it may sometimes be heard 
when the birds dip in their flight and then suddenly rise again. 
Always, I believe, it is to be heard just as the birds commence to rise 
and not, as with domestic Pigeons, at other times of their flight ; also, 
in the Green Pigeon, the sound is not so startlingly loud as it is when 
made by the birds of the genera Columba and Turtur. 

The food of the Bengal Green Pigeon is, of course, entirely 
vegetarian, and principally frugivorous, and above aU it seems to 
delight in the fruit of the various species of Ficus. The gapes of all 
Pigeons are large for the size of the bird, besides being soft and very 
elastic, otherwise it would be almost incredible the size of the fruit 
they can swaUow. Plums and similar hard fruit they swallow whole, 
and often these are as large as the bird's head, only two or three 
being containable in the crop at the same time. Larger and 
soft fruit, such as figs, they tear to pieces, pulling off great lumps 
which they swaUow whole. They are very greedy, and their digestion 
is extremely rapid, so that they are able to indulge their appetite, and 
the amount these birds wiU eat is enormous. In confinement they 
consmne almost any sort of grain, and I once shot a pair out of an 
Indian cornfield whose crops were full of the ripe, but still soft, 
maize. Whether these birds were feeding on the ground or not, it 
was impossible to say, but probably they were cHmbing about on the 
maize stems and tearing the grains from the growing cobs, though there 
were at the time a good many of these latter lying on the ground. 

My burds in captivity ate plantains greedily and would also eat 
the inside of oranges, invariably picking out the pips first before 
eating the fleshy part. Peaches and apricots they also ate, swallowing 
even the stone — ^kernel, shell and aU, complete. In addition to fruit 
and grain they also ate a certain amount of green food such as lettuce, 
and once I saw a bird puUing some green shoots of rice which had just 
sprouted up in the corner of the aviary. They were also partial to 
bread and milk. 



(2) CROCOPUS PHOENICOPTERUS VIRIDIFRONS (Blyth). 
THE BURMESE GREEN PIGEON. 

(Plate 1.) 

Trerm viridifrons Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV pt. 2 p. 849 (1845) , id. ib., 
XXIV p. 479 ; Godw.-Aust., ib., XXXIX p. iii. 

Crocopus viridifrons Jerdon, B.I., III p. 449 ; Hume, Str. Feath., II p. 481 ; 
id. ib., ni p. 161 ; Blyth and Wald., B. Burma, p. 143 ; Godw.-Aust., 
J.A.S.B., LXIV p. 83 ; Gates, Str. Feath., V p. 163 ; Hume and Dav., 
ib., VI p. 410 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 109 ; Bingh., ib., IX p. 194 ; Hume 
and Ing., ib., p. 257; Gates, ib., X p. 235; id., B. Burma, II p. 307; 
Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 290; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 28; 
Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 153 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 363. 

Crocopus fhoenicofterus (part), Blanf ., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 5 ; Harington, 
B. Burma, p. 117 ; Gates (part). Cat. B.M., I p. 81 ; Primrose, 
J.B.N.H.S., XIII p. 78; Macdonald, ib., XVII p. 495; Hears and 
Gates, ib., XVIII p. 86 , Harington, ib., XIX p. 308 ; id. ib., p. 365. 

Vernacular Names. Ngu Bom-ma-di, Burmese ; Daorep Gadeba, 
Cachari ; Inruigu, Naga. 

'Description.— Adult male. Differs from C. ph. phoenicopterus in 
having the yellow of the fore-head running back as far as the back of the 
crown, and generally a good deal brighter than in that bird : the greater 
part of the cheeks and also the major portion of the ear-coverts are of the 
same yellowish-green. The upper tail-coverts, on the other hand, are more 
grey than they are in phoenicopterus, and contrast strongly ^\ith the yellow 
band on the tail. 

Colours of soft parts are the same as in the western form, and the 
dimensions are the same. 

Adult female. Differs from the male in the same way, and to the same 
extent as the female of C. ph. phoenicopterus differs from its male. 

Distribution. The range of this subspecies extends over northern 
Burma and the hill-ranges of north-east Burma, south-east into Cochin 
China, and as far south as Moulmein. To the west it extends through 
Arrakan, Cox's Bazaar into Chittagong and the Chittagong hill-tracts. I have 
seen no specunens from Comilla, but Sylhet birds and those from the plains 
of Cachar are intermediate between phocnicoj)terus and viridifrons, most 
birds being nearer the latter, and birds occasionally bemg obtained which 
are typical viridifrons. 

Everywhere north of the Surrma Valley hill-ranges and west of the big 
rivers running into the Bay of Bengal, only phoenicopterus is met with. 

In his Birds of Burma, Harington says that this Pigeon is common 
from north to south everywhere except on Mount Victoria, and that it is 



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BUBMESE GREEN PIGEON 19 

the only Pigeon he has met with in the dry zone, where, however, it is certainly 
plentiful. 

Nidification- So far there is nothing on record about the breeding of 
this bird, except the notes in Nests and Eggs by Gates and Bingham. The 
former writes : " One egg was brought me by my collector with the female 
bird. It was found in April, and there were two eggs. The nest was 
reported to have been placed in a bamboo at a good height up one of the 
branches." Bingham records: "I have only come across this fine Pigeon 
in the Thaungyeen Valley. It is not uncommon on the banks of the Meplay, 
where I found a nest as detailed below. 

" At the place where the Hteechara-choung flows into the Meplay stands 
a grand ficus tree, which in March is loaded with fruit, and is the resort of 
Hornbills, Pigeons, Barbets, and innumerable other birds. On the 16th of 
the above month I found, in a small ziziphus tree {Zizipkus jujuba) growing 
about twenty yards from this ficus, a nest of this Pigeon containing two 
pure white eggs slightly set. The nest was the usual careless few t\vigs laid 
across and across, and was not more than twelve feet from the ground. I 
shot the female as she flew off. The eggs measured 1.23 in. by 0.90 and 
1.22 by 0.81." 

Like most Green Pigeons they are very close sitters, and are hard to 
drive away from their nests even before the eggs begin to be incubated, and 
when the eggs are very hard set, or the young recently hatched, they will 
often sit until almost touched by the intruder. Harington remarks on this 
in epistola : " I have only taken two nests, both at Taunygyi during April. 
The first was placed about ten feet up a small bushy tree growing on the side 
of a steep hill, so that one could look into the nest from a very few yards off. 
The old bird sat very tight, and as she was required for identification I had 
a shot at her head, knocking it clean off, so that it hit my orderly who was 
standing below : and for the moment he thought that I had missed the bird 
and shot him instead. The nest contained one egg, the pair to which was 
taken from the bird when the orderly was preparing the latter for his dinner." 

I have taken a fair number of eggs of this subspecies, and except that 
I have found several in bamboo-clumps, and one or two in cane-brakes, 
there is nothing to record about them that would not apply to nests of ph. 
phoenicoptervs. The nests in the cane-brakes were about five or sis feet 
from the ground, or rather from the surface of the water over which they 
hung. The nests in the bamboo-clumps were about the same height up, 
and well hidden amongst the numerous twigs and branches which then covered 
the clumps. 

Eggs sent me by my native collector from Tennasserim were said to have 
been taken from small trees or bamboo clumps. The latter were all in 
fairly thick jungle, and it is possible that viridifrons, over part of its range, 
is rather more consistently a forest-bird than phocnicopterus which breeds 
ahke in the open, in forest, or in mango topes, and other clumps of trees. 

The eggs cannot be discriminated from those of C. ph. phoenicopterus, 
being of the usual broad oval shape, or broad elhptical, pure, soft white, 
with smooth surface and close texture. The eggs in my collection average 
1.24 by .98 in. ( = 31.8 by 24.9 mm). 

In habits, flight, voice, etc., this bird does not in any way differ 
from the other subspecies. Gates says {Stray Feath., Vol. Ill) : " This 
species is common throughout the plains ... I have never received 

2 



20 INDIAN PIGEONS AND D0\T:S 

it from the Pegu Hills, nor from those of Arracan. It is essentially 
a bird of the plains, as Osmotreron phayrei is of the hills." Davison, 
in the fifth volume of the same work, records that : " It has aU the 
habits of the other Green Pigeons, and like them, is very noisy and 
quaiTelsome when feeding . . . the note is similar to that of Treron 
nepalensis ; it is broader and more rolling." 

Harington, describing its occurrence in the dry zone in Upper 
Burma, writes to me : " Its weU-knowTi whistHng caU can generally 
be heard romid almost every village and Phonygi Kyoung during the 
early morning, so that one can always be sure of bagging one or two of 
these Green Pigeons when needed for the pot. It is, again, extremely 
plentiful in the open valleys of the Shan States, at an elevation of 
some 2,000 ft., being very partial to the ficus and pepul trees which 
are plentiful near villages and bazaars in these parts. 

" I have never noticed them in thick or dense jungle, where their 
place seems to be taken by 0. phayrei and bisincta, they have, however, 
been recorded from all parts of Burma. 

" When the berries of the ficus and pepul are ripe large numbers 
congregate, and very fair shooting can be got by finding out their line 
of flight, as when disturbed at one set of feeding places, they generally 
take the same route to some other favourite trees." 



(S) CROCOPUS PHOENICOPTERUS CHLOROGASTER (Blyth). 
THE SOUTHERN GREEN PIGEON. 

Vinago dilorogaster Blyth, J.A.S.B., XII, 1st part, p. 167 (1843). 

Treron jerdoni Strik., Ann. Mag. N.H., XIII p. 38. 

Trermi cMorigaster Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 850 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 229. 

Crocopus dilorogaster Bp., Con. Av., II p. 12 ; Adam, Str. Feath., I p. 390 ; 
Salvador!, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 30; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 6; Sharpe, 
Hand-List, I p. 853 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 81 ; Dewar, 
J.B.N.H.S., XVI p. 494; Martin Young, ib., p. 514; Moss King, ib., 
XXI p. 98; Pitman, ib., XXH. p. 194 ; Aitken, Com. B. Burma, p. 153. 

Crocopus cMorigaster Jerdon, B.I., HI p. 448 ; Blanf., J.A.S.B., XXXVIII 
pt. n p. 187 ; Ball, Str. Feath., 11 p. 423 ; Butler, ib., IV p. 2 ; Hume, 
ib. ; Fairbank, ib., p. 261 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, III p. 492 ; Fairbank, 
Str. Feath., V p. 408; Ball, ib., VII p. 224; Murray, ib., p. 113 ; Hume, 
Cat. no. 773 ; id., Str. Feath., VIII., p. 109 ; Vidal, ib., IX p. 73 ; 
Legge, B. Cey., p. 722 ; Reid, Str. Feath., X p. 58 ; Davidson, ib., 
p. 314 ; Davison, ib., p. 406, Taylor, ib., p. 463 ; Barnes, B. Bom., 
285 ; id., J.B.N.H.S., V p. 328 ; Gates, in Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., 
II p. 372 ; Davidson, J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 61. 

Vernacular Names. Harial,Bm. ; PacJia Gawa,Tel. ; Pacha po)a,Ta,m. 

Description. — Adult male. Differs from Crocopus ph. phoenicopterus 
in havmg the under-parts practically unicoloured, from chin to vent, 
yellow ; the fore-head shows no green at all, or has this confined merely 
to the edge of the bill ; the lores and the whole of the side of the head 
are grey unmixed with green and the grey often encroaches on to the sides 
of the chin and throat ; there is no basal band of green on the upper part of 
the tail, though some birds may have a tinge of this colour upon the outer 
webs at the base of the central rectrices. 

The female differs from the male in the same way as does that of 
phoenicopterus and viridifrons. 

The size and colour of the soft parts are the same as in the two other 
subspecies. 

Distribution. The Southern Green Pigeon has the widest distribution 
of the three subspecies, for it is found throughout the whole of southern 
India and Ceylon, whilst north it extends through Central India and Madras 
and throughout Orissa, but it is replaced by C. ph. phoenicopterus in south 
Bengal, though here a few birds are intermediate between the two. Finisher 
west in Behar, the Southern Green Pigeon is still cormnon in the south, 
but less so in central Behar, and is entirely replaced by the Bengal form 
in the north. 

Inglis has specimens from Behar which cannot be referred decidedly to 
either race, and Ball, writing from Lucknow, says : " Most of my specimens 



22 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

belong to the latter species (cJdarogaster) if it is really a species distinct from 
phoenicopterus, which I am almost tempted to doubt." 

Further west and north it extends through Rajputana and the Punjab, 
except in the extreme west, and through the United Provinces, well into the 
foot-hills of the Himalayas. 

Like the other subspecies this also is more of a plains than a mountain 
bird, but it has been recorded from the Palnis, Shevaroys, and Neilgherries. 
Davidson says that it is not common in Kanara, but that it is found there, 
and that he has taken nests and eggs. 

Oates's remarks made in Nests and Eggs concerning the three subspecies 
of Crocopus may well be quoted here, though I cannot personally say that my 
experience, which as regards chlorogaster is confined to museum skins, 
endorses all that he says : " The Bengal Green Pigeon, though found as a 
straggler in the eastern portions of the Punjab and Rajputana, and somewhat 
more commonly almost throughout the Central and North-Westem Provinces 
and Oudh, is really at home only in Bengal, and the tongue of Bengal-like 
country that runs up under the Himalayas, westward to the Jumna ; 
everywhere else, the so-called southern species C. chlorigaster is much 
more abundant. 

" Follo\^'ing, I suppose, Dr. Jerdon, Mr. Wallace in his article on the 
' Pigeons of the Malay Archipelago,' gives C. phoenicopterus from northern 
India and China, and C. chlorigaster from Ceylon and the Indian Peninsular. 
As a matter of fact, C. chlorigaster is fully as common in upper India and 
in most places far more common than C. phoenicopterus. In the North- West 
Provinces both species associate in the same flock, C. chlorigaster being, as 
far as my experience goes, most numerous. Out of sixty odd shot in three 
days in the Etawah District m March, 1886, only nine belonged to the so-called 
Northern Indian type, and seven shot near Hansi (Punjab) were all 
C. chlorigaster. Eastwards of Bengal the present species shades into the 
nearly allied C. viridifrons, and throughout Upper India innumerable forms, 
more or less intermediate between it and C. chlorigaster, are to be met with. 
I have seen specimens of C. phoenicopterus from the Blalabar coast ; and 
although I have not yet thoroughly examined the question, I suspect that, 
different as are typical examples of the t\\-o races, they as little deserve specific 
separation as Aegithina typhia and A. zeylonica." 

Nidification. As regards the nidification there is practically nothing 
to add to the description already given of that of C. ph. phoenicopterus. As 
a rule the birds build a very rough structure of small t\\igs and sticks 
with no lining of any kind, and place it on a branch of some small sapling 
at no great height from the ground, and often in a conspicuous position, 
though the material of which it is made does not quickly attract attention. 
Sometimes, however, these Pigeons would appear to line their nests, for 
Mr. Blewitt thus describes the nests he took at Hansie : " The nests were 
placed on toon, neem, shishum, and keeker trees, mostly gro\Aing on the 
canal bank, at heights of from fourteen to eighteen feet from the ground. 

" They are composed of shishum (Zizyphtis) and keeker twigs, in some 
cases slenderly in others densely put together. One or two were absolutely 
without lining, but they were mostly verj' scantilj^ lined «ith leaves, feathers 
or fine straw. They varied from five to seven inches in diameter, and from 
1| to 3 inches in depth. They contained two eggs in every case, and some 
taken at the end of May were quite fresh." 

Their principal breeding-season is from the end of March to the middle 
of May, though a good many birds breed as late as the middle of June. Hume 



SOUTHERN GREEN PIGEON 23 

says that they have at least two broods yearly, and perhaps more. Their 
eggs cannot be distinguished from those of C. ph. phoenicopterus and C. ph. 
viridifrons. 

In habits there is nothing to distinguish the Southern Green 
Pigeon from the Bengal and Burmese birds. It is curious and should 
be noted that this subspecies also, like the others, is credited with never 
coming to the ground to drink. Reid writes in Stray Feathers, Vol. X, 
that " natives believe this bird never descends to the ground, and that 
when it desires to drink it settles on a reed which bends over with its 
weight and thus enables it to drink." 

Mr. C. S. R. Pitman, I.e., writes that in the Central Provinces 
he has noticed Green Pigeon (Crocopus chlorogaster) drinking both at 
dawn, and in the evening about 4.30 or 5 p.m. 

Jerdon also says that he has seen this bird in Chanda, when it was 
breeding, " come in large parties, generally about 9 a.m., to certain 
spots on river banks to drink, and after taking a draught of water, 
occasionally walk a few steps on the damp sand, appearing to pick 
up small pebbles, pieces of gravel or sand." 

E. H. A. has a charming account of this bird in his Common Birds 
of Bombay which cannot be passed over. He writes : " The Fruit 
Pigeons are green birds, which try to be parrots, but nature has stamped 
them doves ; they hve entirely on fruit, which they swallow whole, 
not having parrot beaks to carve it with. A very wide gape and a 
most capacious and elastic throat make amends to some extent for this 
defect ; but still the Fruit Pigeon is obliged to do without mangoes and 
guavas ... It finds compensation in the many varieties of mid figs 
which every forest in India produces in such hberal profusion. When a 
fig-tree fruits, it fruits all over, and all at once, offering a feast to the 
whole country, such as a Rajah gives when an heir is born to the throne ; 
and as mendicant Brahmins gather from distant provinces to the 
Rajah's feasts, so the Fruit Pigeons from afar flock together to this 
tree while it lasts ; fii'st about eight in the morning, and again about 
four in the afternoon. Then is the time to shoot them, for they are 
excellent eating, especially if their tough skins have been taken off 
before cooking. It is difiicult at first to see them for they are verdant 
like the fohage among which they sit strangely silent and motion- 
less, but after much peering among the leafy boughs you may catch 
sight of a tail slowly oscillating Hke a pendulum. There is a soUtary 



24 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

green bird sitting like a wooden figure — ^you fire and two fall, and a 
dozen fly off. If you are as other men, you will probably utter loud 
and naughty words, for if you had known there were so many birds 
you might easily have had a second shot at them as they flew. But 
if you are wise, you will rule your spirit and be still, for there may be 
a score of Pigeons in the tree yet, and others will come in small parties 
from time to time, so that, with patience, you may make a very 
respectable bag before the feeding-hour is over. Then remorse will 
have its turn, perhaps, as you gather up the fallen, and see what 
loveliness you have destroyed for the sake of yoiu: stomach." 

It is extremely common m Mysore, where however it appears 
to be locally migratory, not visiting the hills until after the rains, and 
presumably breeding lower down and in the plains Taylor says that 
they were so plentiful that one evening he shot forty-six, and on one 
occasion got eleven and seven respectively to his first and second 
barrels, showing that they must have been in very large and densely 
flying flocks. 



Gentjs OSMOTRERON. 

In the British Museum Catalogue of Birds, Vol. XXI, Count 
Salvadori recognizes seventeen species in this genus, but a great 
niunber of his accepted species only differ very shghtly from one 
another according to their geographical range, and their differences 
are certainly not of more than subspecific value. 

In the same way Blanford, prior to an acceptance of subspecies 
and of the consequent trinomial system, admitted seven species 
of Osmotreron as inhabiting the area dealt, with in this book. The 
acceptance, however, of subspecies reduces the niunber of species 
within the limits of India, Burma, and Ceylon to four — i.e. pompadora, 
fulvicoUis, hisincta, and vemans, whilst the three species phayrei, affinis, 
and cMoroptera are reduced to the rank of subspecies of pompadora, 
and a new subspecies is created for the northern form of hisincta under 
the name of domvillii. 

The difference between this genus and the last (Crocopus) is very 
shght, and consists mainly in the fact that the latter genus has the 
first three primaries acuminate whilst Osmotreron has them normally 
shaped. The birds of this genus are also somewhat smaller in size, 
and the sexes are dissimilar : the males in some cases having maroon 
on the backs, and in others having highly-coloured breasts, whilst 
the females have neither. 

Key to the Species. 

A. Middle tail-feathers green : 

a. Head and neck grey and green ... ... ... 0. pompadora ^. 

b. Head and neck cinnamon-red ... ... ... 0. fulvicoUis ^. 

c. Tibial plumes buff or dull yellowish ... ... 0. pompadora^. 

d. Tibial plumes bright yellow ... ... ... 0. fulvicoUis $. 

B. Middle tail-feathers slaty-grey : 

a. Outer tail-feathers with broad grey tips over .5 in. deep 0. hisincta. 

b. With grey tip less than .5 in. deep ... ... ... 0. vernans. 



OSMOTRERON POMPADORA. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Lower tail-coverts cinnamon or whitish : 

a. Fore-head yellow ... ... ... ... ... 0. p. pompadora. 

b. Fore-head and crown grey : 

a' Grey of head pure, and well defined from sur- 
rounding parts ... ... ... ... 0. p. phayrei. 

b' Grey of head dull and ill defined ... ... O. p. afftnis. 

J?. Lower tail-coverts largely dark green ... 0. p. chloroptera. 

In order to keep this book as uniform cis possible with the 
Avifauna of British India, I deal with these subspecies in the same 
sequence as they are considered in that work. 

As regards the specific name which all four subspecies must bear, 
we find that the earliest name appUed to any one of these races of 
Green Pigeons is that of "pompadora," given by Gmelin in 1788 to a 
Pigeon from Ceylon, called by Brown, in his Illustrations of Birds 
(1766), the "Pompadour Pigeon." In 1840 Jerdon named the female 
of the race fomid in the Southern Presidency, Vinago afjinis ; but five 
years later, m 1845, when describing the male of the same race found 
in Southern India (Illus. Orn. Pac. C, XXI) he re-names it mala- 
harica. As there is no law making the name given subsequently to a 
male take the place of that given to a female at a previous date, 
afjinis certainly has priority over malabarica, and must stand for the 
subspecies. The name chlmoptera was given by Blyth in 1845 to 
the race from the Nicobars and finally, in 1862, the same ornithologist 
named our northern race phayrei. 



(4) OSMOTRERON POMPADORA PHAYREI (Blyth). 
THE ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON. 

(FEONTISPIECE.) 

Treron malabarica (part) Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 852 (1845) ; id., Cat. R.A.S.B., 
p. 229. 

Osmotreron fhayrei Blyth, J.A.S.B., XXI p. 344 (1862); Jerdon, B.I., III p. 451 
Blyth and Wald., B. Burma, p. 144 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXXIX 
pt. 2 p. iii; id. ib., XLV pt. 2 p. 83 ; Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 162 
Inglis, ib., V p. 39 ; Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 412 ; Hume, Cat. no. 776 
id., Str. Feath., VIII p. 109 ; Bingham, Str. Feath., IX p. 194 ; Gates 
B. Burma, II p. 310 ; id., Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., 11., p. 376 
Hume, Str. Feath., X p. 235 ; id. ib., XI p. 291 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M 
XXI p. 43 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 8 ; Sharp, Hand-List, I p. 54 
Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 52 ; Harington, B. Bunna, p. 63 ; Stuart 
Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 364 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 457 ; Stuart Baker, ib., 
XVII p. 970 ; Hears, ib., XVIH p. 86 ; Harington, ib., XIX p. 365. 

Vernacular Names. Daorep, Cachari ; Inruigum, Naga. ; Vohpolip, 
Kuki ; Chota Haitha, Assamese ; Chota Hartal, Sylheti ; Ngu, Burmese ; Chota 
Harial, Bengah. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole cro-rni of head and nape ashy-grey, 
the nape most pale, as a rule, and most pure in colour, the fore-head mixed 
with green and duller. Neck behind and extreme upper-back green, fairly 
well defined from the grey of the head and also from the chestnut-maroon 
of the back, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts ; lower-back, rump, and upper 
tail-coverts green, rather more yellov\'ish than the neck. Guter tail-feathers 
black, each succeeding pair becoming more greenish, until the central ones 
are entirely of this colour and practically unicolorous with their coverts ; 
a broad band of grey at the tips of all but the central feathers. 

Lores, sides of head and narrow superciHum green, well defined from the 
grey of the crown and nape ; throat and fore-neck the same, but much more 
yellow ; upper-breast a creamy -orange, occasionally tinged ■with vinous or 
pink ; lower-breast, abdomen, and flanks greenish, deepening in colour on the 
lower-flanks and thigh-coverts which are splashed with yellow ; feathers 
of the vent and under tail-coverts cinnamon, the former sometimes a little 
the paler of the two and with yellowish borders. Median and greater wing- 
coverts black, fading to grey on the inside of the webs, the former with broad 
and the latter %nth narrow borders of yellow on the outer-webs ; quills black 
inclining to grey on the inside of the inner webs, the primaries with narrow 
yellowish white margins and the secondaries wdth yellow borders, becoming 
very broad on the innermost ^^-hieh are also often much suffused with the 
same tint of maroon as that of the scapulars. Axillaries and imder wing- 
coverts grey, with sometimes a tinge of green. 



28 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

The amount of orange on the breast is very variable and there are two 
specimens in the British Museum collection, both from southern Burma, 
which have none at all, although they appear, otherwise, to be fully adult 
birds. The grey of the head is also somewhat variable, in some specimens 
being less sharply defined from the surrounding parts and also more dull 
and less pure in tint, as well as more restricted in area. 

"Length 10.75 to 11.75; expanse 18.46 to 19.5; tail from vent 3.37 
to 4.0 ; wing 6.0 to 6.25 ; tarsus 0.82 to 0.95 ; bill from gape 0.82 to 1.0 ; 
weight 4.5 to 6 ozs." (Hume). 

The huge series of this bird which I have measured shows that this little 
Green Pigeon varies very considerably in size, wing-measurements ranging 
from 5.65 in. ( = 143.5 mm.) to no less than 6.5 ( = 164.7 mm.), the wing- 
measurement of a specimen from Sylhet. I can trace no geographical 
connexion with this variation in size : the largest and smallest birds being 
found in the same areas. The average of over 300 wing-measurements is 
6.10 in. ( = 154.9 mm.) ; the measurements of bill and tarsus vary to the 
same extent in proportion. 

Two exceptionally large males shot in the Dibrugarh District of Assam 
each weighed fully 7 oz., pulling the scale well dovm. at that weight. The 
great majority of birds do not, however, weigh much over 5 oz. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill bluish-white, the base somewhat darker and 
the lower mandible still paler ; legs lake-red, the posterior portion always 
paler, in old birds the edges of the scales showing \\hite ; iris pink with an 
inner circle of pale blue, orbital-skin bluish or pale slate-grey. In young 
birds the two rings of colour in the iris are pale and indefinite and the orbital- 
skin is almost white ; nestlings have the iris a pale browii. " Irides usually 
with an inner ring of bright blue, and an outer ring of salmon or bufiy pink, 
sometimes they are a rosy pink, at others reddish yellow." (Davison.) 

Female has the chestnut-maroon of the upper-parts replaced by green ; 
there is no sign of any orange on the breast, which is concolorous with the rest 
of the plumage, and the under tail-coverts are white or buffy-white with 
greenish bases and centres. I cannot find that there is any difference between 
the sexes in size ; the biggest birds have been mostly males, but so have 
the smallest, the range in length of wing for 180 females being between 
5.82 in. ( = 144.8 mm.) and 6.30 ( = 159.10 mm.), and the average of the 
same number 6.09 in. ( = 154.68 mm.). 

The youiig male is like the female, but assumes a certain amount of maroon 
on the upper-parts, more especially on the lesser wing-coverts, in the autumn 
moult of the first year. 

Birds in their first plumage have the grey of the head duller than in the 
adult, and the yellow margins to the wing-feathers narro\ver and paler in 
colour. The young birds are also very much smaller than adults, and do 
not attain their full size \mtil they are a year old, that is to say, until the 
spring of the year succeeding that in which they are hatched. 

Distribution. The Ashy-headed Green Pigeon is found in Lower 
Bengal from about as far south as the latitude of Calcutta, though rare there, 
becoming more common in the eastern Bengal districts of Maldah, Barisal, 
Dacca and IMjrmensingh, and thence north and east extremely plentiful 
throughout the Assam Valley, Cachar, Sylhet, Chiltagong, Comillah, and 
Noakhali. 

In the Khasia Hills, Manipur, Looshai Hills, and the liill-ranges of 



ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON 29 

northern Burma it is equally numerous, and thence it ranges east into 
Cochin China and south as far as Tenasserim, but not into the Malay States. 

Nidification. The breeding-season of the Ashy-headed Green Pigeon 
commences in the last few days of March or early April and extends through 
April, May, and June into July and August, but April and early May is the 
time when most birds lay. In the hills south of the Brahmapootra few 
birds \rill be found breeding after Jlay, but in the foot-hills of the Himalayas 
a good many continue to nest until well into July, whilst in Tavoy, on the 
other hand, Darling took its eggs as early as the 19th of March. 

The nest is the usual platform of carelessly interlaced twigs, with no 
lining and but very little depression in the centre, though the projection of 
the twigs prevents the eggs rolling about. Roughly speaking, the nest is 
anything from 5 to 8 in. across, but they are often far from circular in shape, 
being much longer one way than the other. In depth they vary between 
1 and 3 in., though odd pieces hang about and add to this. They build their 
nests either in small saplings or in bamboo-clumps as a rule, but now and then 
one may be taken from quite high up in a biggish tree. Both birds take 
part in the building, but I think the female does most of the actual work 
of construction, whilst the male brings the material to her. A pair I watched 
building their nest in a clump of bamboos quite close to a rest-house I was 
staying in, were accustomed to work only for about two hours in the morning 
and again for about the same time in the evening. In spite, however, of 
the few hours they devoted to work, the nest was completed in three days, 
and the first egg laid on the fourth day. The nests are not generally well 
concealed, and as they are more often placed at heights under, than over 
8 ft., they are easy to find and get at. Occasionally they are placed in cane- 
brakes in swampy valleys and then, of course, are far more difficult of access 
though still easy enough to find, the bird sitting so close that one carmot 
help but notice her nest as she quits it. The site of it, too, is often given 
away by the whistling and antics of the cock -bird, which is much given to 
perambulating up and down a branch close to the nest whilst he croons and 
whistles to his little mate. 

This crooning, a sort of low " coo, coo," very like a dove's but lower 
and deeper, I have never heard uttered except by the mate to his sitting 
wife. It is quite a sweet sound, though not so beautiful as the whistling-note . 

The eggs are with this, as with nearly all others of the family, two in 
number, pure white, rather glossy and with a very fine, close texture. In 
shape they are either broad ellipses or are broad, blunt ovals, but now and 
then eggs are found with both ends curiously pointed. 

The average of 180 eggs is 1.08 in. by .83 ( = 27.4 mm. by 21.0), and 
the greatest length and breadth 1.14 in. ( = 28.8 mm.) and .86 ( =21.8 mm.), 
and the least each way 1.02 in. ( = 25.9 mm.) and .80 ( = 20.3 mm.) 
respectively. 

They cannot be distinguished from the eggs of Treron nepalensis or other 
Pigeons of the genus Osmotreron, though they average a triiie smaller than 
those of 0. hisincta domvillii. 

I have never yet ascertained exactly how long incubation lasts, but it 
will probably be found to be from twelve to fourteen days, according to 
circumstances. 

This Pigeon is not a bird of high elevations and though I have shot 
it as high as 4,000 ft. both in the Khasia and north Cachar Hills, it is 



30 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

found in the greatest numbers in the foot-hills up to 1,500 or 2,000 ft., 
and thence some way into the more level country adjoining them. In 
the plains of Dibrugarh, where we have a flora and fauna more like 
that found elsewhere at an elevation of about 1,000 ft. and upwards, 
this Pigeon swarms and certainly forms at least two-thirds of the 
Green Pigeons which annually faU to the guns of the local sportsmen. 
Twice I have seen bags of over four hundred Pigeons made in one 
day, and in each case considerably over two-thirds of the birds 
obtained were of this species. Bingham also records that he " found 
this the commonest Green Pigeon on Thaungyeen and the higher 
parts of the Hoimdraw River." 

They are quite first-class Httle game-birds in every way. Tlieir 
flight, like that of all Green Pigeons, is wonderfully swift, and they 
have a most disconcerting habit of coming straight at you over the 
tree-tops and then swooping down within a few feet of the ground 
as they approach, only to rise again with equal rapidity just as one 
is about to fire, and then with a few rapid twists and turns disappear 
behind you, leaving you with two empty cartridges and an equally 
empty bag. 

As with their larger cousins, the Bengal Green Pigeon and its 
subspecies, the easiest way to shoot them is to get close to some tree 
or trees upon which they are feeding, and take them as they come 
towards you. By this means one meets them as they are slo^\dng 
down somewhat, and their flight is generally fairly direct ; but even 
under these circumstances, a very few shots put them on the qui vive, 
and every flock that comes, after one or two birds have been dropped, 
flies higher and faster than its predecessor, and often after whirling 
roimd once or twdce in wide circles, departs the way it has come 
without offering a possible shot. 

The most sporting way of shooting them is imdoubtedly that 
practised by the tea-planters of the Panitola and many other tea- 
districts in Assam. The breeding-season over, the birds collect in 
very large flocks, and towards the end of July and August frequent 
certain feeding-grounds m the forests round the tea-gardens. Here 
and there these forests are traversed by roads, and elsewhere are small 
patches of cultivation or open spaces beside some stream or forest- 
pool, and it is in such places the guns are placed when a shoot has 
been decided upon. 



ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON 31 

Very early in the morning, whilst the sun is still below the horizon 
and before the magic dawn of the East leaps into day, the birds com- 
mence to arrive at their feeding-groxmd in ones or twos and small 
parties, and the first shots at the still unfrightened birds are com- 
paratively easy, so that the sportsman, after a few successful shots, 
begins to feel on good terms with himself. As the sun begins to peep 
into sight and climbs slowly up to the tree-tops, the bu'ds come faster 
and faster and in bigger flocks ; but the constant firing that is going 
on tells them of their enemies' presence, and they put on the pace and 
dodge, swoop, and turn in a manner that often completely bafHes the 
best shot, so that though cartridges are expended faster than ever, 
fewer birds fall in proportion, and it is an exceptional shot who can 
gather on an average one bird for every alternate cartridge. At such 
times as this I have seen a flock of birds run the gauntlet of seven 
guns — my own, alas ! amongst them — and finally vanish with their 
number complete and nothing more than a few feathers fluttering 
slowly to the ground to show that one shot amongst the seven has 
been more nearly successful than the rest. Up to about 9.30 a.m. 
the fun is fast and furious, but then by degrees it slackens off imtil 
by noon the birds have all retired to the deeper forests, where they 
take their siestas during the heat of the day, a faint melodious whistle 
in the distance telling the whereabouts of some belated flock which 
retires after the others have all gone. 

No more shooting can now be expected until about three or four 
o'clock in the afternoon, so the sportsmen may lunch in comfort, and, 
if they choose, follow the example of the birds and indulge in forty 
winks. But an August afternoon in the plains of India is too hot 
even for sleep out of doors, however thick the shade, so a 
temporary adjournment is generally made to the nearest planters' 
bungalow until it is time once more to recommence work at the 
birds. 

As the shadows begin to lengthen the Pigeons again arrive on 
the feeding-grounds in the forests in numbers that show Httle diminu- 
tion in spite of the toll taken from the flocks in the morning. For a 
couple of hours the birds continue to flight backwards and forwards 
between the trees on which they are feeding, and until dusk begins to 
gather there is no cessation to the shooting. As soon, however, as 
the sun dips behind the distant trees, the flocks commence to wend 



32 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

their way to their roosting -place, and ahnost before it is too dark to 
see to shoot, the last of them has left. 

The marvellous variety of shots obtained in a shoot of this de- 
scription is one of its principal charms. If, as is often the case, one 
is standing in a small open patch in fairly extensive forest, the birds 
flight backwards and forwards from every direction, and offer every 
description of shot, and in all four quarters. First a flock may come 
sailing high overhead from the front, whilst next a single bird may 
rush past only a few feet from the ground, dodging bushes and trees 
at a headlong pace. A snap shot between the forest-trees may bring 
this to bag, and just give the sportsman time to swing round and 
empty his second barrel at a flock coming up from behind him. Not 
only is straight shooting required in such cases, but the quickest of 
eyes and hands, and the man who is prone to dwell over his second 
barrel wiU lose nearly, if not quite, a third of his possible shots. 

Beating in shoots of tliis description is not necessarj', though 
often before shootmg has become general, men are sent out to the 
favourite feeding- trees to start the birds. Once the firing has begun 
in earnest, the Pigeons keep almost constantly on the wing, shifting 
from one set of trees to another with but few short pauses to feed, 
whilst on-coming flocks add to their number and replace those 
frightened away altogether. 

Another charm in these shoots is the wonderful variety in the 
game brought to hand, and in the two big bags of over four hundred 
birds to which I have referred there were no less than twelve species, 
including the following : Crocopus phoenicopterus, Osvwtreron phayrei, 
O. bisincta, SpJienocercus sphenura, S. apicauda, Treron nepalensis, 
Carpophaga aenea, Ducula insignis, Chalcophaps indica, with a few 
unlucky Doves, generaUy Turtur meena. 

A more beautiful bag it would be difficult to imagine and, lovely 
as are the Sand-Grouse, I think the Green Pigeon are even more so. 
The marvellous blending of the greens and yellows and soft greys, 
with here and there the purple sheen of the backs of some of the males 
and an occasional metallic gUnt of a Bronze-wing Dove, is a picture 
difficult to do justice to, either with pen or brush. 

Even more difficult shooting than that above described, is 
sometimes obtained by finding out the birds' line of flight to and 
from their feeduig-grounds and roosting -places, and by stationing 



ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON 33 

oneseK at some point of their flighting where the natural advantages 
are all in favoiu: of the birds. One such place was the crest of a smaU 
hill between the Rangagora and Digaltarang Tea-gardens in the Dibrugarh 
district, where the birds on good days passed in a constant stream 
every morning and evening for some two hours. Here, if one stood 
in the open on the top of the rise, the birds came so high and wide 
that but few shots were obtained ; on the other hand, if one stood 
out of sight of the approaching Pigeon, on the far side of the hiU just 
below the crest, the birds came sweeping up the hill so close to the 
ground that they were not -dsible until they cleared the top, not thirty 
yards in front, and were also protected to a great extent by the scrub- 
jungle which was scattered about. Behind us, and within a few yards, 
was heavy tree-forest, and directly the Pigeon came into sight, and 
also caught sight of us, they scmried through the bushes into this 
forest like Lightening, dodging from one side to another Uke Jack Snipe, 
though at four times the pace. I had the pleasiu-e of shooting here 
once with two other grms when there was a high ^vind behind the 
birds, and harder shooting I have never had. We did pick up some 
sixty birds in the two hours during which we shot, but I am quite sure 
four cartridges out of every five fired were ineffective. 

I think the Ashy-headed Green Pigeon is as fast as any of its 
tribe, certainly a good deal faster than its bigger cousin, the Bengal 
Pigeon, and quite as fast as the little Treron, whilst the Pin-tailed 
and Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon are a trifle slower. These latter birds 
are, moreover, far more direct in their flight, and do not resort to 
the constant twistings and dodgings which seem habitual to the species 
we are now dealing with. 

Like most other Green Pigeon, they are really rather shy birds, 
but when feeding Ln thickly foliaged trees often trust to the effective 
blending of their colours with the leaves to escape detection. I have 
known cases in which a bird has been shot out of a tree without the 
rest of the flock taking to flight, and which, in fact, were not discovered 
imtil a second or third shot at other birds approaching the tree 
frightened them out of it. As a rule, however, the first shot at any 
one of their number sends them in a hiury from their tree, but always 
by the side away from the shooter, so that it is but seldom that he 
can get in another shot as they quit. 

They are wonderful climbers, and have great strength of grasp 

o 



34 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

with their feet, wounded birds often seizing a twig or branch and 
hanging on, head downwards, untU they drop off dead, and sometimes 
even after death the feet retain their hold. They are not, however, 
quick in their movements about a tree, and are very parrot-like in 
their actions, especially as they clamber slowly dowTi some hanging 
branch towards a tempting cluster of fruit or berries. 

They are, of coiu-se, entirely vegetarian in their diet, but not 
entirely frugivorous, for they will eat grain of all kinds, and also the 
tiny new buds of some kinds of trees and bushes. They are very 
partial to the fruit of the ber tree, and it is incredible the amount 
and weight of the berries they will cram into their crops, which 
get so distended and distorted that they look as if they must burst. 
Naturally, when a shot bird falls to the ground its crop does burst, 
and as the dense plumage also comes off very easily, birds when 
gathered often present a very dishevelled appearance. For this reason, 
also, it is very hard to obtain good specimens for the museum, and 
not one bird in three shot is any good for this purpose. 

Greediness appears not to have any iU effect on Green Pigeons, 
which are generally in excellent condition, often having regular layers 
of fat between the skin and the flesh. All Green Pigeons are very good 
for the table, but they should be skinned and not plucked only, for 
their skins are very tough and sometimes seem to give a rather rank 
taste to the flesh. The best way of all to cook them is to jug them in 
claret, and the next best to roast them in a ball of clay, which keeps 
in all the juices but takes away skin and feathers complete when the 
ball is opened. 

I have above noted that this little Green Pigeon is entirely 
vegetarian in its diet, but this is not quite correct, for, like almost 
every other bird and animal, it will greedily eat white ants. For this 
purpose it descends to the ground and runs about quite actively, seizing 
both those termites which drop to the grovmd on losing their wings 
and those which are just emerging from their nest-holes. 

It will also descend to the groimd to eat strawberries or other 
fruit growing on ground-plants. 

This species sometimes assembles in very large flocks, and I think 
I have seen one or two which must have numbered over two hundred ; 
as a general rule, however, they will be found in flocks of anything 
from half a dozen to thirty or forty. Even during the breeduig-season 



ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON 35 

the birds seem to be more or less gregarious though, perforce, they 
have to break up into comparatively small flocks. At the same time, 
I do not remember any month of the year in which I have not seen 
them in small flocks, as well as singly or in pairs. Nor are these small 
flocks composed of young birds or unwilling bachelors and spinsters, 
for birds examined have been proved to be fuUy adult, whilst both 
sexes have been seen or shot in the same flocks. The note of the Ashy- 
headed Green Pigeon has been described as being less musical 
than that of some of the other Green Pigeons, but I cannot 
say that I have noted this to be the case. It may be somewhat less 
varied and with a smaller range of notes, but to me it sounds as soft 
and melodious as any of its cousins, except perhaps bisincta, the 
Orange-breasted Green Pigeon. 

When they are quite undistvu'bed and have no idea that anyone 
is watching or listening to them, the members of a flock will continue 
to whistle to one another as they feed, and the volume of sound thus 
made is very sweet and fuU. Although, as I have said, naturally 
shy birds, they very soon become used to being watched, and if not 
fired at or interfered with in any way, soon lose their shyness and 
become very tame. In one of the police-stations in the Dibrugarh 
district some enormous pepul trees grow in the compound, two of 
their number overhanging the station-building itseK. Here the birds 
are so accustomed to people constantly moving about below them, 
that they take absolutely no notice and, as they are never fired at 
in the compound, the birds swarm here, even when the trees are not 
in fruit, when firing is going on anywhere near. 

I do not think that the Ashy-headed Green Pigeon drinks 
regularly morning or evening, but I have noticed more than once these 
birds drinking about noon, when they have ceased feeding and were 
about to take their mid-day rest. 

Invariably, when noticed on these occasions, the birds drank by 
climbing down the cane-brakes or creepers which stood in swamps, 
until they could reach the water, when they drank their fiU, and then 
clambered back to a more convenient perch. They rest much in the 
middle of the day in cane-brakes, which form dense masses of jimgle 
in the morasses at the foot of the hills, though they also frequent tall 
tree-forest for the same purpose. 

Like aU their relations, I am sorry to say that they are very 

D 2 



36 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

quarrelsome and pugnacious birds, and it is quite impossible to keep 
two captive birds in the same cage during the breeding-season, for 
the males will fight imtU exhausted or seriously injiu-ed, whilst the 
females are often nearly as bad. I have never myself succeeded in 
getting them to breed in captivity, but they are such easy birds to 
tame and do so well in aviaries, that the matter should not be difficult. 
In the Calcutta Zoological Gardens these Pigeons used to pair freely, 
and would go as far as partially building nests, but the few eggs they 
laid were casually dropped about anywhere but in the nests. 



(5) OSMOTRERON POMPADORA AFFINIS (Jerdon). 
THE GREY-FRONTED GREEN PIGEON. 

Vinago aromatica (part) Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 13 (1840), nee 
Columba aromatica Gm. 

Vinago affinis Jerdon, I.e. ?. 

Vinago malabarica Jerdon, 111. Orn., Ill, letterpress pi. xxiv (1845) ; Blyth, 
Cat. B.M.A.S.B. p. 229 ; id., J.A.S.B., XXI p. 56. 

Treron malabarica Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 852 ; id., Cat., p. 229. 

Osmotreron malabarica Bp., Con. Av., II p. 13 ; Jerdon, B.I., p. 450 ; Hume, 
Nests and Eggs, p. 493 ; Fairbank, Str. Feath., IV p. 261 ; Hume and 
Bourd, ib., p. 403 ; Hume, ib., p. 424 ; id.. Cat. no. 775 ; Fairbank 
Str. Feath., V p. 408 ; Vidal, ib., IX p. 74 ; Butler, ib., p. 419; Davidson, 
ib., X p. 406 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 286 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests and 
Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 375; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 45; Sharpe, 
Hand-List, I p. 54 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 82 ; Barnes J.B.N.H.S., 
V p. 329 ; Davidson, ib., XII p. 61. 

Osmotreron afflnis Wal., Trans. Z.S., IX p. 212 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., 
IV p. 8 ; Fergusson J.B.N.H.S., XVI p. 1. 

Vernacular Name. Poda-putsa Guwa, Tel. 

Description. — Adult male. Similar to 0. p. phayrei, but the upper-parts 
in this subspecies are considerably deeper in colour, in fact, more a purple- 
than a chestnut-maroon ; there is never any orange on the breast, and m both 
males and females the grey of the head is duller and darker, and ill defined 
from the surrounding green. In addition to this, the male has the shoulder 
of the ^ving very much blacker and not mixed with grey. 

Adult female. The female affinis differs from the male in the same way 
as that of phayrei differs from the male of that subspecies. 

As I have already pomted out, all the differences between this subspecies 
and the others is one of degree only. Thus, there are some otherwise typical 
specimens of phayrei which have the heads dull and the grey ill defined ; 
here and there are some with no orange on the breast and, whilst in some 
males of phayrei the back is nearly as dark as the typical affinis, in this latter 
subspecies there are a few which have their backs and scapulars quite as 
pale as the normal phayrei. 

Colours of the soft parts are the same as in phayrei. 

Measurements. " Length about 10.75 ; tail 3.6 ; wing 5.75 ; tarsus .8 ; 
bill from gape .9 " (Blanford). 

This is a decidedly smaller bird, on an average, than the last, though 
the measurements overlap and bkds from Khandesh seem a good deal bigger 
than the smallest phayrei, but all over the area they inhabit there is a 
considerable range in their extremes of size. 



38 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

The wings of males I have measured vary from 5.44 in. ( = 138.2 mm.) 
to 5.92 ( = 150.3 mm.) in length, the average of sixty birds being 5.61 in. 
( = 142.5 mm.). 

The females do not appear to be any smaller than the males, and the 
biggest male in the British Museum series is no bigger than the largest female. 

Colours of soft farts of both sexes. " The soft basal part of the bill is 
glaucus green, but the tips of both mandibles are ashy. The iris is blue with 
an outer ring of pink or lake red." (Fairbank.) 

" Legs and feet lake pink ; claws bluish white " (Davison). 

Distribution. Blanford thus notes on the distribution of tliis Green 
Pigeon : " Forests of the Malabar Coast from the neighbourhood of Bombay 
to Cape Cormorin. Jerdon states that he also obtained this bird in Central 
India and in the Eastern Ghats ; but neither the late Doctor V. Ball, nor I, 
met with this species in the area specified ; the name does not occur in either 
of the lists of Shevaroy birds (for which I am indebted to Mr. Daly and 
Mr. Worth), and no one, as far as I know, has obtained this bird away from 
the Malabar Coast since Jerdon's time." 

Davidson (I.e.) says that it is very common in Kanara, and extends as 
far east as Birchia, but is rare beyond Sirsi, and that he had not noticed it 
either in Musyodi or Halzae. Bourdillon reports it as common in suitable 
localities in Travancore, but Davison did not find it abundant either in the 
WjTiaad or in Mysore. It also occurs in the Lacadives. 

Nidification. The Grey-fronted Green Pigeon breeds throughout 
its range, principally in February and early March, but its eggs may be 
taken at any time between the beginning of January and the end 
of April. 

Barnes records that this " is much the commonest Green Pigeon in 
Kanara . . . both above and below the Ghata. I have taken numbers of 
the nests, which are generally slight structures placed from 8 to 15 ft. from 
the ground, and mostly in small trees. The male is quite as commonly seen 
incubating the eggs as the female." 

Mr. J. Darling's account agrees with Barnes, and he describes the nest 
as " a slight ragged, shapeless thing composed of thin dry twigs laid together 
in a very disreputable fashion, with a circular central depression lined with 
a few grass stalks. The nests were 5 or 6 in. in diameter ; the depression 
hardly more than \ in. in depth. The eggs measured 1.12 in. by 0.8." 

Normally, this Pigeon, like others of the genus, undoubtedly prefers 
scrub-jungle and small trees or saplings as a site for its nest, but Mr. F. W. 
Bourdillon found its nest in the Assamboo Hills built on the bough of a tree 
at 40 ft. from the ground. 

In colour the eggs are, as usual, a pure white. The shape and texture 
does not differ from that of other Green Pigeons' eggs. They vary in length 
between 1.08 in. ( = 27.6 mm.) and 1.17 ( = 29.7 mm.), and average 1.12 
by .86 ( = 28.4 by 21.8 mm.). In breadth they only vary between .84 in. 
( = 21.3 mm.) and .88 ( = 22.3 mm.). 

I have only seen a very small series of these eggs and a larger number 
would probably show a greater difference between extremes of size. 

In habits there seems to be nothing peculiar to this species of 
Green Pigeon calling for remark. It is, perhaps, more strictly a forest- 
bird than is the case with some, but like the others of this genus 



GREY-FRONTED GREEN PIGEON 39 

wherever fomid, it is resident, merely moving higher up the hills 
in the hot weather and rains. BourdiUion says that it ascends as 
high as 3,000 ft. in Travancore, but Davison, possibly referring 
to other months, says that it does not ascend the hills at all. 
Though common enough in some parts of its distribution, the Grey- 
fronted Green Pigeon seems nowhere to be found in as vast numbers 
as is the Ashy-headed Green Pigeon. It collects aLso in rather smaller 
flocks, generally of half a dozen or so, and there appear to be no 
record of flocks much over twenty. Mr. F. W. BourdiUion says that 
it " may be found in great numbers in the neighbourhood of the hUl- 
men's clearings, but in February and March they ascend the hills 
to over 2,000 ft. Their note is a low chuckling whistle." 

This description of their call would, however, apply only to some 
of their notes, as other writers describe their wliistle as a most beautiful 
and melodious sound, apparently much like that made by the other 
birds of this genus. 



(6) OSMOTRERON POMPADORA POMPADORA (Gm.). 

THE POMPADOUR GREEN PIGEON. 

Columba pompadora Gm., Syst. Nat., I p. 775 (1788) ; Blyth, J.A.S.B., 

XIV p. 852. 
Treron pompadora Blyth, J.A.S.B., XXI p. 356. 
Vinago aromatica Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 13. 
Treron malabarica (part) Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 229. 
Treron flavogularis id., J.A.'S.B., XXVI p. 225. 
Osmotreron flavogularis id. ib., XXXI p. 344. 
Osmotreron pompadora Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 162 ; id. ib., VI p. 414 ; 

id., Cat. no. 777 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 728 ; Parker, Str. Feath., IX p. 481 ; 

Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 51 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 9 ; Sharpe, 

Hand-List, I p. 54 ; Butler, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 311. 
Osmotreron pompadoura Jerdon, B.I., III p. 452. 

Vernacular Names. Batta-goya, Cing. ; Patcha-praa, Alam-praa, Tamil 
in Ceylon. 

Description. Adult male. — ^The colour of the upper-parts where red, 
agrees in tint with the same parts in 0. p. affinis. It differs from that subspecies 
in having the fore-head, lores, and sides of the head more yellowish and the 
chin and throat a pure, almost lemon-yellow. The grey of the crowTi is 
generally entirely replaced wth green, though a few specimens have a fairly 
distinct patch of grey in the centre. The lower tail-coverts are a pale, bufiy- 
white instead of cinnamon. 

Adult female. Differs from the male in the same way as they do in the 
other subspecies. 

Colours of soft parts. " Bill glaucous green, paling to bluish in the 
apical portion ; irides carmine red wdth a cobalt inner circle ; eyelids glaucous 
green ; legs and feet purple-red " (Legge). 

Measurements. Length about 10.5 in ; tail 3.6 ; wing 5.6 ; tarsus .8 
bill from gape .9 in. (Blanford). 

There is only a small series of these birds in the British Museum, but 
enough to show that the sexes do not differ materially, if at all, in size. The 
wings vary from 5.45 in. ( = 138.4 mm.) to 5.76 ( = 146.2 mm.) and average 
5.63 ( = 142.8 mm.), the extremes in size being, in each case, the measure- 
ment of the wing of a female. 

Distribution. Ceylon. — Jerdon gives the habitat of this bird as Southern 
India also, but this is probably due to some mistake. Since Blanford wTote 
the Avifauna of British India, several field-ornithologists have worked Southern 
India well (amongst others who might be mentioned are Cardew, Fairbank, 
Bell, Dewar, Major Smith, Bourdillon, and others), but none have ever come 
across it. 



POMPADOUR GREEN PIGEON 41 

Mr. J. Stuart has also worked Travancore for the last ten years or so 
with great thoroughness, employing an army of observers in the location 
of birds and nests, but has failed altogether to ever come across, or to obtain 
a specimen, of the Pompadour Green Pigeon. 

Nidification. There is practically nothing on record regarduig the 
nidification of this Green Pigeon. Butler found a nest being built in June, 
but the bird did not lay, and no description is given of the nest. Parker, in 
Stray Feathers, merely states that the average of eight eggs is 1.15 in. by 0.88, 
and observes that " this bird deserts its nests on the least possible provo- 
cation." One pair of Parker's eggs sent to me was taken on 24.5.88, and is 
said to have come from " a small roughly-made nest of sticks placed in 
a sapling." 

I have a fair series of these eggs taken by W. Jenkins, chiefly at or about 
Welgampola. They are, of course, pure white, and of the usual smooth but 
not very close texture, and in shape broad ellipses, %nth the exception of 
one pair, which are somewhat lengthened. They vary in length between 
1.10 in. ( = 27.9 mm.) by 1.21 ( = 30.7 mm.) and in breadth between .91 in. 
( = 23.1 mm.) and .96 ( = 24.4 mm.). 

No nests were sent me ^nth the eggs, but they were described as 
rough platforms of twigs interlaced with one another with the slightest 
of derpressions m the centre, and measuring about 6 in. across. In no case 
was there any lining, and all the nests were either on high bushes or small 
trees in forests. 

This is a bird of both hiU and plains country, being found at certain 
seasons at the level of the sea, and at others as high as 4,000 ft., whilst 
it is resident practically over the greater part of this area. The one 
essential is that the country should be weU wooded, and it is seldom, 
if ever, to be found outside forest-land, or at least land that is well 
timbered, though it may wander into the open country, or short 
distances away from forest when tempted by plentiful feeding. 

It appears to be entirely frugivorous in its diet, though it would 
doubtless soon take to grain in captivity. A pair I saw in a cage in 
Slave Island, Ceylon, were fed entirely on bread and milk and plantains, 
and they seemed to be in a very good condition. 

There is very little on record about this Green Pigeon except as 
recorded by Legge in his Birds of Ceylon. He there writes : " This 
Pigeon is an inhabitant of woods, forests, and open timbered country : 
it collects together in the fine Banyan, Bo, and Palu trees, which are 
scattered through the low jungles of the eastern and northern Districts, 
and also in the magnificent outspreading Mee trees which line the 
borders of the jungle tanks, and in such resorts feeds in flocks on the 
luscious berries which these large trees provide. Its flesh is at all 
times delicious ; but when killed during the fruiting time of the Banyan 
and ironwood, there is nothing which surpasses this Pigeon in flavour 



42 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

in the Island. It is a shy bird and difficult to kiU, except when feeding ; 
it may then be easily shot out of large forest trees, providec^ the sports- 
man be concealed, as it feeds so greedily that many do not take flight 
on the discharge of a gun. They coUect in groups of a dozen or more, 
in the early morning or after feeding, and sit motionless on the tops 
of trees. On being alarmed one or two dart off, and are foUowed by 
their companions, one after another, tiU the whole have taken flight. 
They are very strong on the wing, and fly with a steady straight course. 
Their note is a melodious, soft, modulated whistle, which can be precisely 
imitated, and by doing which many are enticed by ' Eurasians ' in 
the North of Ceylon, into uttering it, and are thus more easily descried 
in the green foliage and then shot. There is something peculiarly 
charming in their himian-ILke notes when heard in the tops of lofty 
trees, overshadowing the mighty bunds by wliich the ancient Kings 
of Ceylon dammed up vaUeys, and skiUuUy formed vast reservoirs 
for the support of their subjects in the wild forests of the Vanni. In 
the Wellaway Korale, where the Pigeon is abundant, I have seen, 
as in the case of the two preceding species, large flocks in scattered 
company returning in the evening from their feeding ground, or from 
the widely dispersed waterholes of that district, and by remaining in 
wait for them in the same position I have had excellent shooting. Both 
this, and the Orange-breasted Pigeon, however, are very strong birds, 
and take more killing to bring them down, especially when perched, 
than almost any bird of the same size in Ceylon." 



(7) OSMOTRERON POMPADORA CHLOROPTERA (Blyth). 
THE ANDAMANESE GREEN PIGEON. 

Treron cMoroptera Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 852 (1845) ; id., Cat., p. 229. 

Osinotreron chloroptera Jerdon, B.I., IV p. 451 ; Ball, J.A.S.B., XLI pt. n. 

p. 286 ; id., Str. Feath., I p. 78 ; Hume, ib., II p. 258 ; id. ib.. Ill p. 162 ; 

id. ib., VI p. 414; id., Cat. no. 777, bis; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI 

p. 49 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 10 ; Sharpe Hand-List, I p. 54 ; 

Butler, J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 687 ; Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 488 ; Richmond, 

Proc. N.M.U.S., XXV p. 308. 
Osmoireron chloroptera andamanensis Butler, ib. 

Vernacular Names. None known. 

Description. — Adult male. Differs from the male of phayrei in having 
the lower wing-coverts green, of a darker, less yellow tinge than the neck, 
and the green of the upper-parts is more yellow except on the central rectrices. 
The maroon on the back is darker than it is in phayrei, and as dark as it is 
in affinis. There is no orange on the breast and the lower tail-coverts are 
dark, rather dull green, with broad yellowish-white borders. The grey of 
the head is lighter and unmixed with green on the fore-head, fading into the 
green of the lower half of the lores and also merging into the green of the 
neck, from which it is never sharply defined. 

Legs and feet pale carnation-pink or purplish-pink, claws homy or 
plumbeous tinged with pink ; bill a whitish-blue or leaden-blue tinged with 
green near the base, and with plumbeous cere. Iris, first ring pale blue, 
second ring darker blue, and third ring fleshy-buff. Orbital skin plumbeous, 
yellowish next the eye (from W. Davison's notes). " Feet dull purple " 
(Butler). 

Dimensions. " Length about 12.5 ; tail 4 ; wing 6.75 ; tarsus 1, bill 
from gape 1.05 " (Blanford). 

The wing-measurements of the series in the British Museum vary between 
6.75 in. ( = 171.4 mm.) and 7.2 ( = 182.9 mm.) and average 6.91 in. 
( == 175.5 mm.). Davison gives the weight of a big male as being .75 lb. 

Adult female. Similar to the male, but wanting the maroon on the 
upper-parts. The cap of grey is perhaps even less well-defined and duller in 
colour. 

Colours of soft parts, as in male. Davison says that the iris is " pale 
blue blending into puce." 

" Bill leaden greenish at base and on cere " (Butler). 



44 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Dimensions much the same as in the male. The females in the British 
Museum series have an average wing-measurement of 6.93 in. ( = 176.0 mm.). 

Young male of the year is always smaller than the adult, and has the 
purple-maroon of the upper-parts imperfectly developed. 

Dr. Richmond (I.e.) separates the birds inhabiting the Andamans from 
those inhabiting the Nicobars on account of their smaller size and general 
darker colour both above and below. He says that " the pigeon from the 
Andamans is similar to 0. chloroptera from the Nicobars, but rather smaller, 
colour somewhat darker below ; breast and sides deeper yellowish-green, 
and under tail-coverts more yellowish. The throat is yellower than in 
0. chloroptera." 

Dr. Richmond appears to have obtained only three females of the Andaman 
form, and a very careful examination of a larger series than that examined 
by him shows that the grounds upon which he creates his new subspecies 
do not hold good. 

The biggest male in the British Museum collection is a bird with a wing 
of 182.9 mm. from the Nicobars, whilst the biggest female is a bird from the 
Andamans. On the other hand, the smallest male birds in the collection 
are two with wings of 171.4 mm., of which one comes from the Nicobars and 
the other from the Andamans. 

As regards coloration, I can see no differences that are not individual 
only, and dark and light coloured birds are found equally often in either 
group of islands. I think therefore the subspecies Osmotreron chloroptera 
andamanensis must be suppressed. 

Distribution. The Andamans and Nicobar Islands. 

Nidification. Beyond the facts noted below, which would lead one 
to infer that May and June are probably two of its breeding-months, we 
know nothing about its nidification, and its nest and eggs have yet to be 
discovered. 

There is practically nothing on record about the habits of this 
form of Green Pigeon. Davison, in Stray Feathers, has the following 
short note : " This Hurrial is exceedingly abundant, both at the 
Andamans and Nichobars, more so at the former than at the latter 
place. It is always in flocks, keeping generally to the larger forest 
trees during the heat of the day, but coming into gardens and clearings, 
or wherever there may be trees with fruit, in the morning and evening. 
Its fine clear whistling note (very like, but more powerful than that 
of 0. malabarica) is one of those most frequently heard in the jungles 
about Port Blair. A few days before leaving Port Blair for Calcutta 
I noticed one of these Pigeons with a twig in its bill fly into the top of 
a tall slender tree standing just on the outskirts of the forest. This 
was in May, so it is probable that these birds breed during that 
and the following month." Messrs. B. B. Osmaston and A. L. Butler 
both record the bird as beihg abundant in the Andamans, and the 



ANDAMANESE GREEN PIGEON 45 

latter adds that a bird he shot m the month of May was apparently 
breedmg. 

The above exhausts all that has hitherto been written about this 
Pigeon, and I have not been able to elicit anything further about its 
habits. 



(8) OSMOTRERON FULVICOLLIS (Wagl.). 

THE CINNAMON-HEADED GREEN PIGEON. 

(Plate 2.) 

Columba fulvicollis Wagl., Sys. Av. sp. 8 (1827). 

Osmolreron fulvicollis Hume, Str. Feath., IV p. 224 ; id., Cat. no. 776, bis ; 

Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., VI p. 413 ; Oates, B. Burma, II p. 311 ; 

Hume, Str. Feath., VIII pp. 67 and 109; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI 

p. 52 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 10 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 53 ; 

Butler, J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 772 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 117. 
Treron fulvicollis Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 339; Everett, J.S.B.A.S., p. 196 

(part). 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Head, neck, and upper-breast cinnamon ; 
above darker and tinged with purple, below paler and more yellow, changing 
gradually to orange-ochre on the lower-breast. Interscapulars, scapulars, 
back, and lesser wdng-coverts purple-maroon ; rump slate changing into 
olive-green on the upper tail-coverts. Central tail-feathers above dull olive- 
green, the others olive-grey with a pure grey terminal band and a subterminal 
black one. Abdomen mixed yellowish-green and grey, varying very greatly 
in their proportions in different individuals ; flanks dark dove-grey, becoming 
deep slate-grey posteriorly ; tibial plumes and vent bright yellow, much 
mixed with slate ; under tail-coverts dull cinnamon, the longer often with 
green centres. Under aspect of tail black with grey tip. Primaries black, 
very narrowly margined on the outer webs and on the terminal quarter of 
the inner webs with yellowish-white ; winglet, secondaries, greater and 
median coverts black with yellow margins, broadest on the inner secondaries ; 
innermost secondaries glossed with olive-green ; under wing-coverts and 
axillaries french-grey. 

Colours of soft parts. "Legs and feet purplish pink, claws white, lower 
mandible to angle of gonys and upper mandible to just beyond nostril deep 
red, rest of bill dead white, strongly tinged with greenish blue. Iris buffy 
pink ; naked space round eye plumbeous green " (Davison). The edges of 
the iris are orange. 

Measurements. " Length about 10.5 ; tail 3.6 ; wing 6 ; tarsus .8 ; 
bill from gape .8 " (Blanford). 

The series I have examined have wings varying between 5.85 in. 
( = 148.5 mm.) and 5.40 ( = 136.2 mm.), and average 5.65 in. ( = 143.5 mm.). 

Adult female. Has the cinnamon and maroon of the upper-parts replaced 
by dull olive-green and below by pale yellowish-green, more or less mixed 
with grey on the abdomen. The crown from the fore-head to the nape is 
grey, showing in good contrast to the greenish supercilia. The chin in some 




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CINNAMON-HEADED GREEN PIGEON 47 

specimens has a very faint rufescent tinge. Under tail-coverts pale buff, 
the centres and bases more or less marked with green. 

Colours of soft ■parts. " Iris with an outer ring of pink and an inner ring 
of ultramarine. The legs and feet are paler and pinker than in the male." 
(Davison.) 

Measurements. " Females are rather smaller than the males " (Blanford). 
The series in the British Museum do not show that there is much difference 
in size between the two sexes. The average wing-measurement is 5.62 in. 
( = 142.5 mm.), and there are several adult males with wings smaller than 
any of the females. 

Young male. Young males are like the females, but assume the adult 
plumage, to some extent, at the first autumn moult, completing it in the 
spring. The maroon and cinnamon of the upper-parts are only partially 
assumed in the autumn, givmg the young bird in its first winter-plumage a 
very patchy appearance. 

Distribution. Blanford records this as only a winter-visitor to 
Tenasserim, where Davison obtained it at Bankasoon in December and 
January. It is, however, most probably a resident in Tenasserim, for my 
collectors found it there in March, when they obtained nests and eggs, though 
they reported it as very rare. 

Outside our Indian limits it is found in Cochin China, the Federated 
Malay States, and Malay Archipeligo to Celebes and the Philhpines. 

Nidification. The only note I can find on the breeding of this Green 
Pigeon is that by A. L. Butler in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History 
Society. He there records : " I took a pair of eggs of this handsome Pigeon 
in Pahang in May. The nidification, which is, of course, exactly similar to 
that of other Green Pigeons of the genus, is not described in Vol. IV of the 
Birds in the Fauna of British India, so perhaps it may be worth while 
to record the dimensions of the eggs. They are rather short and broad, both 
measuring 1.1 to 1.32 by 27/32, the shell of the usual Osmotreron texture and 



" The nest was placed in a low tree in a little sandy Island in the Pahang 
River, on which I landed to try for a jungle fowl. The male bird flew out 
of the tree close to the nest, and I shot him before I noticed it." 

The first pair of eggs I ever received of this bird was taken by Mr. W. A. T. 
Kellow in Simpang, Federated Malay States, who kindly sent me two pairs, 
together with portions of the skin of the parent birds. The nests were taken 
on the 11th May and 14th June respectively, and each contained two eggs, 
the former hard-set and the latter fresh. The nests were said to be the usual 
doves' platform of sticks and twigs placed in a small sapling, low enough 
down to be reached by hand, and situated in heavy forest near the banks 
of a stream. 

Other nests and eggs received after these appear to be similar in all 
respects, but were taken in the months of January and February, and, in 
epistola, Mr. Kellow writes that he believes these two are the principal 
breeding -months in that part of the Malay Peninsula. 

My series of eggs vary in length between 1.06 in ( ^= 26.8 mm.) and 1.16 
( = 29.3 mm.), and in breadth between .80 in. ( = 20.3 mm.) and .90 
( = 22.8 mm.), averaging 1.12 m. ( = 28.4 mm.) by .86 ( = 21.7 mm.). 

They are, of course, pure white and of the usual short ellipse shape, and 
do not differ in grain or texture from those of other Green Pigeons. 



48 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

My collectors found this bird very rare in the south of Tenasserim, 
but sent me thence several specimens both of birds and their eggs. 
During the months of November to February the birds kept much 
to the outskirts of jungle and the more open country, assembling 
in very large numbers, together with other Pigeons and fruit-eating 
birds, wherever there were trees in fruit ; but although the total 
numbers so collected may have been large, the flocks are said 
to have always been small, numbering some half dozen or so only. 
Their flight, voice, and general habits were said to be like those of 
Treron nepalensis, a bird very well known to the collectors. 

Davison seems to think that the birds worked south in spring, 
but this was probable merely because they retired into deeper forest 
during the breeding-season, and so escaped observation. He says 
of this Pigeon : " This species only makes it appearance in Tenasserim 
for a couple of months, in December and January. It occurs in small 
flocks about the borders of the forest. Its note is very similar to that 
of 0. vernans. It is apparently rare and very local, as I only met with 
it in two places near Bankasoon, though I was always on the look out 
for it. 

" It appeared to have come solely to eat the berries, much resembling 
red currants, of a thick bushy shrub about two feet in height which, 
near the Pakchem, grows about the clearings." 



OSMOTRERON BISINCTA. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Wing under 6 in 0. b. bisincta. 

B. Wing over 6 in O.b. domvillii. 



(9) OSMOTRERON BISINCTA DOMVILLII (Blyth). 

THE ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON. 

Vinago bisincta (part) Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., p. 13 (1840) ; (part) id., Ill 
I. Orn., pi. 21. 

Viimgo unicolor (part) id., Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 14 (1840). 

Trermi bisincta Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 851 ; id.. Cat., p. 229. 

Osmoireron bisincta Bp., Con. Av., II p. 12 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 449 
Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXXIX pt. n p. 272; Ball, Str. Feath., II 
p. 423 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 493 ; id., Str. Feath., Ill p. 162 
Blyth and Wal., B. Burma, p. 144 ; Armstrong, Str. Feath., IV p. 337 
Gates, ib., V p. 163 ; Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 411 ; Hume, ib. 
VI p. 414; Ball, ib., VH p. 224; Hume, ib., VIII p. 109; id. 
Cat. no. 774 ; Hume and Inglis, Str. Feath., IX p. 257 ; Gates, ib. 
X p. 235 ; Dav., ib., p. 406 ; Gates, B. Burma, U p. 308 ; id., Hume, 
Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 374 ; id., Str. Feath., XI p. 291 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 57; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 11 ; Sharpe, 
Hand-List, I p. 54 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 82 ; Barnes, J.B.N.H.S. 
V p. 328 ; Davidson, ib., IX p. 489 ; Stuart Baker, ib., X p. 363 ; Inglis 
ib., XI p. 475 ; Davidson, ib., XII p. 61 ; Macdonald, ib., XVII p. 495 
Stuart Baker, ib., p. 971 ; Haxmgton, ib., XIX p. 308. 

Osmoireron domvillei Blyth, B. Burma, p. 144. 

Osmoireron domvillii Swinh., Ibis 1870. 

Vernacular Names. Chitta putsa guwa, Tel. ; Gnu, Burmese ; Daorep 
kashiba, Cachari ; Inrid-gahergu, Naga ; Harial, Hindi ; Haitha, Assamese. 

Description. — Adult male. Fore-head, lores, and crown as far back as 
the back of the eye, dull yellow-ish-green, changing into a beautiful blue-grey 
on the nape, hind-neck, and upper-back where it in turn changes into the 
brownish-green of the back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts and 
smaller wing-coverts ; these last and the rump are rather less brown, and 
the upper tail-coverts somewhat more brown than that of the other parts. 
Tail dark ashy-grey with a broad terminal band of pale grey, and a dark, 
almost black subterminal band, very broad and dark on the outermost 
feathers, and less distinct and narrower on the central ones. Chin, throat, 
and fore-neck green, more yellow on the chin and the centre of the throat ; 
a broad band of lilac across the breast and bending backwards towards the 
shoulders of the wing so as to nearly enclose a second broad band of orange ; 
lower-breast pale yellowish-green, changing into bright king's yellow on the 
abdomen ; tibial plumes yellow, splashed with dark green and grey ; under 
taU-coverts cinnamon, the outermost feathers with pale yellowish edges. 
Quills nearly black, the outer primaries narrowly edged with bright pale 

E 



50 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

yellow ; the inner-secondaries the same, but gradually changing to the same 
colour as the back on the innermost, which are also broadly edged with 
yellow on the outer webs ; greater-coverts black with broad margins of pale 
king's yellow, median-coverts green with the same border on a few of the 
largest and outermost feathers. Winglet black ; lower surface of wing, 
flanks, and axillaries grey. 

Colours of soft farts. " The legs and feet vary from purplish pink to 
lake red, the irides have an inner ring, at times not very apparent, of deep 
blue, and an outer one of salmon pink, the eyelids bluish or pale plumbeous. 
The bill is pale bluish, the basal portion darker." (Hume.) 

The legs and feet are often almost a coral-red with paler soles, and 
claws a pale horny-brown. The inner ring of the iris varies from bright pale 
ultramarine to a deep blue, and the outer part from vivid salmon-pink to 
a deep crimson-pink. The bill is very often more of a pale green than a 
pale blue, more especially in the central portion. The eyelids and bare orbital 
skin are a bright lavender-blue. 

Adult female. Differs from the male m having no lilac and orange bands 
across the breast ; in having the blue-grey of the upper parts duller, darker 
and less in extent, and in having the under taU-coverts pale dull cinnamon, 
much mottled with dull greenish on the inner webs, and with the whitish- 
yellow on the outer webs still wider. The amount of green on the vent and 
tibial plumes also, is perhaps greater. I cannot see that the back, as is 
sometimes alleged, is either more or less green m the female than it is in the 
male. 

Colours of soft farts. Similar to the same parts in the male, but the eyelids 
and orbital skin are somewhat more li\id and less bright in tint. 

Yoxmg birds of both sexes in this, as in other Green Pigeons, have the 
eyes a watery pale brown, but acquire the double-coloured iris in the first 
autumn-moult, though it is not even then quite so vivid in colour as in the 
adult. The feet also are duller coloured and with less lake, and the eyelids 
and orbital-skin are of a livid colour. 

Measurements. Length about 11.5 m., tail 3.75, whig 6.25, tarsus .85, 
bill from gape .95. Females rather less " (Blanford). 

The huge series of this Pigeon in the British Museum Collection 
(excluding birds from Ceylon and Madras) give wing-measurements which 
range from 6.08 in. { = 154.4 mm.) to 6.70 ( = 170.2 mm.) This latter, 
however, is an extraordinarily large bird, and the next biggest is only 6.55 in. 
( = 166.2 mm.). The difference between the sexes is not much, and the 
biggest females far exceed in size the smallest males, but on an average the 
female has a vrmg not quite .25 in. ( =: 6.35 mm.) shorter than that of the male. 

Assam and Burmese birds are, on the whole, larger than those from 
Bengal and China, but they well overlap one another and camiot be divided 
as can the Ceylon and Southern Lidian birds. 

A very careful examination of the series of this Green Pigeon in the 
British Museum Collection shows, as has already been noted by Blanford 
and others, that in the extreme south of India and Ceylon there is a much 
smaller race which appears to be well worthy of subspecific rank. Un- 
fortunately, amongst the birds I have been able to examine, though there 
are a fair number from Ceylon there are very few from Madras ; but from 
the material available it would appear that the drop in size between the 
northern and southern races is very sudden. 



ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON 



51 



The following table shows the comparative size in wing-measurements 
of the Orange-breasted Green Pigeon in the various countries it inhabits : — 



Burma 




... 6.29 in. 


( = 159.6 mm. 


Assam and 
North-east India 


} 6.25 „ 


( = 158.7 „ 


Bengal 




... 6.22 „ 


( = 158.0 „ 


China 


... 


... 6.13 „ 


( = 155.7 „ 


Madras 




... 5.68 „ 


( = 144.2 „ 


Ceylon 


... 


... 5.65 ., 


( = 143.5 „ 



Average 158.5 mm. 



- Average 144 mm. 



The biggest male bird from Madras or Ceylon has a wing of 5.72 in. 
( = 145.3 mm.) whilst the smallest female from anjrwhere else has one of 
6.08 in. ( = 154.4 mm.) ; thus, whilst the average bird in Ceylon and Madras 
has a •vving more than J in. smaller than the average northern birds, the 
biggest from the former area is still more than J in. smaller than the smallest 
from the latter. 

The type-birds o and $ of hisincta are the two described by Jerdon 
from Madras, so that the northern species must bear another name, and the 
earliest available appears to be that of domvillii, given to a Hainan bird by 
Swinhoe in 1870. 

Distribution. Orissa, the whole of Bengal in suitable localities, Assam, 
through Chittagong into northern Burma, and thence through the whole of 
that country into Hainan and Cochin China, and south into the Malay 
Peninsula. Beavan recorded it as common in parts of Chutia Nagpur, but 
no one else has found it there since his time, and it seems to be restricted 
to the wooded parts of Manbhum and Purulia. I once saw a small flock of 
them in Hazaribagh of which one was shot, but this is the only time they 
have been seen in that district, and it is probable that throughout the diy 
zone in east-central India they only occur as very occasional stragglers from 
the more humid countries adjoining, and do not enter at all into the western 
dry country. Harington reports it from the dry zone in Burma, but apparently 
even there it is more rare than in the wetter climate north and south. 

Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, A\Tites : " It is entirely unknown 
in Khandesh, Goozerat, Kattywar, Sind, the Punjab, Rajputana, and the 
North- West Provinces, and is only known in the Sub-Himalayan Terais of 
Behar and Oudh, and the Eastern forest-regions of the Central Provinces. 
It is a purely Indo-Burmese type, not to be found, I think, in India out of 
the 60 in. rainfall regions." 

Nidification. Throughout its area of habitation, the Orange-breasted 
Green Pigeon is resident and breeds, though it may move locally with the 
seasons ; and it also appears to move higher into the hills and further into 
the plains in July and August, at the end of the breeding-season. 

In the hills north and south of the Brahmapootra Valley it breeds 
regularly up to an elevation of about 4,000 ft., and occasionally up to some 
2,000 ft. higher than this. On the other hand, it also breeds throughout 
the plains where there is a sufficient forest and rainfall, and is quite common 
during the breeding-season even in the low-lying Sunderbunds, where the 
daily tides actually surround with salt water the trees on which they build. 

It is now over forty years since Blyth first discovered this bird breeding, 
and took its nest in the Botanical Gardens, Calcutta ; but when I was there 
two years ago, in 1911, we were attracted, by the whistling of Green Pigeons, 

E 2 



52 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

to the huge banyan tree which forms one of the well-knoT^Ti sights of the 
gardens, and there we saw a male bird '' bowing and scraping " to his little 
mate : so evidently the spread of buildings for miles in all directions round 
these gardens has not yet driven it away. 

The actions of the male Orange-breasted Green Pigeon when courting, 
are those of the genus generally. The bird puffs out its feathers and waddles 
up and down a bough, to and from the female, solemnly bobbmg its head 
at regular intervals all the time — sometimes whistling its beautiful notes, 
sometimes croaking and crooning in an undertone which it considers even more 
seductive and musical. The female is content, as a rule, to feed whilst her 
consort shows off, but she, too, will now and then indulge in a clumsy 
step-dance, and bow and whttle in response to her mate's protestations 
of love. 

Over most of its habitat this Green Pigeon is an early breeder : Oates 
found it breeding in Pegu from March to May ; from the Malay States I have 
received eggs laid in January, February, and March ; in Lower Burma 
it appears to breed principally in February and March ; Imin took eggs 
in Hill Tipperah in April, and Hodgson records its breeding-season in Nepal 
as being from April to June ; in Dacca I found it breeding in March, and 
throughout the plains districts of Bengal. I think March and April are the 
principal breeding-months, but in the hill-ranges the favourite breeding- 
season is from early April to late May. It must, however, be remembered 
that all Green Pigeons are very irregular in their breeding-time, and doubtless 
many have two broods, for though I have often taken eggs of this species 
in early March, I have equally often taken fresh eggs m late August. 

The nest is a typical Green Pigeon's nest, but is even more flims y than most. 
Writing long ago in the Bombay Natural History Journal about this bird, 1 
recorded : " The nest of this species seems to be about the most primitive 
of all Pigeons' nests. I have seen some which it would appear ridiculous 
to suppose capable of holding a young brood, and how they do succeed in 
so doing I cannot understand. I took one nest in 1893, in which I do not 
think there were more than about a score of twigs used, and gaps showed 
through the nest fully half an inch in diameter, only just small enough not 
to allow of the eggs falling tlirough." 

They do not seem at all particular where they make their nests, but 
generally select a site either inside fairly thick jungle or forest of some 
kind, or else just on the outskirts of it. It is quite exceptional for the nest 
to be placed in an isolated tree or clump of trees, though it may now and then 
be taken in the large mango-orchards in Bengal, especially if these have been 
somewhat neglected, and have a good deal of undergrowth in them. 

I have seen these nests placed well up in big trees twenty, twenty-five, 
and even thirty feet from the ground. Others have been placed in small 
saplings, thick high bushes, and in bamboo-clumps hardly beyond the reach 
of a tall man ; whilst yet a few others have been built in cane-brakes m swamps, 
in bushes and dwarf bamboos not four feet above the land or the water of 
the swamps in which the cane-brakes grow. 

The nest takes but very few days to construct, both birds joining in the 
work, the male doing most of the carrying of the twigs and the female placing 
them in position. They work for a few^ hours only morning and evening, 
and during the rest of the day feed and doze. The nest made, the two eggs 
are generally laid with an interval of one day between, but sometimes, on 
consecutive days ; and from tliis time onwards the male bird accepts all 
the responsibilities of his position, taking half the duties of incubation, feeding 



ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON 53 

his wife with occasional dainties, and cheering her with his whistling when 
she is sitting. 

Incubation takes, I think, twelve or fourteen days ; but I have never made 
quite sure of this, and it may be a day more or less according to the weather, 
which affects incubation to a great extent. 

The eggs are, of course, the same soft, smooth white like those of the rest 
of the family, and the average size of 100 eggs is 1.1 in. ( = 27.9 mm.) by .89 
( = 22.6 mm.). 

This beautiful Green Pigeon is extremely abundant throughout 
the Province of Assam, alike in the plains and in the hills up to about 
2,500 ft., thence becoming more scarce up to about 4,000 ft., above 
which it is rare. It does however sometimes occur up to at least 6,000 ft. 
for I have shot one of a pair seen at the Peak, near ShiUong in the Khasia 
HiUs, in heavy rhododendron and oak forest, and have occasionally also 
seen it in the highest ranges to the east of the North Cachar HiUs 
round and about Hungrum. 

It is principally a bird of forest-country and prefers above all the 
vast stretches of forest-land rumiing along the foot of the Himalayas, 
and for some few miles into the adjoining plains, especially frequenting 
such places as are broken up by a certain amount of cultivation and 
scattered villages. At the same time, wherever there are trees bearing 
fruit for them to eat, these birds will also be found, except in the most 
open of plains, and occasionally they may be met with even in clumps 
of fruit-trees and village orchards — or topes, as they are called — far 
from any forest. 

Around villages and in the more open parts of their habitat they 
will be found resorting to their feeding-places from daybreak until 
8 or 10 a.m., and again in the cool of the evening ; but in forest-country 
and about villages standing in heavily wooded tracts they will feed 
more or less throiighout the day, except for two to four hours of the 
hottest time, when they retire to the densest foHaged forest-trees 
for their siesta. In Gunjong, North Cachar HiUs, these birds came 
into my garden more frequently than any other Green Pigeon, and 
used to feed greedily on a kind of fig of which there were two or three 
trees bearing fruit nearly aU the year round. They were also very 
partial to the guava-fruit which, when ripe and soft, they tore to pieces 
with their bills, swallowing huge bits as big, if not bigger, than their 
own heads. A more objectionable habit they had was that of getting 
into the orange-groves and pulling off the tiny oranges when about 
the size of small marbles. I don't think they ate many of these, for 



54 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

after a flock had visited and been frightened away from a grove, a 
large number of these httle oranges were to be found lying imder the 
trees ; and it really looked as if, after they had tasted the fruit and 
foiind it unpalatable, they had then set to work to mischievously 
destroy what they did not care to eat. 

They are rather shy birds, and if seated in scantily covered trees 
generally take to flight before one gets close enough for a shot, but 
if in very densely covered ones they often trust to the fohage screening 
their green bodies from view, and will remain where they are, absolutely 
stiU and silent, until the intruder departs, or curiosity gets the better 
of their nervousness, and they commence to move about in the endea- 
vour to get a better view of Mm. Beavan found them in Manbhum, 
feeding on the fruit of the nux vomica in company with other Pigeons. 

Their movements when feeding are very slow and methodical, 
and though they will occasionally fly from one part of a big tree to 
another, they usually make their way by climbing hand over hand — 
or I suppose one should say foot over foot — along the boughs and 
branches. They are quarrelsome birds, of course — all Pigeons and 
Doves are — and resent any other bird, Pigeon or other kmd, coming 
too close to them as they feed. If thus disturbed they open their 
mouths wide and emit a sort of hissing croak ; and if this awe-inspiring 
sound is not sufficient to induce the other bird to go, they clamber 
up to within a foot or two of him, and then launch themselves at him, 
endeavouring to beat him over the head with their wings. The}' also 
peck one another freely, and will try to get a firm hold of the feathers 
of the other bird's head ; and this once obtained, will shake and pull 
until the feathers come out, or the opponent gets in a smack with his 
wing hard enough to make the other leave go. I have often seen males 
in the early spruig, when most of the fighting goes on, with their heads 
quite raw and bleeding ; but at the same time the most serious injuries 
are probably caused by blows with the shoulder of the wing, which 
are given with qxiite sufficient force to stun. 

They have quite a large range of conversational notes, covering 
much bad language, and not a Uttle which we may hope to be good ; 
but their ordinary notes are the sweet whistling ones common to 
aU the Green Pigeons. Possibly the whistling of the Orange-headed 
Green Pigeon is not quite so melodious as that of some others, such 
as the Pin-tailed and Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, but it is very sweet 



ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON 55 

and mellow — now rising, now falling, but never anything but soft and 
full : never shrill, and never out of tune. Davison says that it has a 
lower and more jerky note than C. viridifrons and a less-soft one than 
vernans and fulvicollis. 

I don't think they assemble in such large flocks as do some of their 
nearest relations, and even where most common, small flocks numbering 
from half a dozen to a dozen are most often seen, whilst flocks of over 
a score are quite exceptional. It is not unusual, also, to see a single 
bird of this species, or indeed two or three of them, consorting with 
a flock of Treron nepalensis (the Thick-billed Green Pigeon), or with 
one of the forms of the Grey-headed Green Pigeons, for although 
quarrelsome, it is very sociable, and it would always rather flght with 
a pal than be left by itself in peace. 

Its flight is much like that of the two Pigeons just mentioned, 
perhaps not quite so fast or strong as either, but the difference, if 
any, is so slight that it makes it no easier to kill, and as a sporting-bird 
it is practically on a par with the others, whilst in beauty it ranks even 
higher than they do. In Assam it always forms a considerable pro- 
portion of the general bag at large shoots, being outnumbered invariably 
only by the Grey-headed Pigeon, equalling in number the Thick-billed, 
and generally more numerous than the rest. 



(lo) OSMOTRERON BISINCTA BISINCTA (Jerdon). 

THE LESSER ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON. 

(Plate 3.) 

Vinago bisincta Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 13 (1840) ; id., 111. I. Om., p. 21. 

Vinago unicolor id., Madr. J.L.S., XI p. 14. 

Osmotrcron bisincta id., B.I., III p. 449 ; Legge, B. Cey., II p. 725, III 

p. 1218 ; Butler, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 311 ; Taylor, Str. Feath., X p. 463 ; 

Ferguson, J.B.N.H.S., XVI p. 1. 

Vernacular Names. Ckitta putsa guwa, Tel. ; Paicha-praa, Tamil in 
Ceylon ; Batta-goya, Singhalese. 

Description. This subspecies only differs from the last in being very 
decidedly smaller, with a wmg of only 5.65 in. (or 143.5 mm. against 158.5 mm. 
in the northern and eastern form). The male and female differ from one 
another in exactly the same way as do those of the Common Orange-breasted 
Pigeon. 

" Bill greenish glaucus ; legs pinkish-red ; irides red, surmounted by 
a blue circle " (Jerdon). 

" Iris carmine outwardly and beautifully cobalt blue inwardly ; divided 
by a narrow dark ring, eyelid glaucus green ; bill with the soft basal half 
glaucus green, and the terminal half pale blue ; legs and feet coral red or 
pink red ; clawB bluish brown " (Legge). 

Distribution. Ceylon, Malabar, and the Bombay Presidency as far 
north as Kanara, the south of Madras to about latitude 14° ; and it has also 
been recorded by Jerdon from the Camatic and east of Nellore. 

Although so very closely allied to the last bird this subspecies appears 
to have a very well-defined habitat, and there seems to be a very -n-ide stretch 
of country in north Madras, the extreme south of Orissa, and the Central 
Provinces, where no form of Orange-breasted Green Pigeon is to be found, 
or if it does occur at all, only with extreme rarity. Consequent on this 
definitive gap in their distribution, we have a very well-defined difference in 
the measurements of the two subspecies, as already shown. 

This appears to be one of those interesting cases in which a race of birds 
has established itself, and tliriven at some distance from its parent stock 
whilst the intermediate area has proved unsuitable, so that the intervening 
form inhabiting it has, or will very shortly have, died out. Legge went into 
the question of the racial difference of this Pigeon from the Indian form, but 
only compared his Ceylon specimens ^\^th those from south India, from ^\'hich, 
as he says, they cannot be divided. 

Nidification. The breeding-season of this bird is variously reported 
by different collectors. Layard took its nest in May, but Legge says that 
it also breeds in August. Sykes took its eggs, which he very kindly sent 
me, near Kandy in Febniary and March, and Jenkins collected three clutches 
for me in January and February. 




THE LESSER ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON^OSMOTRERON B. BICINCTA- 

\i Nat. Size— Male on left, female on right.) PLATE 3 



LESSER ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON 57 

It is probably a very irregular breeder, generally building its nest during 
the months from January to March, but sometimes not until April or even 
May, and having a second brood in the months of July and September. 

Layard describes its nest as formed of sticks, with a slight linmg of roots, 
etc., placed in the fork of a tree. 

My own correspondents describe the nest as being of the usual character, 
built of small twigs, roughly interlaced, and with no lining whatsoever. 

It should be noted that all the gentlemen who have sent me eggs, or 
notes upon the nidification of this Pigeon, agree that it is very partial to 
big forest-trees as sites for its nest, and that it commonly builds them on a 
large horizontal bough at a very considerable height from the ground. 

The eggs in my collection only differ from those of Osmotreron bisincta 
domvillii in being decidedly smaller. Eight eggs average 1.04 in. ( = 26.3 mm.) 
by .85 ( = 21.6 mm.). The largest 1.10 in. ( = 28.0 mm.) by .88 ( = 22.35 mm.) 
and the smallest 1.0 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) by .83 ( = 21 mm.). 

There is nothing to record about this bird's habits which differ 
from those of the Common Orange-breasted Pigeon. 

It is very common in parts of Ceylon, Travancore, and in Malabar, 
but outside these districts seems to be very rare, wandering into south- 
east Madras only as an occasional straggler. The species, both this 
and domvillii, seems to require forest or extremely well wooded country 
of considerable humidity, and is rare or absent in the more dry zones. 
Legge records about the bird : " The Orange- breasted Green Pigeon 
affects the low jungle, the outskirts of the forest, detached rows of trees 
in open country, and sundry other localities where its favourite fruit 
abounds. It associates in small parties as a rule, but collects in large 
flocks in trees which are in heavy fruit. Its favourite fruit consists 
of the berries of the Bo, Banyan, Pala and PoppaUlle trees ; on them it 
feeds with such avidity that it will return to the trees very shortly 
after being shot at. Its flight is swift, and when returning from its 
feeding-grounds in a continuous stream at evening time, affords good 
shooting as it crosses the roads in the northern and eastern jungles. 
This and the next species are much shot by the natives who possess 
guns. They take up their position beneath some fruit-bearing 
monarch of the forest, and shoot the Pigeon as they fly to feed in 
the mornings. It has a regular time, like other Fruit-Pigeons and 
Doves, for drinking, which is about seven in the morning and 
four in the afternoon. The flesh of this species is succulent and 
well-flavoured, but is not so delicate as that of the next bird 
[^pompadora]. 

" Its note is a hoarse croak, repeated at intervals, but it is usually 
a silent bird. 



58 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

" In the South of Ceylon I foujid they fed much on wild dates ; 
an example I shot near GaUe had its crops almost extended to bursting 
with the fruit. They are fond of frequenting hedges of fruit-bearing 
trees on open land, and I have often seen them frequenting rows of 
the common ' Cadaru ' tree, although there can be nothing, of course, 
in the large nauseous fruit of that tree to tempt them." 

Layard says that vast numbers are kiUed in the southern and 
western Provinces, as these birds swarm to the tree for the time being 
in fruit. They appear, according to him, to be always shot in the 
trees rather than in the more sporting manner carried out in Assam 
and India where, as already naiTated, a perching bird is practically 
never shot, aU being killed as they flight to and from their feeding- 
places. How numerous they are may be reahzed from what Layard 
says of his own shooting — when firing at one bird in the tree he 
" brought down seven or eight others which he could not see." 



(ii) OSMOTRERON VERNANS (Linn.). 
THE PINK-NECKED GREEN PIGEON. 

Columba vernans Linn., Mant., p. 526 (1771) ; Lath., I. Om., II p. 599. 

Columba 'purpurea id. ib., p. 599. 

Treron vernans Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV pt. n p. 851 ; Everett, J.S.B.A.S., 
p. 196. 

Osmotreron vernans Bp., Con. Av., II p. 12 ; Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 323 ; 
Wald, in Blyth's B. Burma, p. 144 ; Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., 
VI pp. 411 and 414; Hume, Cat. no. 774, bLs ; id., Str. Feath., VIII 
pp. 67 and 109; Gates, B. Burma, II p. 309; id., in Hume's Nests 
and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 375 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 60 ; Blanf., 
Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 13; Sharpe, Hand-list, I p. 54 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs 
B.M., I p. 83 ; H. R. Baker, J.B.N.H.S., XVII p. 760. 

Osmotreron viridis Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 461 ; id. ib., Ill p. 162 ; Bljrth, 
B. Burma, p. 144. 

Vernacular Name. Ngu, Burmese. 

Description. — Adult male. Head and throat grey, in some cases with 
a tinge of green on the fore-head and throat ; neck all round as far as the 
upper-breast below and extending on the sides and back as far as the shoulder 
purple-lilac, somewhat mixed with grey where the purple adjoins the back ; 
back, scapulars, lesser and median wing-coverts and innermost secondaries 
green, the median wing-coverts broadly edged %vith pale lemon-yellow ; rump 
green, changing to a bronze-tan on the upper tail-coverts ; tail grey with a 
broad subterminal band of black, uddest on the outer rectrices, narrowest 
on the central ones. Primaries and outer secondaries black, the first three 
or four primaries with narrow pale yellow' margins. The greater coverts 
are the same colour as the back, but have broad yellow margins to the outer 
webs. Winglets and outer primary-coverts black. A broad circular patch 
of orange covering the whole breast ; abdomen yellow-green, faintly splashed 
with grey at the sides ; tibial plumes and feathers about vent darker green 
with wide yellow borders. Lender wing-eoverts and axillaries grey, and the 
flanks mingled grey and green. Under tail-coverts deep chestnut, sometimes 
with a blackish patch near the ends of the longest. Under aspect of the tail 
black with a narrow grey tip. 

Colours of soft parts. " Iris pink ; feet light lake ; bill plumbeous, nail 
whitish, cere and edge of gape green ; weight about 6 oz." (Davison). 

" Irides with three rings, the outer buff or pink, the next prussian blue, 
the inner ultramarine " (Davison). 

Measurements. " Length about 11 ; tail 4.0 ; wing 5.8 ; tarsus .8 ; 
bill from gape .8 " (Blanford). 

The large series of this Pigeon in the British Museum shows a very wide 
range of measurements, the largest wing being no less than 6.10 in. 
( = 154.9 mm.) and the smallest only 5.30 ( = 134.6 mm.), whilst the average 
is a little over 5.55 ( = 141.0 mm.). 



60 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Adult female. Has the grey and lilac-purple of the male replaced with 
olive-green, varying a good deal in shade in different individuals, the head 
generally rather paler and brighter, and the fore-head suffused with yellow. 
There is no orange on the breast, which is olive-green and shades gradually 
into the yellow of the abdomen. The under tail-coverts are pale yellowish- 
buff, more or less suffused ^vith cinnamon, especially on the basal half of the 
inner webs, and with the shortest ones freckled with dull brovraish-green. 

The colours of the soft parts are the same as in the male, though some 
females seem to have the legs and feet duller and paler. 

Measurements. The females are very little, if at all smaller than the 
males. The series I have measured have an average wing of 5.52 in. 
( = 140.21 mm.), and the greatest and least length is 6.02 ( = 152.9 mm.) 
and 5.25 ( = 133.3 mm.) respectively. The tail of both sexes varies very 
greatly. A female from Manilla has a taU of 4.2 in. ( = 106.7 mm.) whilst 
another from the same place has one of only 3.4 ( = 86.3 mm.). 

Young male. Resembles the female but assumes the adult plumage 
in patches after the first autumn-moult. The rufous on the upper tail- 
coverts is not developed, and the central rectrices are more green. 

Young female " has the rufescent colour of the upper tail coverts scarcely 
visible and the central tail-feathers are more or less tinged with green " 
(Salvadori). 

Young birds of both sexes have the iris much duller, and until the first 
autumn-moult it is generally a dull fleshy-b^o^^•B. 

Despite the great difference in the size of individuals of this species, and 
the considerable variations in the depths of colouring, and the extent of yellow 
on the head, I can trace no correlation between this and the differences in their 
geographical limits. The biggest birds, undoubtedly, do come from Manilla, 
but overlapping these in size, specimens occur even amongst those obtained 
furthest away from this place. 

As regards the females from Manilla, it does appear to me that these 
have the grey tips to the tail-feathers somewhat broader and paler on the 
whole, and perhaps, also, the fore-head more yellow ; but I do not consider 
the differences sufficient or sufficiently constant to warrant birds from these 
islands being separated as another subspecies. 

Salvadori records that he has " seen in the Paris Museum a variety entirely 
of a canary-yellow." 

Distribution. Salvadori gives the range of the Pink-necked Green 
Pigeon as " Siam and Cochin China, South of Tenasserim, Malay Peninsula 
and also Sumatra, Nias, Bangha, Billiton, Java, Sambawa, Borneo, the 
Phillipines, Sulu Islands, and Celebes." 

Within our limits it is found as far North as Mergui in Tenasserim. 

Davidson records it as very common in Tenasserim in the southern 
part of that province, and it appears to be equally common in suitable 
localities, throughout the Malay Peninsula and into Singapore. 

Nidification. At present I know of but one note on this bird's breeding 
other than those recorded in Hume's Nests and, Eggs. Li this note Major 
Baker merely says that in Singapore it breeds " from March to May or June ; 
the usual nest and eggs." 

Davison, in southern Tenasserim, " on tlie 12th June found a nest of this 
Pigeon in a small vcrj- dense, thorny bush. The nest was of the usual Pigeon 
and Dove type, consistmg merely of a few dry twigs. It was placed about 



PINK-NECKED GREEN PIGEON 61 

five feet from the ground." The eggs foimd by Davison measured 1.15 in. 
in length by .81 and .82 in breadth respectively. Two other eggs found in 
Kussoom in the Malay Peninsula measured 1.11 in. by .86 and 1.05 by .85 
in breadth. 

I have had a fair series of these eggs sent me : a few from southern 
Tenasserim taken in June and July after the rainy season had well set in 
and a number from the Malay Peninsula which were all taken in the months 
January to March. It seems probable, therefore, that the majority breed 
during the first three months of the year, though others — these may be 
second broods — continue to breed until well on into July. 

My eggs are decidedly small in comparison with the bird's size, sixteen 
only averaging 1.08 in. by .85 ( = 27.4 by 21.6 mm.). The longest and 
broadest eggs are 1.14 ( = 28.8 mm.) by .88 ( = 22.3 mm.) respectively, and 
the shortest and most narrow 1.03 ( = 26.2 mm.) and .80 ( = 20.3 mm.). 

The six eggs in the British Museum Catalogue vary from 1.08 in. to 
1.12 in length and from .8 to .88 in breadth. 

According to Davidson, this beautiful little Pigeon is an inhabitant 
of the denser forests only, being seldom found in thin jungle or in close 
proximity to villages and gardens. They appear to go about in small 
parties, as a rule of only six or eight members, though in some places 
they coUect in enormous numbers to feed or roost. 

Major H. R. Baker notes that " these birds roost in enormous 
numbers on the small mangrove-covered islands which are dotted about 
the North of the Johore river. Here sportsmen betake themselves 
in July and August, and stationing gims roimd an island await the 
flighting in the early morning and evening ; in this way bags of several 
hundreds of bii'ds are sometimes made." 

In a letter to me Major Baker gives the following interesting 
account of one of these shoots : " The Pink-necked Green Pigeon is 
extremely common in Johore, Singapore and other parts of the Malay 
Peninsula, and forms a very favourite object of shooting from July 
to September, and one of these battues, though not a successful one, 
I will try to describe to you. 

" We had received word that the Pigeons had commenced to 
flight, a sure indication that the breeding-season had finished, and 
that the yoimg ones had joined the old birds in the morning and 
evening flight to and from the feeding-ground. It was with pleasur- 
able anticipation, therefore, that C. and I hurried down one morning 
to the wharf at Singapore, with beds, kits, guns and food, at the 
invitation of owe friend the doctor who had offered to take us in his 
launch to one of the roosting-places, a mud island in the Johore river, 
thickly covered with mangrove trees. We started early for the sea 



62 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

was rough, and we had some thirty miles to go, first along the coast 
and then up the river, and as we were delayed by having to rescue 
two Chinamen from a nearly swamped sampan, it was mid-day 
before we reached the mouth of the river. Tiffin taken on board 
and with no further delay, we arrived at our destination about 4 p.m., 
pulling up at a tangled mass of mangrove trees, about six acres in extent 
standing out of the water almost in mid-stream, and the river, even 
here, was almost a mile wide. 

" This was our shooting ground, and most miinviting it looked 
with the tide half out and the gaunt finger-like roots of the trees exposed, 
to say nothing of the stench arising from the filthy black mud which 
was becoming more and more visible every minute. But there was 
no time to waste, for the Pigeons might begin to arrive at any moment. 
The only question to settle was whether to stand in the mud and water 
near the trees, in which case one was Hable to sink in deeper than 
would be pleasant, or to squat in a tiny dug-out canoe which rocked 
dangerously at the shghtest move ; choosing the lesser of two evils 
we each cautiously crept into a canoe — they had been ordered before- 
hand, and were waiting for us — and proceeded to take up our positions 
around the island. I can well remember my feelings as time kept 
shpping away and the sun sunk lower and lower, and the mosquitoes 
became more and more attentive, and could not help thinking the 
whole affair was going to turn out a farce, when from across the river 
I saw a small sort of cloud which increased rapidly in size and was 
evidently coming towards me. Could it be the Pigeons ? A very 
few moments settled the question, for with a swish and whirl of wings 
they were down, not on us, but on the trees. Talk about a hot comer 
at a pheasant battue or partridge diive ! Child's play to this ! And 
I was soon firing as fast as I could load, but alas ! with poor results ; 
then a rest of a few minutes and a similar burst of fire romid the other 
sides told me that my companions were hotty engaged. But there 
was no time to speak now, scarcely time to thinli, for on came the 
Pigeons, battahon after battaUon, mass after mass, from all quarters 
of the globe ; a truly marvellous sight, and one would have imagined 
that the slaughter would have been correspondingly great, and that 
one would only have to fire at one bird to bring down half a dozen — 
as is actually the case at the beginning of the season before the birds 
have been much shot at and frightened and rendered cumimg, and 



PINK-NECKED GREEN PIGEON 63 

I have seen parties bring in over two hundred birds. Our luck was 
out, however, on this occasion for it afterwards transpired that another 
party had, unknown to us, visited this same spot a couple of days 
before ; the result was that instead of approaching the island fairly 
low over the water the Pigeons flew high up, mostly out of range, tiU 
exactly over the trees, when they seemed to close their wings and dive 
headlong into the trees. On reading this some may ask why we did 
not land and stand under the trees or in a clearing ? The obvious 
retort would be that such people had never seen a mangrove swamp 
at close quarters — there is not an inch of dry land, nothing but slimy 
mud of unknown depth, and a tangled mass of roots which nothing 
but a snake or mongoose could get tlirough ! By this time it was 
getting dusk, and the flight ceased as abruptly as it had begun, and as 
we could not induce any Pigeons to come out and fly around (no amount 
of shooting or firing into the air will make them quit the trees) we 
picked up the slain — only some two dozen — and made for the launch 
where baths, dinner, pipes and beds awaited us." 

Davison says that they have " a soft, low whistle, ending in a 
sort of ' coo,' very unlike that of 0. chloroptera, malabarica, etc." And 
again he says that its note is much like that of Treron nepalensis, though 
much softer, and he adds that in habits also it closely resembles that 
bird. 



Genus BUTRERON. 

The genus Butreron consists of a single species, which forms a 
connecting link between Osmotreron and Treron, for whereas the former 
has a soft cere covering well over one-third of the basal portion of 
the bill, and the latter has the whole of the culmen clear of the cere, 
Butreron has the horny part or ramphotheca including more than 
two-thirds, and the cere less than one-third of the culmen. It also 
has a narrow orbital space bare, though this is not so extensive or 
vividily coloured as in Treron. 

The bill is stout and high; the third primary- is sinuate on the 
inner web, but less so than in Grocopus and Osmotreron ; the lower 
tail-coverts are very long. 

(12) BUTRERON CAPELLII. 

THE LARGE THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON. 

(Plate 4.) 

Columba capellii Temm., PI. Coll. 143 (1823). 

Treron capellii Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 848 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 228 ; 

Hume, Str. Feath., VUI p. 67 , Everett, J.S.B.A.S. 1889, p. 196. 
Butreron capellii Bp., Con. Av., II p. 9; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., p. 13; Finn, 

J.B.N.H.S., XIV., p. 577. 
Butreron capellei Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 32. 

Vernacular Names. Not recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole upper-plumage an olive-grey green, 
the fore -head paler and more grey, and the back of the neck more yello-nTsh ; 
upper taU-coverts still more yellow, especially on the longest which are 
practically the same in tint as the centre tail-feathers. These are greenish- 
yellow with pale brown shafts, the outermost feathers are dark slate-grey, 
with a broad pale grey tip, and the intermediate feathers gradually change 
in coloration between the two extremes. Lesser and median wing-covert-s 
like the back ; greater coverts, shoulder of wing, bastard-wing, and quills 
deep slate-grey, a few of the outer median and all the greater coverts narrowly 
margined bright king's-yellow ; innermost secondaries paler than the other 
quills, and becoming green like the back on the smallest — broadlj- margined 
on the outer webs with king's-j'ellow. Throat and neck pale greenish-yellow, 
changing on the sides of the neck and face to the colours of the upper-parts ; 
breast bright deep orange, the sides washed with a tinge of chestnut, remainder 





THE LARGE THICK-BILLED GREEN PICEOH—BUTRERON CAPELLII. 

(i Nat. Size — Male below, female above.) PLATE 4 



LARGE THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 65 

of lower plumage oil-green, the back of the tibia and feathers about the vent 
buff ; under tail-coverts deep chestnut-maroon, except a few of the shortest 
lateral ones, which are buff ; under surface of wing dove-grey, the coverts 
more or less mixed with green, asdllaries and flanks greenish-grey. 

Colours of soft parts. " Iris deep brown or deep reddish brown ; bill 
very pale whitish green, cere and gape bice green ; legs, feet, and eyelids 
bright yellow, claws homy blue " (Davison). 

" Iris dark ash or golden yellow " (Hartert). 

" Orbits slightly bare, tinged yellow ; feet chrome yellow " (Wallace). 
" Iris dull red ; eyelids, orbital skin, and feet yellow " (Butler). 

Weight 15 to 17 oz., according to Davison's notes. 

Measurements. Wing 7.65 in. to 8.2 ( = 194.3 to 208.2 mm.), tail 
5 in. to 5.75 ( = 127.0 to 146.0 mm.), tarsus .8 m. to .9 ( = 20.3 to 22.8 mm.) ; 
bill at front .85 in. to .95 ( = 21.5 to 24.1 mm.), and from gape about 1.3 in. 
(about 33 mm.). 

Blanford gives the tarsus as 1.1 in. (about 28 mm.). Length in the flesh 
387-400 mm. (Butler). 

Adult female. Has the orange of the breast replaced by green strongly 
suffused with golden-yellow, and showing up brightly against the adjoining 
parts. The posterior feathers of the flanl^ and of the tibia are a darker 
grey-green and more mixed with buff, and the under tail-coverts are buff 
with dull brownish-green bases and centres. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs and feet pale yellow, claws pale blue ; 
hard part of bill greenish white, soft part plumbeous, irides deep bro%\-n and 
edges of eyelids pale yellow. Weight about 13 oz." (Davison.) 

The measurements of the series of females in the British Museum do 
not show any definite difference between the male and female, but the latter 
is the slighter, lighter bird, and seems to have, on the whole, a somewhat 
more slender bill. 

Distribution. The only instance of this Pigeon being foimd within 
the limits of the area dealt with in this work, is that of a single bird obtained 
by Dr. Anderson in Elphinstone Island near Mergui. Outside our limits 
it is found in the Mergui Archipelago, Malay Peninsula, Sumatra, Borneo, 
and Java. 

Nidification. Nothing yet known. 

There is practically nothing on record about this bird, but it 

appears to differ in no way in its habits from the other Fruit-Pigeons. 



Gentjs TRERON. 

The genus Treron is very closely allied to Osmotreron, and our sole 
Indian species of the genus, T. nipalensis, is extremely like Osmotreron 
phayrei in coloration. The former can, however, be distinguished at once 
by the fact that the soft cere does not cover the top of the culmen next 
the fore-head, the homy portion, or ramphotheca, extending over the 
whole of the culmen. There is also a wide naked space round the eye. 

In the Indian species the vivid green of this orbital skin and the 
equally vivid red of the base of the upper mandible, distinguishes at a 
glance this species from all our other Green Pigeons. 

There are only two species of Treron — our Indian bird nipalensis, 
and nasica, which is found in Sumatra, Engano, Bangka, and possibly 
southern Borneo. But our bird is, as a matter of fact, only a sub- 
species of Treron curvirostra of Borneo, Sumatra, etc., as I show when 
dealing with the distribution of the two forms ; though, having but 
the one subspecies within Indian limits, we need not, in this instance, 
adopt the trinomial system. 



(13) TRERON NIPALENSIS (Hodg.). 

THE THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON. 

(Plate 5.) 

Toria nipalensis Hodg., As. Nes., XIX p. 164 pi. ix (head and foot) 1836 ; 

Blyth and Wald., B. Burma, p. 143. 
Treron nipalensis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 847 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 228 ; 
Jerdon, B.I., IH p. 245 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XLIH pt. 2 p. 171 ; 
Hume and Gates, Str. Feath., Ill p. 160 , Wald., B. Burma, p. 145 ; 
Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., VI p. 410 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 100 ; id., 
Cat. no. 771 ; Bingh., Str. Feath., IX p. 193 ; Hume and Inglis, ib., 
p. 257 ; Gates, B. Burma, U p. 306 ; id., Str. Feath., X p. 235 ; Hume, 
ib., XI p. 289 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 34 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, 
I p. 54 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 83 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., 
X 363 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 475 ; H. R. Baker, ib., XVH p. 764 ; Stuart 
Baker, ib., XVH p. 971 ; Harington, ib., XIX p. 308. 

Treron nepalensis Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., 11 p. 370 ; Blauf ., 
Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 14. 

Hook-bUled Pigeon Lath., Syn., II p. 632 (1783). 

Columba curvirostra Gm., Sys. Nat., I p. 777 (1788). 




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THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 67 

Vernacular Names. Thoria, Nepalese; Gnu, Burmese; Harial, 
Bengali and Sylheti ; Lali Haintha, Assamese ; Daorep buku-gajao, 
Cachari ; Inruigu gaherba, Naga. ; Angee Koll Hurrial, Sylheti. 

Description. — Adult male. Fore-head and lores grey, deepening in 
colour on the crown and thence changing to olive-green on the nape and 
neck ; scapulars, interscapulars, back and lesser \ving-coverts chestnut- 
maroon, palest on the back where it meets the green neck, where also it is 
often suffused with grey ; rump and upper tail-coverts olive-green, brightest 
and tinged with golden-yellow on the latter ; central rectrices the same, 
outer rectrices grey with a band of black across the middle, widest on the 
outermost ; the two pairs of feathers next the centre pair are also more or less 
suffused with green, and the others when in perfect condition have a very 
narrow tei-minal margin of the same. Quills black, the two outer primaries 
very narrowly margined with yellowish-white at the centre of the outer webs ; 
innermost secondaries next the scapulars green, and the shoulder of the wing 
and a few coverts next the maroon also green ; remaining wing-coverts black, 
with broad yellow edges to the outer webs ; outer secondaries black ^^ith 
fine yellow borders. Cheeks, ear-coverts and sides of neck and lower-surface 
olive-green, more yellowish than on the upper -neck, and with the chin and 
throat still more yellow. In some specimens there is the faintest tinge of 
fulvous on the breast ; feathers of the posterior flanks, tibial plumes, and 
about vent darker green mixed with, white ; under tail-coverts cinnamon, 
the outer ones mixed green and white. 

Colours of soft farts. Irides with two rings, the inner and narrower of deep 
blue, the outer and broader varying from golden-yellow to orange-red ; orbital 
skin a vivid verdigris-green ; legs and feet deep lake-pink to coral-red, 
generally the latter ; bill pale yellowish, or greenish, or less often a leaden- 
white with a deeper and more distinctly green tip, the base of upper mandible 
and round gape a bright coral-red. 

Measurements. " Total length about 10.4 in., wing 5.62 to 5.76 ; tail 3.46 
to 3.35 ; bill 0.6 ; tarsus 0.75 to 0.9 " (Salvadori). 

The series in the British Museum cover a far greater range of variation 
than is shown in the above. In wing-measurements the males vary from 
4.90 in. ( = 124.4 mm.) to 5.75 { = 146 mm.), but from these must be eliminated 
a large number of individuals which belong to a very well-marked subspecies 
from the south-eastern portion of its range. The average of the northern 
form is about 5.5 in. ( = 139.7 mm.). 

Adult female. Differs from the male in having no trace of maroon on 
the upper-plumage and in having the under tail-coverts pale buff with dull 
olive-green bars on the longest and olive-green bases to the shorter feathers. 

Colours of soft farts. Similar to the same in the male, but the verdigris 
blue-green of the bare orbital skin is not so bright. 

Measurements. The series of skins in the collection of the British Museum 
show that the female is, on an average, no smaller than the male, the wing 
being about, or a trifle over 5.5 in. ( = 139.7 mm.). 

Young male. Similar to the female, but getting a small amount of 
maroon on the upper-plumage in the first autumn-moult. 

Nestling. Like the adult female, but everywhere more grey and duller 
and with the lower-parts an oily grey -green. The iris is pale grey-brown, 
the skin of the face a livid-grey, and the bill whitish with the terminal third 
bluish, and the basal portion a livid-pink. 

F 2 



68 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Distribution. The Thick-billed Green Pigeon is found throughout the 
Himalayas from Nepal m the west, through Sikhim, in all the Mil-ranges 
north and south of the Brahmapootra River, the better wooded parts of 
eastern Bengal, throughout Burma, the Chin Hills, Shan States into the 
extreme south of Tenasserim, Annam, Siam, and Cochin China into the 
north of the Malay States. In the south of the Malay States, Borneo, 
Sumatra, and the Philhpines it is replaced by the true curvirostra. 

The earliest notice of this form of Green Pigeon is the plate in 
Latham's Synopsis of Birds, a figure wliich agrees quite well with the 
Sumatran Thick-billed — or, as he calls it, Hook-bUled — Pigeon, except that 
it does not show the grey of the head. On this plate was foimded the 
description of Columba curvirostra in Gmelin (Systema Naturae, 1 p. 777) 
in which again the grey of the head is not mentioned. There cannot, I 
consider, be the slightest doubt that the present bird is the one depicted by 
Latham and described by Gmelin, and the specific name for the Thick-billed 
Pigeon must therefore be Trermi curvirostra. Our Indian form, however, 
is quite easily distinguished from the Sumatran bird, the latter being 
separable at a glance by its generally darker hue both above and below. 
In addition to this the grey of the crown is distinctly darker and more dull, 
and often considerably restricted in area ; the upper-plumage is of a duller 
darker green, and the under-parts, instead of being a comparatively bright 
greenish-yellow, are a dull oily yellow-green. 

In size the southern bird is also very much smaller, the -nlng running 
from 4.90 in. ( = 124.4 mm.) to 5.12 ( = 130.0 mm.). 

Nidification. Wherever found the Thick-billed Pigeon is resident 
and breeds, and in Cachar and the IChasia Hills I have taken great numbers 
of their nests. They commence breeding very early and some few eggs 
may be taken m the end of March, but April is the month in which most may 
be taken, and they continue to lay throughout May and June, whilst in July 
and August there is a fresh mcrease in the numbers breeding, so that it is 
probable that most birds have two broods in the year. 

I do not think either nest or eggs can be distinguished from those of 
Osmotreron phayrii, and like that bird the Thick-billed Pigeon is a very speedy 
builder. A nest built in an orange-grove outside my house took only four 
days to build, though for some few days previously the pair of birds were 
constantly placing a few twigs in position, either in the same tree as that in 
which they eventually built, or in one of the other orange-trees in the same 
grove. 

Incubation, I believe, took fourteen days, but I cannot be sure as I was 
afraid of disturbing the birds by too close inspection. They were not timid, 
and did not mind my moving about in the orchard, although the nest with 
the sitting bird on it was quite visible from one or two points of view. 

When nesting in the jungle they place their nests either in a sapling, 
quite unconcealed, in a high bush or in a bamboo-clump, and very often two 
or three nests are placed in close vicinity to one another. The male bird 
takes at least an equal share in the duties of incubation, and also helps in 
the building of the nest and the care of the young. 

The eggs are, as usual, two in number, pure white with a fine close grain, 
very smooth, but not highly glossed. The average of 100 eggs is 1.10 in. by 
.82 ( = 27.9 by 20.8. mm.), and the greatest length and breadth is 1.15 in. by 
.86 ( = 29.1 and 21.8 mm.) respectively, and the least 1.07 in. and .79 
( --= 27.1 and 20 mm.). 



THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 69 

AU round the north-east frontier of India from the extreme west 
of Nepal through Bhutan, the Miri, Dafla, Abor Hills, Assam and 
north-west Burma, the Thick-billed Green Pigeon is very common, 
and always forms a prominent feature in any large miscellaneous bag 
of Pigeons. 

As a rule it does not collect in very large flocks, anything from 
ten or twelve to a score of birds being most often met with, but some- 
times it is found in much bigger numbers, and I have seen several 
flocks of over fifty and more than once one of over a hundred. 

Of course, upon the larger fruit-trees very great numbers of these 
and other Pigeons gather together for the feeding ; but though these 
may become very intermixed as they scramble about from one branch 
to another in their search for berries and fruit, when frightened away 
they at once separate up into their smaller companies. 

Quarrelsome as are all Pigeons and Doves, this small member of 
the family is even more so than most ; at the same time it is given, 
like the rest of its relations, more to the uttering of bad language than 
to the giving of actual blows. These, however, are quite often enough 
indulged in, and result in feathers flying freely accompanied with loud 
clappings and beatings of the wings and guttural notes of anger. The 
row usually commences when two males, perhaps of different flocks, 
approach the same tempting cluster of figs or other dainty. The two 
birds will clamber slowly along the branch towards one another until 
they are a foot or two apart, when both will stop abruptly and bob 
energetically up and do^vn uttering a few cuss "words" at the same time. 
If neither of the warriors are rendered nervous by the appearance of 
the other, they again approach one another with mouth wide open, 
and uttering a constant half hiss and half guttural note the bowings 
and bobbings increase in violence, and the birds dance about with 
wings semi-lifted. Then, suddenly, there is a clap of wings, and the 
two birds launch themselves at each other, attempting to strike with 
their wings, or to seize the feathers of their opponent's head with 
their bills. If either can accomplish this he then proceeds to drag 
his victim along the branch until the feathers come out, when the 
fight is again renewed after an interval of more posturing, or the 
wounded bird finds he has had enough of it, and retires to another 
part of the tree. 

The guttural note of the Thick-biUed Pigeon has been alluded 



70 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

to by some writers as peculiar to this particular species, but this is 
not so. All the Green Pigeon — ^some haK dozen — ^weU knowoi to me 
in life, have this, or a very similar note, though I do not think any of 
them employ it quite so freely as this bird does. It is an argumen- 
tative or angry note, I think, and the ordinary conversational notes, 
though somewhat the same, are much softer and very low, so low indeed, 
that one must be very close to the utterer to overhear them. The 
whistUng-notes, to me, seem much the same as those of the other species, 
but most observers say they are not so sweet and melodious, as well 
as being less sustained and more jerky. 

It consorts freely with other species when feeding, and though 
so much smaller than most of them, allows no bullying and can hold 
its own well, even with the bigger birds. Its fhght is very strong and 
swift, and owing to its exceptionally tough skin and ver^^ dense feathers 
it requires a very straight, hard-hitting gun to deal with it effectively. 
As far as I can remember I have seen no big bag made exclusively of 
this Green Pigeon, but I have several times seen forty or fifty shot — 
amongst others — in an afternoon, and now and then small bags of 
twenty to forty couple will be found to be made up almost entirely 
of them. 

They sometimes ascend the hills to at least as high as 4,000 ft., 
and are common enough up to 3,000, but they are also equally at home 
right away iia the plains at long distances from any mountains. 

Lilve all Green Pigeons it is essential that the country they inhabit 
should be well wooded, but they are by no means exclusively forest- 
birds, and are frequently seen in more or less open plains and extensive 
clearings, feeding on the fruit of the few trees which have been left 
standing. 

Just as they share the family failing of bad temper so, also, they 
share the family trait of greediness, and these small birds will continue 
to swallow huge plums and other fruit mitil their crops almost burst, 
and when they are shot and fall to the ground their crops are so full 
that they generally do give way, whiLst their breasts, lined with thick 
yellow fat, also often burst open. Undoubtedly these birds in a wild 
state eat grain as well as fruit, for though I have never seen them in 
a grain -field, I have more than once shot birds with rice in their crops, 
and once one with some tiny millet in it. In captivity they take to 
grain freely, but at the same time they prefer soft fruit or boiled rice. 



THICK-BILLED GREEN PIGEON 71 

and are especially greedy over plantains, often making their breast 
and head-feathers in a very dirty state in their anxiety to get as much 
as possible inside, in the shortest time on record. 

They drink fairly regularly, morning and evening in captivity, 
and probably also in a state of nature, for this is one of the Green 
Pigeons I have frequently seen on the ground by hill-streams, walking 
about quite freely on the sandy bank or in amongst the " dhup " grass 
which grows so freely in such places. I have also seen this Pigeon 
on the ground feeding on wild-strawberries and the berry of a plant 
which runs along the ground beside jungle-tracks. 

At night they seem to prefer roostmg in high trees, but sometimes 
also frequent cane-brakes for the same purpose, and I once found them 
frequenting a dense bed of reeds in the Diyung River in north Cachar. 
Day was only just breaking and the birds were fluttering about the 
reeds as if they had been there all night, and I do not think they had 
merely just come down to drink. 

They do weU in captivity, and are very handsome little Pigeons, 
the briUiant red of their bill and the vivid green of the orbital skin 
considerably enhancing the general beauty of their lovely plumage. 
If the birds get iU the green of the orbital skin becomes very dull and 
more of a hvid than a verdigris green. 

In the plate of this Pigeon the artist has well shown the attitude 
adopted by the male bird when commencing to posture before the 
female during the courting-period. 



Genus— SPHENOCERCUS. 

The genus Sphenocerctts is very closely allied to Osmotreron in its 
general outward characteristics, but it differs from that genus, and 
from all other genera of the subfamily Treroninae, in having no sinuation 
on the inner web of the third primary, and in having the tail-feathers 
somewhat lengthened and graduated. In regard to its bill it is nearest 
to Osmotreron, the soft basal part or cere covering even a greater 
portion of the bill than it does in that bird, occupying about two-thirds 
of its total length. 

The under tail-coverts in our two Indian species are very long, 
exceeding in length the outermost rectrices. 

Both our species are, for Green Pigeon, rather big birds, with a 
wing exceeding 7 in. 

Salvadori recognizes eight species of Green Pigeon in this genus, 
but of these at least three, and probably four — sieboldi, sororius, formosae, 
and permagnus — must be relegated to the rank of subspecies of our 
Indian sphenurus, or if the first-named can be considered a good species, 
then the three latter will be subspecies of sieboldi. 

Key to the Species. 

A . Central tail-feathers acuminate and extending two or three 

inches beyond the next pair ... ... ... ... S. apicauda. 

B. Central tail-feathers not acuminate, and only a little longer 

than the next pair ... ... ... ... ... ... S. sphenura. 



(14) SPHENOCERCUS API CAUDA (Hodg.). 

THE PEN-TAILED GREEN PIGEON. 
(Plate 6.) 

Treron apicauda (Hodg.), Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 854 (1845). 

SpheTWcercus apicatidus id.. Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 230 ; Jerdon, B.I., III 
p. 454 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXIX pt. 2 p. 3 ; Wald., in Blyth's 
B. Burma, p. 144 ; Hume and Davison, Str. Feath., VT p. 415 ; Hume, 
Cat. no. 779 ; id., Str. Feath., VIII p. 109 ; id. ib., XI p. 292 ; Stuart 
Baker, Ibis 1896, p. 356 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 64 ; Stuart Baker, 
J.B.N.H.S., X p. 364 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 475 ; Stuart Baker, ib., XVII 
p. 971 ; Harington, ib., XIX p. 308 ; id. ib., XX p. 1010; Cook, ib., XXI. 
p. 674. 




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PIN-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 73 

Sphenocerctis apiciauda Gates, B. Burma, II p. 305 ; Salvador!, Cat. B.M. 
XXI p. 5 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 16 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 55. 

Vernacular Names. Sang-pong, Lepcha ; Daorep-galou, Cachari ; 
Inimha-dum Kohhila, Hin. ; Bor Haitha, Assamese ; Harial, Bengal Terai ; 
Ngu, Burmese. 

The vernacular names generally used for this Pigeon are the same as those 
used for the Bengal Green Pigeon or for the Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, 
some adjective to designate its long tail being added. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head and neck bright yellowish 
grass-green, paling on the nape and changing to olive-green washed with 
french-grey, which forms a broad collar at the base of the hind-neck ; back, 
scapulars, and wing-coverts grass-green, the feathers of these parts when 
examined very closely sho-ning very fine, but faint, vermiculations of a darker 
grey shade which, however, are too indefinite to affect the general tone of 
coloration ; rump and upper tail-coverts bright greenish-yellow ; quills, 
bastard-wing, and greater-coverts black, three outermost primaries with 
very narrow yellow edging, secondaries rather more broadly edged with 
yellow on their terminal halves, and the innermost secondaries the same 
green as that of the back with broad lemon-yellow margins, forming, together 
with the yellow borders of the greater coverts, an oblique wing-bar. Under- 
surface greenish-yellow, the breast washed with orange-pink which merges 
into the surrounding colours ; flanks, lower-abdomen, and vent much darker 
and with pale yellow-buff edging to the feathers varying in extent in different 
individuals. Under tail-coverts cinnamon, the outer webs with broad buffish- 
white margins. Whole under-%\ing surface dove-grey, axillaries mixed green 
and grey. Tail grey, dark above and pale below, the long central rectrices 
often becoming green on the greater part, of the long narrowed ends ; shafts 
of rectrices dark brown above, almost white below. 

Colour of soft parts. Iris with an outer ring varying from rather pale 
but bright salmon-pink, through brick and terracotta-red to an intense 
carmine-red ; the inner ring is a bright pale blue. Bill pale bluish-homy, 
often with a green tinge, the cere and basal portion more bright and blue 
in tint, and the edges of the lids more leaden. Legs and feet bright red, 
sometimes coral-red, often with a touch of crimson, and more rarely a 
crimson-red. Claws homy-brown. Orbital skin a pale livid-blue to clear 
blue. 

" Iris blue, surrounded by a rim of pinkish brick-colour ; bill a delicate 
pale blue or glaucous blue, feet deep lake " (Wardlaw Ramsay). 

" Irides, outer ring salmon pink, inner bright ultramarine blue, bill and 
orbital skin bright blue or pale blue, corneous portion of the bill whitish blue ; 
legs and feet crimson " (Davison). 

" Legs and feet bright coral red " (Davison). 

Normally the legs are a coral-red with only the faintest sign of crimson, 
but in very old birds they become a deep lake-colour, showing by the rough 
edges of the scales and the state of the feet generally the age of the birds. In 
these birds, also, the outer ring of the iris is usually rather deep in tint, and 
doubtless the coloration of the iris becomes deeper and richer as the birds 
increase in age. 

Measurements. Length about 16 or 17 in. ( = 406 to 431 mm.) ; wing 
6.3 in. ( = 160 mm.) to 6.9 ( = 175 mm.) and averaging over 6.6 ( = 168 mm.) ; 
tail generally between 8 or 9 in., but running up to over 10 in. ( = 254 mm.) in 



74 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

exceptional cases ; bill from gape about .95 in. { = 24.1 mm.) and from front 
about .6 ( = 15.24 mm.) ; tarsus about .95 in. ( = 24.1 mm.). 

Weight from Qi to 7i or 8 oz. Cripps gives their weight as up to 
9J oz., but these must be exceptionally fat, big birds. 

Throughout its great range there is no constant variation in the size of 
this bii-d, and specimens I have received from the extreme south have had 
wings above the general average, although this, the average, in southern 
Burma may be a little less than it is in Nepal and the Himalayan Terai. 
The largest bird measured comes from DarjeeUng, and the smallest from 
Manipur. 

Adult female, and male in first plumage. Differs from the adult male 
generally in bemg duller everywhere, but more especially about the head. 
The grey of the hind-neck is either absent or very faintly indicated, and 
there is never any orange-pink on the breast ; the under tail-coverts are duller 
and paler, the outer webs being almost entirely white, with the centres 
marked with dull sage-green. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs and feet deep coral red, claws pale brown ; 
corneous tips of the mandible pale homy green, rest of the mandible and 
bare lores bright, pale smalt blue, skin of eyes duller and more leaden, irides 
— inner ring blue, outer coral red " (Davison). 

Davison seems to distinguish two points of difference between the male 
and female in coloration of the soft parts, i.e. in the bill and outer ring of 
the iris. As regards these two points however, after examination of a very 
large number of birds alive and freshly killed, I can detect no differences that 
are not individual rather than sexual. The green tint of the bill is often 
present in both sexes, and the bill of the female Ls often as clear a smalt or 
lavender-blue as that of the male. The outer ring of the iris seems also 
to vary to exactly the same extent. It is possible, however, that the 
lavender-blue of the orbital-skin is brighter in the male than in the female 
in most cases. 

Measurements. The females average a trifle smaller than the males, 
the length of wing varying between 6.15 in. ( = 156.2 mm.) and 6.75 
( = 171.5 mm.), the average being about 6.5 ( = 164.7 mm.) ; the tail is 
generally much shorter, being but little over 6 in. ( = 152.4 mm.), though 
a specimen from Manipur in the British Museum collection has a tail measuring 
6.9 in. ( = 175 mm.). Davison gives the weight as about 7 oz. 

The young male resembles the adult female, but partially acquires the 
grey on the hind-neck and the pink breast at the first autumn-moult, but 
not the dark under tail-coverts until the following spring. The long tail- 
feathers are not obtained until the bird is a year old, and these probably 
increase in length at each subsequent moult until the bird is three years old. 

Measurements. The wings of both young males and females in the 
autumn of the first year average little over 6 in. in length, and such birds, 
even if very fat, seldom exceed 6 oz. in weight. 

Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas and the broken country at 
their bases, from Kumaon in the west to Sadiya in the east, the mountain 
ranges of Assam south of the Brahmapootra, thence throughout the hill- 
ranges of Burma, Chin Hills, Shan States into the Malay States, whence I have 
a skin of a bird shot on the nest. A straggler only in the plains-districts of 
eastern Bengal, but not rare in the plains of the Brahmapootra and Surrma 
Valleys. 



PIN-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 75 

Nidification. The breeding-season of this Fruit-Pigeon begins early in 
the lower elevations of its habitat, but not until Aj)ril at all heights from 
2,500 ft. upwards. They continue to breed throughout April, May, and to some 
extent in June, whilst many birds have second broods in July and August. 
Like all the members of this family, however, their breeding-season is a very 
lengthy and very irregular one, and there is practically no month in the year 
in which one may not come across their nests containing both eggs and young 
of all ages. They breed most commonly between 2,000 and 3,000 ft., but 
Dr. A. N. Coltart took numerous nests in the plains of Dibrugarh, and I have 
also taken nests in the foot-hills of Cachar and Sylhet. On the other hand 
it certainly breeds as high as 6,000 ft., and possibly still liigher in Nepal 
and Sikhim. 

During the breeding-season the male bird indulges in the usual 
demonstrations of love performed by all Green Pigeons, including the general 
puffing out of the feathers, drooping of the ^\•ings, and constant bo\\'ings and 
bobbings. As usual, also, the interest of the female m such displays is of the 
slightest, though occasionally she too indulges in a minor display of 
pirouettes. 

The nest is the normal platform of small t\dgs, and these may be either 
dry or green and torn from the tree by the birds themselves. Roughly 
speakmg the nest may be anything from 5 to 8 in. in diameter and from one- 
half to 2 in. deep, according to its situation ; the depression, if any, is very 
slight, and the eggs are often prevented from rollmg out only by the projections 
of the interlacing twigs. They do not take long to construct, although the 
work of building is only carried out in the cool of the morning and evening, 
and whilst some nests are completed in three or four days, most take about a 
week. Incubation lasts about fifteen or sixteen days, and both birds take 
part in this labour, the cock also taking upon himself to feed the hen-bird 
whilst she sits. 

The nest is nearly always placed upon a number of twigs or small branches 
of a sapling, generally between ten and fifteen feet above the ground, but 
I have also taken it from thick bushes at anything between five and twelve feet, 
and less often from large boughs of forest-trees. Bamboo-clumps, which 
form such favourite nesting-sites for many Green Pigeons, are very seldom 
made use of by this species, and I have never seen their nests placed in 
cane-brakes. 

As a rule, the kind of country selected for nesting purposes is evergreen- 
forest, a tree being chosen either on the outskirts of this, or else in an opening 
near a stream, a patch of cultivation, or some natural glade of grass and fern. 

The eggs are, as usual, two in number, pure white and elliptical m shape, 
though often one, and sometimes both ends are somewhat pointed. The 
texture is the same as that of the eggs of the genus Osmotreron, perhaps a 
trifle more coarse and porous, as they seem to get discoloured and stained 
more easily. 

The average of one hundred eggs is 1.25 by .98 in. ( = 31.7 by 24.8 mm.) 
and they vary in length between 1.09 and 1.37 ( = 27.6 and 35 mm.) and 
in breadth between .87 and 1.03 ( = 22.1 and 26.1 mm.). 

The Pin-tailed Green Pigeon is essentially a bird of the hills and 
mountains, ascending them throughout its range to over 6,000 ft., 
and being more common above 2,000 ft. than below this height. At 
the same time it is also found quite down into the plains near the hills, 



76 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

and is by no means rare in Cachar, Sylhet, Tipperah, and Chittagong 
in the flat country below the hiU-ranges. 

Personally I have not noticed much, if any, variation in the 
elevation of their habitat connected with the seasons, and the birds 
seemed quite as common at 6,000 ft. m the North Cachar and the Khasia 
Hills in December and January as they were in the hot weather months, 
April to August. So, also, they are just as common in the foot-hills 
and the broken country round about in the hottest weather as in the 
coldest. The actual plains they probably do desert, during the 
breeding-season, for the forests of the foot-hiUs, but even this is doubt- 
ful, for one of my collectors told me that he foimd several pairs breeding 
in the forests and swamps of the Hylakandy district, and Inglis also 
obtained birds in the same place during the rains. In Burma, how- 
ever, Harington and other observers have only recorded this beautiful 
Pigeon from the hills, and it does not appear to be found in the dry 
zone in central Upper Burma at any time of the year. 

This Pigeon is certainly not as gregarious as some of its nearest 
relations. Many flocks consist of only some half-dozen birds, and 
whilst often they are to be seen in twos or threes, they are very seldom 
foimd in groups exceeding a score. At the same time very large 
numbers of these birds collect together at any place where there is 
attraction in the way of food, and on one occasion at Laisung, in 
North Cachar, at some 4,000 ft. elevation, I think there must have 
been literally thousands of these Pin-taUed Pigeon and the Wedge- 
tailed Pigeon collected to feed on a species of ficus which was then, in 
the month of May, in full fruit. It being the breeding-season a few 
birds only were shot for the pot, but for a distance of some three miles 
above and below my camp and on either side of the Laisimg stream, 
the birds simply swarmed, and the numbers one could have bagged 
need only have been limited by the powers of the shooter to tramp 
up and down and fire off his gun. 

Once the kind of fig in season had been eaten, the birds aU dispersed 
— and ten days later, when I returned over the same route, no 
Pigeons were to be seen beyond the few who habitually resided in 
that particular spot, and the trees which had been brick red with the 
masses of small ripe figs, were stripped of the very last and most 
unripe berry. 

I have already remarked on the curious similarity in the actions 



PIN-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 77 

of the Green Pigeons and the Paroquets when cUmbing about a tree. 
In this particular Pigeon the hkeness is further heightened by the 
long tail, and reaUy it is often, for a few moments, difficult to tell 
which kind of bird one is watching until the discordant scream of 
the Parrot or the mellow whistling of the Pigeon gives away their 
identity. 

The Pigeon climbs about the branches with head tucked in close 
to the branch, and his long taU also held close to it, just as a Palaeornis 
holds his and, in the same way, if the Pigeon reaches over to clutch at 
some tempting morsel a few inches away, up goes his tail to balance him, 
and is then held rigid and somewhat erect until the balance is restored. 
His foot-work, too, is quite similar to that of the Parrot, a slow and 
rather stolid manner of working up and down the branches, step by 
step, without hurry or flutter of wing. One point of difference, 
however, always exists, and that is the Parrot never proceeds far 
without usmg his bill to assist his legs, whereas never, as far as I have 
been able to make out, does the Pigeon use his biU for the purpose. 
But even this requires close watching to detect, for the Pigeon holds 
his head tucked in so close to the branch that it often looks as if he too 
was employuig his biU as an additional " hand." Harington seems 
to have been deceived by the attitudes assumed by the Pin-tailed Pigeon 
in climbing, for he says : "It also has the regular parrot-like habit 
of using its bill for climbing up branches." Personally, however, I have 
never seen the bill so used, either by wild birds or by those in captivity, 
nor is the Pigeon's biU formed for such work, and it is possible that 
this accurate and close observer has on this point been mistaken. 

The notes of the Pin-tailed Green Pigeon run through much the 
same range of sounds as the rest of the tribe ; in anger the guttural 
notes are used, whilst its beautiful whistling-notes to me seem as mellow 
and sweet as those even of the Orange-breasted bird. It has, however, 
some additional notes not often, if ever, uttered by any other Green 
Pigeon, except its first cousin sphenurus, the Wedge-tailed Green 
Pigeon. Harington describes these notes as " something hke the 
subdued chattering of monkeys." 

Its flight is quite typical of the family, but is, perhaps, the least 
swift of all the Green Pigeons, and at the same time rather more direct 
and steady even when the bird has been fired at and frightened. 

I have never personally made a big bag solely of these Green 



78 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Pigeon, nor have I ever heard of such, but they always form a certain 
percentage of any bag of Green Pigeon made in Assam and, in the hUls 
above 4,000 ft., this and the Wedge-tailed bird are far the most common 
forms to be met vnth. 

In North Cachar at a place below Hungrum, at about 5,000 ft. 
elevation, I once had an evening's very pretty shooting at these two 
species, getting eighteen couple of these, a few Grey-headed Pigeon and a 
single Treron. The birds were feeding on two clumps of trees divided by 
a shallow dip in which hUl-rice had been grown, and where stDl stood a 
few of the creeping beans always grown by the Nagas beside the path- 
ways intersecting these plots of rice. Hiding by a clump of these creepers 
in the middle of the dip, I sent some Naga youngsters to either group of 
trees to keep the birds on the move, and thus had very sporting shots as 
the startled birds swept down the slopes towards me and made for the 
trees on the far side. For a couple of houi's the birds contmued to 
flight backwards and forwards until dusk fell with the usual startling 
rapidity of the East ; the birds disappeared, and gathering the spoils 
we made our way home to camp. 

Hume found this species very common in Manipur, and has recorded 
the followmg interesting notes upon its habits : " They are rather stupid 
birds. You mark a flock on to a tree ; you get under it and walk roimd, 
peering up into the green depths. You know that there are at least 
twenty large birds above you, and you know by falling berries and 
twigs that they are hard at work feeding, but they keep quite quiet, 
and it is often quite impossible, even with binoculars, to see a single 
bird, embowered as they sit in leaves coloiu-ed precisely like themselves. 
Then you shout, and kick the trunk of the tree, and stand eager for a 
shot, but ' they sit beside the nectar ' careless of the bolts below, 
and at last you adopt the only feasible plan, and that is to get someone 
to fire mto the tree at a bird, if he has chanced to spy one, otherwise 
by guess, and take a brace as they fly off. These guess shots are by 
no means always thrown away, one such one day brought down four 
birds. Notwithstanding the firing of these barrels one or two are 
generally sure to return to the tree and settle on it before your e3'es 
in less than a minute, when, of course, seeing them ahght, it is easy 
to pot them. But m from ten minutes to half an hour the whole of 
the rest of the flock is sure to return, and though you drop a couple of 
them as they pass to the tree, the rest ahght as if nothing had happened. 



PIN-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 79 

and so da capo. One afternoon at Matchi I bagged thirteen without 
moving, sitting in the shade under a stockade that commanded a fair 
shot at all birds crossing to and leaving a tree which happened for the 
day to be the object of their devotions. Their flight is smooth but 
not very rapid." 

As already described this Green Pigeon and all others of the sub- 
family resort very regularly to certain fruit-bearing trees, and it is 
most probable that although Hume continued to get shots at them 
time after time, it was not the same flock at which he fired on each 
occasion. All the birds within a certain area, often a very large one, 
resort to the tree or clump of trees which, as Hume says, for the time 
being is the object of their devotions, and my own experience has 
certainly not shown me that these birds are as anxious to court 
destruction as Hume makes out to be the case. 



(is) sphenocercus sphenura. 
the wedge-tailed green pigeon. 

Vinago sphenura Vig., P.Z.S. (1831), p. 173. 

Vinago cantillans Blyth, J.A.S.B., p. 166 (1843). 

Treron sphenura id. ib., XIV pt. 2 p. 853 ; Seebohm, B. Jap. Emp., p. 163. 

Treron cantillans Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV pt. 2 p. 854. 

Sphenocercus cantillans id.. Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 230. 

Sphenocercus sphenurus Jerdon, B.I., III p. 453 ; Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., 
XXVn pt. 2 p. 65; Godw.-Aus., ib., XXXIX pt. 2 p. 3 ; id. ib., 
XLV pt. 2 p. 203 ; Hume and Hen., Lah. to Yark., p. 270 ; Hume, Nests 
and Eggs, p. 494 ; Hume and Gates, Str. Feath., Ill n. 163 ; Wald., in 
Blyth's B. Burma, p. 144; Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., VI p. 415; 
Hume, ib., VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 778 ; ScuUy, Str. Feath., VTH 
p. 339; Gates, B. Burma, II p. 304; Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 292; 
Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 11 p. 377 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., 
XXI p. 8 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., Ill p. 17 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, p. 52 ; 
Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 80 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 364 ; 
Finn, ib., XIV p. 577 ; Rattray, ib., XVI p. 663 ; Ward, ib., XVU 
p. 943 ; Stuart Baker, ib., p. 971 ; Magrath, ib., XIX p. 155 ; Cook, 
ib., XXI p. 674 ; Vennmg, ib., p. 631. 

Sphenocercus minor Brooks, Str. Feath., Ill p. 255. 

Vernacular Names. Kokla, Kokila, Hin. ; Kaku, Lepcha ; Gnu, 
Burmese ; Haintha, Bar Haintha, Assamese ; Daorep gadeba, Cachari ; 
Kainal, Paharee (Simla). 

Description. — Adult male. Head and neck yellow-ish-green, the crown 
tinged with orange-rufous ; the green of the hind-neck passing into olive-grey 
on the upper-back, and from that again into maroon on the scapulars, inter- 
scapulars, back, and lesser wing-coverts ; lower-back, rump, upper tail-coverts 
and remaining wing-coverts and innermost secondaries olive-green, the 
median wing-coverts in old birds often more or less maroon or else edged 
with this colour, and the greater coverts narrowly edged with yellow on the 
outer webs ; quills black, or dark blackish-grey, the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th primaries 
very finely margined yellow, the secondaries changing from black to green 
until the innermost are all of this colour ; the outer ones ^\ath fine yellow 
margins to the outer webs on their terminal halves. Central rectrices the 
same green as the back, the outermost dark grey washed \rith green and with 
a broad subterminal band of very dark grey, whilst the intermediate feathers 
grade from the green of the central ones to the grey of the outermost. Chin 
and throat yellow, breast washed with orange-pink ; lower-breast and abdomen 
greenish-yellow ; the flanks and tibial plumes dark green \\'ith broad yellow 
margins ; vent pale yellow ; short outer tail-coverts j-ellow and green, the 
longer pale dull cinnamon with dull narrow green centres and shafts. Under 
wing-coverts, quills, and axillaries dark dove-grey, the latter more or less 
mixed with green. 



WEDGE-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 81 

In a great many males, which appear to be fu'.ly adult birds, the maroon 
on the back and interscapulars is very slight in extent, and it is always paler 
there than on the shoulders of the wing. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs, feet and claws, crimson pink ; bill dull 
smalt blue ; horny portion pale skim milk blue ; orbital skin smalt blue ; 
irides with an inner ring of pale bright blue and an outer ring of bufiy pink " 
(Davison). 

I have known the colours of the feet to vary from coral-red, with only 
a faint tinge of crimson, to an almost pure deep crimson ; the soles are almost 
invariably paler and the claws are horny, or horny-brown, in exceptional 
cases only suffused with pink. The bill has the cere and the terminal portion 
dull smalt-blue, the central hard portion duller and paler, and, in a few 
specimens, there is a very faint tinge of green here. The orbital skin is pale 
lavender or smalt-blue. The irides have two rings, the inner bright pale 
ultramarine, the outer ranging from a buffy-puik to a very bright crimsoia- 
pink, the colour being brightest and most intense in old birds. 

Measurements. Total length in life about 13 in. Length of wing from 
6.8 in. to 7.3 ( = 172.7 to 185.4 mm.) ; tail from 4.5 in. to 5.5 ( = 114.3 mm. to 
139.7) ; tarsus .65 to .75 ( = 16.5 mm. to 19) ; bill from front the same and 
from gape .95 in. to 1.05 ( = 24.1 to 26.6 mm.). 

Throughout its range the variations in size seems to be much the same 
and I cannot find that northern birds are any larger than southern ones. 

Adult fetnale. There is no rufous on the head or maroon on the upper- 
plumage, and the under tail-coverts are pale ochre with green centres and 
white shafts. 

Colours of soft parts. The same as in the male, the colour of the iris 
being, perhaps, not so brilliant as it is in very old males. 

Measurements. There is practically no difference between the male 
and female, and in the very large series in the British Museum the average 
wing-measurement of both males and females works out at about 6.95 m. 
( = 176.5 mm.). 

Young male. The young male is like the female in general coloration, 
but still duller and rather darker. The quills are of a very dull tint of 
brown, and often a rather greenish-brown, whilst all the quUls are very 
narrowly edged with yellow. 

The maroon on the upper-parts appears at the first autumn-moult as 
small patches on the wing, but is not acquired to its full extent together with 
the rufous crown until the subsequent spring-moult. Also, it is not until 
the first moult, or even after a still later one, that the birds grow to their 
full size. 

" The base of the bill and orbital skin cobalt blue ; tip of bill pale blue ; 
irides brownish grey " (Scully). 

In very young birds the bill is almost white, and the orbital skin and cere 
are pale dull lavender. The irides, composed of one ring only, are a pale, 
rather watery-looking grey. 

The wing of the young male in the first year averages under rather than 
over 6 in. ( = 152.4 mm.), and the tail about 4.5 in. ( = 114.3 mm.). 

The two specimens of Sphenocercus cantillans referred to by Mr. P. L. 
Dodsworth in a recent number of the Avicultural Magazine, and by myself 
in a subsequent number, are merely cage-birds which have lost their green 
pigment. When Mr. Dodsworth and I wTote about these birds we, neither 
of us, had the specimens to examine or a full library to refer to. 

a 



82 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

In the Ibis for 1868, p. 45, Blyth thus refers to these specimens : 
"Spkenocercus cantillans, nobis, (passim) figured also by the late Prince of 
Canino, is merely S. sphenura the common Kokhela of the Himalayas, after 
moulting in captivity, when the green of the plumage is more or less completely 
replaced by delicate pearl grey, as was long ago remarked by my friend Captain 
Thomas Hutton of Masuri." 

These two specimens are now in the Gould collection in the British Museum, 
and on examination they show not only that they have practically lost all 
the green and yellow pigment in their plumage, but in one case also a few of 
the quills of the left wing are pure white, showuig a further development 
towards accidental albinoLsm. As already remarked the yellow pigment has 
practically disappeared both above and below, leaving the reds and greys 
dominant, though the red is also showing signs of exhaustion. The breast 
is a dull pink with no trace of orange, and the maroon of the back is as usual 
in area, but is dull and pale. 

It seems quite probable that in time these two birds would have become 
practically white, either from ill health, bad or unsuitable feeding, or some 
other cause. Captivity does not, though Blyth ^\'ould seem to imply the 
contrary, normally cause Green Pigeons to lose their yellow or other pigment. 
I have now seen a good many, both of this and allied species, in captivity, 
but have so far come across no similar instance of discoloration. At the 
same time yellow pigment is undoubtedly the most volatile of all colouring 
matter in bkds' plumage, and in other species of green birds, such as the Cissas^ 
the green, in captivity or in ill health, often becomes a blue through the 
yellow pigment evaporating and not being re-supplied. 

Distribution. The Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon is found from Kashmir 
in the west, through Nepal, SUdiim, Bhutan, the Dafla and Abor Hills, north 
of the Brahmapootra, and all the Assam hill-ranges south of that river, into 
the Chin Hills, Shan States and Burmese hill-ranges into Tenasserim. 

Nidification. The Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, as far as I personally 
know, and in so far as anytliing has yet been recorded, breeds only in evergreen- 
forests, or in forest which Ls ua full leaf during their breeding-season. This 
commences in early April and extends through May and into June, but the 
great majority of young birds are well on the wing by the beginning of August 
or end of July. 

As usual with Green Pigeon both parents share the labour of making the 
nest, and of incubation when the eggs are laid. The nest is exactly like that 
of the Pin -tailed Green Pigeon, but is often placed at much greater heights 
from the ground. Mr. Dodsworth records one placed on a bough of a large 
tree about forty ft. up, and Hume says that they build their nests in trees 
at any height from six to fifty feet. Hume also says that they make their nests 
of coarse grass and twigs, but though I have seen a very large number of nests 
certainly not one in ten has had any grass in it, and they are usually made 
of dry dead twigs, more or less mixed and interlaced with live ones toni from 
the tree in which the bird is building. 

Most of the neets taken by myself were at heights between fifteen and 
twenty-five feet from the ground, but they were far more often placed abov» 
than below twenty feet, and more often than not on fairly large branches 
and boughs rather than on clusters of twigs and small branches. 

Though generally lajrtng two eggs both these and the Pin-tailed Green 
Pigeon seem occasionally to lay but a single egg. I have found such hard- 
set, and nothing to show that a second egg had fallen from the nest. 



WEDGE-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 83 

In the article in the Avicultural Magazine attention is drawn to the habit 
this Pigeon has of placing its nest under the protection of some bird more 
capably pugnacious than itself. Mr. Dodsworth remarks : " Another curious 
feature about these birds is that, as their eggs and young suffer largely from 
the depredation of Jungle-Crows {Corvus macrorhynchus), they sometimes 
show considerable intelligence in availing themselves during the breeding 
season, of the protection afforded them by the more quarrelsome and powerful 
species. Now the Dicruri are notoriously pugnacious during the breeding 
season, never allowing Crows, Kites et hoc genus omne, ever to approach within 
their 'spheres of influence,' and it is, therefore, not at all unusual to find 
nests of the Kokla in close proximity to those of Drongos. The former 
belonging to the nests are always allowed free access and regress to 
the tree, but it is very different when a stranger shows himself ia the 
vicinity." 

This habit is, however, by no means confined to the Kokla, for it is recorded 
of many Doves and Pigeons that they have built their nests and reared their 
young in the same tree, or in close proximity to one in which is also the nest 
of a bird of prey which under normal every-day circumstances would at 
once make a meal of the Pigeons, parents and young. 

Mr. Dodsworth, in the article quoted, gives the incubation of the Koklas' 
eggs as taking eighteen or nineteen days ; this seems to me an extraordinary 
long period for such small eggs, and I fancy it ^^ill be eventually found to be 
some two to four days less in anything but abnormally cold weather. 

The eggs cannot be distinguished from the Pin-taUed Green Pigeon either 
in shape, size or texture. The average of a hundred eggs measured by myself 
is 1.24 in. by .90 ( = 31.5 by 22. S mm.), the range of variation in length and 
breadth is practically the same as in those of the Pin-tail. 

This Green Pigeon is, more exclusively than most, a bird of evergreen- 
forests, and wiU seldom, if ever, be found at any distance therefrom. It 
is also essentially a hill and mountain bird, though found throughout 
the plains of eastern Assam, more especially close to the mountain- 
ranges. In Cachar, Sylhet, Tipperah, and Chittagong it is practically 
confined to the mountain -ranges running to the north of these districts, 
and to the foot-hills and broken ground immediately adjoining them ; 
though stragglers now and then may be shot in the cold weather 
some distance therefrom. 

Hume, Jerdon, Blanford, and others consider the bird to be locally 
migratory, and this appears to be correct in so far as its western habitat 
is concerned, but to the east, that is to say from and including Nepal 
to its extreme south-eastern limit in Burma, the bird is resident through- 
out the year, perhaps in parts moving to some extent vertically with the 
change in seasons. 

In Simla and the extreme west it ascends as high as 8,000 ft. at 
least, in the hot weather, but it appears to visit this portion of its range 
only during the breeding-season, and there is nothing on record as to 

G 2 



84 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

whether or not it is found during the winter months in the adjacent 
valleys and lower hills. 

Hume, in " Lahore to Yarkand," drew attention to the fact that vast 
multitudes " of this species were found during the summer in a zone of 
hills ranging from twenty to one hundred miles in width, and stretching, 
at any rate, from the borders of Afghanistan to the banks of the Ganges 
at Hardwar," but, that durmg the winter they disappeared altogether. 
Hume suggests that these birds migrate to Assam, Cachar, Tipperah, and 
Burma, but I feel sure that there are no grounds for this beUef , for twenty- 
five years' residence in these parts have shown that there is no influx of 
birds into them during the cold weather. In Nepal there is nothing to show 
whether it ever moves up and down the moxmtains at the advent and 
departure of the hot weather, and in the Assam ranges I have been unable 
to ascertain that there is any movement of this nature. In North Cachar 
it was common up to about 6,000 ft. throughout the year, and equally 
so at aU heights down to about 2,000 ft., below which it was somewhat 
less common though stiU plentiful right down to the level of the plains. 
In the AvicuUural Magazine for March, 1912, Mr. P. T. L. Dodsworth 
refers to local migration in the following notes on the habits of this 
Green Pigeon : " The Kokla, or Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon is a common 
summer visitant to the North-west Himalayas, south of the first snowy 
ranges, arri\'ing from Nepal and farther eastwards about the last week 
in April, or the beginning of May, to breed, and then returning to their 
old haunts about September, or as autmnn sets in. During their summer 
sojourn in these moimtains they are generally to be found along the outer 
ranges, at elevations of 4,000 to 7,000 ft., but are most common about 
6,000 ft. They principally affect well wooded and shady dales, hill-sides, 
valleys, and glens, and are not so gregarious as the Green Pigeons men- 
tioned by Mr. Dewar, which are to be found in large flocks, sometimes 
numbering as many as thirty to forty indi\aduals, and even more. Our 
birds are to be seen either singly or in pairs, or in smaU parties of three or 
foxir. They are strictly arboreal, and are exclusively frugivorous. They 
are very partial to the ripe berries of the Kaiphul (Myrica sapuida). 
When hunting for fruit, they are continually gliding about the branches, 
Uke squirrels ; and, from their strong feet, they can hang over to seize 
a fruit, and recover their position at once by the strong muscles of their 
legs. When perfectly quiet they are very difficult to observe from the 
similarity of their tints to that of leaves. They are heavj' feeders, and 



WEDGE-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 85 

generally seek their meals early in the mornings and late in the afternoons. 
To avoid the heat they retire during the middle of the day to some shady 
trees, where, hidden amongst the fohage they sit motionless, and spend 
the time dozing ; occasionally one wakes up and utters its soft plaintive 
whistle, and it is by these alone that the birds betray their presence. 
Their flight is rapid and strong." 

In the above note Jlr. Dodsworth mentions the fact of its being 
found only in small family parties, pairs or single birds, but it must be 
remembered that he writes only of their habits during the breeding-season, 
and in the cold weather they wiU be found in flocks just as aU the other 
Green Pigeons are. Even, however, diuring this season the flocks seldom 
run to any great size, being more often under than over a dozen, whilst 
single birds and pairs may frequently be met with consorting with 
other species. 

On account of their beautiful notes, which are fuller, richer and more 
sweet than those of any other Green Pigeon, these birds are specially 
sought after as cage-birds. Beautiful, however, as they are, both as to 
plumage and song, they are on the whole uninteresting pets. In a cage 
they are slow, lethargic and, indeed, stupid birds, and the two bad 
traits of greediness and quarrelsomeness which they share with the rest 
of their tribe, do not add to their attractions. 

In the article just referred to, Mr. Dodsworth gives a long description 
of a pair of these birds, which he reared by hand, which describes well 
their habits and manners in captivity. He writes : " On the 1st July, 
1910, one of my egg-hunters brought me a pair of these birds, about a 
fortnight or three weeks old, from a nest which he had found in the 
neighbourhood of Simla (North-west Himalayas), placed on one of the 
outer branches of a large oak, at an elevation of about 6,300 ft. The 
yoimg Koklas were immediately taken in hand by my wife, and rearing 
operations commenced. On being handled at first they would slightly 
raise the wing, nearest to their supposed enemy. They were kept in a 
small wooden box, lined with some straw and grass, and were fed about 
five or six times a day exclusively on small pieces of ripe plantains, which 
had to be thrust down into their mouths. A Httle water used occa- 
sionally to be poiured do-WTi their throats after the last meal in the evenings. 
When they were almost fledged, they were transferred to a cage 
containing two Doves (Turtur ferrago), which had also been taken from 
a nest, and were being reared by the hand. 



86 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

"By about the end of September the Koklas appeared to be full- 
grown ; and their irides, which were hitherto brown or greyish brown, now 
assumed the chaiacteristic coloration of the adult bird, viz., a pale blue 
ring followed by an outer ring of red. As far as I can now recollect, the 
birds had, up to this, uttered no note of any kind. As the migratory 
period of this species had now arrived, I was anxious to see whether my 
birds would exhibit those symptoms which are usually displayed by 
rovuig birds when in confbiement, but no such indications were 
observed. The Koklas were as dull and inactive as ever, and seemed 
quite reconciled to their home. 

' ' Towards the latter end of the f oUoT^dng November, the cock began 
uttering his notes, but these were incomplete, or, in the language of bird- 
fanciers, he was only ' recording.' These ' half ' notes were generally 
uttered late in the evenings between seven and eight p.m. 

" During the winter the birds throve excellently. Their diet still 
consisted of pieces of plantains, which they would accept sitting on their 
perches, and only from the hand of their mistress. If the fruit was placed 
in the cage it was never touched. They were fed about four or five times 
a day. They always drank water from a cup, which, Uke their food, had 
to be held up to their mouths. When hungry, the birds always became 
very active, hopping about from perch to perch and peering anxiously 
at their mistress, if she happened to be standing near their cage. If no 
notice was taken of them, or she walked away from their cage without 
feeding them, they would settle down into their usual lethargic condition, 
but immediately renewed their activities on catching sight of her ; the 
presence of strangers or of others in the house ^^•as entirely ignored by 
the birds. 

" Spring had now come, and the Koklas which were stiU sharing 
their cage with the Doves, began to get unusually active. The cock kept 
chasing the hen from perch to perch, and constantly uttered his melodious 
notes, which were now complete. 

" Remembering the old adage that ' two is company,' and hoping 
that under such a condition the Koklas might be induced to form a 
matrimonial alliance, they were separated from the Doves and put into 
another cage to the mutual advantage of both couples, and shortly 
afterwards we witnessed the courtship of the male bird. He would utter 
his notes, puff out his throat, expand his tail feathers, spread out his 
wings, and hop from perch to perch with bowed head, uttering a low 



WEDGE-TAILED GREEN PIGEON 87 

* coo ' the whole time. The hen did not seem to relish these attentions, 
for she would drop down on to the floor of the cage, as if to avoid her mate, 
who immediately followed her, and with a low ' coo-coo ' called her into 
a corner of the cage. Both birds would then pretend to pick up some- 
thing from the ground, and after a short time fly back to their perches. 
This was constantly repeated during the day, and the proceeding on the 
part of the male struck me as being very similar to that of a cock in the 
poultry yard calling his hens round him when a dainty morsel has been 
found. Diu-ing the breeding season here I have often heard the male 
Kokla in the wild state utter the low ' coo-coo ' note after his usual song, 
but have never up to this had the good fortune actually to witness the 
courtship. 

" Just when matters were reaching a most interesting stage with my 
birds, the hen suddenly sickened and died, and it is almost impossible to 
describe in words the intense grief which was displayed by her mate. 
For a long time he walked round and round her body, singing and calling 
her, and would not allow any one to touch her. When the dead bird 
was eventually removed and placed on the groimd outside the cage, he 
still kept walking round and rovmd, singing and calling her. For the 
whole of that day, and for several days after the death of the hen, he 
was perpetually whistling at short intervals and going through the 
form of courtship already described, and there seemed no doubt 
whatever that he was greatly distressed at the domestic calamity that 
had befallen liim. 

" Three months have now passed since the death of the hen, and the 
cock seems to be somewhat reconciled to his loneliness. The courtship 
proceedings are still occasionally indulged in, but as there is now no fan- 
one to whom he can pay his attentions, he eliminates the final act of 
dropping in the corner of his cage, and calling to his mate. He seems at 
times to get tired of his plantain diet, and for two or three days at a time 
will eat nothing else but grain — a habit no doubt acquired from his 
quondam companions, the Doves : he also occasionally eats large quan- 
tities of mud, apparently as an aid to digestion. The sound of a bugle 
or the striking of a clock sets him off singing at once. His powers of 
discernment appear to be highly developed. I have three dogs in the 
house, and these appear to be on the most friendly terms with him : he 
does not mind their presence in the least, and sometimes when he gets a 
chance even pecks at their noses, when the animals come too close to 



88 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

his cage. But when a stray dog happens to come close to him the 
bird recognises the difference at once, and begins fluttering and dashing 
liimself against the bars of his cage." 

The flight of this bird is similar to that of Sphenocercus apicaudus, 
direct and about as swift, but it is a less difficult bird to shoot than 
any of its smaller cousins in that it is not nearly so disconcerting in its 
manner of flight. Indeed, when feeding on trees scattered about in 
forest and not frightened by previous firing, it is an easy bird to knock 
over as it leisurely flaps its way from one tree to another. 



Subfamily CARPOPHAGINAE. 

This subfamily contains a number of very large Pigeons which 
closely approach the Green Pigeons in their habits generally, but in their 
anatomy are nearer the Coluwbinae. Like the Treroninae they have no 
caeca, but unlike that subfamily and like the Columbinae they possess 
both ambiens muscle and an oil-gland. They are essentially arboreal 
Pigeons, but are not such constant or such powerful climbers as are the 
smaller Green Pigeon. They are all birds of great size, bigger than the 
common Pigeon, and are generally known as " Imperial Pigeon " amongst 
sportsmen and field-naturalists. 

According to Blanford's classification the subfamily contains three 
genera and six species, but in the present work, whilst admitting the three 
genera, I reduce three of the species to the rank of subspecies, i.e. 
Carpophaga insularis, and Ducula griseicapilla and D. cuprea. 

Key to the Genera. 

A. Head, neck and lower-parts grey : 

a. Mantle green with metallic-green or bronze ... ... Carpophaga. 

b. Mantle not green and with no metal lie -green gloss ... IhtcvJa. 

B. Whole plumage black and white ... ... Myristicivora. 



Genus CARPOPHAGA. 

The birds of this genus are very large birds with the upper-plumage 
very highly glossed with metallic-green or bronze. The feet are stout 
and strong with broad soles and a short stout tarsus, feathered on its 
upper haK. The bill is rather slender and long with a long cere and short 
horny tip. The primaries are normal. 

Accordhig to Sharpe the genus contains twenty-four species, which 
are distributed from India to New Guinea and throughout the Malayan 
Archipelago and intervening islands. Many of these so-called species 
are, however, only geographical races, and in a revision of the genus 
some of these species would have to be reduced to subspecies and 
others, perhaps, added to them. In his genus Carpophaga, Sharpe also 
includes Ducula and four other genera. Within Indian limits we have 
but one species of the genus as now restricted, with a subspecies in 
the Nicobars. 



Species (one only) AENEA. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

4, Under tail-coverts deep dull maroon ... ... ... ... C. a. aenea. 

.B. Under tail-coverts dull rufous-bro%vn ... C. a. insularis. 



(i6) CARPOPHAGA AENEA AENEA (Linn.). 

THE GREEN IMPERIAL PIGEON. 
(Plate 7.) 

Columha aenea Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 283 (1766) ; Lath., Ind. Om., 11 p. 602. 

Columba sylvatka Tickell, J.A.S.B., II p. 581 (1833). 

Carpophaga aenea Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 11 ; Hume, Str. Feath., 
II p. 260 ; Ball, ib., p. 424 ; Hume, ib.. Ill p. 163 ; Blyth and Wald., 
B. Burma, p. 144 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 496 ; Ball, Str. Feath., 

IV p. 235 ; Armstrong, ib., p. 337 ; Inglis, ib., V p. 57 ; Ball, ib., p. 418 ; 
Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 416 ; Hume, Cat. no. 780 ; Ball, Str. Feath., 
VII p. 224; Hume, ib., VIII pp. 67, 109; Bingh., ib., IX p. 194; 
Parker, ib., p. 481 ; Gates, ib., p. 235 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 718 ; Gates, 
B. Burma, II p. 301 ; Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 294 ; Barnes, B. Bom. 
p. 286 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 366 ; Salvador!, 
Cat. B.M., XXI p. 190 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 19 ; Sharpe, Hand- 
List, I p. 64 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 85 ; Davidson, J.B.N.H.S., 

V p. 329 ; id. ib., IX p. 489 ; Butler, ib., X p. 310 ; Stuart Baker, 
ib., p. 360 ; Inglis, ib., XL p. 475 ; Davison, ib., XII p. 62 ; Sinclair, 
ib., p. 185 ; Butler, ib., p. 687 ; Finn, ib., XIV p. 577 ; Bourdillon, 
ib., XVI p. 2 ; Gsmaston, ib., XVII p. 488 ; Macdonald, ib., p. 495 ; 
H. R. Baker, ib., p. 760 ; Stuart Baker, ib., p. 970 ; Hears, ib., XVIII 
p. 86 ; Harington, ib., XIX pp. 308, 365 ; Hopwood, ib., XXI p. 1214 ; 
Harington, B. Burma, p. 65. 

CarpopJmga sylvaiica Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 856 ; id. ib., XXVII p. 270 ; 
id.. Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 231 ; id., J.A.S.B., XXX p. 97 ; Jerdon, B. of I., 
ni p. 455 ; Blanford, J.A.S.B., XXXVHI, pt. 2 p. 188. 

Carpophaga jmsilla Blyth, J.A.S.B., XVIII p. 816; Hume, Str. Feath., 
II p. 260 ; id. ib., VII p. 424 ; id. ib., VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat no. 780 ter. 

Vernacular Names. Dunhal or Dumkal, So7ui Kabutra, Barra Harial, 
Hin. ; Pogonna, Mai. ; Kukurani guwa, Tel. ; Maratham praa. Tarn. Ceylon ; 
Maha nila goya, Mata Bata goya, Cing. ; Ghurli, Kolaba ; Hunget-ma nwa 
and Bom-madi, Burmese ; Paguma, Assamese ; Daohukuruma, Cachari ; 
Inruikuru, Naga. 

Description. — Adult male. Head, neck, and the whole of the lower- 
parts except the tail-coverts, a beautiful pale dove-grey, varying very much 
in tint in different individuals ; in some the whole of these j)arts are a vinous- 
pink more than grey, the abdomen having even more pink than elsewhere ; 
in other specimens the vinous tint is practically absent or else is confined 
to certain parts of the plumage such as the abdomen or the breast ; occa- 
sionally it is confiiied to the head and nape, or only to the sides of those 
parts. The feathers next the bill, both above and below, are often a pure 
white and, in a few birds, there is a distinct semi-ring of white feathers round 
the lower half of the eye. 

The whole of the back, rump, upper tail-coverts and exposed portion 
of the wing except the primaries dark, but bright metallic-green. This again 
varies as much in tint as the lower-plumage ; in the majority of birds there 



92 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

is a faint bronze gloss over the green, more or less mixed with patches of deep 
blue or purple ; but in some birds the whole of these parts are a brilliant, 
almost fiery copper-bronze and between these two extremes every possible 
tint and combination of tints may be found. 

The tail is the same colour as the back, but less metallic and often a much 
deeper blue than elsewhere. Under tail-coverts a rather dark, rich liver- 
colour, or bro\niish-maroon ; under surface of the tail a dull pale bro^-n. 
Primaries dark blue-grey changing to pale brown on the inside of the inner 
webs, and becoming more and more green on each succeeding feather until 
the innermost secondaries are exactly like the back ; imder aspect of the wings 
dove-grey, varymg a good deal in tint and brownish on the quills. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides deep red, maroon-red, or almost lake-red ; 
legs and feet dull purple-red, lake-red or deep coral-red, very rarely the latter ; 
claws homy-brown tinged lake ; bill white at the extreme tip, bluish or 
greyish-white, grey or blue-grey in the centre and dull lake-red or purplish-red 
on the basal half and cere. Edges of the eyelid purple-red. 

Measurements. Length from 15 to 18 in. ( = 381 to 457 mm.) ; wing 7.90 
to 9.75 in. ( = 200.6 to 247.6 mm.) ; bill at front about 1.0 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) 
and from gape 1.4 ( = 35.5 mm.) ; tarsus 1.0 ( = 25.4) to about 1.2 in. 
( = 30.5 mm.) ; tail from 5.5 to 6.5 in. ( = 139.7 to 165.1 mm.). 

Adult female. Does not differ from the male, and averages much the 
same in size. The colours of the soft parts are the same in both sexes. 

NestUiig. " Similar to the adult and just as brightly glossed on the back, 
wings and tail, but was, of course, very much smaller, wanting the vinacious 
tinge below, and still having quantities of pale rufous threadlike dowTi attached 
to the tips of the feathers " (Hume). 

The extent of the vinacious tinge, as I have shown, is individual, and 
allowing for this, the nestling is exactly like the adult. The irides are dull 
brown and legs and feet paler and duller than in the adult. 

Nestling, in down. Covered with a dark rufous down above and pale 
dull rufous-brown below. 

It is with some hesitation that I have decided not to divide the small 
Ceylon and southern Indian form, which has been described as jnisilla, from 
the larger northern and eastern form. I find, however, that it is quite im- 
possible to draw any definite geographical line between the two forms. It is 
true that Ceylon birds average very small, with a wing of little if anything 
over 8 in. ( = 203 mm.) and with a maximum of 8.5 ( = 216 mm.) ; southern 
Indian birds are but little bigger, -w-hilst those from Orissa and Bengal average 
over 8.6 in. ( = 218.2 mm.) and those from upper Assam, the Dooars, and the 
Indo-Chinese countries well over 9 in. ( = 228.6 mm.). At the same time, in 
all these different geographical ranges small birds are common and even from 
Assam and northern Burma birds with wings of under 8 in. ( = 203 mm.) 
are constant!}' met with, whilst in Hainan we again find a bird which has on 
the average a wing no longer than that of the Ceylon bird. 

Again, there is no difference in the coloration of thLs species which coincides 
with the variation in size, and, given a sufficient series from each place, one 
fijids exactly the same gradations of colouring existing in the tints of the 
head, neck, and breast, and exactly the same extent of variation in the bronze 
or green glossing of the upper-plumage. The under tail-coverts do not vary, 
except very slightly, in individuals, and the depth of the blue on the rump, 
lower-back, and upper surface of the tail does not show any constant geo- 
graphical variation. Thus, all that can be said is that in the extreme south 



GREEN IMPERIAL PIGEON 93 

and north-east of its range, this Pigeon averages a good deal smaller than those 
in the more central portions, but that the size is so variable in individuals 
throughout both, that no geographical race can be established. 

Hume has dealt ^^•ith the alleged differences between the geographical 
races in Vol. II. of Stray Feathers, and there he thus sums up the differences 
between the Andamanese birds and others : " Taking a very large series, the 
fully adult birds have the frontal band and chin purer white, and the lower 
tail coverts a deeper maroon chestnut than in any Continental birds I have 
yet seen. As a race it is of the largest size, greener, with deejDer coloured under 
tail coverts and whiter forehead and throat than any Continental race taken 
as a whole." 

As a matter of fact, an examination of the huge series in the British 
Museum will show that of these characteristics the green or bronze of the upper- 
parts is purely an individual matter, and that all the other points are slio\vn 
even more strongly in many birds from the north-east frontier of India than 
they are in the Andamanese birds. Thus it is as impossible to separate the 
Andamanese form as it is to separate that of Ceylon. 

Of the Hainan bii'ds there is but a small series available for comparison, 
but there is no doubt that these are very deeply coloured as a whole, and are, 
as I have already shou-n, very small. Until, however, a much larger series 
have been examined I shall not attempt to differentiate them. 

Distribution. Salvadori gives the habitat of this Imperial Pigeon as 
being " India, Ceylon, Andamans, Indo-Burmese Countries, Cochin-China, 
Hainan, Sunda Islands with Lombok and Flores, The Philippines and Zula 
Islands." Within Indian limits its distribution is rather curious, but may 
be said generally to follow the line of combined ample rainfall and heavy 
forest. It is common in Ceylon and thence up the north-west of India, 
through Travancore and Malabar as far north in the Bombay Presidency as the 
north of Kanara, where Davidson reports it as common in the Karwar district. 
Jerdon remarks that he found it breeding in the forests of Central India, but 
smce his time no one else seems to have found it there. On the east it extends 
up the coast and tlirough the forested parts of Madras, Orissa, Bengal, and 
Assam into the Indo-Burmese countries and back west along the Bhutan 
and Sikhim Dooars and the Nepal Terai, whence I have received specimens. 
It is found throughout the Chin Hills, Shan States and Burma generally 
wherever the rauifall is sufficient and evergreen-forest grows, but appears 
to be very rare in the north-central dry zone, though it is recorded as occurring 
there by Harington. It is common in the Andamans, but is replaced in the 
Nicobars by the next subspecies. 

Nidification. Throughout the north-eastern portion of its range, 
April and May are the two principal months of the breeding-season, and 
according to Legge and Jerdon the same would appear to be the case in the 
south of India and Ceylon, but Davidson took an egg from a nest as early as 
February in Kanara, though he also shot a female with an egg ready for 
expulsion on the 30th April. Wimberley and Osmaston record their breeding 
in the Andamans in April and May, though the former also took eggs near 
Mt. Harriet in July, whilst in Burma, Hariagton, Hopwood, Bingham, and 
others record their breeding-season as from February to May. Inglis states 
that they breed in Cachar principally during the rains, but I have taken 
very many eggs in that district, where April is certainly the month in which 
most are laid, and I have seen very few laid after June ; at the same time 
it must be remembered Inglis took his eggs in the plains whilst I took mine 
in the hills. 



94 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

The nest is the usual Pigeon's nest of t^-igs, more or less interlaced so 
as to form a platform \dth a rough and extremely shallow depression ui the 
centre. In size the nest may be anjrthing from eight inches to a foot across, 
and in depth one to tliree inches according to the site in which it is built. I 
have never seen any lining to these nests, but Colonel Bingham, i^-riting 
about a nest found in Thoungyeen, notes : " On the 19th March, on the road 
from the village of Podresakai to Meplay, I found a nest of the above Pigeon 
with the usual solitary egg, \vhich proved to be hard set. It was easily seen 
from below through the flimsy nest of a few sticks and straws laid across and 
across a horizontally growing bamboo, where a smaller shoot had forked out 
from it." 

InglLs also mentions a nest consisting " of a very few sticks and a few 
stiff grasses " ; but this admixture of grass with the twigs must be very 
exceptional, for in some forty or fifty nests which have come under my obser- 
vation I can remember but one such, and Bmgham, describing four other 
nests found by him, says that they were mere platforms of t\\igs without a 
.semblance of lining. 

The great majority of nests are built upon small saplings at a height 
of ten to twenty-five feet from the ground, but I have taken them occasionally 
from high, hea\aly-foliaged trees, such as the banyan and jjepul, at a height 
of over forty feet. Occasionally, also, they may be placed in bamboo -clumps, 
but though two or three such nests have been reported to me, I have never 
seen any so placed. 

The tree selected is one generally placed in fairly thick forest, but close 
to, or on the borders of some opening, either natural, such as a river-bed or 
open glade, or artificial, such as caused by a road or a piece of cultivated 
ground. On the other hand they are sometimes placed on a tree well in the 
interior of evergreen-forest and far removed from all civilization. 

I have not found it breeding over 3,500 ft., and very seldom over 
2,500 ft., its usual breeding-grounds being from the level of the plains up to 
some 1,500 or 2,000 ft. 

Invariably but one egg is laid, white, of course, and elliptical in shape, 
a few specimens being met -with which have one or both ends a little pointed. 
The texture is very close and fine with a hard compact surface and sometimes 
a slight gloss. In size they average 1.78 in. by 1.28 ( = 45.2 by 32.4 mm.), 
and the greatest length and breadth is respectively 2.03 in. ( = 51.5 mm.) 
by 1.48 in. ( = 37.6 mm.), and the least both ways 1.68 in. ( = 42.6 mm.) by 
1.23 ( = 31.2 mm.). 

The four eggs in the British Museum vary in length from 1.6 in. to 1.85 
and in breadth from 1.25 in. to 1.32, but the smallest of these must be quite 
abnormally small. 

This is a bird of hiUs and plains alike, being found throughout the 
latter wherever there is forest, in Madras, Bengal, Assam, and Burma, 
and ascending the former up to at least 6,000 ft. It is perhaps most 
common in the foot-hills of mountain-ranges and the broken grounds 
and plains immediately adjoining them up to some 3,000 ft. in the 
mountains themselves, though many observers do not give them credit 
for going higher up than 1,000 or 1,500 ft. 

They are not very gregarious birds, though, of course, they collecfc 
in large numbers when attracted by the fruit of any special tree or trees. 



GREEN IMPERIAL PIGEON 95 

Jerdon says that they collect in small parties, now and then uniting in 
flocks of twenty or more, but I have found flocks of anything over five or 
six to be very exceptional, and single birds and pairs are seen quite as 
often as flocks. 

Harington, in epistola, writes : " It is very common in Chindwin, 
both upper and lower, especially the latter, where at certain seasons it may 
be seen in hundreds, nearly always singly, or m pairs." 

Legge remarks that " though very shy when feeding it may easily 
be shot when wending its way across coimtry in flights to drink in the 
morning or to roost in the afternoon. At such times a regular stream of 
these birds will continue to cross a road in the Eastern Province for 
perhaps half an hour together, and they afford very good shooting. It is 
well styled, together with all its genus. Imperial Pigeon. On the wing 
when dashing into a forest glade in the Pasdun Korale or SafFragam, or 
sweeping across an opening in the dense jungle of the Park country, it 
is a splendid bird." 

In eastern Bengal, Assam, and Burma it is seldom that opportunities 
arise for obtaining a bag of these birds alone, but when shooting Pigeon 
flighting to and from their feeding-grounds, a few generally go to form a 
portion of the bag. Colonel Bingham records having bagged over tliirty 
of these birds one day in July on the Salwin River, driving them back- 
wards and forwards between a few ficus trees. 

Their flight is very swift though, unless the birds have been frightened, 
the wing-beats are slow and thus give the impression of leism-ely fUght. 
As a rule, also, they flight higher than the smaller Green Pigeons do, so 
that often very few come within shot, though a number may pass within 
sight. When starting from a tree or suddenly frightened into diverting 
their covirse, the wings beat loudly against one another and make a sound 
audible at a great distance. 

They are entirely frugivorous in their diet, and in the eastern and 
northern portion of their habitat resort in large numbers to any species of 
ficus which may be in fruit for the time being. They are also extremely 
partial to all wild-plums, the berries of the ber tree, etc. In Ceylon, 
Legge says that it is " perhaps fonder of the berries of the Bo tree 
(Urostigma religiosum) and of the Palu or ' Iron-wood ' {Mimusops indica) 
than those of any other trees. In the south-east of Ceylon both these 
trees are to be f oimd growing by themselves among small scrubby jungle 
and towering far above it ; and when in fruit Pigeon flock to them from 



96 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

all sides, until the branches are Hterally laden with them. In Suffragam 
I found them feeding on the wild Cinnamon fruit, and also on wild 
nutmegs which their enormous gape enables them to swallow with ease. 
The nutmeg is, of coiurse, as in the case of the Myna, voided after the 
mace has been digested." 

It is credited with being a regular drinker. As already quoted, 
Legge infers that it drinlis regularly in the morning, and Jerdon also says 
that " like the Green Pigeons, it betakes itself to river banks to drink, 
about 8 or 9 a.m. and again, I beHeve, in the afternoon." Blanford also 
says that it drinks morning and afternoon, and that he has seen it drinking 
at the latter hour. I have myself, more than once, put them up from 
sand-banks on river -sides where they were drinking, and on one occasion 
watched a pair for some minutes as they were drinking from a forest- 
stream in the early morning. These two birds moved about quite freely 
on the flat, sandy bank, walking much like the birds of the genus Columba, 
but not so fast. Every now and then they retiurned to the water's edge, 
and thrusting their biUs deep in, after the manner of all Doves and 
Pigeons, took long draughts of water. 

They are occasionally caged by the natives of India, and I have seen 
one or two birds in captivity ; but they are uninteresting pets when kept 
in small cages, for they become very lethargic and slow in their movements, 
and in their intense greediness make themselves in a terrible state when 
gorging on plantains, or suttoo, a kind of porridge which forms their 
principal article of diet when caged. Nor have they the beautiful 
whistling-notes of the Green Pigeon, their note being a very deep guttui-al 
"coo" of the same character as that of the Wood-Pigeon, but very deep, 
and consisting of two notes well syllabified as " wuck-woor," the second 
syllable the deeper and prolonged with a rolling sound. Jerdon de- 
scribes its call as a " low, deep, plaintive moan." Tichell as "deep and ven- 
triloquous," and another writer as not unlike the croaking of a bull-frog. 

If kept in a big aviary it might possibly form a more interesting pet 
to keep than it does when in a small cage, for, undoubtedly, it is a very 
handsome bird, and as it is not quarrelsome, it could be kept in the same 
aviary with other birds. 

It is an excellent bird for the table, though it varies a good deal in 
flavour according to what it has been feeding on. It should always be 
skinned, not only plucked, prior to cooking, as the skin is often loaded 
with a dense coating of yeUow fat, not always pleasant to the taste. 



(i7) CARPOPHAGA AENEA INSULARIS (Blyth). 

THE NICOBAR IMPERIAL PIGEON. 

Carpophaga sylvatica (var.) Blyth, J.A.S.B., XV p. 371 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 
p. 231. 

Carpophaga imularis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XXVIl p. 270 (1858) ; Ball, ib., 
XXXIX pt. 2 p. 32 ; id., Str. Feath., I p. 79 ; Hume, ib., II p. 262 ; 
id. ib., IV p. 291 ; id.. Nests and Eggs, 496 ; id.. Cat. no. 780, bis ; id., Str. 
Feath., VIII p. 109 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 719 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests 
and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 367 ; Salvador], Cat. B.M., XXI p. 185 ; Blanf., 
Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 20 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, 1 p. 64 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs 
B.M., I p. 85 ; Butler, J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 687. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Differs principally from aenea aenea in 
having the under tail-coverts a dull reddish-brown, in no case approaching 
the liver-brown of that bird. The grey of the head and under-parts is purer, 
very seldom having the slightest tinge of pink or vinous, and the fore-head 
is generally distinctly paler than the rest of the head. The green of the upper- 
parts is darker and more mixed \Wth blue, and appears never to have any 
copper reflections upon it ; the upper-surface of the tail is also darker and more 
blue, and the under-surface is a much darker brown. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs and feet dull deep pink, pinkish red or livid 
purple, the bill is pale plumbeous, paler on tip and darker on cere and base ; 
the irides vary a good deal, sometimes they are pale ruby red ; the eyelids 
are pale lavender " (Hume). 

Measurements. Length 17 to 20 in. ( = 431 to 508 mm.) ; wing 8.75 to 
10.25 in. ( = 222.3 to 260 mm.) ; taU about 6 to 7 in. ( = 152 to 177 mm.) ; 
bill at front 1 to 1.25 in. ( = 25.4 to 31.7 mm.), and from gape about 1.45 
to 1.8 in. ( = 36.8 to 45.4 mm.) ; tarsus about 1 ( = 25.4 mm.) to 1.2 in. 
( = 30.4 mm.) or rather more. 

" Weight 1 lb. to 1 lb. 12 oz." (Hume). 

" Weight IJ lbs." (Richmond). 

Adult female. Does not differ from the male in coloration, size, or in the 
colour of the soft parts. 

Nestling, in first plumage. Like the adult, with dull brown irides and 
paler, duller feet and legs. 

Distribution. Nicobar Islands. 

Nidification. As regards its nidification Davison, in Stray Feathers, 
says that : " They breed in February and March ; on the 17th February I 
found a nest on the Island of Trinkut ; it was built on a cocoanut palm, and 
was about 20 feet from the groimd. As usual ^^ith pigeons and doves it was 



98 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

simply a i>latform of dry twigs very loosely put together, and was built on a 
dried up fruit branch, which is itself merely a mass of dry twigs. It con- 
tained one large white egg." 

The birds must sometimes commence breeding as early as December, 
as Mr. de Roepstoeff shot a young bird on the 20th February full fledged, 
and nearly full sized. 

The egg taken by Davison in Trinkut Island is now in the British Museum : 
it is elliptical in shape, smooth and fine in texture with a faint gloss, and it 
measures 1.9 in. by 1.37 ( = 48.2 by 34.8 mm.). 

The habits do not appear to differ in any way from those of aenea 
aenea, though the bird, probably from being less harassed, is said to be 
very tame. Kloss records that they are " Common on all these Islands 
[Nicobars]. On Tilanchong and Trinkut they were remarkably tame ; 
we easily shot them with the 32 cal. auxihary barrels. They, with the 
Megapodes, formed our staple diet in the Nicobars untU we loathed the 
sight of them." 

Davison, in the notes above referred to, records that : " The Nicobar 
Imperial Pigeon is very numerous all over the Nicobars, much more so 
than its congener is at the Andamans. In habits it is much the same, 
being found singly, in pairs, or in smaU parties ; its deep low coo may be 
heard resounding through the forest all day." 



Gentts DUCULA. 

The genus Dricida differs from the last (Carpophaga) in having no 
green or bronze on the upper-plumage, in having a comparatively longer 
tail, and in having the inner primaries obUquely truncated at their ends , 
so that the outer webs project beyond the shaft. The two genera are not 
divided by either Salvadori or Sharpe, but the characteristics relied on, 
consisting as they do not only of strikiag differences in type of 
coloration, but also of differences in external structure, seem good 
grounds for keeping the genera distinct. 

This genus contains but one species, Ducula insignis, with two 
subspecies, griseicapilla and cuprea, which form geographical race.- to the 
north-east and south respectively of the general range. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Breast and abdomen pale ashy grey : 

a. Crown and hind-neck both lUac ... ... ... D. i. insignis. 

b. Crown grey contrasting with lilac hind-neck ... ...D.i. griseicapilla. 

B. Breast and abdomen lilac ... ... ... ... ... D. i. cuprea. 



H 2 



(i8) DUCULA INSIGNIS INSIGNIS (Hodg.). 
HODGSON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON. 

Diwula insignia Hodg., As. Res., XIX p. 162 (1836) ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV 
p. 21 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 360 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, p. 66. 

Carpophaga insignia Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 855; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 
p. 232 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 458 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XLIII pt. 2 
p. 171 ; id. ib., XLV pt. 2 p. 83 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 496 ; 
id., Str. Feath., Ill p. 328 ; id. ib., VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 781 ; Gates, 
in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed. II p. 368 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., 
XXI p. 216; Harington, B. Burma, p. 65. 

Vernacular Names. Dukul, H. in Nepal ; Fomok, Lepcha ; Lai 
Pagoma, Assamese ; Daohukuruma gajao, Cachari ; Inruikuru gaherba, Naga. ; 
Hgnet-nga-nwa, Burmese. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole upper part of the head, nape, neck, 
and shoulders a vinous or lOac-grey, changing gradually into copper-brown 
on the mantle, back, scapulars, lesser and median wing-coverts ; lower-back, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts dark grey, the first named more or less suffused 
flith copper-brown. LTpper aspect of tail black on the basal two-thirds, 
the extreme base being rather paler and the terminal third bro\^Tiish-grey. 
Chin, throat, and lo\\er half of cheeks white, changmg gradually into ashy 
or vinous-grey on the breast and rest of the lo\\er-parts except the under 
tail-coverts, which are j)ale buff ; the abdomen is often paler than the breast ; 
flanks and axillaries a purer grey ; under-surface of the wings dark grey, 
the primaries and secondaries above being black except on the inner 
secondaries which, vnih the greater coverts, are olive-brown. Under aspect 
of the tail the same m pattern as above, but much paler in colour. 

Colours of soft parts. Iris pale grey, grey or bluish-grey ; bill whitish 
at the extreme tip, pale brown on the succeeding jjortion. and deep 
purplish-fleshy or dull carmine on the cere and basal portion ; legs and feet 
deep purple-lake, or rather dull coral-red much suffused with carmine, soles 
paler and pinker, the claws pale brown, darker at the tip ; orbital skin purple- 
grey, purer grey immediately round the eye. 

Measurements. Length 18 to 20 in. ( = 457 to 508 mm.) ; wing 9 to 
10.2 in. ( = 228.6 to 259 mm.) ; tail 7 to 8.5 in. ( = 177.8 to 216.0 mm.) ; bill 
at front about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) and from gape about 1.5 in. ( = 39 mm.) ; 
tarsus 1 to 1.25 in. ( = 25.4 to 32.2 mm.). 

Adult female. Does not differ from the male. 

The series I have measured shous that the female is on an average a 
trifle smaller than the male, the wing measuring 9.2 in. ( = 233.6 mm.) 
against 9.45 in. ( = 239.5 mm.). 

Young. " Duller ; scarcely any purple tinge on the back and wing 
coverts ; the latter edged with rufous chestnut ; the head greyish with 
scarcely any vinous tinge " (Salvadori). 



HODGSON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON 101 

Distribution. From the extreme west of Nepal, Sikhim, Bhutan, the 
whole of the Dooars, and the broken ground at their feet, the Assam Valley 
and the hills north of it, the Sliri, Dafla, Abor Hills as far east as Sadiya. 
The Garo and Naga Hills running east on the south of the Brahmapootra. 
Li the Surma Valley, North Cachar Hills and Tipperah Hills the bu-ds are 
intermediate, most however in the first-named place being nearer the true 
insignis whilst the Tipperah birds are nearer griseicapilla. 

Nidification. The breeduig-season of this Pigeon on the north-east 
frontier of India, from Nepal to Sadiya and the hills south of the Brahma- 
pootra, appears to commence fl-hen the rains break, and to last through July 
and August, but I have seen its nest containing a young bird in March, and 
it is possible they have two broods, the first from February to March and the 
second during the rains. 

The nest is of the usual description — a rough platform of sticks with. 
practically no depression in the middle, and measuring anything between 
nine inches and a foot in diameter by some two to four inches thick. There 
is no lining of any description whatever, though some of the smaller, more 
pliant twigs seem to form the uppermost part of the centre of the nest. The 
majority of the twigs and sticks of which the nest is composed appear to 
have been torn living from the tree, but many also are pieces of twig and 
stick dead long before the bird made use of them. 

As a rule the nest is placed at no great height from the ground — some 
twenty to twentj'-five feet — in small saplings, but I have seen nests as low 
down as twelve feet, and one or two at heights of over forty feet. No attempt 
is made to place the nest in a concealed position, and this with the sitting bird 
can usually be seen at some distance. All the nests I have taken have been 
in the interior of evergreen-forest, but often the site selected is one near 
some natural clearing or openmg, and occasionally is one beside some village 
track. 

The number of eggs is never more than one, and though, on one 
occasion I took two from the same nest, it is probable that they were laid 
by two hens. 

The average of twenty-two eggs is 1.82 by 1.32 in. ( = 46.2 by 33.5 mm.), 
the greatest and least long being 1.93 in. ( = 49.0 mm.) and 1.69 in. 
( = 42.9 mm.) respectively, and the same extremes in breadth 1.42 in. 
( = 36.1 mm.) and 1.26 in. ( = 32 mm.). 

The shape is generally a fairly regular ellipse, but some eggs are 
decidedly pointed at one end and, more rarely, one end is somewhat 
compressed. The texture is hard and close, with considerably more gloss 
than in any of the Green Pigeon's eggs. 

There is very little on record about this fine Pigeon, Jerdon's 
interesting notes all referring to its subspecies, insignis cuprea — Jerdon's 
Imperial Pigeon. It is an extremely common bird at all elevations 
between 1,000 and 4,000 ft. in the hill-ranges, and thence it is less common 
up to about 6,000 feet, above which it is rare. It extends into the plains 
adjacent to the hills during the cold weather, but will only be found in 
places which are well forested, and have an ample rainfall. It is essen- 
tially a forest Pigeon, and wUl not be found in open country or round 
about cultivation. In North Cachar it was extremely common, often 



102 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

collecting in very large nvunbers in forest-trees when they were fruiting, 
and I have seen Uterally hundreds collected on a single pepul tree, feeding 
on the berries which were just ripe. On another occasion, also, when 
shooting in a forest in the Mahor Valley, at an elevation of some 1,000 ft., 
I was attracted to some jaman, or wild-plum, trees by the continuous loud 
and very deep call of " wuck-wurrr " made by these Pigeons, and when 
I went close up, I could see these birds moving about all over the higher 
branches, feeding greedily on the ripe plums. As it was impossible to 
shoot them on the wing owing to the very dense forest all romid, I con- 
tented myseK with watching their movements, which were most interest- 
ing. They were not half so clever with their feet as the Green Pigeon are, 
and often after clambering up or down a branch to get to some choice 
morsel would, in craning over to catch hold of it, lose their balance, and 
to save themselves take to wing. Once overbalanced they did not seem 
able to puU themselves up again, yet their feet and legs must be pretty 
powerful, for when shot and not killed outright they will often hang, head 
downwards, clinging on to a branch luitil a second shot dislodges them. 

They do not appear to be very quarrelsome birds, though a certain 
amount of squabbling and sparring goes on from time to time. On the 
occasion above referred to I was watching the birds for fuUy two hours, 
but I saw no actual fights, though now and then one bird would try to 
push another away from a bunch of plums. 

A very noticeable thing about them was the fact that they constantly 
uttered their very deep note durmg the time they were feeding, whilst 
their cousin, the Green Imperial Pigeon, is a very silent bird when so 
employed. The birds in this tree seemed very tame, perhaps because of 
the extreme denseness of the foliage and because I was so completely 
screened by the undergrowth, but even when I shot a couple of birds for 
the pot the majority of the others, numbering some two or three himdred, 
just flew round a few times and again settled to their feast. As a rule I 
think they are rather shy birds, and are difficult to get near if the trees 
they are in are not dense enough to hide them effectually. 

It has only once fallen to my lot to make a respectable bag of these 
fine Pigeons. On this particular occasion I was lucky enough to come 
across a gigantic pepul tree standing in bamboo-jungle which had seeded 
and was therefore very thin and bare. Consequently the tree stood well 
in view, and by selecting a comparatively bare place amongst the bamboo- 
clumps which was well imder their Une of flight, I enjoyed a couple of 



HODGSON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON 103 

hours shooting which resulted in the gathering in of thirty-two of these 
birds, besides a few other Green Pigeon. I have said above that Hodgson's 
Imperial Pigeon is less quarrelsome than most of the family, but at the 
same time it should be noted that it is very exceptional to find other 
Pigeon feeding in the same trees with it, so that it looks as if they stood 
rather in awe of these big relations. Although, however, I have never 
seen the smaller members of the Pigeon-tribe feeding in the same tree 
with Hodgson's bird, the Barbets, Hombills, and other fruit-eaters seem 
to stand in no fear of them and wiU be found feeding in security, often 
on the same branch. 

The flight of Hodgson's Pigeon is much lilic that of the Green Imperial 
Pigeon, rather stately and regular, with slow beats of the wing, yet 
travelling at a very great pace, and when frightened, dashing along in 
splendid style. When startled out of a tree, or when rising higher into 
the air, the wings often clash over their backs, making a clapping noise 
almost as loud as that made by a tame Tiunbler Pigeon when performing 
his somersaults. 

Jerdon has remarked on the curious fact of Ducula cuprea being in 
the habit of visiting " salt-hcks." This habit, however, seems common 
to all the Imperial Pigeon and, to a less extent, to aU the other members 
of the family. Often and often, when visiting such places to pick up the 
tracks of big game, or when sitting up over one to watch for tiger or 
leopard, I have seen both this bird and the last fly down to the salt-Uck 
and walk about thereon, picking up scraps of the earth from time to time, 
or drinking the brackish water and mud that oozed up from the ground. 
They walk well and at a good pace, though not as actively as the Doves 
and true Wood-Pigeons. 



(i9) DUCULA INSIGNIS GRISEICAPILLA (Blyth). 

THE GREY-HEADED IMPERIAL PIGEON. 

(Plate 8.) 

CarpopJiaga insignis (part) Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 232 (1849) ; id., J.A.S.B., 
XXVIII p. 416 ; Blyth and Wald,, B. Burma, p. 144. 

Ducula griseicapilla Wald., Ann. Mag. N.H., XVI p. 228 ; Hume, Str. Feath., 
Ill p. 402 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 22 ; Shaipe, Hand-List, I p. 66 ; 
Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 86 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., XVII p. 970 ; 
Harington, ib., XIX p. 309 ; Cook, ib., XXI p. 674 ; Harington, B. Burma, 
p. 65. 

Carpophaga griseicapilla Da%TS, Str. Feath., V p. 460 ; Hume and Dav. 
ib., VI p. 418 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 781, bis ; Gates, 
B. Burma, 11 p. 302 ; id., Hume's Nests and Eggs. 2nd ed.. 11 p. 369 ; 
Hume, Str. Feath.. XI p. 295; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 217; 
Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 360. 

Vernacular Names. Hgnet-nga, Burmese ; Daohukuruma gajao, 
Cachari ; Inruikuru gaherba, Naga. 

Description.- — Adult male. Differs from insignis in having the cro^Ti, 
fore-head, and nape grey, in some specimens quite sharply defined from the 
vinous or lilac-grey of the hind-neck ; the rump and upper tail-coverts are 
often more brown and less grey than in insignis, but I can trace no constant 
difference in the plumage of the upper-back, scapulars, and wing-coverts. 

Colours of soft parts. " Feet a rich purplish lake red, claws brown, 
paling at base ; soles whity brown ; corneous tip of bill pale brown, rest 
of bill and gape the same colour as the feet " (Davison). The irides are 
greyish-white. 

Measurements. The same as in iiisignis. Davison gives the weight oS 
two males as 1 lb. 7 oz., and 1 lb. 4 oz. respectivel3\ The females do not 
differ from the males either in coloration or size, but average about 1 lb. 3 oz. 
as against an average of about 1 lb. 6 oz. in the male. 

Distribution. This bird is found practically throughout Burma, 
north and south, though absent from the dry zone of plains m north-central 
Burma. Harington records it from the Shan States, Hopwood reports it 
from the Chin Hills, and it extends thence north into the Chittagong hill- 
tracts, Hill Tipperah, and Manipur. In Sylhet and Cachar a few birds are 
intermediate between this and tyjjical insignis but the majority are nearer 
Ihat bird. In the hill-ranges of the Assam Valley tj-pical insignis is found 
and not griseicapilla as recorded by Blanford — pcssibly a slip. 

Nidification. The nest and eggs are exactly like that of Hodgson's 
Imperial Pigeon. 



'^^%^ 



'V... 




THE GREY-HEADED IMPERIAL PIGEON— DUCULA INSIGNIS GRISEICAPILLA. 

(i Nat. Size.) PLATE 



GREY-HEADED IMPERIAL PIGEON 105 

Davison was the first to obtain its nest which he took in Tenasserim. 
He ^vTites : " While ascending the North West slope of Muleyet on the 
27th January I flushed a Pigeon (which I shot) off her nest in a small sapling 
growing close to the path, but in very heavy virgin forest. The nest was 
the usual Pigeon type of nest, a mere apology, of a few dry twigs loosely put 
together. There was only one egg fresh, but the female, on dissection, showed 
no signs of being about to lay another, so it is probable that one egg only is 
laid by this species. The egg is, of course, pure white and glossy, nearly 
the same thickness at both ends, but a little pointed towards the smaller end. 
It measures 1.61 in length by 1.15 in \ndth." 

I have taken two or three nests of this fine Pigeon in North Cachar, taking 
also one of the parent birds, so that there was no doubt as to their identification. 
These nests were all slight structures of twigs and sticks, mostly torn from 
trees and still quite pliant and soft, interlaced into platforms about 10 in. 
across, and some 2 or 3 in. deep. There was no lining of any kind, and the 
depression Mas of the shallowest. 

In each case the nest was placed in a small tree in evergreen-forest at 
about 12 to 20 ft. from the ground. 

Of the tliree nests of which I have personal records, one was taken at 
Laisung, North Cachar, over 4,000 ft. ; one at Guilang, a little lower, and one 
in the Mahar Valley at about 2,000 ft. Each contained a single fresh egg 
and they were taken m May and June. 

Hopwood, in a letter to me, says that he has taken the eggs in the Chin 
Hills this year, apparently in the end of April. 

Six eggs in my collection vary between 1.72 in. ( = 43.6 mm.) and 1.94. 
( = 49.1 mm.) m length, and between 1.26 m. ( = 32 mm.) and 1.44 
( = 35.4 mm.) in breadth. 

They are of the usual regular elliptical shape, in one or two cases a trifle 
more pointed at one end. The surface is highly glossy and the texture soft 
and smooth. 

In its habits this bird differs in no way from the last. Harington 
says that it is entirety a MU-bird, keeping to the higher hills. 



(2o) DUCULA INSIGNIS CUPREA. 
JERDON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON. 

Columba cuprea Jerdon. Mad. J.L.S., XII p. 12 (1840). 
Carpophaga hadia id. ib., XIII p. 164. 

Carpophuga insignis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 855 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 457 ; 

Barnes, J.B.N.H.S., V p. 329 ; Davison, ib., XII p. 62. 
Carpophaga cuprea Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 328 ; Hume and Bourd., ib., 

IV p. 403 ; Hume, ib., VIH p. 109; id., Cat. no. 781, bis ; Bourd., Str. 

Feath., IX p. 300; Davison, ib., X p. 407 ; Taylor, ib., p. 464; 

Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 215; Davison, J.B.N.H.S., VI p. 340, 

ib., XII p. 62. 
Ducula cuprea Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 22 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 66 ; 

Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 86 ; Sinclair, J.B.N.H.S., XU. p. 185; 

Board., ib., XVI p. 2. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Difiers from itisignis in having the back 
and wings an olive-bro\Mi with little or no gloss, and no tint of copper ; in 
having the rump darker and sometimes tinged \nth olive ; in havmg the 
terminal pale band on the tail much narrower, hardly one-quarter of the total 
length of the tail, and in having the under-surface darker and more vinous, 
and much mixed with ochre on the abdomen and posterior flanks. The 
under tail-coverts are often more or less faintly freckled \vith dusky, and 
the axillaries and under aspect of the wing are much darker than in either 
insignis or griseicapilla. As a rule, also, the white of the chin and throat 
is much more restricted in area. 

Colours of soft parts. " Bill dull lake-red at the base, slaty at the tip ; 
orbits lake-red, irides red-bro\^-n ; legs dull lake-red " (Jerdon). 

Measurements. Length 16 to 18 in. ( = 396.4 to 447 mm.) ; mng 8.3 to 
9.2 in. ( = 210.8 to 233.6 mm.) ; tail about 7 in. ( = 177 mm.) ; bill at front 
about .98 ( = 24.9 mm.), and from gape about 1.4 in. ( = 26.5 mm.) ; tarsus 
about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.). 

Adult female. Does not differ from the male, except in being very 
slightly smaller on an average, with a wing of about 8.5 in. ( = 215.9 mm.). 

Distribution. Southern India as far north as the Kanara district in 
the Bombay Presidency on the west, where Davison records it as common. 
Throughout the mountainous regions of Koorg, Wjmaad, and Neilgherries, 
but apparently not in the east of the Madras Presidency. It has been recorded 
from the hills east of Mysore v\hich run southwards fropi Bangalore to the 
Neilgherries, but has not yet been recorded from further east than this. 



JERDON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON 107 

Mr. J. Stewart also obtained this bird, together with its egg, at Ratnapura 
ia Ceylon. 

Nidification. Bourdillon states that Jerdon's Imperial Pigeon " has 
two broods in the year, but only lays one egg at a time. These two breeding- 
seasons are in April and again in November. I have seen a bkd building 
in the latter month, and have had the young bird brought to me in January. 
The nest is a loose structure of twigs \\-ithout any lining, and exactly resembling 
an English Wood-Pigeon's. I was so fortunate as to find a nest at an elevation 
of 4,000 ft. above sea-level and 20 ft. from the ground, placed in a mass of 
tangled scrub (Beesha travaticoria). The bird was sitting and returned to 
look at the nest, so we had a full view of her. Besides this I have had an 
egg sent me which had been taken at an equally high elevation. The egg 
is white and rather glossy ; it is small for the size of the bird, being only 
1.38 by 1 in." 

Davison, vide Barnes, took its egg and nest in Kanara in February, but 
does not give details of the former, and elsewhere he merely remarks that 
it resembles that of aenea. Mr. J. Stewart has taken numerous nests of the 
Pigeon in Travancore, where he found it breeding in January, March, and 
April, and has been so good as to send me a series of its eggs taken in that 
district, together with an egg obtained by him in Ceylon in October. 

The series sent me range in length from 1.64 in. ( = 41.6 mm.) to 1.88 
( = 47.7 mm.), and in breadth between 1.21 in. ( = 30.7 mm.) and 1.36 
( = 34.4 mm.). 

They are of the usual ellipse shape, but a little smaller at one end than 
the other, have a considerable gloss and a close fine texture, though not of 
the fineness and hardness of those of the genus Columba. 

Jerdon's notes, written fifty years ago, are still the fullest account 
we have of this Pigeon's habits in southern India. He writes : "It 
associates in general in small parties, or in pairs, frequenting the loftiest 
trees and feeding on various fruits. Its note is somewhat similar to that 
of the last [C. aenea], but still deeper, louder and more groaning. 
Tickell calls it a deep, short and repeated groan, woo woo woo. 

" During the hot weather, from the middle of April to the first week 
in June, when the rains almost invariably commence on the Malabar 
coast, large numbers of this Pigeon descend from the neighbouring 
mountainous regions of Coorg and WjTiadd to a large salt swamp in the 
neighbourhood of Cannanore, and there not only eat the buds of Aricennia 
and other shrubs and plants that affect salt and brackish swamps, but 
also (as I was credibly informed by several native Shikarees, to whom I 
was first indebted for the information of these Pigeons roosting there) 
pick up the salt earth on the edge of the swamp, and of the various creeks 
and backwaters that intersect the ground. I visited this place towards 
the end of May 1849, when many of the Pigeons had gone, as I was 
informed, but even then saw considerable numbers flying about and feeding 
on the buds of Aricennia, and then retiring a short distance to some lofty 



108 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

trees to rest. Although the day was unfavourable and ramy, I killed 
about a dozen of these fine Pigeons, and several natives who were there 
with guns for the piu-pose of shooting them, assured me they often killed 
from one to two dozen daily, simply remaining in one spot. Had I not 
secured the birds myself in this locaUty, I confess I would barely have 
credited the account I received of these mountain residents descending 
to the Plains during the hottest season of the year." 

Bourdillon, quoted by Hume in Stray Feathers, says that in Travan- 
core it is an abundant species, " occurring at all elevations from the base 
to the very summit of the hiUs, wherever there is heavy forest. As the 
generic name imphes, their food consists entirely of the larger jungle-fruits, 
and they appear to be very greedy feeders, stuffing themselves to repletion 
with any favourite fruit. Their note is a peculiar deep moaning coo, 
but in addition to this they utter a low guttural croak of suspicion 
while seated motionless on some bough, should anything unusual 
attract their attention. They take some time getting under weigh, but 
once well started their flight is rapid, and they can carry off a large 
quantity of shot." 

Major H. R. Baker writes to me : "I once shot one of these fine 
Pigeon which had been feeding on some wild nuts the size of a wahiut, 
and of which I found four in the bird's crop. It surprised me at first to 
find that the bird had ever been able to swallow so large a nut, but on 
trying I found that I could easily place one inside its mouth and push it 
down its throat. Its deep booming notes sounding something like 
who-who-o, who-who-o, reminded me rather of the somids uttered 
by monkeys." 



Genus MYRISTICIVORA. 

The genus Myristicivora contains, according to both Salvadori and 
Sharpe, five species, some of which, however, would only rank as sub- 
species with those who adopt the trinomial system. Of these five species, 
only one is to be found within Indian hmits, and this is easily distingiiished 
from all other nearly alhed Pigeons by its pecuhar creamy -white and black 
coloration. The genus differs from Carpo-phaga in having a comparatively 
shorter tail. 



(2i) MYRISTICIVORA BICOLOR (Scop.). 

THE PIED mPERIAL PIGEON. 

(Plate 9.) 

Columba bicolor Scop., Del. Flor. et Faun. Insub., II p. 94 (1786). 

CarpopJtaga myristicivora BIyth, J.A.S.B., XV p. 371 ; Ball, ib., XXXIX 
pt. 2 p. 32. 

Carpopfiaga bicolor Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 232 no. 1436 ; Hall, J.A.S.B., 
XXXIX pt. 2 p. 32 ; id., Str. Eeath., I p. 79 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, 
p. 496; id., Str. Feath., II pp. 80, 84, 96, 103, 114, 119, 264; Blyth, 
B. Burma, p. 145 ; Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., VI p. 418 ; Hume, 
ib., Vin p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 781, quint. ; Gates, B. Burma, II p. 303 ; 
Everett, J.S.B.A.S. ; id., Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 369. 

Myristicivora bicolor Bp., Con. Av., II p. 30 ; Walden, Trans. Z.S. Ins., 
p. 217 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 227 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 23 ; 
Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 671 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 86 ; Butler, 
J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 688; Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 489; H. R. Baker, 
ib., p. 761 ; Gsmaston, ib., XVIII pp. 201-2 ; id. ib., p. 359 ; Kinnear, 
ib., XX p. 453 ; Hopwood, ib., XXI p. 1214. 

Vernacular Name. Kaluia, Car Nicobarese. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole plumage, with the exceptions noted, 
white, tinted with the faintest and most delicate cream, generally more 
pronounced on the head than elsewhere and varying greatly in extent and 
distribution in different individuals. Bastard-wing, primaries, and outer 
secondaries deep slaty, almost black ; central tail-feathers with a terminal 
band of black nearly two inches wide, this band decreasing in width on each 
succeeding pair of feathers until on the penultimate pair it is only about 
half an inch wide, and on the outermost is seldom more than a quarter of an 
inch, and often much less ; on the outermost pair also, the outer web on its 
central portion is margined with black. The under tail-coverts are sometimes 
pure white, sometimes narrowly margined with black on the longer feathers, 
whilst in a few cases the black assumes the proportion of a broad band at 
the tip of these feathers. Though the bastard-wuig itself is black, the 
shoulder of the wing is white. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs and feet pale smalt blue ; the bill is leaden 
blue, the tip darkish horny or dark plumbeous ; irides dark brown " (Davison). 

Measurements. " Length 16 to 17 in. ; expanse 27.5 to 30 ; wing 8.82 
to 9; tail from vent 5.12 to 5.5 ; tarsus 1.10 to 1.3 ; bill from gape 1.4 to 
1.5 ; bill at front 0.9 to 1.05 ; wings when closed reach to within from 1.5 to 
1.75 of end of tail ; weight from 12 oz. to 1 lb." (Hume). 

Adidt female. Similar to the male. 

It is extremely doubtful whether the creamy tint on this fine Pigeon 
is not due principally to stains from the fruit upon which thej- live. It is 
very irregularly disposed over the plumage, in one bird being most pronounced 
on the back and rump, and in another all round the vent and abdomen ; but 




THE PIED IMPERIAL PlGEON—MYRlSTICiyoRA BICOLOR. 
(i Nat. Size.) 



Plate 9 



PIED IMPERIAL PIGEON 111 

in nearly all cases, as I have already said, it is most highly developed about 
the head, especially round the gape. If, as I think, this tint is merely nutmeg 
or some other vegetable stain, we should expect to find, as is the case, that 
normally the head, which comes in constant contact with the fruit, most 
deeply stained, and the abdomen and rump which the bird constantly preens 
with its dye-covered bill, next most deeply marked. The tint fades consider- 
ably after death, though persisting in regular patches here and there on the 
body, and nearly always to some extent on the head. 

Distribution. Blanford thus defines the range of this beautiful Pigeon, 
" From the Andamans and Nicobars through the Malay Archipelago to New 
Guinea and Australia where a local form {M. spilorrhoa) occurs. This Pigeon 
breeds in the Nicobars, and is a seasonal visitant to the Andamans, Cocos, 
Narcondam, Barren Island, according to Blyth to the Mergui Archipelago, 
but not, so far as is known, to the mainland of Tenasserim. According to 
Dr. Mainjay, this species also visits the Islands only on the coast of the Malay' 
Peninsula." Since this was \\Titten it has been procured by Mr. C. Hopwood's 
collectors a little south of Sandoway in Arakan, Burma (1910), and long 
prior to that Dr. A. L. Butler recorded them as occurring at Kuala Selangor 
on the mamland of the Malay Peninsula, and it would therefore appear that 
this bird regularly, if in no great numbers, is found on the mainland of Burma 
from the latitude of Sandoway all do\m the Malay Peninsula. Mr. Hopwood's 
men, moreover, it should be noted, knew the bird well, and said that they 
were numerous, breeding on the islands off the coast, and visiting the mainland 
during the winter months. 

Nidification. Davison failed to actually take the nest, but writes : 
" Although I did not obtain the nests or eggs of this bird myself, from all I 
could ascertain from the convicts, etc., these birds breed in January, February, 
and March, building their nests, which, like those of other Pigeons, are merely 
platforms of sticks, by preference in the mangroves, and laying usually only 
one white egg." 

Captain Wimberley took its egg on Trinkut Island during the first week 
of February, and describes its nest as being similar to that of an English 
Wood-Pigeon, placed in an old mangrove tree overhanging a river. It con- 
tained one addled egg measuring 1.78 in. by 1.25, of the usual shape and 
description. I have a nice series of these eggs in my collection taken by 
Mr. B. B. Osmaston at South Sentinel Island on the 17th March, 1907, and 
kindly given by him to me. In shape these eggs are rather long ovals, almost 
ellipses, and in one or two cases distinctly pointed at both ends. The texture 
is very fine and close with a smooth surface, in some cases decidedly glossy. 
They vary in length between 1.73 ( = 43.9 mm.) and 1.90 in. ( = 48.2 mm.), 
and in breadth between 1.24 ( = 31.4 mm.) and 1.30 in. ( = 33 mm.), the 
average being 1.8 ( = 46.2 mm.) by 1.26 in. ( = 32 mm.). 

Mr. Osmaston describes the taking of these eggs in the Bombay Natural 
History Journal as follows : " We found the Island simply swarming with the 
Pied Imperial Pigeon, and it was not long before we discovered a nest 
containing a single fresh egg, followed by many others. Altogether we 
found some 50 nests containing each a single egg, some fresh, some more or 
less incubated. 

" The nests were not, as a rule, close together. They were placed near 
the tops of small trees, or on the lower branches of big ones, usually about 
25 ft. from the ground. One nest I found was only 10 ft. from the ground, 
but this was exceptional. 



112 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

" The nest is the usual flimsy platform of sticks through which the egg 
is usually visible from below. 

" The eggs are, of course, pure white, generally rather elongated ovals 
with a fair amount of gloss. The measurements are as follows : — 

" Longest egg 1.91 by 1.26 in. 
" Shortest egg 1.67 by 1.20 m. 
" Mean of 28 eggs 1.80 by 1.24 in." 

Butler has the following interesting notes on this Pigeon in the 
Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society : "A strikingly hand- 
some bird, it associates in large flocks, and fifty or sixty dashing with a 
clatter of wings out of a tall tree, their black and white pliunage sho^ving 
up vividly against the background of green foliage, are a sight to gladden 
the eyes of a naturalist wandering in these steamy jungles. Though one 
would hardly think it, their boldly pied colouring of jetty black and 
cream colour is more or less protective. On the wing they are, of course, 
conspicuous, but among the shifting lights and shadows of a thickly -leafed 
tree on which the sunlight is falling, they are extremely hard to make out. 
I have known a flock were in the branches above me, and yet perhaps 
only one bird on the outside of the tree with the light shining on its bright 
breast would be visible. Their note is a chuckling hu-hu-hu. 

" In his paragraph on its distribution, I see Mr. Blanford quotes 
Dr. Maingay as stating that this Pigeon only occurs on the Islands down 
the coast of the Malay Peninsula. This is incorrect, it certainly keeps 
principally to the small islets of the coaist, but only this week I shot three, 
and saw several more at Kuala Selangor on the mainland of the Peninsula." 

On the islands it frequents, this Pigeon seems to be extraordinarily 
plentiful, and as tame as numerous, so that where it is not feeding on 
trees more than usually high, it is very easy to kill. Hume speaks of 
kiUing fifty of them in a very short time, and the limit obtainable seems 
to have been only restricted by cartridges and the anxiety to get other 
species. Davison speaks of the islands being " simply alive with them," 
whilst so little did this and the next species fear the presence of man 
that one of the latter allowed him to get close enough to shoot it with a 
waUcmg-stick gun. 

The food of this Pigeon seems to be entirely frugivorous and, when 
in season, the favourite diet is a species of wild nutmeg (myristica sp.), 
" conspicuous with their blood red orillas, fruits that no one could believe 
that even this large Pigeon could swallow, but two or three of which we 
took out of the crops of every bird we killed." 



Subfamily CALAENADINAE. 

This is a very small family consisting of a single genus (Calaenas) and 
that genus of a single species, which again is divided into two subspecies, 
one of which inhabits the Indian region. 

The subfamily differs from those already dealt with in having a tail 
of only twelve feathers, but it agrees with the genus Carpophaga in having 
an ambiens muscle and an oil-gland, but no intestinal caeca. The legs 
are long, and both legs and feet strong and well adapted for walking, and 
the bill has a fleshy protuberance at the base, more highly developed 
in the male than in the female. The most striking external characteristic, 
however, consists in the long metallic green hackles of the neck, which at 
once distinguishes it from all other Pigeons. 

Genfs calaenas. 
Characteristics those of the subfamily. 



(22) CALAENAS NICOBARICA (Linn.). 

THE NICOBAR PIGEON. 
(Plate 10.) 

Columba nicombariensis Briss., Om., I p. 154 (1760). 

Columba nicobarica Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 283, no. 27 (1766) ; Lath., Lid. 
Om., II p. 605. 

Columba gouldiae Gray and Hardw., 111. I. Zool., 11 pi. 57. 

Geofhilus nicobaricus Blyth, Gal. J.N.H., I p. 605. 

Caloenas nicobarica Gray, List Gen. B., p. 59 (1840) ; Ball, J.A.S.B., XXXIX 
pt. 2 p. 32 ; id., Str. Feath., I p. 81 ; Hume, ib., H pp. 133, 271, 481 ; 
Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 425 ; Hume, Cat. no. 798, bis ; Gates, 
B. Burma, 11 p. 299 ; id., in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., 11 p. 365 ; 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 615; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 24 ; 
Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 91 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 106 ; Butler, 
J.B.N.H.S., Xn p. 690 ; Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 489 ; id. ib., XVHI 
pp. 201, 202, 359. 

Calaenas nicobarica Blyth, J.A.S.B., XV p. 371 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 238. 

Calaenas nicobaricus Jerdon, B.I., IH p. 480 ; Hume, Str. Feath., 11 p. 70. 

Vernacular Name. Lo-ung, Nicobarese. 

Description. — Adidt male. Head, neck, and upper-breast deep slaty- 
black, in perfect specimens having a beautiful purple-blue sheen ; shorter 
neck-hackles the same, but glossed with metallic green near the tips ; longer 
hackles metallic blue or copper-bronze, but nearly all with narrow margins 
of deep blue-black and dark green shaft-stripes. Upper -plumage from shoulders 
to upper tail-coverts, lesser and median wing-coverts, and innermost secondaries 
brilliant metallic-green, but varying greatly in individuals. In some the 
greater portion is a copper-bronze, in a few specimens becoming almost a 
flaming copper-colour, whilst in a few others the copper tint is almost absent ; 
shoulder of wing, greater coverts, and outer secondaries deep prussian-blue 
with more or less of a metallic sheen and a varying amount of green gloes ; 
primaries blue-black on the visible portions and bro\Tn-black on the inner 
webs and concealed portions of outer webs ; tail \rith a few of the longest 
upi)er coverts and all the lower coverts white. Lower-plumage from breast 
to vent, flanks, and under aspect of wings metallic green, more or less marked 
with prussian-blue. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs and feet dull purplish lilac, bill greyish 
black ; irides hazel nut brown " (Davison). 
" Irides white " (Sir J. Ingram). 
•' Irides buff " (Layard). 




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NICOBAR PIGEON 115 

Weight 1 lb. 4 oz. to 1 lb. 12 oz. These weights include the extremes 
recorded for adult males by Davison, Hume, and others. 

Measurements. " Length 15.25 to 16.5 ; expanse 30 to 32.5 ; wing 9.8 
to 10.6 ; tail from vent 3.1 to 3.82 ; tarsus 1.55 to 1.85 ; bill from gape 1.4 to 
1.6 ; bill at front in adult 0.95 to 1.1 ; in the nestling and quite young birds 
the frontal feathers do not advance nearly so far forward, and in these the 
bill varies from 1.2 to 1.4 ; weight 1.25 to 1.75 lb." (Hume). 

Adult female. Similar to the male, but the head, neck, upper-breast, 
and hackles are generally decidedly more grey and no females in the Museum 
Collection have the deep blue sheen visible in some of the males. The neck- 
hackles are always shorter. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male but the irides appear never to 
become pure white as they do in old birds of that sex. 

Measurements. The same as in the male. 

Young male. Like the adult but having no hackles and the tail 
concolorous with, the rest of the upper-plumage and glossed above with the 
same tint of green or copper. 

The white tail is assumed at the first autumn-moult and the neck-hackles 
also then make their appearance, though they probably do not assume their 
greatest length until the following year. The irides are a dull hazel-brown. 

Distribution. Extends from the Cocos and Andaman Islands, Nicobars 
and islands of the Malay Archipelago as far as the Solomon Islands. It has 
not yet been found on the Timor group. In the Nicobars it is extraordinarily 
numerous and probably far more common in the Andamans and Cocos than 
has hitherto been held to be the case. 

Nidification. Davison thus records the breeding of this magnificent 
Pigeon : " Calaenas nicobarica builds a regular Pigeon's nest and always on 
trees ; on Battye Malve where we found this bird in thousands, almost every 
thick bushy tree contained several nests. I counted thirteen on one tree, 
and I must have examined a couple of dozens of these nests ; we visited the 
Island rather late : nearly all the occupied nests contained young and hundreds 
of young had left the nests. I only succeeded in finding two eggs, one partially 
incubated, the other ready to hatch off ; the former of these unfortunately 
got broken on the Island, the latter I succeeded in joreserving by cutting a 
hole in one side and placing the egg in a small paper tray near an ants' nest. 
The nests were, as I have mentioned above, regular Pigeons' nests, merely 
a platform of twigs, very loosely and carelessly put together and ^nthout 
lining of any kind, and in no single case contained more than the one young 
or one egg. Many of the nests I examined contained young ones only a day 
or two old, perfectly devoid of even down, and ^^ith closed eyes ; in fact, 
exactly like the young of the domestic pigeon when first hatched. Other 
nests contained young that flew from the nests on our climbing the tree. One 
nest I found was only about ten feet, but the others ranged from twenty to 
thirty feet from the ground and were always placed in thick bushy trees. 

"The egg which measures 1.84 in., is pure white and spotless ; the shell, 
though compact is very finely pitted all over, and it has scarcely a trace of 
gloss." 

Osmaston also found the bird breeding in South Sentinal Island, but 
only in small numbers and on the first occasion he only succeeded in obtaining 
two nests, which he describes as being exactly like those of the Pied Imperial 

I 2 



116 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Pigeon breeding on the same island. Each of the two nests contained a single 
egg, quite fresh and only differing from those of the bird just mentioned in 
being a trifle larger, 1.92 by 1.32 in. 

Osmaston states that " the fresh egg of Calaenas may, moreover, be 
recognised from that of Myristicivora by the colour of the membrane under- 
lying the shell, which imparts a delicate purple tinge to the egg of the former, 
that of the latter being pure wliite or faintly yellow." 

Later on Osmaston got a fine series of these eggs from Battye Malve 
in the end of March, 1907, and was good enough to send me a considerable 
number. These eggs are rather long, regular ovals like those of the Pied 
Imperial Pigeon, and like those of that bird, are often curiously pointed 
at one end. In texture they cannot be distinguished from the eggs of 
Myristicivora, but it is very curious that even m eggs some five years old 
the difference in the colour of the membrane is still quite distinct, for, whereas, 
that of the egg of the Pied Pigeon is a pale lemon-yellow, that of the egg of 
the Nicobar bird is almost an orange-yellow. 

My eggs vary from 1.82 to 2.15 in. ( = 46.2 to 55.1 mm.) in length, and 
from 1.30 to 1.36 in. ( = 33 to 34.5 mm.) in breadth, the average being 1.95 by 
1.34 in. ( = 49.6 by 33.9 mm.). 

It breeds freely in captivity, and both this bird and the last have frequently 
reared their single young ones in the Calcutta Zoo. They feed the young, 
of course, in the same manner as do all other Pigeons and Doves, that is to say, 
on regurgitated and partially digested food. The late Mr. Sanyal, Keeper 
of the Calcutta Zoological Gardens, told me that they were excellent parents, 
both male and female sharing in the incubation of the egg and the care of 
the young bird. 

Davison's full and interesting notes on this Pigeon contain so much 
information, that I quote them here in full. He wTites as foUows in the 
second volume of Stray Feathers : " On KatchaU Island I first observed 
these birds ' at home ' if I may use the expression ; I met with them 
in the vicinity of some caves situated in the forest about a mile from the 
shore, sometimes singly, at other times a pair together, and occasionally 
in small parties about half a dozen to a dozen. I went several times to 
Katchall to study the habits of these birds. 

" I always found them on the ground ; when disturbed they fly 
some distance, almost always beyond range of shot, and then perch, 
usually high up, but sometimes low down, invariably on the thicker lower 
branches, along which I have often seen them walk. On Battye Malve 
I had the best opportunities of observing them. I had wandered some 
distance from the rest of our party and got into a part of the jungle where 
the birds had not been disturbed. Feeling very tired when forcing my 
way through the tangled underwood, I seated myself at the foot of a large 
tree ; after remaining here for some little time, several of these birds flew 
down from the adjacent trees and settled on the ground within ten yards 



NICOBAR PIGEON 117 

of me, they were soon joined by others, till there must have been at least 
thirty, old and young, all round me. I remained perfectly stUl (hardly 
daring to breathe) and watched them for some time. 

" Their gait is quite Pigeon-like. Every now and then one would 
stop, and tossing the leaves aside, dig into the ground with its bUl. They 
did not move in any regular manner but walked hither and thither, and 
if two adults, or two young ones met thej^ generally made a peck or two 
at one another before separating. I did not observe them use their 
feet to scratch aside the leaves, like gallinaceous birds, nor did I see 
any of the adults run, they kept up a steady but sprightly walk the 
whole time. Occasionally one would rush up with wide spread wings to 
one of its neighbours, and then stand with open mouth flapping its 
wing until it was either beaten off, or the other beat a retreat ; but I did 
not see any of the young fed by their parents. They are very silent 
birds, and the only note I heard was a somewhat hoarse, guttiu-al kind 
of croak, not unlike that sometimes made by the domestic Pigeon when 
taken in the hand. 

" The stomachs of those I shot on Katchall contained seeds very 
similar to a prune stone, more or less broken up, but on Battye Malve 
they seem to have eaten a whitish seed about the size of the head of a 
blanket-pin. The gizzard of this bird is very pecuUar, being composed 
of two discs of cartilage as hard as, and of the same texture as bone, 
shghtly convex on the inner surface, between which is a pebble, usually a 
white quartz a little larger than a fresh pea. 

" Many of these birds are caught on the western coast of NancowTy 
and Camorta with horse-hair nooses placed on the ground in places they 
frequent, the bait used being wild fruits. They sell at Camorta for three 
rupees or six shillings per pair, and a good many find their way to 
Calcutta." 

Butler adds a good deal of interesting matter to these notes in his 
article in the Bombay Journal (I.e.), where he writes : " I found it very 
shy and difficult to shoot. It is quite silent so that you have no means of 
knowing its whereabouts ; creeping through the jungle you are startled 
by a tremendous flutter of wings overhead, and get just a ghmpse of a 
large dark bird with a short white tail disappearing on the wrong side 
of at least two trees. You may have time to get in the snappiest of snap 
shots, and it may be effective ; mine generally were not, though occasion- 
ally the report wotild be followed by a cheery thud. Fortunately one 



118 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

does sometimes get easy sitting shots and opportunities of observing the 
birds fairly closely, but they are not often. 

" I usually came across them singly or in parties of three or four 
to a dozen or so. When feeding on the ground the Caloenas walks 
about much like a large Emerald Dove, but carries its wings much 
lower, often indeed dropping them so much as to give one the idea 
of their being injiu-ed at the shoulder. 

" When not feeding they sit sOent and alert on some bare 
horizontal bough, about thirty or forty feet from the ground ; seen 
thus they look very dark in colour, almost blackish, as, indeed, they 
generally do when seen in the shade. 

" Their flight is swift and very strong, though heavy looking ; 
the flutter they make in leaving a tree is peculiarly loud and character- 
istic, so that I could always tell by ear whether a bird flj'ing out over 
my head was a Caloenas or one of the common Imperial Pigeons." 

Butler found that birds killed on Car Nicobar had been eating 
the same kind of food as that described by Davison. They are said to be 
very good to eat, and to get, like most Pigeons, very fat when their 
favom-ite foods are plentiful. 

This bird is a very favourite cage-bird throughout Asia, and in 
most other countries also, as it is extremely hardy and not nearly so 
quarrelsome as are most Pigeons, provided it is accommodated mth a 
large enough aviary. As might be expected from its terrestrial habits 
it is largely a grain-feeder, and in captivity its diet generally consists 
more of rice, corn, maize, etc., than fruit, though it greedily eats almost 
any fruit that is given to it. 

Some of the individuals in the Zoological Gardens in Calcutta 
have got so iised to visitors and so tame that they fly dowTi to the 
wires of the aviaries and follow people round in quest of damties. 
These birds eat scraps of bread and biscuit freely, and, I am informed, 
with no bad effects. They seem very tolerant in their disposition 
towards other birds sharing their captivity, and I have never noticed 
them fighting with one another in the manner described by Davison, 
even during the breeding-season. 

Mr. Sanyal describes their " display " as being very beautiful ; 
the cock-bird bowing and scraping just as all other Pigeon do, but 
during these antics the gorgeous metalhc feathers are all puffed out 
and ghtter and shine in the most wonderful way with each bob of the 



NICOBAR PIGEON 119 

bird or each strut he makes along the ground. Needless to say perhaps, 
but the female appears to be quite unmoved, uninterested even, in 
all the show got up on her behalf, and if there is any food about pays 
much more attention to that than to her lover's antics. 



Subfamily PHABINAE. 

The present subfamily contains a group of twelve genera and 
twenty-two species of small Doves, very terrestrial in their habits 
and very closely aUied with Calaenas, with which they agree in anatomy 
and also in having twelve tail-feathers, but they differ in their smaller 
size and in having no lengthy neck -hackles. They are to be found in 
Africa and in Asia, in India and the Malay Archipelago, and AustraUa. 



Genus CHALCOPHAPS. 

This genus contains six species of very beautiful small Pigeons 
or Doves, which are found in India, through Burma and the Malay 
Archipelago to AustraUa, but of which only one species is fomid within 
our limits. The upper-plumage of our bird is metallic like that of 
Calaenas, the tail is of twelve feathers, wings moderate with second 
and third primaries subequal in length, feet and tarsus bare and the 
former with slender toes well adapted for running about on the ground. 




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(23) CHALCOPHAPS INDICA (Linn.), 

THE BRONZE-WINGED OR EMERALD DOVE. 
(Plate 11.) 

Columba indica Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 284 (1766) ; Penn, Faun. I., p. 41 ; 
Lath., I. Om., II p. 598. 

Columba albicapilla id. ib., p. 597. 

Columba coeruleocephala id. ib., 11 p. 610. 

Chalcophaps indica Gray, List Gall. B.M., p. 18 (1844) ; Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV 
pt. 2 p. 589 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 484 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXXIX 
pt. 2 p. 112 ; Ball, Str. Feath., I p. 80 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 509; 
id., Str. Feath., U p. 269 ; id. ib., p. 481 ; id. ib.. Ill p. 165 ; Blyth 
and Wald., B. Burma, p. 147 ; Hume and Bourd., Str. Feath., IV p. 404 ; 
Inglis, ib., V p. 40 ; Fairbank, ib., p. 409 ; Butler, ib., p. 503 ; Hume 
and Dav., ib., VI p. 424; Ball, ib., VII p. 225; Cripps, ib., p. 298; 
Hume., ib., VIII p. 110; id.. Cat. no. 798; Legge, B. Cey., p. 719; 
Vidal, Str. Feath., IX p. 75 ; Bing., ib., p. 195 ; Butler, ib., p. 421 ; 
Reid, ib., p. 500 ; Davison, ib., X p. 408 ; Taylor, ib., p. 464 ; Oates, 
B. Burma, II p. 297 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 293 ; Hume, Str. Feath., XI 
p. 300 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 263 ; Salvadori, 
Cat. B.M., XXI p. 514 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 26 ; Sharpe, Hand- 
List, I p. 84 ; Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 108 ; Sarat Chandra Mittra, 
J.B.N.H.S., in p. 266 ; Blanf., ib., IX p. 186 ; Butler, ib., X p. 310 ; 
Stuart Baker, ib., p. 361; Inglis, ib., XI p. 475; Butler, ib., XII 
p. 690 ; Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 489 ; Mears, ib., XVIII p. 86 ; Osmaston, 
ib., p. 359 ; Harington, ib., XIX pp. 309, 365 ; Cook, ib., XXI p. 675 ; 
Hopwood, ib., p. 1214 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 66. 

Chalcophaps augusia Bp., Con. Av., II p. 92 (1854) ; Ball, Str. Feath., I p. 81 ; 
Hume, ib., II p. 270. 

Vernacular Names. Ram-ghugu, Raj-ghugu, Beng. ; Andi-bellaguiva, 
Tel. ; Pathaki-prda, Tarn. Ceylon ; Nila Bobeya, Cing. ; Ka-er, Lepcha ; 
Muti-Ropuha, Assamese ; Gyo-sane, Gyo-sein, Burmese ; Daotualai, Cachari. 

Description. — Adult male. Fore-head and broad supercilia white, 
changing to dark blue-grey on the crown and nape ; sides of the head, neck, 
shoulders, and upper-breast a deep vinous-red gradually paling on the lower- 
breast and abdomen ; back, scapulars, wing-coverts and inner secondaries 
metallic emerald-green with a varying amount of bronze reflections, in a 
few individuals this bronze tint practically replacing the green ; edge of 
wing, bastard-wing, primaries and greater primary-coverts dark brown ; 
secondaries the same, those next the green innermost ones with bronze 
reflections. Smallest wing-coverts and shoulder of ^%ing vinous-red like the 
neck, sometimes more grey, bordered by a fringe of white feathers. Lower- 
back deep copper-bronze with a band across of feathers fringed with white or 



122 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

greyish-white ; ramp grey next the lower-back deepening in colour to the 
upper tail-coverts which are dark grey edged deep brown ; tail brown, the 
outermost two or three pairs grey with a broad black band. Under aspect 
of wing bright brick or copper red ; under tail-coverts dark slaty-grey. 

Occasionally a very old male has a few spots of metallic bronze, like the 
eyes on a peafowl's plumage, on the lower-breast and abdomen. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill red, the cere deeper and somewhat 
sanguine, the tip paler and more a coral-red ; iris hazel or dark brown ; the 
eyelids leaden-grey; legs coral-red, the soles paler and the claws pale homy- 
brown. 

Measurements. Total length 10 to 11 in. ( = 254 to 279 mm.) ; wing 
5.5 to 5.95 in. ( = 149.7 to 151.0 mm.), tail about 3.75 in. ( = 95.2 mm.), 
tarsus rather less than 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.), bill at front .6 in. ( = 15.2 mm.) 
and from gape .9 in. ( = 22.8 mm.). 

Adult female. Differs from the male in having the white fore-head and 
supercilia much less in extent and sometimes hardly visible ; the slate-grey 
of the crown and nape is replaced with the vinous-red of the neck, which is, 
as a rule, less bright in tint than it is in the male. The white wing-patch 
is not present, and the bars of white or grey across the lower-back are generally 
less pronounced. The tail has the central two pairs dark reddish-brown, 
the succeeding pairs more red still but tipped darker, and the outermost 
pair as in the male. 

Colours of soft farts. The same as in the male. 

Measurements. On the whole the female appears to differ little, if at all, 
from the male in size and the biggest and smallest specimens in the British 
Museum Collection are both females. 

Young male. Like the female but still duller and with the bronze-green 
much less in extent and freely barred with copper-red. There is a 
broad rufous bar across the wing, often plainly visible w hen the bird is a year 
or more old ; the feathers of the winglet and the inner secondaries are 
boldly tipped with rafous-red and the whole under-surface is barred dull 
brown and rufous. 

Over its very wide range this little bird is remarkably constant in 
coloration, although individuals vary considerably inter se. Attempts have 
frequently been made to subdivide this species on the following grounds : — 

1. Difference in the extent of the white fore-head and supercilia. 

2. Extent and purity of the white bars on the rump and lower-back. 

3. Depth of the vinous-red colourmg of back, neck, and breast. 

4. Presence or absence of grey line running down from the nape to the 

interscapulars. 

All these points are entirely individual, and may all be seen in their extremes 
in a series from Sikliim m the British Museum. Thus a few birds have the 
fore-head white almost as far back as the centre of the eye, whilst others 
have the white confined to the edge of the bill. The nuchal line in some 
birds forms a broad streak dividing the red of the neck in two ; in some it 
is weak and broken, and in one or two not perceptible. The bars on the 
rump vary to the same extent, and the depth of the red colouring is equally 
an individual and not a subspecific character. 

Distribution. The Emerald Dove is found throughout the greater 
part of India in forest country where there is a sufficient rainfall. It extends 



BRONZE-WINGED OR EMERALD DOVE 123 

doMTi the west coast of India from the south of Bombay, through Malabar, 
Travancore, and thence into Ceylon. On the east coast it is found south 
nearly to the latitude of the mouths of the Kistna or Krishna River, as I have 
seen the skin of a bird shot inland from Masulipatam, but it is undoubtedly 
rare south of latitude 18. It is found in Orissa and throughout the whole of 
Bengal in the forested parts, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Assam, and the hill- 
ranges north and south of the Brahmapootra River up to at least 6,000 ft. 
It is very common in Manipur, Looshai Hills and throughout Burma, the 
Malay Peninsula and Archipelago into New Guinea, and again through southern 
China into the Phillipines. In Burma it appears to be absent from the dry 
central zone. 

Nidification. It is resident throughout the whole of its range, and 
breeds wherever found. I have had its eggs sent to me from Nepal taken at 
an elevation of over 4,000 ft., and have personally taken them at elevations 
higher than this both in the Khasia and North Cachar Hills. As a rule, 
however, it breeds below 3,000 ft., and is conmion from this elevation down 
to the plains. 

The nest is the usual Dove's nest of small twigs and sticks, but is better 
put together than most, and the depression in the centre is often well formed 
and nearly an inch in depth at the deepest point. The t-wigs of which it is 
composed are both those which are picked up dry and such small living twigs 
as it is able to tear from the tree, and on a few occasions I have seen twigs 
used ^\ith a leaf or two still attached to them. Most nests %\ill be foimd 
placed on high bushes or small saplings some five to ten feet from the ground 
but a few may be taken from bamboo-clumps and, in the Nicobars, Davison 
found them sometimes placed on the fronds of young coconut palms about 
sis feet from the ground. 

I think the Bronze--ninged Dove is more particular in seeing that its 
nest is concealed than are the Green Pigeons and other Doves which make 
their nests in similar places, and frequently I have taken nests so well hidden 
in thick bushes, brambles, and cane-brakes that it was \nth no little difficulty 
they were discovered. 

Incubation is carried on impartially by both sexes and takes about twelve 
days. The young are fed as usual by the parent-birds regurgitating food in a 
nearly digested state. 

The eggs, always two in number, are not white but a pale cream, cafe-au- 
lait, or fa^\■n colour, sometimes so pale that the egg appears white unless 
placed alongside a really white egg, at other times quite a distinct buff or 
fawn of tlie shade of dark wet sand. 

In shape they are long elliptical, a few more or less drawn out and pointed 
at one end, and a few others very broad ellipses. 

In length the eggs vary from .95 in. (24.1 mm.) to 1.12 in. ( = 28.4 mm.) 
and in breadth from .78 in. ( = 19.8 mm.) to .86 ( = 21.8mm.), and the average 
of 100 eggs is 1.08 in. ( = 26.1 mm.) by .82 in. ( = 21.0 mm.). 

The breeding-season varies according to locality ; in southern India 
and Ceylon January and February appear to be the two principal breeding- 
months and the same in the Andamans and Nicobars. In Burma and the 
north-eastern countries of India, March to May are the three months in which 
most eggs may be taken, but in southern Burma and the adjacent districts, 
January and February again seem to be the favourite months. In all parts 
of its range, however, the Emerald Dove breeds more or less over a great 
portion of the year, and the majority of birds undoubtedly have two broods 
and many probably have three. 



124 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

This charming Httle Dove is essentially a forest-bird and, more- 
over, one confined almost entirely to damp evergreen-forests and their 
vicinity, though it may be met with less often in deciduous forest and 
bamboo-jungle. It is extremely partial to the banks of the smaller 
forest-streams and to mossy tracks through heavy forest. Working 
along the former, the fisherman wiU often see it running along the bank 
in front of him, finally making off as he gets too close, but seldom 
flying far and often pitching again within a couple of hundred yards 
or so. In the same way the traveller along the forest-tracks may see 
a little dark bird, or perhaps a pair, get up almost at his feet a-s he rounds 
some comer, and flit away doAvn the path with incredible speed — 
dark and sombre-looking unless a flash of sunlight catches it, when it 
gleams like a jewel until once more the shadows embrace it and it 
vanishes from sight. Probably, however, once out of sight it has again 
dropped to earth, and the same procediu-e may go on for some half 
a dozen times within the next half mile before at last it dashes aside 
into the forest and makes its way back to its original haunts. It is 
a very conservative little bird, and day after day a pair or a single bird 
may be put up at the same spot if visited at the same hour, and in spite 
of its powers of flight it does not setm to range over much country. 
Almost any place where there is a " salt-hck," by a river-bed or in 
fairly thick evergreen-forest, is sure to be much frequented bj' these 
Doves, and the Cacharies have a saying to the effect that : elephants 
and deer like salt-licks, buffalo and gour must resort to them at 
times, but that the Emerald Dove dies if kept away from them more 
than a day. 

They are very active on the groimd, and though normally they 
move about in a rather sedate and graceful manner, they are capable 
of great speed when disturbed or when roused to extra exertions by a 
flight of white ants. Naturally, like all their famUy, they are entirely 
vegetarian except for this one lapse, but they catch and eat termites 
greedily, and I have watched them so feeding until I have wondered 
where they could possibly put all they had caught. But the termite 
is food for everything — mammahan, avian, or reptilian, and any Pigeon 
or Dove will eat them as readily as do squirrels, dormice, and other 
vegetarian mammals. 

The Emerald Dove is very fond of wild strawberries, and I often 
used to see them eating these on the village-paths in the North Cachar 



BRONZE-WINGED OR EMERALD DOVE 125 

Hills, and less often would also sometimes see them eating raspberries 
and blackberries from the bushes which grew in profusion in almost 
any open glade or roadway. 

Their flight, as already noted, is extremely swift, and at the same 
time wonderfully sUent, and it is often quite startling the way these 
birds flit into sight and then disappear without a sound, twisting and 
turning so as to avoid bushes and other obstacles in their flight. 
Invariably they keep low down, and it is rare to see them rise twenty 
feet from the ground even when they dash across some opening in the 
forest or are hustled across a wide roadway from one patch of forest 
to another. 

Their note is a soft but very deep and rather plaintive coo, and 
during the breeding-season they may often be heard caUing to one another 
for some minutes together. They are not gregarious, and except when 
actually nesting single birds seem to be more often seen even than pairs, 
but in some favourite spots half a dozen or more may sometimes 
gather together. In spite however of its solitary habits it is not, I 
think, for a member of this family, at all a quarrelsome bird, and it 
can be kept quite safely as a rule with other birds, either of its own or 
other species. 

It thrives in captivity, but does not seem often to be caged in 
India, though one may meet with such specimens occasionally in the 
Calcutta and other big bazaars. 

It has a curious habit of entering and passing through buildings, 
which, doubtless, it hopes will afford refuge from the glare of the sun ; 
but finding the interior so different from what it expects, it passes 
straight through instead of resting. Two or three writers have com- 
mented on this curious habit of entering buildings, and it wall some- 
times even dash through a tea-factory in which many people are working 
and where the noise of machinery is continuous and loud. 



Subfamily COLUMBINAE. 

In his family Columbidae Salvadori includes but three subfamiUes 
— Cohunbinae, Macropygiinae, and Ectopistinae. The last of these three 
has no representative in Asia, and consists of a single genus and species — 
Ectopistes migratorius, the Passenger-Pigeon of North America. 

Of the other two subfamilies, the Macropygiinae will be dealt with 
in detail later on. Here it will suffice to say that, agreeing mth Blanford 
that the birds of the genus are nearer the true Doves than the Pigeons, 
I place them after these latter birds in order of classification, though 
uniting them all under the one subfamily Columhinae together with 
the former. 

The difference between the Pigeons and Doves of this group are, 
as pointed out by Blanford, only superficial, and there are no 
structural characteristics by which they can be divided : they all have 
twelve tail-feathers, and all have the ambiens muscle, intestinal caeca, 
and oil-gland. 

The feet and legs are more adapted for walking about on the earth 
than are the arboreal Pigeons hitherto dealt vnth, but there is a 
considerable amount of difference in this respect between the various 
genera of the Columhinae, some being far more terrestrial in their habits 
than others. 

The subfamily, according to the classification adopted, contains 
seven genera of Pigeons and Doves. The former includes the genera 
Columba (Rock-Pigeons), Dendrotreron, Paluinbus, and Alsoaynius 
(Wood-Pigeons), and the latter mcludes Streptopelia and Oenopopdia 
(True Doves) and Macropygia (Cuckoo-Doves). 

Blanford's key to the genera of this subfamily, given in the 
Avifauna of British India, is very simple, and founded on characteristics 
very easy for the sportsman and field-naturahst to follow, and I 
therefore adopt it as it stands. 



Key to the Genera. 



A. Tail less than two-thirds of wing in length : 

a. Neck-feathers not acuminate ; dark bars on secondaries ColuTnJba. 

b. Neck-feathers acuminate ; no dark bars on secondaries Dendrotreron. 

B. Tail exceeding two-thirds of, but not longer than, wing : 

c. Larger, wing 7.5 in. or over ; no white tips to tail- 

feathers ; tarsus shorter than middle toe with- 
out claw : 

a' A white bar, conspicuous beneath, across tail ... Palumbus. 

V No white bar across tail ... ... ... ... Alsocomus. 

d. Smaller, wing 7.4 in. or under ; white or grey tips to 

tail ; tarsus longer than middle toe without 
claw : 

c' Sexes alike : 



second and third quills longest 
d' Sexes dififerent ; first and second quills longest 



Streptopelia. 
Oenopopelia. 



C. Tail longer than wing, and much graduated 



Macropygia. 



Gentts COLUMBA. 

Salvador! includes in the genus Columba all our Indian Rock- 
Pigeons and Wood-Pigeons of the first four genera given above, but 
even he adds in a footnote : " I feel quite sure that the numerous 
species of the genus Columba ought to be arranged in several sub- 
genera, but as only some of them can be easily defined ... I have 
thought it best to leave them all, as a whole, in one genus." 

As regards our Indian birds, they are not difficult to divide into 
genera ; the tj^ical Rock-Pigeons with their grey plumage and the 
Snow-Pigeon with a similar type of plumage, only snow-w'hite instead 
of grey, are conveniently placed together in the genus Columba. The 
Speckled Wood-Pigeon with its curious lanceolate plumage and colora- 
tion, different from all other Rock- or Wood-Pigeons, at once singles 
itself out from the rest and thus comes alone in the genus Dendrotreron. 
Of the true Wood-Pigeons, Palumbus, we have but one — a very near 
relative of the Enghsh Stock-Dove ; and, finally, we have a number of 
Wood-Pigeons similar in structure to Palumbus, but varying consider- 
ably in coloration, which are placed together in the genus Alsocomus. 

The genus Columba, as restricted according to this classification, 
contains four species of Pigeon, one of which is again divided into 
two subspecies. 

With the exception of the Snow-Pigeon, which is mostly white to 
suit its snow-clad habitat, they are birds of grey plumage of different 
shades, with a certain amount of metalHc lustre about the neck. In 
habits they are more terrestrial than arboreal, though perching freely 
and sometimes roosting on trees. 

The tails are short, the tips of the closed wings reaching almost 
to the end of the tail ; the tarsi and feet are longer and formed for 
walking, the former being unfeathered ; the nostrils are narrow and 
obUquely set in the swollen cere, and the wings are long and pointed, 
the first or second primary being the longest. 



Key to the Species. 



A. Plumage principally grey : 

a. Bill blackish ; legs red : 

a' No white band across tail 
b' A white band across taU . 

b. BUI and legs yellowish 

B. Plumage principally white 



C. livia. 

C. rupestris. 

. . . C eversmanni, 

... C. leuconota. 



COLUMBA LIVIA. 
Key to the Subspecies. 



A. Lower-back white 

B. Lower-back grey 



C.l. livia. 
C. I. intermedia. 



(24) COLUMBA LIVIA LIVIA (Bonn.). 
THE BLUE ROCK-PIGEON. 

Columba livia Briss., Orn., I p. 82 (1760). 

Columba oenas Linn, (part), Syst. Nat., I p. 279. 

Columba domestica Lath., Ind. Orn., II p. 589. 

Columba domestica livia id. ib., p. 590. 

Columba livia Bonn., Encycl. Meth., I p. 227 (1790) ; Blytli, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 

no. 233 (part) ; id., J.A.S.B., XIV p. 861 ; Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 218 ; 

Blanf., East Persia, II p. 268 ; Cripps, Str. Feath., VII p. 296 ; Hume, 

ib.,VIII p. 109 ; id., Cat. no. 788, bis ; Barnes, Str. Feath., IX p. 457 ; 

id., B. Bom., p. 289 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 252 ; Blanf., Avi. 

Brit. I., IV p. 30 ; Sharpe, Hand-List Bkds, I p. 69 ; Oates, Cat. Eggs 

B.M., I p. 87 ; Barnes. J.B.N.H.S., V p. 330 ; Rattray, ib., XII p. 344 ; 

Inglis, ib., XIV ; p. 561 ; Marshall, ib., XV p. 352 ; Nicol Gumming. 

ib., XVI p. 691 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Perreau, ib., XIX p. 919 ; 

Whitehead, ib., XX p. 966. 
Columba affinis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 862. 
Columba neglecta Hume, Lah. to Yark., p. 272 (1873) ; id., Str. Feath., 

I p. 218 ; Severtz, ib., Ill p. 430. 
Columba spelaea Hume, Lah. to Yark., p. 273. 

Vernacular Names. Kabutar, Hin. ; Konturam, Pushtu. 

Description. — Adult mule. Head dark purple-grey ; nape, neck all 
round, upper-breast and the extreme upper part of the interscapulary region 
dark grey glossed with brilliant metallic purple and green, according to the 
light in which it is held. Upper-back ashy-grey grading gradually into white 
on the lower-back, where the white forms a broad band, about 2 in. deep ; 
rump and upper tail-coverts dark grey, generallj' a little darker than the 
upper-back ; tail dark grey like the rump with a broad black band across 
the end leaving only a naiTow final tip of grey. The outermost rectrices ^^-ith 
a broad border of white on the outer web between the base and the black 
band. Wing-coverts and innermost secondaries grey, of tlie same shade as 
the back, with two broad bars of black, the first formed by the black bases 
of the greater coverts and a second by the innermost secondaries M'hich are 
mostly black or blackish-brown, though with the concealed bases and the 
tips grey ; primaries brownish-grey, paler on the inner webs except at the 
tips. Lower-parts slaty-grey, darkest on the breast ; under \^ing-coverts and 
axillaries white,'jthe former more or less suffused with very pale grey. 

Colour of soft farts S " Iris orange red ; bill vinous slate colour, inclining 
to white on the cere ; legs red " (Salvadori). 

Measurements. "JTotal length 11 in., wing 8.7 in., tail 4.6 in., bill .79 in., 
tarsus 1.2 in." (Salvadori). 

According to Hume, who measured a very big series of British birds. 



BLUE ROCK-PIGEON 131 

the wing varied from 8.3 in. to 9.7 in. The series in the British Museum, 
a singularly poor one as regards typical birds, varies between 8.2 in. 
( = 208.2 mm.) and 9.05 in. (229.8 mm.). Weight 8 to 12 oz. 

Adult female. Similar to the male. 

Colours of soft farts. As in the male. 

Measurements. The female is a rather smaller bird than the male, with 
a wing-measurement averaging about .3 ia. (7.6 mm.) less. It is also a good 
deal more slender and lighter in weight. Weight 7 to 9^ oz. 

Young male. " Duller in coloration, and having the black bands on 
the wing less clearly defined and with but little of the green gloss on the 
neck " (Salvador!). 

Nestling, in the downy stage, is covered -nith a yellow, or pale yellow- 
buff down. 

Distribution. " The Western Palaearctic region, \\dth Afghanistan, 
Baluchistan, Sind, the Punjab, Kashmir, and occasionally other parts of 
India " (Blanford). 

A careful examination of such data as we have on record, together with 
the skins available in the British Museum and elsewhere, induce me to make 
rather a drastic curtailment in the above definition of the area of the western 
form of the Blue Rock-Pigeon in the East. 

In the collection in the British Museum, including Hume's collection, 
there are but two specimens which could be held to be true livia : these are 
two birds collected in Ladak, the one by Henderson on the 18th of October, 
1890, and the second by Strachey on tlie 1st of January, 1880, and even in 
these two birds the white band is narrower than is normal in western birds 
and in one also it is slightly, though faintly, suffused ^nth grey. Nearest 
to these is a tliird bird collected by Hume in Sind : in this the white is less 
than an inch broad and as the collection contains eight birds from the same 
locality, all typical intermedia, it looks as if tliis bird was individually aberrant 
or a reversion to the original white-rumped stock of the West. Another 
specimen labelled livia from Jhelam is really intermediate between livia and 
intermedia and nearer the latter than the former. Cripps's specimen from 
Furredpore is almost a typical livia though the normal bird of tliis district is 
quite as typically true intermedia, and here again I look upon this as an 
individual aberration or reversion. Specimens from Mesopotamia are inclined 
to livia, and one such is almost a typical bird of that subspecies, though 
others are quite typical intermedia. 

When we work through northern Africa, from Tunis eastwards to Egypt, 
and thence tlirough Palestine, north Arabia and Persia, we find a form very 
closely allied to intermedia, if not identical with it, which has been named 
gymnocyclus by G. R. Gray, schimperi by Bonaparte (1854), and lately (1912) 
palestinae by Graf Zedlitz, and before that (in 1874), neglecta by Hume, 
and spelaea by Hutton (1873) (in a letter to Hume). Salvador! describes this 
species, or subspecies {schimperi) as similar to C. livia, but lighter, and with 
the rump light grey like the back, not white ; the area of habitat he gives as 
Egypt> Nubia, and Palestine. Birds, however, from Tunis in the west and 
Arabia in the east are identical, and these, again, I find it difficult to 
separate from our north-west Indian livia intermedia. Throughout Europe 
and north-west Asia and Asia Minor, all the specimens I have seen are 
typical livia. 

From the material available, therefore, I think it would be difficult to 
prove that typical C. livia livia ever comes within our Indian limits, except 

k2 



,/ 



132 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

perhaps as the rarest of stragglers into the extreme north-east, as with the 
two Ladak birds, and possibly also into Kashmir. 

Wlien, however, we examine the written records of its appearance in 
India the case is very different, and at first siglit it \vould appear to be over- 
whelmingly conclusive that C. livia livia is an exceedingly common bird in 
many parts of the north-west of India and the adjoining countries. First, 
we have Hume who records that Dr. Day shot a typical specimen of livia in 
the Rooree district, and that he liimself obtained one in the Gaj, whilst 
Dr. Day reported the bird as common at Durgalo, all these being places in 
Sind. Rattray found both the European and Indian Blue Rocks very 
common during the winter in Thull, but apparently did not collect any 
specimens or examine them very closely. In Cliitral, Perreau identified a 
great number of skins, and states that from December to March he obtained 
only intermedia, whereas in March he only procured specimens of livia ; and 
WJiitehead, ^\Titing of the Kurram Valley, records the former as only 
occurring in amongst flocks of the latter and never collecting in separate 
flocks. Inglis obtained a single specimen in Behar as did Cripps in Furredpore. 
Ward, whilst recording the European Rock-Pigeon as occurring in Kashmir, 
says tliat tlie Indian bird is the common form, but gives no details. 

Now, in considering this evidence it has always to be borne in mind 
that the wild and domestic pigeon interbreed ^^•ith the greatest freedom, and 
also that domesticated birds wander away with flocks of wild ones. All over 
India and the surrounding countries the natives keep domestic pigeons, and 
there is therefore hardly a place where the possible taint of a cross with a 
tame bird could be ruled out of consideration. 

The evidence which it is hardest to get over is undoubtedly that of 
Perreau, who obtained Indian birds in the cold weather and then the European 
bird in March — a reversion of what we should have expected, yet pro\dng 
that the typical English bird, or one very much like it, does come into, or 
close to, India in large flocks at certain times of the year. But it may well 
be that Perreau whilst correctly identifying the March Pigeon as a bird quite 
different to our Indian Blue Rock, did not see that it differed somewhat from 
the European bird also, and the bird he saw was possibly the intermediate 
form, schimperi, vel neglecta, vel palestinae. 

The conclusions I have arrived at are that our Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon, 
C. livia intermedia, is found in India and extends into Afghanistan, BaluchLstan, 
Persia, Arabia, and through Egypt and northern Africa as far west as Tunis, 
whilst the European Blue Rock-Pigeon is found throughout Europe, Asia 
Minor, north-'o'est and Central Asia, and possibly northern Persia. 

Owing, however, to their enormous power of flight, their constant 
interbreeding vnth domestic Pigeons, and the tendency of this family, domestic 
or wild, to throw back, aberrant birds are constantly occurring : so that even 
where livia is the dominant bird, we everywhere find, except in the extreme 
west of its habitat, specimens which are nearer intermedia, and vice versa 
specimens which are nearer livia in the normal habitat of intermedia. 

This will be the case whetlier we are content to recognize only the two 
self-evident subspecies, livia and intermedia, as dominant respectively over the 
greater part of their eastern and western ranges, or whether we again divide 
the intermediate birds in the intervening range into one or more subspecies. 

Before leaving the subject, however, it should be noted that in his Hand- 
List Sharpe recognizes the follo\%ing species, livia, intermedia, schitnperi, 
and neglecta. The last species he gives as confined to Persia and north-west 
India, but he also gives south Persia and central Asia as part of the normal 



BLUE ROCK-PIGEON 133 

habitat of intermedia, wliilst he only recognizes schimperi as occurring in 
Palestine, Egj'pt, Nubia, and Madeira. 

Nidification. Of its breeding in Great Britain, Seebohm wTites : 
" The Rock-Dove breeds on the coasts of Great Britain, Ireland, and all the 
adjacent islands, even including the district of St. Kilda, wherever the rocks 
are precipitous enough to give it protection and provide suitable breeding- 
places for it in their recesses. The range of this species is much wider than 
that of any other British Dove, extending from the Atlantic to the Pacific. 
and its exact limits are very difficult to determine, in consequence of the 
impossibility of discriminating between wild birds and those which have been 
or are in a semi-domesticated state. 

" It is a very early breeder, its eggs being often laid by the middle of 
March, and as it rears two, if not three or four broods in a season, fresh eggs 
may be obtained from that month tUl August or September. April and 
May are the principal breeding months. A few Rock-Pigeons build their 
nests in the crevices of the cliffs, but the greater majority resort to caves 
for breeding purposes. The eggs are only two in number, pure white in 
colour, oval and rather elongated in form ; they vary from 1.5 to 1.38 inch 
in length, and from 1.2 to 1.1 inch in breadth. As a rule the eggs of this 
bird are rather more rotund in shape than that of the Ring-Dove, and they 
are always smaller than the normal eggs of that bird." 

The nest is a rough platform of sticks and twigs without any lining, and 
very carelessly put together on some ledge of rocks. Wliether the twigs 
employed for the purpose are picked up as dry twigs or are torn from trees 
there is nothing recorded, but from recollections of nests seen when I was a 
boy the former seemed invariably to be the case. This is what might be 
expected from a Pigeon that does not haunt trees, whereas the arboreal 
Pigeons certainly tear some of the material they use from the living tree. 

The eggs in the British Museum Collection are all within the measure- 
ments given by Seebohm. The texture is fine and close with a considerable 
gloss, and tlie most frequent shape is a rather long ellipse, truly oval eggs 
being most rare. 

The European Rock-Dove or Rock-Pigeon lives in very large 
colonies all the year round, living and roosting in the same caves as 
those they breed in. GeneraUy speaking in western Europe and 
Great Britain these caves are situated on the more rocky cliffs on the 
coasts, but where there are inland chffs sufficiently high and precipitous 
to afford them shelter, they may also sometimes be foimd frequenting 
these. In Eastern Eiu-ope and in Asia they are foimd haunting cUffs 
many hundreds of miles from the sea, and indeed seem equally common 
in the mountain-ranges as on the coasts. They certainly ascend to 
at least 12,000 ft. in the higher ranges which they frequent, and possibly 
ascend even higher than this during the hottest months of summer. 

Their note is a bubbling " coo," too well-known to need description, 
and their flight, to those who have never seen the Ughtning speed of 
some of the larger Spine-tailed Swifts, has always been held up as the 



134 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

acme of speed achieved by a bird's wings. Certainly the speed at which 
they fly is very great and whilst they can cover sixty miles an hour 
in ordinary flight they must be able to nearly double this when 
frightened. Ussher, in his " Birds of Ireland," gives an interesting 
instance of the speed of this bird's flight. He \vrites : " I was leaning 
on the cliff fence looking out to sea, when I suddenly heard something 
cleaving the air ; three birds glanced past me, and darted dowTiwards 
to the rocks below. In an instant a rock that ran into the sea was 
reached, and one of the birds shot, as it were, into the heart of the 
stone ; the other two skimmed the rock and rose into the air ; then I 
recognised these two birds were Peregrines. Wishing to know what 
the third bird was, and what had befallen it, I went down to the rock ; 
in the centre was a fissure which terminated in a crab hole, and in this 
was a Rock-Pigeon panting heavilj^ and with its eyeballs starting 
from their sockets." 

Their diet consists principally of grain and seeds, but they will 
also eat berries, fruit, and shoots of young plants and certain trees. 
In the coast counties of England and Wales they are said often to do 
considerable damage to the crops adjacent to their colonies, and the 
farmers are very keen on their numbers being kept in check, though 
these birds are certainly less mischievous than their cousins, the 
Wood-Pigeons. 



(25) COLUMBA LIVIA INTERMEDIA (Strick.). 
THE INDIAN BLUE ROCK-PIGEON. 

Columba oenas Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., XII p. 14 ; Bingh., Sport. Rev. 1845, 
pi. IV. 

Columba intermedia Strick., Ann. and Mag. N.N., XIII p. 39 (1844) ; Blyth, 
J.A.S.B., XIV p. 861 ; Layard, Ann. and Mag. N.H., XIV p. 59 ; 
Stoliczka, J. A.S.B., XXXVII 2nd pt. p. 66 ; id. ib., XLI 2nd pt. p. 248 ; 
Jerdon, B.I., III p. 469 ; Hume, Str. Featli., I p. 217 ; Adam, ib., 
p. 390 ; Ball, ib., II p. 425 ; id. ib.. Ill p. 208 ; Hume, Nests and 
Eggs, III p. 499 ; Butler, Str. Featli., IV p. 3 ; Fairbank, ib., p. 262 ; 
Blanf., E. Persia, II p. 268 ; Hume, Str. Feath., VI p. 419 ; Dav. and 
Wen., ib., VII p. 86 ; Ball, ib., p. 224 ; Cripps, ib., p. 296 ; Hume, ib., 
VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 788 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 608 ; Scully, Str. 
Feath., VIII p. 339 ; Doig, ib., p. 371 ; Vidal, ib., IX p. 74 ; Biddulph, 
ib., p. 357 ; Butler, ib. p. 419 ; Barnes, ib., p. 457 ; Reid, ib., p. 59 ; 
Oates, B. Burma, II p. 288; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 289; Hume, Str. 
Feath., XI p. 297 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 344 ; 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 259; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 69; 
Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 87 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 67 ; Barnes, 
J.B.N.H.S., V p. 330 ; Davidson, ib., XII p. 62 ; Rattray, ib., p. 344 ; 
Primrose, ib., XIII p. 708 ; Inglis, ib., XIV p. 561 ; Marshall, ib., 
XV p. 352 ; Wall., ib., p. 722 ; BourdiUon, ib., XVI p. 2 ; Fulton, 
ib., p. 60 ; Dewar, ib., p. 495 ; Martin Young, ib., p. 515 ; Nicol Cuming, 
ib., p. 691 ; Macdonald, ib., XVII p. 496 ; Ward, ib., p. 943 ; Harington, 
ib., XIX p. 309 ; Perreau, ib., p. 919 ; Whitehead, ib., XX p. 966 ; 
Moss-King, ib., XXI p. 99 ; Whitehead, ib., p. 167. 

Columba livia (part) Blyth., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233 ; Blyth, B. Burma, 
p. 145. 

Columba livia, var. cyanotus, Severtz, Str. Feath., Ill p. 430. 

Vernacular Names. Kabutar, Hin. ; Pdraivd, Mahr. ; Gudi pourai, 
Tel. ; Koviljmra, Tamil ; Mada-praa, Tarn. Ceylon ; Kabtretar, Behari ; Noni 
Daotu, Cachari ; Kontioram, Pushtu ; Kho, Burmese ; Kapoth, Baluchi ; 
Kaftar, Persian. 

Description. — Adult male. Similar to the last bird, but, typically, the 
colour of the plumage generally is darker than it is in true livia, and the lower- 
back is concolorous with, or only very little paler than, the upper, though 
contrasting with the still darker rump ; the primaries and outer secondaries 
are also darker, and have the grey on the inner webs less pale and less in 
extent, and the grey on the inner quills less well defined. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides orange-yellow to orange-red ; bill black, 
the cere livid-grey or whitish, and the base of the lower mandible paler ; 
eyelids livid-white, or greyish-white ; legs generally a deep crimson-red, 
sometimes paler and sometimes a rather light coral-red, the soles paler and 
the claws homy. 



136 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

" Bill black, with a white mealiness at the humid base of its upper- 
mandible ; irides brownish-orange ; lids bluLsli-white, and legs red<^h- 
pink" (Blyth). 

Measurements. Much the same as those of Columha livia livia, its 
European cousin. The series in the British Museum, a very complete one, 
from the Hume Collection principally, has wing-measurements varying from 
8.3 in. ( = 209.8 mm.) to 9.35 in. ( = 237.4 mm.), with an average of almost 
exactly 9 in. ( = 228.6 mm.). The weight runs up to about 12 oz., but 
averages somewhere about 10 oz. or a little over ; " 10 to 11.5 oz." (Scully). 

Adult female. Similar to the male. 

Colours of soft parts. Similar to the same parts in the male, but the 
iris possibly never assumes as bright a golden-red tint as it sometimes does 
in old males. 

Measurements. The female is a decidedly smaller bird than the male, 
with a wing- measurement averaging very little, if anything, over 8.70 in. 
( = 220 mm.) and varying between 8.02 in. ( = 202.7 mm.) and 8.80 in. 
( = 222.4 mm.). The other measurements differ from those of the male in 
corresponding degree. 

Weight from 8^ oz. to 11 oz., and averaging about 9^ oz. 

Young male. Similar to the adult, but rather bro\vner, and with the 
wing-bars less distinct and the iridescent colours of the neck not so well 
developed. 

The feathers of tlie back, wing-coverts, and more rarely of the head and 
breast, are fringed with pale dull brown. 

Colours of soft part.s. The iris is at first a dull glaucous-brown, then a 
pale reddLsh-brown, from which it gradually changes to the orange-red of the 
adult. The legs are a less brilliant red in tint and often paler. 

Nestling, in down. Pale yello^\'-buff. 

Nestlings just prior to leaving the nest are often so fat that they weigh 
as much as, and sometimes even more than, the adult birds. 

Distribution. Throughout India from Ceylon over the whole peninsula 
of India to the extreme north-west, throughout the Himalayas to a considerable 
elevation, Kashmir, Nepal, Sikhim, and Tibet. It occurs in soutli Sylhet, 
but I never came across it in the North Cachar Hills or in Cachar itself except 
in Hylakandy, where it was very rare. It is not found in the eastern Assam 
Valley, but is occasionally seen in Goalpara and north-east of Mymensingh, 
and is again fairly common in Noakhali and Chittagong. In Burma it is 
common in the central dry zone, and is recorded as common in the 
Myingyan district by Macdonald, but is apparently absent from most of 
the wet and well forested parts, and is not common all over Burma, as stated 
by Blyth. 

As it is certain that future systematists will examine this Pigeon very 
carefully, with a view to splitting it up into various geographical subspecies, 
it may be as well for me to record here the result of my own investigations 
into the subject. 

In the first place it is undoubtedly the fact that birds from tlie Himalayan 
regions, from Afghanistan and Baluchistan, and those from the more desert 
countries and parts of tlie Deccan, are on the whole paler than are birds from 
southern India, Ceylon, north-east India, and Burma ; that is to say, birds 
from higli elevations and desert-country average some^^'hat lighter than those 
from forested and more humid places. 



INDIAN BLUE ROCK-PIGEON 137 

When dealing with the European Rock-Pigeon I have already said that 
I cannot differentiate between Bonaparte's schimperi, Hume's neglecia, 
Hutton's spelaea, and Graf Zedlitz's ■palestinae ; and again, that I cannot discrim- 
inate between these forms and the paler form of our Indian Rock-Pigeon, inter- 
media. At the same time there is a distinct difference bet«'een pale, light- 
backed specimens from all the otlier regions mentioned and a typical dark grey 
specimen from Ceylon, Madras, or Behar. Unfortunately there is no difference 
which is constant or which is sufficiently constant for the trinomialist to be 
able to say here at this end of the range of the species is a dark race and here 
at the other end we always liave a pale race with, as might be expected, an 
intermediate form in the intermediate area. We can say this of the two 
forms livia and intermedia, but we cannot lay down any such definite ndes 
for our Indian birds. Thus amongst tlie pale Himalayan and desert-form, 
dark birds are quite common, and on the other hand, amongst the dark birds 
of southern and eastern India, we get such specimens as Cripp's so-called 
livia from Furredpore and other birds whicli are almost as pale as tliis particular 
individual. 

Under the above circumstances I have preferred not to create any more 
races than the two well-defined forms, livia and intermedia. 

Wlien, however, we come to consider the Chinese birds, and when we can 
get a big series from wliich to draw conclusions, it may be found desirable 
to divide this race from intermedia. There are, unfortunately, only three 
specimens in the British Museum Collection, but these all differ from tjrpical 
intermedia in their relatively dark heads and pale backs, in the breasts being 
much darker and contrasting with the pale abdomens, and also in the metallic 
coloured plumage of the hind-neck being extended well into the interscapulary 
region, where it is sharply defined from the pale grey of the back. 

Nidification. The breeding-season of the Indian Rock-Pigeon might 
almost be said to commence on the 1st of January and to end on the 31st of 
December. In Behar, Inglis reports that he found them breeding in large 
numbers in an old temple at Laheria Seria and adds that he took eggs in 
every month of the year with the exception of February. In some districts 
in Eastern Bengal, where they breed principally in the roofs of masonry houses 
and also in the walls of deserted factories and other buildings, they certainly 
breed throughout the year though, perhaps, fewer have eggs during the 
height of the rains, say August and early September, than in the other 
months. 

According to Hume, in upper India the breeding-season lasts from 
Christmas to May Day, and Barnes considered the breeding-season in the 
Bombay Presidency to last from November to May. In the Doab, Colonel 
Marshall found them breeding in April, May and June, and in Ceylon Legge 
gives May and June as the two princijial breeding-months. 

Practically wherever found, the Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon is resident 
and breeds, whether at the level of the plains or 10,000 ft. up in the hills, 
as found by Fulton, Ward, Whitehead, and others. 

The natural site for this bird's nest is undoubtedly holes and caves in 
steep cUffs, or in the sides of rocky ravines, but as the bird itself has gradually 
spread across the Continent and has left places where such natural sites are 
obtainable, it has adapted itself without difficulty to tlie requirements of 
civUization, and now breeds regularly in masonry wells, old temples, ruined 
buildings of aU kinds, and even in occupied brick and stone buildings. 
Marshall found them breeding in the kurezas, or underground water-channels, 
pecuUar to the country round Quetta ; and another curious place I found 



138 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

some birds breeding in \vas a collection of deep borrow -jjits beside the main 
road leading into the to^^'n of Krishnagar, and this was the more strange in 
that there w^as an abundance of masonry buildings of all kinds, old and new, 
within a very few hundred yards of where they were nesting. 

They breed in colonies, often very large ones, and I know of no instance 
of single nests being found. The nest itself is the usual untidy platform 
of dry twigs, but much mixed with a good deal of rubbish, such as straw from 
cattle-bedding, grass, and the accumulation of feathers from countless 
generations of birds. They make use of the same nest for several broods, 
and I think, almost certainly, for many consecutive years, so that as might, 
be expected, they get into a filthy state, and are fuU of vermin. 

Many years ago, when I was stationed in Nadia, some two hundred 
pairs of these Pigeons bred in the roof of a very old pohce-station in that 
district. This roof consisted of an upper stone-slab one, and a lower false 
one of bricks with a gap between the two of some four feet, in which the birds 
placed tlieir nests, finding entry by the lioles left for ventilation. As this 
was a part of India where tlie birds were not held sacred, I forced an entry 
into the roof and inspected the nests, the owners of which had left in a panic- 
stricken crowd prior to the commencement of my housebreaking operations. 
There must have been from fifty to sixty nests in this place, some in groups 
of five or six all huddled together, others a few feet apart from any other, 
but all alike were in a filtliy condition, and the material looked as if it must 
have been collected there by many generations previously, each generation 
merely adding its quota of feathers and insects and a little d&ty straw 
collected from a oattle-byre a few yards away. 

In spite of the close proximity of their nests to one another, in none 
did I find more than two eggs or squabs, nor have I personally ever seen 
more than two such, but Fergusson, Inghs, and others liave taken tliree 
eggs from tlie same nest, so it may be that this Pigeon does occasionally 
lay tliree eggs, or, and this is more likely, two birds may lay their eggs 
in the same nest. 

As far as I can ascertain, there is as yet no recorded instance of this 
Pigeon ever making its nest on a tree : invariably they place the nest in a 
hole of some kind in masonry, or cave or crevice in a cliff, in a hole in an 
earthen wall or bank, or in some underground tunnel or cutting, but never 
have they, previous to tliis, been known to make their nest in a tree. The 
finding, therefore, of two such nests is a most interesting fact. 

Captain C. R. S. Pitman, the finder of these two nests, ivrites to me 
about them, in epistola, as follows : " On 16th July, 1913, I found this 
Pigeon still breeding amongst the precipitous cliffs and craggs of the Girni- 
Sar (5,880 ft.), a ridge of hills in independent territory across the administrative 
border to the north of tlie Derajat District. I found a lot of egg shells lying 
about in the nuUahs below the chffs where the ' Blue Rocks ' swarmed and 
on one occasion I saw a Pigeon fly into the cUff and a few minutes afterwards 
slie came out again and threw down the egg shells from wliich her nestlings 
had apparently just hatched out. I also found two nests placed in wild-fig 
trees in a nullah full of rushes and grass. 

" Both nests were quite massive constructions of sticks and twigs lined 
with finer material and dead grass. One was placed among the thin top 
branches about 18 ft. from tlie ground and contained two smooth white 
glossy eggs on the point of hatchuig. The other was placed in a stout branch 
12 ft. from the ground and contained two young ones about ten days old ; 
these latter had seeds and small bits of grain in their crops ! ! " 



INDIAN BLUE ROCE-PIGEON 139 

Both sexes share equally in the labour of constructing the nest, incubating 
the eggs, and feeding the young. The latter process is carried out in the 
same manner as by the domestic pigeon, the parent birds semi-digesting 
the food and regurgitating it for the benefit of the young. In feeding, the 
young bird thrusts its head nearly into the mouth of the parent engaged 
in looking after it, the wJiole bill and face disappearing from view. The 
young grow with great rapidity, and are nearly as big as their parents in 
about three weeks. 

The eggs cannot in any way be discriminated from those of the European 
Rock-Pigeon, or Rock-Dove, though they would seem to average a little 
bigger. Hume's measurements of a series of sixty eggs gave an average of 
1.45 in. ( = 35.7 mm.) by 1.12 in. ( = 28.4 mm.), and the extremes in length 
as 1.20 in. ( = 30.4 mm.) to 1.65 in. ( = 41.4 mm.) and in breadth 1.02 in. 
( = 25.9 mm.) to 1.25 in. ( = 32.7 mm.). All the eggs I have measured 
come within the range of variation of the above eggs, and the average is 
exactly the same as Hume's. 

The normal shape is a long ellipse, oval or pointed eggs being very 
exceptional. The texture is close and smooth, but not very fine, though 
the surface is often highly glossed. 

The Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon is, like its European cousin, more 
a bird of open country than of dense forest, but it is found practically 
anywhere where there are suitable sites or buildings for it to build in, 
and as it is a bird which easily adapts itself to circumstances, there 
are not many districts from which it is altogether excluded. 

In all probability its original haunts were cliffs on rocky coasts, 
and ravines and precipices in mountainous regions, from which it spread 
gradually to quarries and ruined buildings deserted by man, and from 
these again it in time ventured into the actual towns, villages, and forts 
occupied by human beings. 

Jerdon says : " They are most partial to large buildings, such as 
Churches, Pagodas, Mosques, Tombs, and the like ; frequently entering 
the verandas of inhabited houses and breeding in the cornices. Holes 
in walls of cities or towns, too, are favourite places, and, in some parts 
of the coimtry, they prefer holes in wells, especially, I think, in 
the west of India, the Deccan, etc. In default of such spots, they 
will breed in crevices and cavities of rocks, caverns and sea-side cliffs, 
and I have often noticed that they are particularly partial to rocky 
cUffs by water-falls." 

Wherever found it congregates in colonies as great as the breeding 
accommodation will permit of, and in some places it collects literally in 
many thousands. A specially favoured place, and one referred to by 
Jerdon, is the Gaissoppa Falls in southern India, which they frequent 



140 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

in myriads in company with the Alpine Swift. Here the sound of a 
gun being fired, or any unaccustomed noise, brings the birds out in such 
numbers that they have been likened to locusts or to a swarm of bees 
or white ants. 

If the Gaissoppa Falls however forms a good specimen of one of 
their wilder haunts, free from the presence and influence of man, on the 
other hand they wiU be found in almost equal numbers breeding in the 
walls and buildings of great cities and famous forts. Over a great 
portion of north-west India they are considered more or less sacred, 
and scrupulously looked after and protected, and in many other places 
where they are not actually held to be sacred, they are considered birds 
of good omen, and all shooting of them is strictly prohibited. In 
reference to this protection afforded to the Rock-Pigeon, Adam writes : 
" As the killing of the common Blue Pigeon is strictly prohibited, all 
through Rajputana, this species is very abundant. The native Govern- 
ments allow a certain quantity of grain to be given to the Pigeons 
each morning, and pay a man to feed them. Every morning at break 
of day flocks of Pigeons may be seen hurrying into Sambhar from the 
surrounding villages, and when the grain is thrown out to them the 
fluttering and fighting of the thousands of birds is a sight well worth 
seeing. When the grain has been consumed, each flock starts off for 
home." 

Owing to the veneration in which they are held, many an unwary 
or unthinking shooter hais got into trouble over these birds, and has 
unwittingly brought down on his head physical blows from the Hindu 
inhabitants, and moral ones from the benign Government who looks 
after the superstitions and prejudices of its Indian subjects A\"ith far 
greater eagerness than it pays to the safety and well-being of its 
European ones. 

Where the Pigeons are not considered sacred, and no European 
sportsman worthy of the name would intentionally hurt the rehgious 
feehngs of any Indian, they afford splendid sport, for the Indian Blue 
Rock-Pigeon is not one wit behind hLs European cousm in power of 
flight and speed of movement. Away in the Himalayas, and in the 
wild and mountainous country across the borders, the sportsman can 
pursue his shooting amidst the finest of scenery, or the most desolate 
and forbidding of coimtry, perhaps with the chance thrown in of being 



INDIAN BLUE ROCK-PIGEON 141 

potted by wily trans-frontier tribesmen, on the look out for bigger 
Pigeons than Blue Rocks. 

My own shooting has, however, been restricted to the vicinity 
of civihzation, where the birds were frequenting deserted factories 
or the Uke, or else to the shootmg of birds wending their way to and 
from the towns they frequent. Even under such circumstances, though 
the surroundings were luiromantic, the sport was excellent, and on 
more than one occasion in a couple of hours, during the mornings and 
evenings, I have got thirty or forty couple to my o\vn gun, and have 
finished with the comforting feeling that the toll taken of the flock 
left it apparently imdiminished in numbers. 

One of our favourite places for these shoots was an old deserted 
indigo factory m the district of Nadia : the house and factory stiU 
stood upright, though ruinous, and aU around were the remains of 
village -houses, fragmentary, yet each still affording shelter for a few 
pairs of Pigeons, the great bulk of which, many himdreds in number, 
dwelt in the bigger buildings. About a quarter of a mile from these 
buildings, or perhaps rather less, we used to stand with our guns, and 
shoot the Pigeons as they left in the early morning to feed, or returned 
in the evening to roost. Generally the birds came flying rather low, 
only some six to twelve feet from the ground, so that they were well 
screened from our view by the mongo topes, bushes, plantain trees, and 
clumps of bamboos which grow in Itixuriance aU round. Dodging in 
and out between these trees the birds would come swooping down upon 
us either singly or in twos or threes, affording only the quickest of shots 
in front of us, or rather easier shots as they rose in the air to avoid us 
and hurried away in the opposite direction. Now and then, of course, 
a bird would come sailing home well over the trees and give a simple 
chance, and, still less often, a flock of a dozen or so would come scurrying 
along so closely packed that a bad shot might miss the bird aimed at 
yet get another one, or, with luck, kiU the bird aimed at and one or 
even two others as well. 

Taking one with another, however, we always considered one 
bird to every two cartridges quite fair shooting, whilst two birds to 
three was above the average. 

Shooting the birds as they fed all round about in the fields after 
the rice was cut, was much simpler, and a good shot should 



142 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

get three birds out of four fired at unless the birds had been much 
worried, when they naturally got very wild, and it was diflBcult to get 
anjrwhere near them. 

Over the greater part of its range, the Blue Rock-Pigeon is resident, 
breeding, as already stated, in practically every month of the year ; 
but in some places it would seem as if they were partially migratory, 
or as if they resorted to one kind of country to roost and breed in, and 
quite another kind in which to feed. Thus Rattray found them " breeding 
in hundreds in a clifif near the fort [Thull] about the middle of April 
they all disappeared." Whitehead, in his notes on the birds of Kohat 
and the Kurram Valley, says that he found them in large flocks from 
August to April. Perreau also seems to have foimd them in Chitral 
only from December to March. Other observers in Kanara have 
noted that, though it retires to the hill-ranges for the night, it feeds 
during certain seasons of the year in the low coast country. 

It is principally a gi'ain feeder, but will also eat many kinds of 
fruits and berries, and also young shoots of certain plants and crops. 
I found that it was very partial to very young shoots of the mustard- 
plant, and villagers have told me that where the birds are numerous 
they often do considerable damage to the mustard crops, and in the 
wheat-growing countries they are an immitigated nuisance, the more 
so that, in being sacred it is not permitted to do anything more than 
attempt to drive them away — an attempt which is very seldom effective, 
for the birds soon learn that they have nothing really to fear from the 
beating of drums and banging of bamboos on the earth. 

Wherever they are protected they become incredibly tame and 
have, UteiaUy, often to be pushed to one side by the native passer-by, 
though they will not allow of so near approach by the strangely-clad 
European. When they are much shot at, however, they become very 
wary, and it is then almost impossible to get within gunshot of them 
when feeding in the open, and even in flight-shooting the shooter must 
be suitably dressed, or more or less hidden by grass or bushes, if he 
wishes for a successful shot. 

Their notes are exactly the same as those of the European form, 
and need no description. They are not noisy birds uidividually, but 
when they are in great numbers the rise and swell of the constant 
cooing that goes on is indescribable — more Uke a distant rumbling of 



INDIAN BLUE ROCK-PIGEON 143 

thunder than anjrthing else I can think of, though it is always a soft 
and rather melodious rumbling. 

They are, of course, excellent eating, but the wise man will take 
the full-grown squabs from the nests when he can get them and leave 
the parent birds. The young birds get enormously fat before they 
leave the nest, and must sometimes weigh more than their parents, 
being coated with a dense layer of yellow fat. This skin and coating 
of fat, however, should be removed before the birds are cooked, as it is 
sometimes rather rank and coarse to the taste. When in camp our 
favourite way of cooking them was to roll them up, feathers and all, 
into a ball of clay, and throw them into a fire of glowing wood-ashes. 
All the gross fat melted into the clay, and when this was broken open, 
skui and feathers came away with the clay and the juicy young bird 
inside was readv for the table. 



(26) COLUMBA RUPESTRIS Pall. 

THE BLUE HILL-PIGEON. 
(Plate 12.) 

Columha oenas, var. C. rupestris, Pall., Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat., I p. 560, t. 35 

(1811). 

Columba rupestris Bp.. Con. Av., II p. 48 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 420 ; 
Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. 2 p. 66; Hume, Str. Feath., 
VIII p. 110; id., Cat. no. 789; Sharpe, Yarkand JVIiscel. Av., p. 116; 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 250 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 30 ; 
Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 68 ; Ward, J.B.N.H.S., XVII p. 943 ; Perreau, 
ib., XIX p. 919; Bailey, ib., XXI pp. 182-3. 

Columha livia Adams, P.Z.S. 1858, p. 497 ; id. ib. 1859, p. 187. 

Columha rupicola Pall., Zoogr. Rosso-Asiat., I p. 562 ; Hume and Hend., 
Lah. to Yark., p. 273 ; Scully, Str. Feath., IV p. 176. 

Vernacular Names. — Ydivd Kahtar, Turld. ; Angoa, Oron, Tibetan. 

Description. — Adult male. Wliole head, chin, throat, and nape dark 
dove-grey ; hind-neck and shoulders still darker grey, glossed ^-ith green, 
and to a much less extent with purple, though the comparative amount of the 
two varies in different lights. Upper-back, scapulars, wing-coverts, and 
innermost secondaries pure dove-grey, much lighter than that of tlie head ; 
quills grey, tinged with brown on the outer webs and the tips and edge of the 
inner webs ; shafts dark hair-brown. 

Lower-back white, rump and upper tail-coverts dark plumbeous-grey 
like the head, but often still darker ; tail dark slate-grey, the tip darker 
than the base and a broad white band across the middle, outermost pair of 
feathers white on the base and middle of the other weh ; breast vinous-grey 
tinged with purple lustre next the neck, and changmg gradually to a lighter 
dove-grey on the lower-breast, flanks, abdomen, and lower tail-coverts ; 
under wing-coverts white except on the edge of the wing, which is grey ; 
axillaries %vhite. 

Colours of soft parts. Iris orange-red, golden-red, or deep orange-yellow ; 
bill almost black with a tinge of plumbeous or livid flesh-colour on cere ; legs 
and feet coral or lobster-red, rather darker in front than behind, with the 
soles paler and the claws horny-black or horny-broim. " Irides blood-red, 
straw colour at pupillary margin " (Scully). 

Measurements. Total length 13 to 14 in. ( = 3.30 to 355 mm.). The 
average wdng-measurement of sixty-three birds is exactly 9in. ( = 228.6 mm.), 
and the greatest length is 9.60 in. ( = 243.6 mm.) in a bird from Tibet, 
unsexed, and the least is 8.50 in. ( = 215.9 mm.) in a bird, also unsexed, from 
China. 

The average length of wing in birds which have been sexed as males 
is 9.25 in. ( = 235.9 mm.), and the greatest and least length are tlie same as 
those already given. 




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BLUE HILL-PIGEON 145 

Bill .60 in. to .66 in. ( = 15.2 mm. to 16.7 mm.) at front, and about 
.95 in. (= 24.1 mm.) from gape; tarsus 1.0 in. to 1.1 in. ( = 25.4 to 27.9 mm.). 
Weight 8.8 oz. to 9.75 oz. (Scully). 

Adult female. Similar to the male. 

Colours of soft parts. The same as in the male. " Irides brick-red, 
dark straw colour at pupillary margin." (Scully.) 

Measurements. The female would seem to average decidedly smaller 
than the male, theaverage wing-measurement being only 8.73 in. ( =221.7 mm.) 
although the biggest females have a wing up to 9.2 in. ( = 233.6 mm.). 

Weight 9.2 oz. (Scully). 

Young bird of the year. Grenerally the whole head, neck, and shoulders 
are a dark slate-grey with no gloss of any kind, the breast is a dark grey-brown 
with narrow rufous-brown edging to tlie feathers, but the depth of the colour 
varies a good deal in individuals. The upper-parts are almost invariably 
a less pure grey, being tinged with vinous, and the wing-coverts and scapulars 
are the same, \\'ith narrow pale edges to tlie feathers. The feathers of the 
rump are also browner than m the adult bird and have very narrow borders 
of white. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides pale watery-brown, feet dull red, and the bill 
horny-brown. 

In very young birds the pale margins to the feathers of the wing extend 
to the feathers of the back also. 

Nestling, in dovm. Dull, pale bulBsh-yellow. 

Distribution. Blanford thus records the range of the Blue Hill Pigeon : 
" Central Asia from Gilgit to south Siberia and Corea ; common in Tibet 
and some of tJie drier valleys of the higlier Himalayas. Tliis Pigeon has 
been recorded from Gilgit, Dras, Leh, and the upper Indus Valley generally, 
Lahaul, Upper Kumaon and Tibet nortli of SLkhim, but specimens labelled 
Kashmir, Sikhim and DarjUing in the British Museum Collection probably 
come from more northern localities." Ward, however, reports them as 
common in Kashmir, and says that it is " plentiful on the Ladak road, at 
high altitudes of the side valleys of Kashmir, and in most of the northern 
parts." It undoubtedly also occurs not uncommonly in the higher, barer 
parts of Sikhim, and might tlierefore possibly straggle into Darjiling. It 
has also been found in Nepal on the high bare uplands which are beyond the 
forest line and are very rocky. 

In 1893 RothchUd and Hartert divided this Hill-Pigeon into two sub- 
species (R. and H., Dm. Monatsb. 1893, I. p. 41) i.e. Columba rupestris 
rupestris from the Amur region, type from Dauria, and Columba rupestris 
pallida from the Altai Mountains. Dr. Hartert, in epistola to me, writes : 
" The two forms are quite distinct and there can be no doubt whatever about 
them. C. r. pallida is generally lighter, especially on the abdomen and under 
tail-coverts, and the middle of the abdomen is almost pure white, not slaty- 
blue as in C. r. rupestris.^' Since then Zarudny has again divided a third 
subspecies from south Russia, and Swinlioe long ago gave the Chinese form 
the name of leucozonura. 

Nidification. There is very little on record about the nesting of the 
Blue Hill-Pigeon ; Marshall mentions, in the Ibis for 1884, having found 
them breeding in the high cliffs in the Panji Valley, Upper Pherab, but gives 
no details of nests or eggs. Bailey likewise gives no description of these but 

L 



146 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

says that he found it breeding both at Gyantse (13,100 ft.) and at Kangmar 
(14,000 ft.), in ruined houses, during the months AprU to July. 

I have received a few of their eggs from Gyantse, and the nests in whicli 
these were found are reported as being typical domestic Pigeons' nests, com- 
posed of all sorts of rubbisli and placed on the tops of walls close to the roofs 
of deserted and broken down houses. One nest, placed in a hollow from 
which part of the material of the wall — my informant does not say whether 
it was brick or stone — had fallen out, was made of scraps of a scraggy tough 
weed, a few sticks, some straw, and a good many feathers. The materials 
were not \^'ound together mucli, but had been trampled into a very dirty 
mass which fell to pieces as it was pulled out of the hole. 

Another of my correspondents in Tibet apparently overlooked their 
breeding in houses when he first went there, and in writing remarked 
that it was diflScult to get these eggs for me, as though the birds were very 
plentiful they all made their nests in crevices and holes in exceedingly 
high and precipitous cliffs, quite ungetable, except by letting men over 
the edge with ropes. 

In these cliffs the birds apparently breed in vast colonies, placing their 
nests in any crevice or hollow which they deem suitable, in some of the 
larger several birds breeding in company, and in the smaller a single pair, or 
perhaps two having their nests. 1 have also had eggs sent me from the Altai, 
where they would appear to breed in places similar to these last described. 

The eggs are exactly like those of Colutnba livia, though smaller ; they 
are white, smooth, and close in texture and highly glossed, and the shape is 
a broad, very regular oval : in one case only was the egg slightly smaller at 
one end than at the other. 

The average of my eggs is 1.46 in. by 1.12 in. ( = 37.1 by 28.4 mm.). 
My eggs from the Altai were taken in May, and those from Gyantse in the 
end of May and in June. 

In its general habits, tliis Pigeon seems to be very similar to 
C'olumba livia intermedia, the common Rock-Pigeon, Avith which and 
with the Snow-Pigeon, it often consorts. It is a bird of cliffs, rocks, 
and open country, not of forests, but, as Bailey shows, it is not afraid 
of comparative civilization, and enters the more deserted parts of 
villages in Tibet much as the Blue Rock-Pigeon does the villages in 
the plains. ScuUy says that " This Pigeon was common in the hiUs 
on the south side of Eastern Turkestan during the months of August 
and September, at elevations of from 8,000 ft. to 16,000 ft. The birds 
seemed to be very fond of rocky cliffs, and usually flew about in small 
flocks or parties." 

In powers of flight they are equal to the Rock-Pigeon or Stock- 
Doves and therefore form a very sporting bird for the gun, and they 
carry off a good lot of shot as well as flying fast, so that the man who 
" tinkers " his birds and fires that wee bit too much behind, is sirre to 
lose a large percentage of his birds. Bailey, in his list of game killed 
in Tibet for the years 1906-9, gives the total of Pigeon killed as 351, 



BLUE HILL-PIGEON 147 

but in a letter to me written about that time, says that they seldom 
troubled to kill them unless they wanted a few for the pot. 

They are well-flavoured birds, just like the ordinary wild Pigeon, 
that is to say, like a tame one, but drier and less fat. 

They are grain, seed, and berry eaters, like the true Rock-Pigeons, 
and not fruit-eaters. 

Their notes are said to be indistinguishable from those of the 
Blue Rock. 



L 2 



(27) COLUMBA OENAS EVERSMANNI Bp. 

THE EASTERN STOCK-PIGEON. 
(Plate 13.) 

Columha eversmanni Bp., Compt. Rend., XLIII p. 838 (1856) ; Scully, 
J.A.S.B., LVI p. 86; Sharpe, Yarkand Miscel. Av., p. 116; Salvadori, 
Cat. B.M., XXI p. 264 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 31 ; Sharpe. Hand- 
List, p. 69 ; Inglis, J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 429 ; id. ib., XIV p. 561 : Nicol 
Cumming, ib., XVI p. 691 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Whitehead, ib., 
XX p. 966. 
Falumhoena eversmanni Bp., Compt. Rend., XLIII pp. 838, 948 (1856) ; 
Jerdon, B.I., III p. 467 ; Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 217 ; id.. Lah. to 
Yark., p. 271 ; Scully, Str. Feath., IV p. 175 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 109 ; 
id., Cat. no. 787 : Barnes, B. Bom., p. 288 ; Reid, Str. Feath., X p. 59. 
Palumboena oenicapilla Blyth, J.A.S.B., XXVI p. 219. 
Columha fusca Severtz, Str. Feath., Ill p. 431. 

Vernacular Names. Kamar-Kular, Hin. ; Ban Parawa, Bagar, Behari ; 
Pahari Kabutar, Hin. Lucknow ; Kapoth, Chah-i-kapoth, Baluchi ; Kaftar, 
Persian. 

Description. — Adult male. Upper part of the head and neck ashy- 
grey, tinged \nth vinous or lilac ; cheeks, ear-coverts, lores, chin, and 
throat dove-grey, the three first sometimes tinted M-ith the same colour ; 
hind-neck and interscapulars ashy-grey, glossed with green and a little lilac- 
red ; sides of neck the same but with a very well marked red patch of glossy 
purple-red, visible as a distinct patch in the living bird or in well-made skins ; 
tack and scapulars greyish-ashy ; lower-back pure \vliite, rump and upper 
tail-coverts slaty-grey, the feathers margined with dark brown ; tail brownish- 
black at the tip, slate-grey at the base with a dark band, fairly ■\\'ell marked 
except on the central rectrices, about one and a half incJies from the tip ; 
outer webs of outermost rectrices wliite below the black tip. Wing-coverts 
dove-grey, all except the primary-coverts margined with ashy-grej- like the 
back ; bases of outer row of median and greater secondary-coverts black 
and showing as two bars across the wing ; primaries and outer secondaries 
ash-grey, the base of the inner web of the first primary white , inner secondaries 
like the back, but with a broad bar of black. 

Breast dark dove-grey, strongly tinged with lilac or vinous -pink, abdomen 
and under tail-coverts dove-grey, darkest on the latter ; under wing-coverts 
and axillaries wliite, edge of the wing grey, and under aspect of quills very 
pale grey-brown. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides light yellow, golden-yellow, yellowish-brown, 
or light brown; bill pale greenish, slaty at the base and amber-green at the tip; 
legs and feet pale fleshy-pink, purplisli. or yellowish-fleshy, nails horny-brown. 
" Skin round the eye yellow ; irides buff " (Jerdon). 
Measurements 11 to 12 in. (about 280 to 305 mm.) ; wing, greatest 
length 8.25 in. ( = 209.5 mm.), least 7.5 in. ( = 190.5 mm.), and average of 
twenty-five bkds 7.78 in. ( = 197.6 mm.) ; bill at front, .68 in. to 73 in. 
( = 15.4 to 18.5 mm.) and from gape about .95 in. ( = 24.1 mm.) ; tarsus, 
about .95 in. ( =24.1 mm.). 

With the exception of one bird from Turkestan with a wing of 




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EASTERN STOCK-PIGEON 149 

8.25 in. ( = 209.5 mm.), there is no other bird with a wing of over 8.05 in. 
( = 204.4 mm.), and this Turkestan bird in size somewhat approaches 
typical oenas oenas. 

Adult female. Similar to the male ; perhaps a trifle duller in general tint. 

Colours of soft parts, as in adult male. 

Measurements. The female is generally supposed to be rather smaller 
than the male, but curiously enough, in the very small series of sexed females 
in the British Museum, only six in number, the opposite is the case, and the 
average ^ving -measurement is 8.07 in. ( = 205 mm.). It is probable, however, 
that in a large series the female would prove to be smaller than the male, as 
it is in the European Stock-Dove. 

Young male has not yet been described but will certainly be found to 
differ from the adult in the same way that the young of its European 
cousin does, in wanting the black markings on the wing, and being duller 
and browner in tone. 

Distribution. According to nearly all authors, the Eastern Stock- 
Pigeon is a migratory bird, summering in Central Asia and visiting India 
only in tlie cold weather, and in this country only coming into the Punjab, 
Sind, the North-West Provinces, and United Provinces and the Himalayas 
as far east as Tibet. It has also been recorded as far east as Behar flhere 
" it puts in an appearance every cold weather." 

The Eastern Stock-Pigeon, or Stock-Dove as it is more usually called in 
England, is only a geograjihical race of Columba oenas oenas, the European 
bird. It differs in the first place in being very much smaller, but in colour 
also there are many differences. The head in the Eastern form is vinous, 
in the Western a pure grey, and whilst the neck-patch in the former is very 
coiLspicuous and purple, in the latter it is less conspicuous and green instead 
of purple ; the lower-back also is white instead of grey in our Indian bird. 
Perhaps the most important difference, hovi'ever, though it is one which seems 
to have escaped notice, is that shown by the under wing -co verts and axillaries, 
which are white in the Eastern bird and dark grey in the Western. 

Tlie grey of C. eversmanni is generally ashy above, whilst in oenas it is 
a pure dove-grey, and the grey band on the tail is much more conspicuous 
in tJie Indian than in the European bird. 

Intermediate forms between the two are naturally sometimes met with, 
even if they are not common like the intermediate forms between the Eastern 
and Western Rock-Pigeons. The Afghan Commission obtained four such 
birds, three male and one female, all of which differ from tyjjical eversmanni 
in having tlie lower-back a pale grey instead of white, and the under \ring- 
coverts also not a pure white. The same Commission, it sliould be noted, 
also obtained a quite typical specimen of the Western bird. I do not propose 
to give the Afghan bird any distinguishing name, looking upon it merely 
as the connecting link residing in an area where the two forms meet. 

Nidification. At present there is no record of this bird breeding within 
Indian limits, but it seems more than possible that a certain number of birds 
may stay and breed in Ladak and the higher ranges of the extreme north- 
western Himalayas. Reid, writing of the birds of tlie Lucknow Division, 
speaks of them staying there in these hottest of Indian jjlains until May, 
and if they stay as late as this in the plains of India, it would seem certain 
that they must breed somewhere close by. In the Altai, if indeed it is 
eversmanni we get there, they lay as early as the first half of May, at a time 
when they are said to have only just left the plains of India, for I have 
eggs from Kobdo taken on the 5th of May, 1906. 



150 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

In the Altai and in Turkestan, they are reported to build nests of the regular 
Stock-Dove type in trees, mere platforms of twigs, many of which must have 
been torn from the living tree. These are well twisted, not merely laid criss- 
cross as is the case with the Rock-Doves' nests, which are buUt on a firm 
foundation of rock or wall. On the other hand there is no lining. 

As far as my correspondents' information goes, the nests are generally 
placed, quite unconcealed, upon clusters of twigs or a stout branch of some 
tree, poplars appearing to be the favourite one, and they are not tucked away 
amongst creepers or ivy, as tlie European Stock-Dove's nest so often is. 

The eggs are, of cour.se, pure white as usual, and only differ from those of 
the European bird in being a great deal smaller. The eggs in my collection 
from Altai average 1.50 in. by 1.16 in. ( = 38.1 by 29.4 mm.) and are probably 
not eggs of the real Eastern form ; a single egg from Afghanistan, taken by 
the late Lieut. H. E. Barnes, measures only 1.35 in. by 1.03 in. ( = 34.3 by 
26.1 mm.) — this, an undoubted egg of the smaller Eastern bird, is probably 
typical of what the egg should be in size. 

Throughout the greater part of India visited by the Eastern 
Stock-Dove, the bird is only a winter-visitor. In its extreme eastern 
limit, Behar, Inglis teUs me that it is a visitor only during late December, 
January and February, but that it turns up regularly every year, and 
the natives know it weU, having a distinct name for it. Reid does not 
appear to have noticed this Pigeon in the Lucknow district until March 
and April, when he says they appear " in vast flocks when the spring 
crops are ripening and being cut, and disappear in the beginning of 
May." Hume says that he only once came across them in Sind, but 
unfortunately does not mention the month ; he adds that at some periods 
they are much more numerous than they were at the time he saw them. 

But even in the mountains they are to some extent migratory, 
for Ward records them as only passing migrants in Kashmir, and 
Whitehead says that " they migrate through Kohat in the latter half 
of April in small flocks." 

Their habits probably do not differ in any way from that 
of the European bird. They are strictly arboreal normally, but 
descend freely enough to the ground when tempted thereto by ripe 
crops, and the wheat-growers in parts of the United Provinces 
declare them to be a pest which, if they are to be believed, is even 
worse than what our farmers at home complain of in connexion with 
the Stock -Dove or Wood-Pigeon of our o\vn isles. 

Jerdon writes of this bird : " It flies in pretty large flocks and affects 
trees. A correspondent of the Bengal Sporting Review states that he 
saw them in himdreds at Hansi in March, but they soon disappeared. 
They feed in the fields, morning and evening, and roost in the day 
(and I suppose in the night also) in trees, generally in the common 



EASTERN STOCK-PIGEON 151 

pepul trees. To Europeans here (in Hansi) they are known as the 
Hill-Pigeons. They are probably migratory in India, breeding in Central 
Asia. Buchanan Hamilton, however, states that a wild Blue-Pigeon 
breeds in Goruckpore in plantations, and is a great consumer of grain. He 
however considered it the ' same as one that breeds on rocks on the banks 
of the Jumna and other places,' i.e. the Common Blue Rock-Pigeon." 

They are grain, seed, berry and fruit-eaters, under normal circum- 
stances Uving principally on the latter and various seeds and nuts of 
trees, but greedily attacking ripe and ripening crops when in the 
vicinity of civilization. Whitehead found them when in Kohat in the 
latter half of April feeding principally on the mulberries which were 
ripening. He also states that he foimd them less wary than other 
members of the same family. In the Kurram Valley he found it 
scarce, and only parsing through on migration. A specimen shot by him 
on the 2nd of May, at an elevation of 6,500 ft., was killed in Ilex-scrub. 

Reid fomid that they roosted during the heat of the day, and also 
at night, in the mango groves, and if they were not molested would 
keep to the same grove for days and even weeks together. 

Major J. Lindsay-Smith informs me that he has noticed that the 
bird has a curious predilection for roosting near water. At LyaUpur, 
during the cold weather, he found them roosting in very great num- 
bers — often himdreds — in the dead trees by the two great canal reservoirs, 
the Rodo-koru and the Sonari. Here, where the overflow water periodically 
escapes from the canal over a considerable area, the trees stand, withered 
skeletons, in a waste of water some four feet deep, and Major Lindsay 
Smith informs me that he has seen some of these trees black with the 
birds roosting on them. At and about Mooltan he also noticed that 
the birds always seemed to select trees along the banks of the Chenab 
for roosting purposes, both by night and during the heat of the day. 

The number in which these birds collect in these roosting-trees 
may be imagined when one shot is capable of bringing down fourteen 
birds, an experience which happened to a Mr. E. P. Ussher, when shooting 
on the banks of the same Chenab above referred to. 

Mr. Ussher informs me that he foimd them very confiding birds 
on their first arrival into the country, but they soon became very wary 
and wild after they had been shot at for a day or two. 

In flight and voice they resemble exactly the eastern Stock-Dove, 
and for the table they are equally good. 



(28) COLUMBA LEUCONOTA Vigors. 

THE SNOW-PIGEON. 

(Plate 14.) 

Columba leuconota Vigors, P.Z.S. 1831, p. 23 ; Gould, Cen. Him. B., pi. 59 ; 
Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 864; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 234; Jerdon, 
B.i., Ill p. 471 ; Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. 2, p. 66 ; Bianf., 
ib., XLI pt. 2 p. 70 ; Hume and Hen., Lah. to Yark., p. 274 ; Brookes, 
Str. Peath., Ill p. 256 ; Hume, ib., VIII pp. 110 and 340 : id.. Cat. no. 
790 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 249: Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 32 ; 
Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 68 ; Finn., J.B.N.H.S., XIV p. 577 ; Fulton, 
ib., XVI p. 60 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Perreau, ib., XIX p. 919 : 
Bailey, ib., XXI p. 182 ; Magrath, ib., p. 1312. 

Vernacular Names. Bujul, Chamba ; Lho-peu-rintiep, Lepcha, 
Bya-den, Bhot. 

Description. — Adult male. Wliole bead and neck very dark slaty- 
grey, darkest on the nape and practically black «here it adjoins a white 
nuchal collar. In turn this white collar gradually changes into a light brown 
on the upper-back, scapulars, and the innermost lesser ^\-ing-coverts and 
secondaries. Lower-back white ; rump and upper tail-coverts black ; tail 
slaty-black at base, follo^A-ed by a broad ^•hite band across the middle, and 
broadly tipped black, thLs black band narrower on the outermost tail-feathers. 
Wings grey, with three visible broad bands of bro\\'n running across the 
median and greater coverts and the secondaries ; a fourth band, concealed 
by the tips of the overlying feathers, on the bases of the innermost median 
coverts. Primaries grey, browner at the tips, and \nth a very narrow edge 
of silver-grey on the outer webs when these featliers are fresh and in perfect 
condition ; outer secondaries grey at the base and bro'mi on tlieir terminal 
halves ; all quill-shafts dark brown. 

Below, breast pure white, clianging to pale dove-grey on the posterior 
flanks and abdomen ; under-tail-coverts very pale dove-grey ; under aspect 
of the wing tlie same, with the edges of the shoulders a darker grey. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill black ; irides golden-yello\^- : legs and feet 
bright scarlet-red, the soles paler, and the claws black ; " mouth bright 
fleshy -red " (Hume). 

Measurements. Length 12.5 in. to 13.5 in. ( = 317.5 to 342.7 mm.) ; 
wing 8.5 in. to 9.6 in. ( = 215.9 to 243.8 mm.) ; tail about 5 in. (127 mm) ; 
tarsus 1.2 in. ( = 30.4 mm.) ; bill from gape about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) and 
at front about .65 in. (16.5 mm.). 

" Weight 10 oz." (Hume). 

Adult female. I cannot see that there is any constant difference between 
the sexes, but Salvadori says that the grey colour of the back and %^'ing3 
in the female is somewhat duller. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male. 

Measurements. With tlie exception that the female is a more slender 
built and lighter bird, the measurements are the same as in the male. 




THE SNOW-PIGEON— COLt/A/B.-l LEUCONOTA. 
(4 Nat. Size.) 



Plate 14 



SNOW-PIGEON 153 

Young. The feathers of the upper-parts and wings have narrow margins 
of pale buff, and the under -parts are a pale dull buff rather tlian white. 

Distribution. Throughout the higher Himalayas from about the 
70° long. (Chitral) through Kashmir, Ladak, Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, and the 
highest ranges of the Dafla and Mishmi Hills. It undoubtedly spreads even 
further west, however, than this, into the higher ranges of Afghanistan, and 
it has been recorded as breeding in the Altai ranges in Persia. 

Nidification. The Snow-Pigeon breeds in colonies at high altitudes 
in the Himalayas, above 10,000 ft. — everywhere, practically, where there are 
suitable rocky cliffs with crevices or caves in whicli they can place their 
nests. Ward found it breeding in many places in Kashmir, and Magrath 
found it breeding in company with a small colony of Kashmir House-Martms. 

Tlie nests are, of course, always placed in holes, clefts, or crevices in 
rocky cliffs and precipices, or in caves such as that mentioned by Colonel 
Magrath. Often they are quite inaccessible, and in Tibet I have had several 
colonies reported as being ^ell-known, though the nests were said to be quite 
unobtainable except \^itli ropes and an amount of trouble out of proportion 
to the object to be attained. Also they are frequently placed so far inside 
the crevices and holes that even when the men have been let down to a 
position from whicli they can see into the holes, they cannot get at either 
nests or eggs. The nests themselves are tlie usual platforms of sticks, but 
as they rest upon the ledge of rock or limestone they are even less compactly 
put together and intertwined tlian are tlie materials of most Pigeons' nests. 
They are said to get into a very filthy state and to be full of vermin, in 
spite of the cold, before the young leave the nest. 

The number of eggs is invariably two, and they are generally laid 
late in May, throughout June, and well into July : in the earlier part of the 
season when the birds breed at a comparatively low elevation, in the later 
portion \\-here they breed at 14,000 ft. up'nards. 

I have a fair series of these birds's egg from Sonamerg, in Kashmir, \^'hich 
were given to me by Colonel R. H. Rattray, Colonel A. E. Ward, and 
Mr. J. Davidson. C.S., and a few others taken in the Chambi Valley and near 
Gyantse in Tibet. 

They cannot be in any way distinguished from those of Columba livia 
and intermedia ; in shape they are broad elhpses, or broad ovals, practically 
the same at either end, and the surface is close and smooth, but not very 
glossy. 

My biggest egg measures 1.62 in. by 1.22 in. ( = 41.1 by 31 mm.), and 
the smallest 1.4 in. by 1.02 in. ( = 34.5 by 25.9 mm.). The average of 24 
eggs is 1.55 in. by 1.15 in. ( = 39.3 by 29.2 mm.). 

The Snow-Pigeon is essentially a bird of the more lofty mountains, 
breeding, as already noted, at elevations from 10,000 ft. up to 15,000 ft. 
In the winter months it descends to lower hills, but even then it is 
apparently never seen below 5,000 ft., at which height Perreau foimd 
it in the Chitral Hills in winter. In Kaslimir, however, Ward says 
that it only comes down to about 7,000 ft., and that only in severe 
winters, retiring again to greater heights directly the weather breaks. 
In the Abor and Mishmi Hills, the natives, who brought me a couple 



154 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

of skins, said that it never came lower than some peaks of about 
9,000 ft., which formed the usual snow-Une from December to March. 
They reported the bird as very common above this range wherever 
there was no forest and the hill-tops were bleak and rugged. 

Throughout its range it is entirely a Rock-Pigeon in its habits, 
and only very severe stress of weather will drive it into forested coxmtry. 
It collects in very large flocks, haunting the faces of steep cliffs, 
precipitous hiU-sides, and rocky ravines, and is said, generally speaking, 
to be a less shy bird than most Pigeons, and not difficult, if the groiuid 
be possible, to get within easy shot of. Bailey, however, in his record 
of the game shot at Gyantse during the years 1906-9, notes only eight 
Snow-Pigeons as having been shot, though during the same period 
no less than three hundred and seventy one Rock-Pigeons were brought 
to bag. This however may have been because the bird is rare close 
to Gyantse though common further away in Chambi. 

It is sometimes trapped in Nepal and sent down to Calcutta for 
sale, and although a bird of such cold climates in its wild state, stands 
heat in captivity very well. 

Its note has been described as the usual " purring coo " of the 
Common Rock-Pigeon, but Finn says : " As its note had apparently 
not been recorded, I may mention that it is not a coo, but a repeated 
croak, not unlike a hiccough, and," he continues, " much as the bird 
sometimes resembles the domestic Pigeon, I have never seen it sweep 
the ground with its tail when courting, but rather raise it." 

Its flight resembles that of the Common Rock-Pigeon, and a flock 
of these Pigeons sweeping down a hill-side with the sun glistening on 
them is said to be a wonderful sight. 

It is a berry and grain, rather than a fruit eater, but there is very 
little on record about its food. 

Where the two birds' habitat overlaps, both this and the Rock- 
Pigeon {Columba rupestris) may be seen consorting together in the 
same flock. 



Gentjs DENDROTRERON. 

The Genus Dendrotreron contains two species of Pigeon, which 
both Sharpe and Salvadori include in the genus Coluwba : but it forms, 
aa a matter of fact, a sort of connecting link between the Wood-Pigeons 
of the genera Palumbus and Alsocomus, and the Rock-Pigeons of the 
genus Columba, and is really quite as close, both in structure and habits, 
to Palumbus as it is to the last-mentioned. I therefore, in agreement 
with Blanford, retain the genus as a convenient one. 

In type of coloration, Dendrotreron is sui generis ; for although 
it has not the barred wings of the Rock-Pigeons, neither has it the 
barred tail of the Wood-Pigeons. In length also this member is 
intermediate between the short tail of the former and the longer tail 
of the latter birds. So also the feet and legs are intermediate between 
the two, the feet being broader and more suited to its arboreal habits, 
whilst the tarsi are partially feathered. 

Our Indian bird, Dendrotreron hodgsoni, is curiously like an African 
form, Dendrotreron arquatrix, which differs principally in having a purple 
fore-head, but which is in the rest of its coloration very close indeed 
to hodgsoni. 



(29) DENDROTRERON HODGSONI (Vigors). 

THE SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON. 

(Plate 15.) 

Columha hodgsoni Vigors, P.Z.S. 1832, p. 16 ; Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 867 ; 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 274 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 70. 

Columha nepalensis Hodg., J.A.S.B., V p. 122. 

Dendrotreron hodgsoni Hodg., in Gray's Zool. Miscel., p. 85 ; Hume, 
Nests and Eggs, p. 497 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 3.3 ; Ward, J.B.N.H.S., 
XVII p. 943 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 67. 

Alsocomus hodgsonii Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233 ; Jerdon, B.I., III 
p. 463 ; Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. n p. 65 ; Blanf., ib., XLI 
pt. 2, p. 70; Hume, Str. Freath., VIII p. 109; id., Cat. no. 783; 
Scully, Str. Feath., VIII p. 399 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 
2nd ed., II p. 346. 

Vernacular Names. H ag rani Daohu/curunia, Cachaii; Pahari Pagooma, 
Assamese. 

Description. — Adult male. Wliole head, chin, throat and upper-neck 
ashy-grey, tlie cliin generally paler and sometimes the centre of the throat 
also ; lo^^•er-neck and upper-breast the same as the head, the bases of the 
feathers blackish-grey, this blackish colour gradually increasing in extent and 
becoming a claret-red until on the upper-back the grey edges to the feathers 
have disappeared, and the back, shorter scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts 
are a claret-red or claret-maroon ; longer scapulars, lower-back, and rump 
slaty-brown, rump darker than the other parts and contrasting with the 
dark dove-grey upper tail-coverts, the longest of which and the rectrices 
themselves are a dark bro\^-n. Median wing-coverts claret-red, speckled with 
white gradually changing to very dark dove-grey or slaty-grey on the outer- 
most and greater coverts ; primary-coverts and quills dark bro\\-n, but not 
quite as dark as the tail. Below, the feathers of tlie breast are centred dark 
claret-red bordered with grey, as the abdomen is approached the grey becomes 
less and less in extent and more suffused with pink until on the abdomen 
itself the grey only consists of spots, disappearing altogether on the posterior 
flanks ; tibial plumes, region of the vent, and under tail-coverts dark slaty- 
grey, this merging into and not contrasting with the red of the abdomen. 
Under aspect of wings tinged with grey on tlie smaller coverts. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill black, purplish in the high lights and some- 
times livid-black on the cere. Irides white or hoary-white, the surrounding 
orbital skin livid-grey or slate-colour ; legs and feet dark dull green, almost 
black in front of the tarsus and paler and more yellow behind ; claws pale 
bright yellow. 

Measurements. Length 14 in. to 16 in. ( = 355.6 to 406.4 mm.) ; wing 
9 in. to 9.5 in. ( = 228.6 to 243.3 mm.) ; tail about 5.5 in. to 6.0 in. ( = 139.7 




THE SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON— D£NOROrR£ROA' HODGSONI. 

(i Nat Size — Male above, female below.) PLATE 15 



SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON 157 

to 152.4 mm.) : tarsus under 1 in. (25.0 mm.) ; bill at front .6 in. to .7 in. 
( = 15.2 to 17.7 mm.) and from gape about 1 in. (25.4 mm.). 

Adult female. In the female the whole of the grey is tinged with brown, 
and there is no pink on the grey margins to the feathers of the breast and 
abdomen. The claret, or maroon-red, on tlie upper-parts of the male is 
replaced with dark brown, in some individuals more or less suffused with 
slaty-grey. The red of the under-parts is replaced by dark grey-brown, but a 
few specimens, probably very old females, show a slight tint of claret-colour 
in small patches on the flanks and abdomen. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male, but the iris is often a brownish- 
white. 

Measurements. The female is a slightly smaller bird than the male 
with a wing between 8.5 in. ( = 215.9 mm.) and 9.0 in. ( = 228.6 mm.), and 
the other dimensions in proportion. 

Young male. Like the female, but the smaller wing-coverts all edged 
with rufous-brown and with practically no white spotting. The under-surface 
of the body is also more or less barred with grey and rufous, and the abdomen 
is nearly entirely of this latter colour. 

Distribution. From the extreme west of Kashmir, where however 
it is not common, throughout Nepal, Sikhim, Tibet, the hill-ranges north 
and south of the Brahmapootra, Manipur and the Looshai Hills into the 
Chin Hills and Shan States in northern Burma. 

Nidification. The only note hitherto recorded about these Pigeons' 
breeding is contained in Captain Irby's remarks in the Ihis for 1861, where 
he notes that " some nested in inaccessible cliffs, near Monsheyaree, about 
seventy miles from Almorah." In this Captain Irby was probably mistaken, 
as I have taken their nests myself in trees, and Mr. H. Stevens, though he 
failed to actually take their nests, shot birds which were breeding in the 
well-forested parts of Nepal and not in the higher rocky parts above 
the forest. 

The only two nests taken by myself were both found in a lofty hill-range, 
running to over 6,000 ft., an offshoot of the Barail Range in north Cachar. 
Here in winter tliis Pigeon was not very uncommon, but it must have been 
quite exceptional for it to stay and breed as for many years I failed to obtain 
a nest, or indeed to find the bird after April, nor did I ever again meet with it 
breeding after this one year. 

Both nests were of the usual type of Wood-Pigeon's nest, a rough platform 
of twigs, green and dry, inter^voven with one another, with but little depression 
for the eggs, and no lining of any kind. Both were placed in small stunted 
oaks, which here were almost the only kind of tree to be met with, and were 
built on horizontal boughs some 15 to 20 ft. from the ground. In one case 
the nest half -rested on a clump of that sweet-scented white orchid, 
Celogyne odorissima, and in tlie other case, half on the bough and half on 
a cluster of twigs. 

Each nest contained a single fresh egg and the dates on which they were 
found were on the 28th May and 1st June, 1896. 

Last year, 1912, I was fortunate enough to obtain six of these eggs from 
Nepal, all taken at elevations between eight and ten thousand feet and on 
dates between the 22nd May and the 18th June ; each nest contained but a 
single egg, and it would therefore appear as if this was the normal number 
laid, and not two as laid by most Wood-Pigeons. All the nests were said to 



158 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

have been, like those found by myself, built on small trees growing in stunted 
forest-growth. 

My eggs vary in length between 1.34 in. ( = 33.9 mm.) and 1.64 in. 
( = 41.5 mm.) and in width between 1.02 in. ( = 25.9 mm.) and 1.16 in. 
( = 29.4 mm.). 

In sliape, texture, and surface they are typical Wood-Pigeon's eggs, but 
in one egg the shape is somewhat elongated and pointed at one end. 

This Pigeon has always been considered a bird of very high 
elevations, i.e. as Blanford says, from 10,000 to 13,000 ft. in summer, 
and from 6,000 to 9,000 ft. in winter. Doubtless it does often range 
up to these heights, but probably it is also resident at much lower 
altitudes. Ward says that it is fairly common in Kishtwar in Kash- 
mir, and that it breeds in that district at about 8,000 ft. In the 
Naga Hills it certainly breeds as low down as this, and perhaps lower ; 
Stephens found it at 8,000 ft. during the breeding-season in Nepal, 
and I have had it from about the same elevation in native Sikhim. 

In habits, as far as these are known, it is more of a Wood-Pigeon 
than a Rock-Pigeon, being very arboreal, though it wiU also descend 
to the groimd to feed when there is anything to entice it there. It 
assembles in very small flocks as a rule and in north Cachar more than 
four or five were never seen together ; very often it went about in 
pairs only, and occasionally a single bird might be met with. 

Its note is easily distinguishable from that of any other Pigeon 
I have ever heard ; it begins with a coughing, jerked-out note, and then 
continues with a deep double rolling-note which might be syllablized 
as " whock-whrroo-whrr oo," the third note more prolonged than the 
second. It is a very deep resonant note, and can be heard at a 
great distance. 

It is said to be fairly common in some of the pine-forests of Nepal 
and Sikhim, but on the north-eastern frontier of India it is found almost 
always in the stimted oak-forest which grows above 5,000 ft., and I 
have never met with it in the pine-woods of either the Khasia Hills 
or north Cachar. 

It feeds on berries, acorns, small wild-plums, grain, and black- 
berries, raspberries, and strawberries. I have also shot them out of 
stubble in patches of rice-cultivation, but they appear only to frequent 
these when they are well surrounded by the oak-forest. The crops of 
those shot in such places were always full of rice, often mixed with 
tiny pebbles and a Uttle earth. 



SPECKLED WOOD-PIGEON 159 

Their flight is very powerful and swift, and even birds rising from 
the ground, though they did this with the clatter and noise made by 
all Pigeons when thus rising, seemed to get the pace up extraordinarily 
quickly. 

For the table they seemed to me much the same as the native 
domestic Pigeon, perhaps a httle drier and more closely grained in the 
meat. As, however, the birds I shot were wanted as specimens, all 
those eaten were skinned first, and the coating of fat being missing 
from the dish may have affected the flavour one way or the other. 



Gentjs PALUMBUS. 

The genus Palumbus, which contains the true Wood-Pigeons, 
differs from Dendrotreron in external structure much as that genus 
itseK differs from Columba. The tail is stiU longer, proportionately, 
than in Dendrotreron, being about two-thirds the length of the wing, 
and the wing itseK is more rounded than in either of the other two 
genera, having the first quiU about equal to the fourth. The tarsus, 
also, is shorter and more feathered, and the feet are broader and more 
arboreal in their character than in Columba. 

Outwardly the Wood-Pigeons differ somewhat in type of coloration 
from the Rock-Pigeons, having no wing-bars, though they have a bar 
on the outer feathers of the tail. 

Salvadori, as already noted, placed Stanford's genera — Columba, 
Dendrotreron, Palumbus, and Alsocomus — ^in the one genus Columba, 
but the divisions as made by Blanford seem both reasonable and 
convenient, and divisions in classification being primarily made for 
convenience in working, I retain Blanford's genera. 

In India we have but one species as here restricted, and that in 
fact is but a subspecies of Palumbus palumbus, the European Wood- 
Pigeon. 



(3o) PALUMBUS PALUMBUS CASIOTIS Bp. 

THE EASTERN WOOD-PIGEON, RING-DOVE, OR CUSHAT. 

(Plate 16.) 

Columba palumhus (part) Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 866. 

Palumbus torquatus var.? Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233. 

Palumbus casiotis Bp., Con. Av., 11 p. 42 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 464 ; 
Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. 2 p. 66 ; Cock and Marsh, Str. Feath., 
I p. 358 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 497 ; id., Str. Feath., VIII p. 109 ; 
id.. Cat. no. 784 ; Butler, Str. Feath., VIII pp. 386, 500 ; id. ib., IX 
p. 298 ; Barnes, ib., pp. 218, 457 ; Swinhoe, ib., p. 237 ; Gates, in Hume's 
Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., p. 346; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 34; 
Marshall, J.B.N.H.S., XV p. 352 ; Ward, ib., p. 943 ; Magrath, ib., 
XIX p. 142 ; Perreau, ib., XIX p. 919 ; Wliitehead, ib., XX p. 967. 

Columba casiotis Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 302 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, 
I p. 70 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 91. 

Vernacular Name. Dahnud, Hin., Chamba. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head and neck dark grey, the clun 
and throat sometimes slightly paler than the rest, the lower hind-neck glossed 
with green- or purple-copper according to the light in which the bird is seen ; 
a broad bufi semi-collar on the lower hind-neck and shoulders, interrupted 
in the middle with grey, glossed as in the neck ; below the buff collar there 
is a broad expanse all round tlie shoulders glossed with green and purple ; 
but the green is tlie dominant slieen next the collar, and the copper -jjurple 
more strong below this next tlie back, so tliat in the same light the green 
and purple reflections are both visible at the same time on these two portions. 
Upper-back, scapulars, quills, smaller and median coverts, light earth-brown, 
changing to grey on the outer median coverts ; outermost secondary-coverts 
pure white on the outer web, and those next tliem with a white border forming 
two oblique bands of white across the wing ; edge of shoulder of wing and 
primary-coverts dark brown, the inner ones grey on the outer webs and edged 
white ; tlie primaries are also edged white on the outer webs. Back, rump, 
and upper taU-coverts dark ashy-grey ; tail brownish-black with a broad 
grey band across the middle, lighter and broader on the outermost featliers. 
Breast viiious-pink, darkest next to tlie neck and gradually becommg paler 
and changing to pale dove-grey on the flanks, abdomen, and under tail-coverts. 
Tail below black with a broad white band across the middle corresponding 
to the grey band above. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides pale yellow, yellowisli-white, or almost 
white ; cere of bill almost white, base of bill carmine-orange or orange-red, 
whitisli -livid in the centre and orange at the tip ; legs and feet coral-red, 
not very bright. 




THE EASTERN WOOD-PIGEON OR R\nG-DOWE—PALUMBUS P. CASIOTIS. 

(t Nat. Size.) PLATE 16 



EASTERN WOOD-PIGEON 161 

Measurements. Length about 16 to 17 inches ( = 406.4 to 431.8 mm.) ; 
wing from 9.6 to 10.35 in. ( = 243.8 to 262.8 mm.) ; tail from 5.5 to 6 in. 
( = 139.7 to 152.4 mm.) ; bill at front about .7 in. (17.7 mm.) and from gape 
about 1.1 in. ( = about 28 mm.) ; tarsus a little over 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.). 

Adult female. The female of Palumbus palumbus is said to be somewhat 
duller in the colouring than the male, but I can see no difference between 
the male and female of casiotis. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male with the exception that the irides 
are never a bright yellow. 

Measurements. As in the male, but in life the two sexes can generally 
be discriminated, the female being a lighter built, more slender bird, and 
perhaps on an average a trifle smaller. 

Young of both sexes. Paler and more dull in coloration than the adult, 
the purple and green gloss being practically absent and the neck-patches 
entirely so until after the first autumn-moult. The edging to the feathers 
of the wing is more pronounced and often buifish in tint in the bird in its 
first plumage. The irides are very pale blue-brown. 

Distribution. The present bird replaces the European Wood-Pigeon 
in south Persia and Turkestan ; in Afghanistan, Baluchistan at comparatively 
low elevations, and the whole of the north-west Himalayas as far east as 
Sikhim, extending into the Punjab and rarely into Sind in ^vinter. It is 
common in Kashmir, but is rare in Tibet, though I have records of its 
occurrence from the better wooded parts about Gyantse and further north. In 
the extreme north of Persia our Indian form is replaced by the European 
Wood-Pigeon which is the resident form. 

Nidification. The Eastern Wood-Pigeon breeds throughout the greater 
part of its range in the Himalayas from an elevation of some 2,500 to 12,000 ft. 
or over, but there are certain areas in which it would seem never to nest. 
Hume says that about Simla, Mussoorie, and Almorah they appear about 
the beginning of November and stay until the middle of April, when they 
depart for other quarters. Hutton and Wilson, Colonel Ward and others 
all confirm this curious local migration, which is probably governed by its 
food supply. In Chitral it must be a resident breeding species as Perreau 
found it there in November, May, and again in July. In Kashmir it 
undoubtedly breeds in suitable localities and Whitehead records that 
" Mr. Douglas tells me that it nests freely near the Zera Kotal, above Sliinauri 
and north of the Samana. It also occurs in the Kurram Valley and probably 
breeds there." 

Marshall, Cock, and later collectors have taken its eggs at and about 
Mu3rree ; Barnes and Wardlaw Ramsay took them in Afghanistan, where it 
breeds in great numbers, and Colonel Unwin took its nest with two fresh 
eggs in the Agrore Valley at an elevation of only 2,500 ft. 

It is a late breeder not commencing to lay until the end of May, 
and most eggs will be found in the month of June and some well on 
into early July. 

The nest is exactly like that of the English Wood-Pigeon, a mere platform 
of sticks placed on a thick bush or small sapling and seldom if ever on big 
trees. Marshall found them in the valley of the Jhelam breeding in 
dense thorny jungles, but does not describe the actual sites of the two 
nests obtained. 

The eggs are invariably two in number and similar to those of the 



162 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

European Wood-Pigeon, but average a trifle smaller. Gates, in Hume's Nests 
and Eggs, says that they vary in length between 1.53 in. and 1.65 in., and in 
breadth from 1.06 in. to 1.2 in. 

There seems to be nothing in this bird's habits calling for special 
remark, these being exactly the same as those of its European relation. 

It collects in very large flocks during the autumn, as soon ais the 
breeding-season is over. Whitehead, writing of Kohat and the Kurrum 
Valley, says that in the autumn he found them in large flocks " in the 
scrub jungle above Marai, about Shinauri and in the wooded nullahs 
of the northern slopes of the Samana." It is however, on the whole, 
a bird of well-wooded country, and it is probably exceptional for it 
to frequent scrub-jungle except at intervals when food is plentiful 
in such. 

It is quite active on the ground, though generally rather slow and 
deliberate in its movements. It feeds on grain, berries, shoots of trees, 
acorns, etc., and takes these as found, high up in a tree or on the ground 
itself. Its note is the same deep, soft " coo " as that of its European 
congener. 

Like the latter bird, also, it is not difiicult to domesticate. Barnes 
remarked of a bird in his possession which he obtained in Chaman : 
" One that I have reared from the nest, and which I have brought with 
me to India, is wonderfully tame, answers when called, is fond of 
perching on my shoulders, and never attempts to fly away, although 
as usual I aUow it fuU liberty." 



Genus ALSOCOMUS. 

The genus Alsocomus is included by Salvadori in the genus Columba, 
but there are several differences from typical Columba in the group 
separated by Blanford and placed in the present genus, both structural 
and in habits, which would seem reasonably to render the division 
desirable. 

All the species are birds of dark coloration, having a metallic 
lustre over the greater part of the plumage, formed by iridescent borders 
to the feathers, varjong in depth and brilliance. Neither wings nor 
tail have any bars upon them, and the latter is decidedly longer in pro- 
portion than it is in either Columba or Dendrotreron. In habits the 
birds of this genus are nearer Paluinhus than Columba, being very 
arboreal in their habits, and Uke Carpophaga, with which they have 
sometimes been included, they are to a great extent fruit-eaters. 

The Pigeons of this genus are represented by species extending 
from India through the Malay Archipelago to Japan and Oceana. 

Within Indian limits we have five species, two of which are very 
closely allied and possibly should only rank as subspecies, i.e. elphinstonii 
and torringtoniae. 

Key to the Species. 

A. A patch of black feathers with white tips on either side of 

base of neck : 
a. Head above and lower-parts grey ... ... A. elphinstonii. 

&. Head above and lower-parts lUac A. torringtoniae. 

B. A collar of black feathers tipped with glossy buii ... A. pulchricollis. 

€. No patch or collar of white or bu£E-tipped feathers : 

c. Upper-parts chestnut-purple A. pfwniceus. 

A. Upper-parts blackish A. palumhoides. 



m2 



(3i) ALSOCOMUS ELPHINSTONII (Sykes). 

THE NILGIEI WOOD-PIGEON. 

Ptilinopus elphinstonii Sykes, P.Z.S. 1832, p. 149 ; Jerdon, Madr. J.L.S., 
XII p. 11. 

Columha elphinstonii Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 866 : Jerdon, 111. I. Orn., 
pi. 48 ; Salvador!, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 304 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 71 ; 
Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 91. 

Carpophaga elphinstonii Gray, Gen. B., II p. 469. 

Palumbus elphinstonii Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233 ; Gould, B. Asia, VI 
pi. 57 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 465 , Hume, Nests and Eggs, III p. 498 ; Fair- 
bank, Str. Feath., IV p, 262 ; Bourdillon, ib., IV p. 404 ; Fairbank, ib. 
V p. 408 ; Ball, ib., p. 418 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 109 ; id.. Cat. no. 786 
Vidal, Str. Feath., IX p. 74 ; Butler, ib., p. 419 ; Davison, ib., X p. 407 
Macgregor, ib., p. 440 ; Terry, ib., p. 479 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 288 
Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 347 ; Davidson 
J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 62. 

Alsocomus elphinstonii Blanf., Av. Brit. I., IV p. 36 ; Betham, J.B.N.H.S., 
XIV p. 620. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Head above, nape, and sides of neck dove- 
grey, faintly glossed with iridescent emerald-green ; fore-head, sides of head, 
and lores the same, but paler and tinged -n-ith pink ; hind-neck with a large 
patch of black feathers tipped white and vritli tiny metallic edging below 
these tips, the lowermost feathers of this black-and-white patcli glossed with 
green ; back brick-red brown, gradually getting more brown and less red 
towards the rump ; the upper-back, and base of hind-neck brilliantly glossed 
with metallic copper-purple, showing green in places in some lights ; the 
purple gloss extends down the back in a lesser degree, but not on to the 
scapulars. Rump, upper taU-coverts and tail blackish-bro«Ti, the feathers 
of the rump obsoletely edged with metallic green. Wings dark brown, in 
very iine specimens the whole of the visible portions of the smaller wing- 
coverts are the same colour as the back and tlie other wing-coverts, except 
the greater primary-coverts, are edged with the same. In some specimens 
also the scapulars and innermost secondaries are powdered with this colour, 
giving them a general reddish hue. 

Chin and centre of throat whitish, neck below and breast ashy-grey 
or grey tinted with vinous, and with all the feathers edged with metallic 
emerald-green, pale and sometimes scarcely visible ; on the abdomen the 
grey becomes paler and more ashy or vinous, and on the flanks, axillaries 
and under aspect of the wing a good deal darker ; under tail-coverts 
brownish-ashy. 

Colours of soft parts. " Corneous part of bill and claws horny-white ; 



NILGIRI WOOD-PIGEON 165 

fleshy part of bill, eyelids, legs and feet pink ; irides pale yellowish-red to 
red-brown " (Davison). " Eyelids, legs and feet lake-red " (Davison). 

" Bill brick-red at base, yellowish tip, legs and feet pinkish with white 
marks " (Miss Cockbum). 

Measurements. Total length 15 in. to 17 in. ( = 381 to 431.8 mm.) ; 
wing from 8.05 in. to 8.80 in. ( = 204.4 to 223.5 mm.); tail 6 in. to 7 in. 
( = 152.4 to 177.8 mm.) ; bill at front .65 in. ( = 16.4 mm.), and from gape 
about 1.15 in. ( = 29.1 mm.) ; tarsus about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.). The 
average length of wings is about 8.40 in. ( = 212.3 mm.). 

"Weight 10 to 12 oz." (Davison). 

Davison gives the wing-measurements as 8.3 to 9 in., and the tarsus 
as 1.08 to 1.15 in. These measurements are, of course, taken from fresh 
skins or living birds. 

Adult female. This has Mtherto been described as similar to the male, 
but it would seem as if it never became quite so brick -red on the wings 
and lower-back as old males do, and the amount of metallic gloss is also, 
perhaps, rather less. 

Colours of soft parts are the same as in the male. 

Measurements. Females are decidedly smaller than males, the length 
of wing in the series in the British Museum Collection varying in length between 
7.7 in. ( = 195.5 mm.) and 8.20 in. ( = 208.2 mm.), with an average of 7.85 in. 
( = 199.9 mm.) exactly. Tail 5.75 in. ( = 146 mm.) to 6.5 in. ( = 155.1 mm.) 
and other measurements in proportion. 

With the exception of one bird from the NUgherries, sexed by Miss 
Cockburn, there is no other female over 8.05 in. ( = 204.4 mm.), and this is 
therefore quite an abnormally big bird. 

Young mule. Like the adult, but browner and less red above and with 
the metallic colours undeveloped. The patch at the back of the neck is also 
less black than in the old bird. The wing-coverts, scapulars and iimermost 
secondaries have dull narrow fringes of rufous, quite different in colour to the 
red of the adult bird. 

Distribution. Confined to the Hill tracts of western southern India, 
from Kanara south to Cape Cormorin, the NUgherries, Palni Hills, Brahma- 
gerries, and Wynaad. Colonel Sykes found it, though rare there, in the 
Deccan Ghats. Captain Blaxland also informed Ball that he had met with 
this Pigeon on the Mahanadi and Godavery Rivers, but his identification 
has never been confirmed. 

Nidification. Hume, in Nests and Eggs, says that the Nilgiri 
Wood-Pigeon breeds in many of the better wooded localities of the Blue 
Mountains (the Nilgherries) at elevations of 5,000 ft. and upwards, and both 
Miss Cockburn and Davison took nests at and above this height, and they 
have been taken in the same hills by Messrs. Cardew, Rhodes, W. Morgan, 
Howard Campbell, and others. In the Palni Hills their nests have been found 
by the last mentioned gentleman, Macgregor and Captain Horace Terry, and 
I have received an egg from the Shevaroys. Mr. J. Stewart informs me that 
he has found them breeding in the higher ranges of hills in Travancore, and 
that he has taken an egg there. 

Miss Cockburn describes the nest as resembling " that of all Pigeons 
and Doves in the careless manner in which a few sticks are put together. On 
high trees in dense woods this bird prepares the abode for her young, and 
chooses a projecting bough, as if she had some thought for the safety of the 



166 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

egg she lays. (I say egg, for I have seen four nests of the NiJgiri Wood- 
Pigeon ; two had one egg in each, and the other two contained one young 
one in each). I have also remarked that only one Pigeon is noticed near 
the nests." 

Other observers agree with Miss Cockburn in her description of the nest 
and the number of eggs laid, but all disagree with her description of the site, 
and doubtless her nests were somewhat abnormal in this respect, as these 
Wood-Pigeons generally make their nests either in tall, thickly-foUaged bushes 
or in small saplings more often under than over 15 ft. from the ground. 

Hume would appear to have received a fair number of their eggs from 
different collectors, but in the British Museum Collection there are only three 
of them left. They are, of course, pure white as usual, and are fairly glossy, 
but the texture is not so fine and close as in some Pigeons' eggs. In shape 
they are rather broad ovals, practically the same at either end. 

The Museum eggs, my own, and three others I have been enabled to 
measure vary between 1.42 in. ( = 36 mm.) and 1.53 in. ( = 38.8 mm.) in length, 
and between 1.05 in. ( = 26.6 mm.) and 1.18 in. ( = 30 mm.) in breadth. 

The breeding-season appears to commence in March, as Miss Cockburn 
took her nests with young in April, and Mr. Morgan reports finding nests in 
that month also. Cardew, Howard Campbell and Captain Terry took their 
eggs in May, and on the other hand Davison did not take its eggs until June. 

All writers agree that they only make their nests in the interior of very- 
thick forests and are consequently difficult to find, nor does the parent 
bird seem to render any assistance in disclosing the place in which its nest 
is located. 

This species is essentially a Wood-Pigeon in its habits. Jerdon 
says that " on the Nilgherries, it frequents sholas or dense woods, singly, 
or in small parties of five or six, feeding on various fruits and buds, 
and occasionally on small snails, to procvu-e which it descends to the 
mossy banks, and I have now and then seen it on the groiuid outside 
a wood. I frequently found some small Bulimi in the crops of those 
I examined. Colonel Sykes says it is a rare bird in the Deccan, and 
only foimd in the dense woods of the Ghats." 

It has been stated that the genus Alsocomus differs from Palumbu-s, 
the true Wood-Pigeon, in that it is more frugivorous, but as a matter of 
fact even the European Wood-Pigeon is very fond of fruit ; admittedly 
its food in the main consists of beech-mast, acorns and grain, but it will 
on the other hand greedily eat almost any soft fruit it can get at. 

In London, where the Wood-Pigeon is now very common, it enters 
gardens freely and any gooseberry or currant bush which is not 
carefully netted is soon stripped of all the ripe fruit, the unripe being 
left by this discriminating bird for a future meal. I have also seen them 
feeding on crab-apples, cherries, and plums, swallowing the latter whole 
when possible, and when not possible tearing them to pieces, their 
apparently fragile bills being amply strong enough for this purpose. 



NILGIRI WOOD-PIGEON 167 

Davison records of the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon that it is not 
uncommon in the woods and slopes of the Nilgherries, though he did not 
meet with it either in the Wynnad or Mysore. He adds : "It moves 
about a good deal, and a shola that may be full of them one week, will 
not contain a single specimen of them the following week ; this is due, 
I fancy, to the prevalence or otherwise of berries. I too have noticed 
the fact mentioned by Jerdon of their feeding on the ground outside 
the forests. I found them very numerous in March in the forests 
about Meddivuttam, and procured a good number of specimens." 

It is said to be a shy, wary bird, and where it is much shot at it 
soon becomes impossible to get near enough with a gun. 

The flight is much the same as that of the Eiu'opean Wood-Pigeon, 
very powerful and fast, and they are also said to generally fly at a good 
height when passing from one feeding-ground to another. 

During the cold weather they are nearly always found in flocks 
— ^rarely singly or in pairs ; but all field-naturalists who have watched 
these Pigeons agree that the flocks are invariably small, and a party 
of a dozen birds seems quite exceptional. 

The only note I have concerning its call is one contained in a letter 
fi'om a friend, in reply to a query, who stated that " it is on the whole 
a very quiet bird, and I cannot distinguish its coo in any way from 
that of its European cousin. Its soft, sweet notes may sometimes be 
heard in the sholas very early in the morning, as the birds call to one 
another before flighting to their feeding-grounds, and again in the 
evenings, when the birds cany on a soft murmuring conversation 
amongst themselves before settling off to sleep." 



(32) ALSOCOMUS TORRINGTONII (Kelaart). 
THE CEYLON WOOD-PIGEON. 

Palumbus elphinstonii var. Blyth, J.A.S.B., XX p. 178 (1851). 

PalumJbus torringtonii Kelaart, Pro. Faun. Zey., p. 107 (1852), descr. nulla ; 
Bp., Con. Av., II p. 42 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 466 ; Hume, Nests and 
Eggs, p. 499 ; id., Str. Feath., VII p. 424 ; id. ib., VIII p. 109 ; id., 
Cat. no. 786, bis ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 348. 

Palumbus torringtoniae Houldsworth, P.Z.S. 1872, p. 466 ; Legge, B. Cey., 
p. 693 ; Butler, J.B.N.H.S., IX p. 310. 

Columba torringtoniae Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 303 ; Sharpe, Hand-List 

I p. 71. 
Alsocomus torringtoniae Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 96. 

Vernacular Names. Mila-goya, Cing. in central provinces, Ceylon; 
Mahavilla goya, Cing., apud Layard. 

Description. — Adult male. General type of coloration like that of 
the Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon. The upper part of the head and nape lilac-grey 
glossed with lilac, a faint green gloss also showing in certain lights ; patch 
on back and sides of neck black, broadly tipped white, the patch being much 
smaller than in the last bird and with fewer green edgings, which are often 
altogether absent ; upper-back and sides of neck below patch, lUac-brown 
glossed with the most brilliant copper-purple ; back, rump, upper tail-coverts, 
and wing-coverts deep slaty, almost blackish-grey, most of the feathers of 
the back, rump and inner coverts narrowly edged ^rith black ; quills dark 
brown with very narrow pale edges to the tips and outer webs ; tail blackish- 
brown ; sides of head, lores, and sides of tliroat pale vinous-grey ; the chin 
and centre of throat albescent ; lower-neck and whole breast reddish-grey 
or reddish-ashy and glossed with a purple sheen somewhat less intense than 
the purple lustre on the back ; remainder of lower-parts dull reddish-ashy, 
palest on centre of abdomen and darkest on under tail-coverts ; under wing- 
coverts, axillaries, and flanks very dark ashy-grey or slaty-brown. 

Colours of soft parts. " Iris pale red, orbital skin dull pink ; bill plum- 
beous, apical half bluish ; legs and feet pinkish fleshy, toes and soles red ; 
legs sometimes white with the front of the tarsus and tops of the toes 
reddish " (Legge). 

Measurements. Length 13 or 14 in. ( = 330.2 to 355.6 mm.) ; wing 
7.20 in. ( = 182.8 mm.) to 8.20 ( = 208.6 mm.) with an average of 7.63 in. 
( = 193.8 mm.) ; bill at front barely .6 in. ( = 15.2 mm.) and from gap© 
about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) ; tarsus about .9 in. ( = 22.8 mm.). 

" Length 13.5 to 14.3 in. ; wing 7.7 to 8.0 in. ; tail 5.25 in. ; tarsus 1.1 in. j 
middle toe 1.72 ; its claw (straight) 0.4 in. ; bill to gape 1.1 in." (Legge). 

Adult female. Like the male. " Head, chest, and under-surface more 



CEYLON WOOD-PIGEON 169 

ruddy than in the male, and the cupreous line of the lo^A'er hind neck deeper ; 
under tail-coverts and flanks redder " (Legge). 

" Length 13.2 in. ; wing 7.2 in. ; tail 5.0 in. ; bill to gape LO in." (Legge). 

Colours of soft parts are also similar to the same parts in the male. 
" Legs and feet not so red, with the posterior part of tarsus and sides of toes 
fleshy-wliite " (Legge). 

Measurements. Unfortunately, very few of the specimens in the British 
Museum collection are sexed and it is impossible to say from these whether 
there is any difference in size between the sexes though it is probable the 
female will be found to average smaller. 

Toung male. Similar to the adult male but less highly glossed and with 
the grey parts more brown and less slate coloured. The grey of the head 
is also browner and not at all glossed. 

A young bird is thus described by Legge : " Upper surface ashy 
plumbeous ; forehead and face slightly ruddy ; neck patch not developed ; 
the feathers of the nuchal patch being blackish, with ashy whitish tips, not 
pure white ; the metallic hues of the hind neck faintly developed ; chest 
ruddy plumbeous ; the under surface vinaceous slaty, washed with fulvous 
brown on the breast. Some examples have the -n-ing-coverts edged with 
rusty and the chin and gorge more albescent than in the adult. 

" Birds of the year have the iris yellowish-grey, with generally an out«r 
ring of pale red (the normal colour of the adult) ; bill dusky at the tip ; legs 
and feet dull red anteriorly, dusky fleshy behind." 

Birds on first leaving the nest have the wiag-coverts and some of the 
feathers of tlie back edged with rusty-rufous, but all these markings seem 
to be lost in the first autumn moult. 

Distribution. Ceylon only. Within the limits of Ceylon, Legge thus 
describes the places it frequents : " Essentially a bird of the mountain forests, 
this splendid Pigeon is well known to all Europeans in the Central Provinces. 
It is very abundant in the Newara Eliya plateau forests and on all the 
surrounding wooded slopes down to an elevation of about 3,000 ft. ; below 
this it is not numerous ; Kelaart speaks of examples being obtained at 
Gampola ; but this was in the days of forest ; now that the whole country 
round that district is denuded, the visits of the Torrington Pigeon to it must 
be few and far between. I met with it at Newara Eliya in May, and found 
it plentiful on the Horton Plains in January ; it seemed then to prefer the 
singular isolated groves on the plains to the surrounding forest, no doubt 
owing to a greater abundance of food obtaining at that time in the former. 
It is very numerous in the Peak forests, where I procured it under 3,000 ft. ; 
and I have no doubt these vast jungles stretching along the high mountain 
chain up to the Horton Plains now forms its chief stronghold. In the Morowah 
Korale I have killed it at Aning Kanda Estate as low as about 2,400 ft., and 
between these and tlie Kukul Korale it is, I understand, almost abundant 
at times. 

" Mr. Holdsworth remarks that it ' changes its locality according to the 
season and the time at which the fruit of particular trees ripen.' He found 
it numerous at Newera Eliya at the end and beginning of the year. Mr. Bligh 
has noticed that a migratory movement takes place just previous to the 
' bursting ' of each monsoon ; which, together with its wanderings in search 
of fruit, will probably account for its somewhat periodical appearance in 
many districts." 



170 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Nidification. There is not much on record about the breeding of this 
fine Wood-Pigeon. Kelaart records that : " It comes to Newera Eliya to 
breed and I have seen a nest with only one egg as large as that of the 
domestic Pigeon." 

Legge never found the nest himself, but Bligh wrote him : " I have seen 
their nests both in Spring and Autumn as late as October ; they generally 
buUd in lofty forest trees, but I once frightened a large young one from a 
nest on a small tree some 15 ft. above the ground." Butler says, in reference 
to the Ceylon Wood-Pigeon breeding : " I have one egg, taken by my brother, 
Mr. C. E. Butler, in Uda Pusselawa, on November 11th, 1894. He described 
the nest as placed in a small tree in jungle about 25 ft. from the ground. The 
egg is similar to, but smaller than, an English Wood-Pigeon's, 1 J in. by 1 J in. 
At the present minute I know of a nest being built near here (September 24th). 
I believe it lays only one egg, as the one my brother took was hard set, and 
Mr. Bligh mentions frightening a single young one from a nest ; but Natives 
tell me it lays two eggs." 

Beyond Legge's notes there is practically nothing on record about 
the habits of this fine Pigeon, and I must therefore again indent upon 
him. In his Birds of Ceylon, he \vrites : " Frequenting, for the most 
part, lofty trees in the primeval forest of the mountains, and being of 
a very shy and wary disposition, this fine Pigeon is generally a diflScult 
bird to procure ; but notwithstanding, it is much sought after on accomit 
of its excellent flesh, and frequently falls to the planter's gun. It is 
entirely a fruit-eating species, and feeds more on the wild cinnamon 
fruit than any other kind ; on this it gorges itself to such an extent that 
I have found its crop burst wide open with the shock of falling to the 
ground. When thus satiated, it is not so watchful as usual, and may 
sometimes be approached without the crackling of a twig or the noise 
of leaves crushed underfoot frightening it off. It comes very early 
to roost ; and I found that it resorted to the same tree night after night, 
coming home from its forest wanderings about 4 p.m., and settling 
down either in or somewhere near its intended roosting-place. It 
then commences its ' coo ' (which is a fine deep note, but not so guttiural 
or resounding as that of the Imperial Pigeon), and now and then moving 
about in the adjacent trees, but not flying away to any distance. 

' ' By waiting in such places it may be more easily shot than in any 
other manner. About 10 o'clock in the mornmg after feeding, I have 
found it resting on the under branches of moderately sized trees in the 
Newara Eliya District ; but as a rule it selected the loftiest branches 
to perch on. Its flight is very strong and swift, and it takes a good 
shot to bring it down as it darts out of some loftj^ tree m its forest 
haunts ; Kelaart says that ' it flies high and in long sweeps.' In common 
Avith other Pigeons, it drinks in the morning, and I have found it in 



CEYLON WOOD-PIGEON 171 

mountain-streams as late as 9 p.m. Mr. Bligh informs me that it is 
unusual to find many together while feeding, but I imagine this depends 
on the quantity of fruit there may be on any given tree ; he tells me he 
once saw thirty or forty on a large tree in the Dambetemie gorge, 
but never observed so many together on any other occasion." 

Butler describes its note as " far more like the hoot of an owl 
than the coo of a Wood-Pigeon, a deep guttural ' hoom ' repeated at 
intervals." 



(33) ALSOCOMUS PULCHRICOLLIS (Hodg.). 

THE ASHY WOOD-PIGEON. 
(Plate 17.) 

Columba jmlchricollis Hodg., in Gray's Zool. Miscel., p. 85 (1844) : descr. 
nulla ; Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 866 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 305 ; 
Stuart Baker, Ibis 1896, p. 355 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 71. 

Palumbus jmlchricollis Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233 ; Gould, B. Asia, VI 
pi. 58; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 405; Hume, Str. Featli., VIII p. 119; 
id.. Cat. no. 785 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 360. 

Alsocomus pulchricollis Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 37 ; Thompson and 
Craddock, J.B.N.H.S., XIV p. 600; Osmaston, ib., XV p. 515; 
Harington, B. Burma, p. 67. 

Vernacular Names. Hko, Burmese ; Ka-o, Lepclia ; Daohukuruma 
majungbi, Cachari. 

Description. — Adult male. Head and nape dove-grey, paler on the sides 
of the head, and faintly glossed vith grey-green ; chin and centre of throat 
white : a patch on the neck black, the feathers broadly tipped buff, paling 
to whitish on the extreme margin — this patch is produced round the neck 
as a very narrow collar, the black hardly showing on the neck below the 
throat and the buff being almost entirely replaced by white. Next to this 
collar, above and below, blackish-brown, the feathers all highly glossed with 
metallic green and purple, extending above into the interscapulars ; lower- 
back and rump slaty-black becoming slaty-grey on the shorter upper 
tail-coverts ; longest tail-coverts and tail blackish-brown ; wing-coverts 
plumbeous-brown, darkest next to the back, and most pale on the outer 
greater coverts ; quills dark brown, the second to fifth edged narrowly with 
pale rufous. Below changing from the slaty-brown of the breast to dull 
bufBsh on the vent and abdomen, the sides of the latter more or less lilac- 
slate ; under tail-coverts buff and under aspect of wings and axillaries 
blackish-brown. 

Colours of soft parts. " Irides very pale yellow " (Rippon). 

Bill livid at the base, turning to yellow at the middle and tip. some- 
times tinged with green on the cere ; irides pale to bright yellow ; legs and 
feet dull purplish-red, or deep dull coral-red, the claws horny-bro%vn and the 
Boles a paler red. 

Measurements. About 15 in. in total length. Wing from 7.65 in. 
( = 194.3 mm.) to 8.50 in. ( = 216.3 mm.), the first measurement being that 
of an abnormally small bird, the next smallest in the British Museum 
Collection being 7.85 in. ( = 199.4 mm.) : average of forty-two specimens : 
8.24 in. ( = 209.7 mm.) ; bill at front .65 in. ( = 16.5 mm.) and from gape 
1.05 in. ( = 26.6 mm.) ; tarsus between .9 in. ( = 22.8 mm.) and 1 in. 
( = 25.4 mm.). Tail about 5.0 in. ( = 127 mm.). 

" Length 13i to 14 in. ; wing 8J to 9 in. ; tail 4| to 5 in." (Jerdon). 




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ASHY WOOD-PIGEON 173 

Adult female. Similar to the male. 

Colours of soft parts. The same as in the male. 

Measurements. There are, unfortunately, practically no sexed birds in 
the British Museum Collection, and it is therefore impossible to say whether 
the female is smaller than the male, though this is very probably the case. 
Twice when I obtained pairs of tliis bird I found the female on each occasion 
smaller and much slighter in build than its companion. 

Young male. Similar to the adult, but with practically no gloss, the 
collar less developed and the general tone of the plumage more brown than 
in the old bird. 

Distribution. This Pigeon is found in Nepal, Sikhim, and Tibet at 
elevations between 7,000 and 10,000 ft., possibly descending a good deal 
lower than this in winter. It occurs throughout the hills south of the Brahma- 
pootra River from 4,000 ft. upwards ; Osmaston found it not uncommon 
between 7,000 and 8,000 ft. near Darjiling, and Messrs. Thompson and 
Craddock obtained a single specimen at Loi Maw in the Shan States at 
7,200 ft. Harington also records it from the Shan States, but did not 
apparently meet with it himself anywhere in Burma. The only other place 
from which it has been recorded is Formosa. 

Nidification. There is nothing on record about the nidification of this 
bird beyond Osmaston's and my oWn notes on the subject. In the Ibis for 
1896. p. 155, 1 \vrote as follows : " Two nests of this Pigeon, taken at Hungrum, 
about 5,000 ft. elevation, were of the ordinary Wood-Pigeon type, mere rough 
platforms of small twigs coarsely, but strongly interlaced with one another ; 
but they had one very distinctive and unexpected feature, namely a sparse 
lining of feathers. The nests were rather large, nearly 9 in. in diameter ; 
there was little or no depression for the eggs, these laying among the feathers 
and prevented from falling out by some of the twigs projecting beyond 
the others, and by the numerous interstices and small liollows in between 
them, in which the eggs would have caught had they moved about. Each 
nest contained a single egg, perfect ellipses in shape, rather coarse and stout 
in texture, with a dull surface and measuring 1.55 in. by 1.15 in. and 1.50 in. 
by 1.17 in. Both nests were found on the same date, 22nd June, 1891." 

These two nests were placed in the beautiful stunted-oak forest growing 
between 5,000 and 6,000 ft. on the Barail Range, beautiful not so much because 
of the picturesque oak-trees as on account of their beautiful surroundings 
and the wonderful gro^-th under and around them. Each tree stood in a 
growth of bracken, caladiums, jasmine, begonias, and maidenhair fern, and all 
over the tree itself was a wondrous wealth of orchid-life, the orchids, many 
of the greatest beauty, peeping out from amongst a mass of pendant green 
moss which swayed to and fro in every breath of wind. 

On such a tree, and partly resting on a dense mass of Dendrobium 
chrysotoxicum and Dendrobium dalhousianum, one pair of Pigeons had placed 
their nest whilst the other pair were content to build on a small branch 
about 15 ft. from the ground, unadorned by any orchids, but almost hidden 
in a mass of vivid green moss and hart's-tongue fern. 

In 1897 and 1898 I again took nests of this Pigeon, both in the same 
kind of forest and in the same month, and each containing a single egg. 
The nests ^ere similar to those described above, and like them had 
quite copious linings of feathers, most of which seemed to have belonged 
to the birds themselves, though there were one or two barbet and other 
feathers also. 



174 INDIAN PIGEONS AND l^OVES 

Osmaston, writing in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 
Bays that he found this Pigeon " fairly common in tJie dense oak and chestnut 
forests between 7,000 and 8,000 ft. I found two nests in small trees about 
6 ft. and 10 ft. respectively above the ground on the 2l3t June. They were 
of the ordinary platforms of sticks, and contained each one young bird. 
These I brought up by hand, and they are now denizens of the Calcutta 
Zoological Gardens." 

The eggs seem to me to be rather small for the size of the bird : my biggest 
egg measures 1.56 by 1.18 in. ( = 39.6 by 30 mm.), and the smallest 1.46 
by 1.06 in. ( = 37 by 26.9 mm.). 

Two of the eggs are curiously coarse in texture for a Pigeon's egg, and 
are probably abnormal in this respect as two others in my collection are as 
smooth as any other Pigeon's or Dove's egg, though with a very stout and 
strong shell. 

In Sikhim this Pigeon seems to be comparatively plentiful, and 
Osmaston has found it to be " fairly common " round about Darjiling, 
where it kept to the dense oak and chestnut forests. Elsewhere, all 
over its range, it appears to be very rare, though this may be partly due 
to its very shy, retiring habits. 

In North Cachar it only occurred as a quite rare straggler ; some 
years I would see it half-a-dozen times during the whole twelve months, 
at other times a couple of years would pass without a single bird being 
noted. In the Naga Hills, adjoining the North Cachar HiUs, the Darjiling 
Wood-Pigeon was less uncommon, but there the ranges run from 6,000 
to 10,000 ft., whereas in North Cachar there are few over 6,000 ft., an 
elevation which is too low for the bird to frequent in any numbers. 
In the Khasia Hills I never came across it, and I do not think it ever 
enters these hills, nor would the pine-forests, the usual forest over 
4,500 ft., hold out any inducement to the birds to visit them. 

From the little I saw of them in North Cachar, I came to the con- 
clusion that when not nesting they were the hardest of aU the Pigeons 
to get close to. They used to sit in the denser foliaged parts of the 
oak-trees, never moving or uttering a sound luitil they thought I had 
got too near to be safe, when they quietly dropped, if I may use 
such an expression, out of the tree on the side opposite to me and wended 
their way to safety through the tree-tops. Even their flight was 
singularly quiet, and beyond an occasional "flip-flap" of their wings as 
they started, or again as they made some extra effort in twisting and 
turning in and out of the trees, I heard no soimd. Never did I hear 
them make the loud clapping with their wings indulged in by most 
Pigeons at the start of their flight, this probably because they descended 



ASHY WOOD-PIGEON 175 

when first leaving the tree instead of springing into the air with an extra 
effort, as so many of their relations do. 

Although so noiseless, their flight is just as powerful as that of 
any other of the bigger Pigeons, and the way they dodged in and 
out of the trees when going at speed was really astonishing. 

The first time I ever saw this Wood-Pigeon was when finding one 
of the Pigeon's nests referred to above. I saw the parent bird slip over 
the side, fired a snap-shot at it and missed. I had a good glimpse of 
the bird, however, and saw that it was something quite new to me, 
so Ijdng full-length and well hidden in the bracken I waited until the 
bird returned, when I again fired and again missed. Hiding again, 
I once more waited in hopes they would return, but it was not until 
over two hours had passed that at last both birds appeared and perched 
on the tree close to the nest and then, after knocking over one as it sat, 
I was lucky enough to get the other as it fiew off. 

Both these birds had been feeding on a small berry, growing on a 
tiny creeping-plant which is entirely terrestrial in its habits, so they 
must have descended to the grovmd to get them. They also eat aU 
fruit, acorns, etc., especially the blackberries and raspberries which 
grow in great profusion over the higher hills. The Nagas also teU me 
that they sometimes come into their patches of Indian corn, but that 
they are never numerous enough to do any real damage. I have also, 
on one occasion only in November, seen them waDdng about in the 
rice-stubble on a hiU-side, evidently picking up the rice which lay about 
in considerable quantities. Another bird I shot had been eating wild 
cardamum berries, and yet another had its crop fuU of tiny snails — little 
things, none of them as big as a green pea. 

They go about in very small flocks and sometimes singly or in pairs. 
I have never seen a flock of more than five, but it must be remembered 
that my district was only on the fringe of their normal habitat, and 
in more favoured regions the flocks may number more. 

I have seldom heard their note, which is very like that of the 
EngHsh Wood-Pigeon — a deep, sonorous " coo," but I think it is deeper 
still, and it is certainly more abrupt and less soft. 



(34) ALSOCOMUS PUNICEUS Tickell. 

THE PURPLE WOOD-PIGEON. 
(Plate 18.) 

Alsocomus puniceus Tickell, in Blyth's J.A.S.B., XI p. 461 (1842) ; Blyth, 
Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 233; Layard, Ann. and Mag. N.H., XIV p. 58; 
Jerdon, B.I., III p. 469 ; Ball, Str. Feath., II p. 424 ; Blyth and Wald., 
B. Burma, p. 145 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XLIII pt. 2 p. 171 ; Armstrong, 
Str. Feath, IV p. 337 ; Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 418 ; Ball, ib., VII 
p. 224 ; Hume, Str. Feath., VIII pp. 109, 157 ; id., Cat. no. 782 ; Gates, 
Str. Feath., VIII p. 167 ; Bingh., ib., p. 196 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 696 ; 
Hume and InglLs, Str. Feath., IX p. 258 ; Gates, ib., X p. 235 ; id., 
B. Brit. Burm^a, II p. 289 ; Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 296 ; Gates, in 
Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 345 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV 
p. 38 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., X p. 359 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 474 ; Stuart 
Baker, ib., XIII p. 568; Hopwood, ib., XVIII p. 433; Harington, 
ib., XIX p. 365 ; id., B. Burma, p. 67. 

Columha punicea Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV pp. 867, 878 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., 
XXI p. 306; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 71. 

Vernacular Names. Lali Pagooma, Assamese ; Daohukuruma Koro- 
gophu, Cachari. 

Description. — Adult male. Wliole upper part of head from fore-head to 
nape, together w ith a narrow line below the bare orbital skin, greyish-white ; 
sides of head and neck dull, rather pale chestnut-brown, greyish next the 
base of the lower mandible, and ^vith the black bases of the neck-feathers 
often showing through on the upper-neck ; back and scapulars rich, deep 
chestnut, the feathers broadly edged with brilliant green and amethyst, the 
former predominating on the shoulders where their broad edges cover the 
whole of the visible plumage, and the amethyst covering the upper-back 
and interscapulars and showing as bars on the lower- back ; rump and upper 
taU-coverts deep slaty-grey, almost black, and margined witli amethyst, 
except on the longest taU-coverts ; taU blackish-brown. Wliole of the visible 
portion of the wing-coverts ricli chestnut-brown, the lesser and median -coverts 
narrowly edged with metallic amethyst ; edge of wing and greater primary- 
coverts blackish-brown ; quills blackish-brown, the second primary narrowly 
edged with pale brown, this edging decreasing in extent until it disappears 
on the 5th or 6th primary. Innermost secondaries like the back. Breast, 
abdomen, flanks, axillaries and under wing-coverts a pale and rather vinous- 
chestnut, darker about the vent and tibial plumes ; the breast is overlaid 
with a faint iridescent green sheen ; under tail-coverts bro^vnish-black, 
paler than the tail itself. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides creamy-yellow, orange-yellow to orange-red, 
the eyelids bright, almost carnation-red and the orbital skin a duller purplish - 
pink. Bill greenish or bluish-horny from tip to nostril and the angle of the 
gonys, and thence to the fore-head and lores, including cere, a sanguineous- 
pink. Legs and feet purple-red, the soles paler and the claws horny-wliite. 

" Iris bloodshot amber ; bill vinous-purple at base, remainder greenish 
white ; legs carnation, claws white " (Wardlaw Ramsay). " Claws pale 
yellow " (Jerdon). 

Measurements. Total length about 16 in. ( = 406 mm.) ; wing from 
8.3 in. ( = 210.8 mm.) to 9.3 in. ( = 236.2 mm.) with an average of 8.8 in. 




THE PURPLE WOOD-P\GEON—ALSOCOMUS PUNICEUS. 
(\ Nat. Size— Male above, female below.) 



Plate 18 



PURPLE WOOD-PIGEON 177 

( = 224 mm.) ; bill at front .65 in. ( = 16.5 mm.) and from gape 1.1 in. 
( =27.9 mm.) ; tarsus ratlier under 1.0 in. ( = 25 mm.) ; tail 6 in. 
( = 152.4 mm.) to 7 in. ( = 177.8 mm.). 

Tenasserim birds do not appear to be any smaller than those 
from north-east India, one of tliem having a wing measuring 9.25 in. 
( = 234.9 mm.), but in the Hume collection there is a rather large percentage 
of obviously young birds from this part of Burma, and it may be on tliis 
account that Blanford has recorded his opinion to the effect that birds from 
this district are smaller than from elsewhere. 

Davison has only given the weight of one bird, and this as but 8 oz. 
On the other hand, the only two I liave weighed were 14 and 14i oz. 
respectively, and 8 oz. seems very little for so big a bird so it may have been 
a mistake for 18 oz. Cripps records the weight of six males as varjring 
between 12.75 and 18 oz. 

Adult female. Similar to the male, but slightly smaller. The head is 
as pure a grey and the purple -chestnut as rich and glossy in the fully adult 
female as it is in the male, but from the large percentage of dull coloured 
females in collections it may be that females take sis months or a year longer 
than the males in obtaining tlieir full splendour. 

Measurements. The female is decidedly smaller than the male, being 
about 14 in. ( = 355.6 mm.) in total length and with a wing -average of 
8.44 in. ( = 2i4.3 mm.) and a range in extremes of 8.0 in. ( := 203.2 mm.) 
and 8.85 ( = 224.8 mm.); the measurements of the other parts are 
correspondingly slightly smaller. Two females weighed by Cripps were 
13.60 and 14 oz. respectively. 

YouTig in first year's plumage ( ? females in second year also) are generally 
much duller in coloration and with tlie under-parts from cliin to vent a dull 
pale brown only suffused here and there with cliestnut ; the head is the same 
coloration as the neck, and the upper-parts are more brown. 

Young in first plumage are still browner and duller and have the wing- 
coverts and interscapulars brown margined with rufous and submargined 
with darker. 

Distribution. In the heavily-forested parts of Eastern Bengal, 
Singhbhum, Manbhum, Purulia, Sunderbunds, Dacca and Mymensingh and 
thence throughout the districts of the Assam Valley into Burma. South and 
east of Assam it is found in Cachar, Sylhet, Tipperah and Chittagong, and 
through all the damper wooded parts of Burma, Cochin China, and Siam 
into the Malay Peninsula. There is a single specimen of this species in the 
Poole Museum, wliich was procured by Layard in Ceylon, and Legge himself 
thought he saw a flock of them near Borella in 1869. Since then no one 
has again met Tvith this Pigeon, and it can onlj' occur in tliat island as a very 
rare straggler. It has never been found in southern India. 

Nidification. There are only two notes recorded on the breeding of this 
Pigeon. Gates, the first to discover its nests and eggs, writing to Hume 
from Pegu recorded : " Kyeikpadein, 27tli July. — Nest in fork of horizontal 
bamboo-bough, about 10 ft. from the ground, composed of a few twigs woven 
carelessly together. Male bird sitting. One egg quite fresh. Colour white, 
very glossy. Size 1.47 by 1.15 in. Probably only one egg laid." 

The first eggs seen by myself were taken by my collectors on the 1st 
and 2nd of June, 1889, and were brought to me a few days later. The two 
nests from which they were taken were described as rough structures of 
sticks through which the eggs were visible from below, and in both cases 

N 



178 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

they were said to have been placed in small saplings five or six feet from 
the ground. These two eggs measured 1.65 by 1.28 in. and 1.63 by 1.25 in. 

Since 1889 I have taken about a dozen nests of this Pigeon in North 
Cachar, Asssam, and in the Kliasia Hills. The nest Ls the usual Pigeon's 
nest of twigs and sticks, and measures about 8 or 9 in. in diameter by about 
2 to 4 in. deep. The materials of which it is composed appear to have been 
picked up dead from the ground and not torn from the living tree ; the 
depression is hardly visible and the twigs are put together in the roughest 
manner imaginable. 

In most cases the nest is placed in a small tree or tall bush at no great 
height from the ground, generally between 5 and 10 ft., but occasionally 
it is placed higher up in a tall tree and still more seldom in a bamboo-clump. 
In the latter case, however, the bamboo-clump selected appears to be always 
one standing in mixed tree and bamboo forest, and not in jungle composed 
of bamboo only. 

Normally the number of eggs laid is one only, but more than once I 
have taken two from the same nest, and the bird probably lays t\\ o eggs in 
about once in every five instances. 

The eggs are of the ordinary Columha type, pure white, long ellipses 
in shape or long ovals, abnormal eggs tending towards pointed ovals. The 
texture is hard and close but not very fine, and, even when first laid, they are 
not highly glossed. 

They vary extraordinarily in size, the largest egg in my collection being 
1.65 by 1.28 in. ( =41.8 by 32.5 mm.) and the smallest 1.40 by 1.10 in. 
( = 36.5 by 28 mm.); the average of fifteen eggs is 1.48 by 1.15 in. 
( = 37.6 by 29.2 mm.). 

They seem to be late breeders, all my eggs having been taken in the 
last few days of May, in June, or in early July. Both birds take a share 
in the duties of incubation, and I have taken more males than females on 
the nest, but tlus is possibly due to the fact that, as is the case with many 
otiier Pigeons and Doves, the male bird seems to take up Ids duties during 
the daytime, whereas the female sits principally at night. 

The tree, bush, or bamboo-clump selected as a site for tlieir nest is one 
almost always within easy reach of water, often on the bank of some small 
forest-stream or pool and, equally invariably, it is one standing in fairlj' 
thick forest. 

The Purple Wood-Pigeon is a bird more of the plains than 
mountains, but ascends the latter regularly to a height of some 2,000 ft., 
and is sometimes found up to about 4,000 ft. At whatever height 
it is found, it seems essential that there should be both ample evergreen 
or shady forest and a certain amount of cultivation. Over the greater 
part of its range it appears to be a decidedly rare bird. In the plains 
of Cachar and Sj'^lhet it is commonly met with, and both Messrs. Vernon 
Woods and W. Cathcart, C.I.E., tell me that they have frequently shot 
this Pigeon in the rice-fields when out snipe-shooting at the end of the 
season after the rice has been cut. About the foot-hills of the Sylhet 
and Khasia Hills it is even more numerous, and Harington says that 
in the Myitkina district and round about Rangoon it is very fairly 



PURPLE WOOD-PIGEON 179 

plentiful. Bingham also found them by no means rare in the Sinzaway 
Forest Reserve, in Tenasserim, but everywhere else, though widely 
distributed, it is only to be foimd in very small numbers. 

I have never seen this Pigeon in flocks, nor have the numerous 
observers and collectors who have worked for me ever seen them except 
singly or in pairs, or perhaps a pair of old birds accompanied by their 
young one on its first leaving the nest. Colonel Tickell, however, the 
discoverer of the bird, fomid them in small parties of four or five along 
the banks of rivers shaded by large forest-trees in Singhbhum. 

This fine Wood-Pigeon has hitherto been considered to be entirely 
frugivorous, but this is by no means the case, as it eats grain of almost 
any kind quite as freely as fruit. When the rice has been harvested and 
the fields have all dried up, this bird is a regular visitor to those fields 
which border or intersect the forest-lands, and may be met with in the 
very early mornings or late afternoons walking about in the stubble 
picking up the rice which has been left behind. So also, the Sylhetees 
inform me, it frequents the fields of Indian com and " Bajra," a species 
of millet, eating both these kinds of grain from the crop itself as it 
ripens or from the gleanings after the crop has been reaped. 

I do not think it is ever found feeding very far from forest, but 
it will traverse considerable extents of open country in order to get 
from one feeding-place to another, and I have had several reports sent 
me of birds killed in wide open plains whilst thus crossing it from one 
forest to another. It is a strong, swift flier, very direct in its move- 
ments and proceeding with the typical, rather dehberate wing-beats 
of the Common Wood-Pigeon. On the ground it is a decidedly active 
bird, moving about well and freely with action similar to, but less 
clumsy than, that of oin? European bird. 

I have never heard the call of this Pigeon, but Bingham describes 
it as " a soft mew, not unlike that of Carpophaga aenea, only not half 
so loud or booming." 

The plumage of the Pvurple Wood-Pigeon is just as thick as that of 
the other species of the genus, whilst it seems to be also closer together 
and better attached to the skin, so that it offers an even greater resistance 
to shot than the others do, and it is consequently a very difficult bird 
to bring down at long range. On the other hand, when falling from 
a height it does not get so dreadfully knocked to pieces as do most 
Pigeons, and, consequently, good skms are more easily obtained, or 
rather, more frequently in proportion to the number of birds killed. 

N 2 



(35) ALSOCOMUS PALUMBOIDES (Hume). 

THE ANDAMAISTESE WOOD-PIGEON. 
(Plate 19.) 

Carpophaga palumboides Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 302 (1873) ; id. ib., II 
pp. 53, 263 and 498 ; id. ib.. Ill p. 327 ; id. ib., p. 292 ; id. ib., VIII 
p. 109; id.. Cat. no. 781, quat. 

lanthoeiias -palumboides Walden, Ibis 1873, p. 315, pi. xm. 

lanthoRims nicobarica Walden, Ann. and Mag. N.H., XIV p. 157 ; Hume, 
Str. Featli., Ill p. 327. 

Columba palumboides Salvador!, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 308 ; Sharpe, Hand- 
List, I p. 71. 

Alsocomus palumboides Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 39 ; Butler, J.B.N.H.S., 
XII p. 690. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head a beautiful pearl-grey or pearl- 
white, showing a faint iridescent slieen of emerald-green on the crown and 
nape ; upper-neck a little darker and with the sheen showing more definitely, 
lower hind-neck the same but with the dark bases of the feathers showing through 
and the metallic lustre rather a darker green, getting quite a dark metallic 
green on the shoulders. Remainder of upper-parts and wing-coverts a deep 
slaty-grey, almost black, all the feathers with a broad metallic border, amethyst 
or copper-purple in most lights, green in a few, except on the median wing- 
coverts on wliich the margins are very narrow and appear to always show 
green ; quills and greater coverts of primaries blackish-brown, the 2nd, 3rd, 
and 4th, and sometimes the 5th, primary with a narrow edge of grey-brown 
to the outer web. Tail blackish brown ; lo^^•er part from neck to vent light 
slate-grey with a faint sheen of emerald-green ; under wing coverts, axillaries, 
flanks and under tail-coverts a rather darker grey. 

Colours of soft parts. " Back and sides of tarsi and toes pale fleshy- 
pink, front of tarsi bright but light red, soles whitish, claws white. Upper 
mandible and lower mandible to tip of gonys pale wliitish-yellow, cere and 
rest of lower mandible lake red. Irides orange near pupil, darkening to light 
red on posterior margins " (Davison). 

"Iris reddish-yellow ; feet pink, claws white; bill pinkish-lilac at base 
and white at tip " (Wardlaw Ramsay). 

Measurements. Length about 17 in. ( = 432 mm.) ; wing average 9.95 in. 
( = 252.7 mm.), and with extreme measurements of 9.50 in. ( = 241.3 mm.) 
and 10.15 in. (=257.8 mm.) respectively. Bill at front about .85 in. 
( = 21.6 mm.), and from gape about 1.4 in. ( = 35.5 mm.) ; tarsus about 
1.2 in. ( = 30.5 mm.). 

" Weight 1 lb. 2 ozs." (Davison). 



%■ 




THE ANDAMANESE WOOD-PIGEON— .-ILSOCO.MUS PAWMBOIDES. 

a Nat. Size.) PLATE 19 



ANDAMANESE WOOD-PIGEON 181 

Adult female. " In the female the head and neck is slightly greyer 
than in the male " (Blanfordl. 

I cannot see that this difference is constant, and there is one female in 
the British IMuseum Collection with a head as pure a grey-white as it is in any 
of the males. The difierence noted by Blanford is probably only due to 
immaturity. 

Colours of soft parts are the same as in the male. 

Measurements. From the small series available for comparison it would 
appear that the female is slightly smaller than the male. Excluding 
an abnormally small, poor-conditioned female with a wing of only 8.5 in. 
( = 215.9 mm.) the remaining four females in the Museum Collection vary 
in wing-measurements between 9.5 in. ( = 241.3 mm.) and 9.95 in. 
( = 252.7 mm.), with an average of 9.70 in. ( = 246.3 mm.). Measurements 
of bill and tarsus are also slightly smaller on an average than the male. 

" Weight 1 lb. 2 oz." (Hume). 

Young in first year. Have the head a much darker grey than in the 
adult and with no green sheen, the wider parts are a duller, browner 
grey, also without sheen, and the back and wing-coverts are browner and 
less glossy. 

Distribution. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Nidification. Nothing has as yet been discovered as regards the breeding 
of this fine Pigeon. 

The Andaman Wood-Pigeon is a bird concerning which practically 
nothing has been recorded since its discovery, in 1873, by Hume and 
Davison. 

It appears to be closely similar to the Fruit-Pigeons in its habits, 
and Hume, writing about a bird which he then had alive in Calcutta, 
says : "In its mode of holding itseK and its broad substantial body it 
is a typical Carpophaga and not at all like the more slender and pigeon-like 
3Iefallica." Butler, however, does not agree with this, for he writes (l.c.) : 
" I only shot it once on Car Nicobar, and unfortunately the bird went 
bad before I could preserve it. It seemed to me more of a Wood-Pigeon 
than a Fruit-Pigeon ; my bird rose either from the ground or from a 
low branch within a foot or two from it — far lower than I have 
seen a Carpophaga settle." This settling on low branches would, how- 
ever, appear to be exceptional, for Hume thus describes one of their 
favourite resting-places : " About midway in the Straits is a conical 
rocky islet, perhaps half an acre in extent, rising to an elevation of 
70 or 80 ft., and crowned by trees of an equal or greater height ; these 
trees seemed to be a favourite half-way house of the Fruit-Pigeons. 
During the half-hour that we himg about and remained on the island 
we must have seen a couple of hundred. They were always perched 
on the tops of the highest trees ; we could see them perfectly well from 



182 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

a boat a* a distance of 150 yards, and examine them with binoculars 
ahnost as well as if they were in the hand, but directly we landed they 
became invisible. With my half-broken back I could not climb, but 
my companion crawled up to the summit. There, at the very roots 
of the trees, on which they were sitting in dozens, though he could 
hear their deep coo, their clattering amongst the leaves as they alighted, 
their fluttering and the whirr of their wings as they flew off, he could 
see nothing. He fired once or twice by the sound, but I do not believe 
the shot ever got through the dense, unbroken, massive sheet of foliage 
that protected them." 

Davison, like Butler, shot the first bird he obtained seated quite 
close to the ground ; he says : " I know nothing special of the habits of 
this fine species, which seemed to me in every respect an Imperial 
Pigeon. I found the one I shot at Port Moriat sitting on a low branch 
by the side of a forest path ; it was not at all shy, and allowed me to 
get close enough to shoot it with a walking-stick gmi. It had swallowed 
several fruits about the size of a walnut, two of them ^^ith stalks, about 
two inches long and as thick as a goose quill, attached." 

Hume seems to have found it comparatively common in Macpherson's 
Straits, where he saw " numerous small parties . . . which repeatedly 
passed over us, flying from the tops of the trees on the hill-slopes on one 
side to similar positions on the other, and, of course, well out of shot. 
One party settled on Bird Island, a tiny precipitous wooded islet, and 
though we could hear their loud deep coo, and from the water's edge 
watch them feeding, scuffling and making love on the branches of the 
highest central trees, we could see nothing of them, when, ^vith infinite 
trouble we worked a way up to the base of these trees, though we could 
stiU hear them. 

" I have no doubt that this species is a permanent resident of the 
Andamans and Nicobars, moving, as Nicobarica does, from island to 
island, as the different fruits and hemes., which constitute the sole food 
of these large Pigeons, ripen." 



DOVES. 
Genus STREPTOPELIA (Bp.). 

The generic-name by which this the best known group of Doves 
has been knoAvn until recently is Turtur ; but unfortunately, as Hartert 
has shown {Hand-List of British Birds, p. 161), Selby's name, which was 
instituted in 1835, was preoccupied by Boddaert in 1773 for a totally 
different form of Pigeon, and the name Turtur must therefore be 
suppressed. The next oldest name which can be applied to the group 
is Streptopdia of Bonaparte, published in 1857. 

Sharpe in his Hand-List divides the genus Turtur as it originally 
stood, into manj' genera of which Turtur, Streptopelia, Onopopdia, 
and Spilopelea are all represented in India, but with the exception 
of Onopopelia { = Oenopopelia), in which the sexes differ in plumage, 
I see no valid reason for dividing the others and, therefore, retain them 
under the title and genus Streptopelia. 

According to Blanford, in the genus Streptopelia, ( = Turtur) 
there are seven species of Doves occurring within Indian limits, but 
of these I reduce orienlalis and ferrago to the rank of subspecies of 
Streptopelia turtur turtur, and tigrinus to be a subspecies of suratensis. 
There are therefore still four species retained as such in the genus and, 
on the other hand, besides the above three subspecies, I accept in addi- 
tion arenicola and meena cis two more subspecies of S. turtur turtur. 

In general features the birds of the genus Streptopelia may be known 
by their small size, comparatively small head and slender neck, weak 
narrow bill, and by their comparatively long and narrow wing, of which 
the 2nd and 3rd primary is the longest. The tail exceeds two- 
thirds the length of, but is never longer than, the wing itself, and it is 
considerably graduated. The feet and tarsi are formed for walking, 
the toes bemg narrow, and the legs strong though short. 

The sexes are similar in colour and all the species are birds of 
grey or brown plumage, and are decorated with a demi-coUar or a patch 
on either side of the hind-neck. 

They are sociable but not gregarious birds, and some of the species 
are resident whilst others are migratory. 



Key to the Species. 

A. A patch of black feathers tipped with white or grey on 

either side of the neck but divided down the nape ... 5. turtur. 

B. A collar of black feathers each ending in a double white 

s^pot round back of neck ... ... ... ... ... S. siiratensis. 

C. A collar of black feathers with rufous tips round front of 

neck ... ... ... ... ... ... ... S. cambayensis. 

Z). A collar of plain black feathers rowmd feacA; 0/ weci- ... ... S. risoria. 



STREPTOPELIA TURTUR. 

Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Tips to feathers of neck -patch white : 

a. Darker and duller and with more vinous on the under- 

parts S. I. turtur. 

b. Paler and brighter and with the abdomen more exten- 

sively white S. t. arenicola. 

B. Tips to feather of neck -patch grey : 

c. Vent, flanks, and under tail-coverts dark grey ... S. t. meena. 

d. Vent, flanks, and under tail-coverts pale grey S. t. orientalis. 

e. Vent and flanks very pale grey and under tail-coverts 

white S.t.ferrago. 



Unfortunately it is quite impossible to give any key which will 
render it easy to discriminate these races one from another, as all the 
differences are ones of comparative depth of colouring only, although 
typical specimens are easily separable when laid alongside one another. 

Roughly speaking it may be said of the five subspecies that — 

Streptopelia turtur turiur is a very rare straggler from north Persia 
and Asia Minor. 

S. turtur arenicola is an equally rare straggler into north-west India 
from southern Persia and Arabia. 

S. turtur ferrago is a migratory bird, breeding in the Himalayas 
and visiting almost every part of India in the cold weather. 

S. turtur meena is the common resident form over Continental 
India, eastern India, and Burma. 

S. turtur orientalis is the resident species in the extreme north. 

From the key it is seen that I consider all the above birds to be 
subspecies of Streptopelia turtur, whilst Hartert and others consider 
S. orientalis m-ientulis and S. orientalis meena form another group. 
To me, however, they all appear to be geographical races of the same 
species, and if it is correct to say that turtur turtur grades into turtur 
arenicola, and that again into turtur ferrago, so it seems to me that turtur 
arenicola grades into turtur orientalis, and there are a few birds in the 
British Museum Collection which form an excellent connecting link 
between the two subspecies. 



(36) STREPTOPELIA TURTUR TURTUR (Linn.). 
THE TURTLE-DOVE. 

Columba lurtur Linn., Sys. Nat., I p. 284 (1766) (India) ; Latham, Ind. Orn., 

II p. 605. 
Turtur communis Selby, Nat. Lib., Orn., V pp. 153, 171 (1835), descr. nulla ; 

Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 42. 
Turtur vulgaris Eyt., Cat. Brit. B., p. 32 (1836). 
Turtur migratorius Sw., Classif. B., II p. 349. 
Turtur auritus Gray, List Gen. B., p. 38 (1840) ; BIyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 

p. 237 (Hume, Lah. to Yark., p. 278 ; Blanf., E. Persia, II p. 270 ; 

Scully, Str. Feath., IV p. 177 ; id., J.A.S.B., VI p. 86. All these latter 

references apply more properiy to the bird which Hartert has separated 

as areiiicola). 
Columba afra Webb and Beth., Orn. Can., p. 28. 
Turtur turtur Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 397 ; Sharpe, Hand-List. I p. 77 ; 

Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I. 
Streptopelia turtur Bonaparte (1857) ; Hart., Jour., Tice., and With., Hand- 

LLst Brit. B., p. 161. 

Vernacular Name. Turul-ghu (Turki). 

Description. — Adult male. Upper portion of head from fore-head to 
base of hind-neck ashy -grey ; a patch of black feathers on either side of the 
base of the neck, each feather edged with white, the white and black forming 
regular streaks in the living bird ; upper-back pale brown, but varying much 
in tone and with the grey of the neck sometimes encroaching into the inter- 
scapulars ; lower-back, rump, and upper tail-coverts ashy-brown, in some 
cases more grey than in others, more especially on the lower-back and sides 
of the rump. Central tail-feathers browTi, very narrowly tipped with white 
or fawn-white ; remaining tail-feathers slaty-black witli a broad terminal 
band ctf white and the outermost pair with the whole outer web white also. 
Scapulars, lower and inner median coverts and innermost secondaries brownish - 
chestnut or cinnamon, with bold black centres divided from the outer colour 
by faint intermediate lines of grey ; remaining coverts grey ; (juills bro\\n, 
narrowly edged with whitish and the outermost secondaries more ashy at 
their bases ; chin, sides of head and throat pale vinous, albescent on the chin 
and often rather fulvous on the throat, gradually changing to deep vinous 
on the breast, and again changing to white on the centre of the abdomen, 
vent, and thigh-coverts ; under tail-coverts pure white. Under wing-coverts, 
axillaries, and flanks dark dove-grey. Under aspect of tail black with broad 
terminal band of white. 

Colours of soft parts. Iris orange, orange-red, red or orange-brown ; 
eyelid reddish -bro\An and orbital skin still more puiple ; legs and feet purple 
or reddisli-purple, paler on the soles and w ith the cla\\s horny-black ; bill 
greyish or slaty-black, the edge of the gape purplish-red. 

Measurements. Length about eleven inches or rather over. Wing 
6.5 in. ( = 165.1 mm.) to 7.2 in. ( = 183.9 mm.) : bill at front about .65 in. 
( = 16.5 mm.), and from gape about .85 in. ( = 21.6 mm.); tail 4.5 to 5 in. 
( = 104.3 to 127.4 mm.) ; tarsus about .75 in. ( = 19 mm.). 

Female. "The plumage less bright and pure" (Salvadori). 

I cannot discriminate in any %\ay between the two sexes in plumage, 
and much the highest coloured bird in the British Museum Collection is sexed 
as a female. 



TURTLE-DOVE 187 

The male is, however, a rather heavier-built bird, tliough it has no greater 
average \ving-measurement and is no longer in total length. 

Colours of soft parts are the same as in the male. 

Toung male is generally, but by no means invariably, a good deal browner 
than the adult on the upper-parts ; the black patches at the base of the neck 
are absent, or only show as faint black bases to the feathers of that part ; 
the bold black centres are absent from the scapulars and much less developed 
on the wing-coverts and innermost secondaries. The lower-back, and often 
also the rump and upper tail-coverts, have narrow edges of rufous-wliite, 
these white bars sometimes extending to the scapulars ; wing-coverts nar- 
rowly edged with pale rufous, and the quills more broadly margined and 
also tipped with rufous. The under-parts are more grey and less vinaceous, 
and in very young birds the breast-feathers are very narrowly and faintly 
edged with rufous. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill slaty-black, tipped paler on the lower mandible, 
and witli the gape more strongly marked with pintle. Iris dull pale-bro'w n, 
becoming reddish-brown after the first moult. 

Distribution. Within Indian limits the European Turtle-Dove is only 
a very rare straggler into the extreme north-west, and in the British Museum 
Collection I can find but one specimen, an adult female obtained by Lieutenant- 
Colonel Swinhoe in Quetta on the 7th May, 1881. The other specimens 
hitherto shown as of this subspecies are all undoubtedly arenicola. In the 
Hand-List of British Birds, by Hartert, Jourdaui, Ticehurst, and Witherby, 
the range of this Dove is given as " Europe from Scandinavia and north 
Russia to Mediterranean and westernmost Asia ; in winter in north Africa, south 
to Abyssinia and Red Sea. Replaced by allied races in north Africa, Persia 
and probably other parts of western Asia." I think, however, it is probable 
that typical turtur turtur extends a good deal fm-ther east than these writers 
give it credit for. The bird obtained by Colonel S\\inlioe in Quetta is a quite 
typical European bird and can be matched by many birds shot in Great 
Britain, and I have seen other specimens killed in northern Persia and 
Afghanistan which cannot possibly be divided from it. Admitting that it 
breeds in " westernmost Asia," there is notliing very astounding in stragglers 
being obtained in the winter months as far south as north-west India. 

Nidification. There is, of course, nothing on record of this bird breeding 
within our limits. According to Seebohra (vide Eggs of British Birds, p. 159), 
" The nest is sometimes built in a tall, dense hedge, sometimes in an evergreen 
bush, or in the branches of a pine-tree ; as a rule, however, it is much nearer 
to the ground than that of the Ring-Dove, sometimes within easy reach of 
the hand. It is usually a slight, flat structure, made of slender twdgs, but 
I have occasionally found it to be more substantially made. 

" The eggs are two in number, creamy-white in colour, like those of the 
Stock -Dove, and oval in form, both ends being almost equally pointed ; 
they vary in length from 1.25 to 1.1 in., and in breadth from .94 to .86 in. 
The small size of the eggs of the Turtle-Dove prevents them being confused 
with those of any other British species of Pigeon." 

Seebohm's reference to the creamy tinge of these eggs presumably refers 
to those unblown, as the eggs otherwise are absolutely pure white. 

They breed principally in the end of April and May — Morris gives May 
as the chief month in wliich most eggs are laid — but I have myself taken 
eggs in the second week in April, and again late in June, this probably being 
a second brood. 

Morris states the period of incubation to be sixteen or seventeen days. 



(37) STREPTOPELIA TURTUR ARENICOLA (Hartert). 
THE PERSIAN TURTLE-DOVE. 

Turtur turtur arenicola Hartert, Nov. Zool., I p. 42 (1894). 
Turtur auritiis Hume, Lali. to Yark., p. 278 ; Blaiif., E. Persia, II p. 270 ; 
Scully, Str. Feath., IV p. 177. 

Turtur turtur Saivadori, Cat. B.M., XXI pt. i (part) ; Sliarpe, Hand-Ijist, 
pt. I, p. 77 (part) ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., pt. i, p. 94 (part). 

Vernacular Name. Tarul-ghu, Turki. 

Description. — Adult male. Similar to the adult male of S. turtur turtur, 
the European Turtle-Dove, but much paler and brighter in colour. The 
upper-back, scapulars, and wing-coverts bright pale cinnamon, the head 
paler and more ashy and the under-parts very much paler, ^dth the extent 
of wliite greater and the vmaceous less as well as being brighter and more 
pink. The edges to the feathers of the black patches on the neck are wider 
and at t]ie same time less pure a white than in turtur turtur, this being especially 
noticeable in the Yarkand, Persian, and Afghanistan specimens. 

Measurements. " The dimensions of the type of Turtur turtur arenicola 
in the Tring Museum are as follows : Total length about 11 in., wing 6.45, 
tail 4.4, culmen 0.68, tarsus 0.8. English Turtle-Doves have the wing 
larger." (Hartert.) 

The series in the British Museum have wings measuring from 6.40 in. 
( = 161.5 mm.) to 7.15 in. ( = 181.6 mm.), so that it does not appear that 
in a large series the wing of the European bird would average any larger than 
that of the Persian. 

"Weight 4.4 oz." (Scully). 

Colours of soft parts. " Bill greyish black, edge of gape and orbital space 
purple ; irides orange yellow ; legs and feet purple, cla«s black " (Scully). 
" Iris orange, legs and feet lake red " (Forsyth). 

Female. Similar to the male. 

Young. Differs from the adult in the same way as the young of turtur 
turtur differs from the adult male of that subspecies. 

This bird was originally described by Hartert in Novitates Zoological 
from a specimen obtained at Fao in Persia, and he there notes " those from 
Yarkand are different from the European bird and brighter cinnamon on 
the back, scapulars, and upper wing-coverts." I cannot, however, separate 
the birds from Afghanistan, Yarkand and Gilgit from tlie south Persian 
birds, and these again seem to me to be identical with birds from Palestine. 
They are very close to, barely separable indeed, from the Nortli African birds, 
but are perhaps a trifle brighter and more ciiuiamon in tint above and paler 
and less vinous below. 

Distribution. Persia in the south — but replaced in tlie extreme north 
and Trans-Caucasia by the true turtur — Arabia and Palestine, Afghanistan, 



PERSIAN TURTLE-DOVE 189 

Yarkand, and wandering into Gilgit, whence there are two specimens in the 
British Museum Collection. 

If arenicola, the Persian Turtle-Dove, is considered identical with the 
north African Turtle-Dove, then its range must be further extended to 
Algeria in the east and Shoa in the south. 

Nidification. In Stray Feathers Scully gives an interesting account 
of this Dove's nesting. He \\Tites : " The Turtle-Dove is a seasonal visitant 
to the Plains of Eastern Turkestan, arriving in May and migrating towards 
the end of September or beginning of October ; it was never observed in 
winter. This Dove frequents trees and orchards ; and in May and June 
its beautiful, soft, musical note could be heard every day about the neighbour- 
hood of Yarkand. It lays in May and June, and on the 15th of the latter 
month I saw two very young nestlings of this species. I found a nest of 
this species ; it was a loose kind of cup, composed of twigs and placed in the 
fork of a willow-tree about seven feet from the ground. It contained only 
one egg, the contents of which were found to be quite fluid ; the female bird 
was sitting on the nest at the time and only flew away when I got close to it. 
On the 12th June a nest of the Turtle-Dove, containing t\^'o eggs, was placed 
in a thorn-bush. On the 25th June I found another nest, contaimng one 
egg — ^much incubated to judge by the colour. A thick main branch of a 
willow-tree liad been cut off, and on the horizontal face of this cut stump, 
which was slightly concave, a few twigs were arranged in a concentric manner 
forming a thin shallow cup in which the eggs rested. The twigs of this 
bedding were so loosely put together that the wood of the tree could be seen 
through them. 

" The three eggs of this Dove, which I have, are pure white and glossy. 
They may be described as a regular oval, a somewhat pointed oval, and a 
longish narrow oval. They measure 1.36 by 0.91 ; 1.28 by 0.9; and 1.18 
by 0.89. Average of the three eggs, 1.27 in length by 0.9 in breadth." 

There are a good many eggs of this subspecies from Persia in the British 
Museum Collection, taken by W. Cumming at Fao in the Persian Gulf on 
the 16th and 22nd of May. They cannot be in any way distinguished from 
the eggs of the Common Turtle-Dove. 

The habits, flight, voice, and food of the Persian Dove do not appear 
to differ in any way from those of the European Dove but, OAving to 
its not being differentiated from that bird, little has been placed on 
record concerning it. 



(38) STREPTOPELIA TURTUR MEENA (Sykes). 

THE INDIAN RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE oe SYKES'S TURTLE-DOVE. 

(Plate 20.) 

Columba orientalis Latli., Ind. Orn., II p. 606 (1790). 

Coluwba meena ? Sykes, P.Z.S. 18.32, p. 149 (Dukhan). 

Columba agricola Tickell, J.A.S.B., II p. 581 (1833). 

Columba gdastis Temm., PI. Col., pL 550 (1835). 

Turtur meena Gray, Gen. B., II p. 472 ; Blyth, J. A.S.B., XIV p. 875 ; Jerdon, 
B.I., III p. 476 ; Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXXIX pt. 2, p. 272 ; Hume, 
Lah. to Yark., p. 277 ; id.. Nests and Eggs, p. 501 ; id., Str. Feath.. 
ni p. 163 ; Blyth and Wald., B. Burma, p. 146 ; Fairbank, Str. Feath., 
IV p. 262 ; Anders., Yun-nan Exp., Aves, p. 665 ; Hume and Dav., 
Str. Feath., VI p. 420 ; Davidson and Wend., ib., VII p. 86 ; Ball, ib., 
p. 224; Cripps, ib., p. 296 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110 ; id., Cat. no. 793 ; 
Vidal, Str. Feath., IX p. 74 ; Butler, ib., p. 420 ; Gates, ib., X p. 235 ; 
id., B. Burma, II p. 292 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 290 ; Hume, Str. Feath., 
XI p. 298 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 350 ; Barnes, 
J.B.N.H.S., V p. 330 ; Stuart Baker, ib., X p. 360 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 474. 

Turtur orientalis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 876 ; Anders., Yun-nan Exp., 
Aves, p. 666 : Hutton, J.A.S.B., XVII pt. 2, p. 13 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., 
XXI p. 403 (part) ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 40 (part) ; Sharpe, 
Hand-List, I p. 78 (part) ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 95 (part) ; Inglis, 
J.B.N.H.S., XVI p. 73 ; Macdonald, ib., XVII p. 496 ; Stuart Baker, 
ib., p. 971 ; Mears, ib., XVIII p. 86 ; Harington, ib., XIX p. 309 ; id. ib., 
XX p. 1010 ; D'Abreu, ib., XXI p. 1167 ; Hopwood, ib.. p. 1214. 

Columba rujdcola Adams, Str. Feath., I p. 390. 

Vernacular Names. Kala fakhta, Basko fakhta, Hin. ; Sam ghughu, 
Ram ghughu, Beng. ; Yedrupoda guwa, Tel. ; Daotu gajao, Cachari ; Puho, 
Assamese ; Inruiku, Naga. ; Vohgura, Kuki. 

Description. — Adult male. VVliole head and neck reddish-vinous, 
paler on the sides and palest on the chin ; the crown is often tinged with bluish- 
grey which sometimes extends to the fore-head ; a patch of black feathers 
on either side of the neck, each feather edged with silvery-grey, this colour 
disposed in regular lines ; upper-back brown, the feathers often edged with 
rufous and sometimes almost wholly of this colour and tinged with vinous ; 
lower-back and rump slaty-grey with dark centres, sometimes concealed 
sometimes showing distinctly ; upper tail-coverts and central rectrices dark 
brown, faintly tipped paler ; outer rectrices almost black, broadly tipped with 
pale grey, and with the outermost gre3rish-white on the outer-web also. 
Scapulars, inner wing-coverts and inner secondaries dark brown with broad 
ferruginous borders ; outer median \ring-coverts and greater coverts dark 



>s 



1 /k?t 



,/|^K^ 




SYKES'S TURTLE-DOVE— STREPTOPEUA T. MEENA. 

(J Nat. Size.) PLATE 20 



INDIAN RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE 191 

slaty-grey, primary-coverts blackish ; quills brown, edged and tipped with 
pale brownish-white ; lower-throat, breast, and abdomen vinous-red, the breast 
generally rather darker than elsewhere and sometimes tinged with greyisli ; 
vent, flanks, tibial plumes, and under tail-coverts rather dark slate-grey. 

Measurements. Length about 13 in. ( = 330 mm.) ; tail 4.6 to 5.2 in. 
( = 116.8 to 132 mm.) ; wing 6.40 to 7.20 in. ( = 162.5 to 182.8 mm.) ; average 
6.92 in. ( = 175.5 mm.) ; bill at front .60 in. ( = 15.2 mm.) and from gape 
about 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) ; tarsus about .8 in. ( = 20.3 mm.). 

Colours of soft 'parts. Bill pale to dark horny-brown, basal half reddish 
or purplisli ; irides golden-yellow, orange-yellow, orange-red to red ; eyelids 
and very narrow orbital skin pale bluish or lead-colour with the edges of the 
eyelids red ; legs dull coral, purple-red, or dull brick-red, the soles paler and 
the claws nearly black. 

Female similar to the male, but is perhaps less vinous and more brown 
on the upper-parts on an average. 

Measurements. The same as in the male. In the British Museum 
Collection there are females witli wings of 7.10 in. from Burma, 7.05 in. from 
Assam, and 7.30 in. from Darjilmg. 

Young. The whole upper-parts where reddish-brown in the adult are 
a dark earth-bro'\\*n in the young bird, and the feathers of the lower-back, 
the scapulars, coverts, and inner secondaries are boldly edged with pale rufous 
and the qiiills are broadly tipped with a darker, richer tint of the same colour ; 
the dark grey lower-back and rump are narrowly edged with pale grey, and 
there are also indications of pale bars on the head. Below, the breast is 
suffused with smoky-brown, and the feathers of this part are narrowly edged 
with pale rufous. 

Colours of soft farts. The same as in the adult, but duller, and the iris 
is a dull whitish-brown. 

Still younger birds have the whole upper-parts a paler, duller brown, 
this colour replacing even the grey on the rump and upper tail-coverts. 
Everywhere from fore-head to tail-coverts the feathers are narrowly edged 
with dull rufous, these bars being almost obsolete on the centre of the back. 
The coverts and quills of the wing are still more freely edged with pale rufous. 
Beneath, the throat, breast, and upper-abdomen are pale smoky-brown, each 
feather narrowly edged with pale yellowish-rufous ; the under wing-coverts, 
axil laries, and flanks are mixed grey and rufous, the former colour predominating 
on the posterior flanks. The under tail-coverts are grey as in the adult, but 
there are two or three very fine bars of black near their ends, and the tips 
are narrowly edged with rufous. This is the plumage of the young bird on 
leaving the nest. 

Nestling, in down, is covered with a pale buff down. 

Distribution. Bengal, from as far west as Manbhum, Purulia, and 
Chutia Nagpur, throughout eastern Bengal, Assam, Cachar, and Sylhet, the 
Bhutan Dooars and Terai south of it ; and to the east throughout Burma 
as far as the south of Tenasserim. East of Bengal it has been obtained in 
Central India, the Deccan north of about 15° N. lat., and has been obtained 
as a rare straggler in the Central Provinces. There are two specimens in the 
British Museum Collection from Mahabaleshwar in the Bombay Presidency. 
Outside India to the north and east its place is taken by Streptopelia turtur 
orientalis, the next bird. 



192 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Nidification. Almost wherever found the bird is resident and breeds, 
and its breeding-season practically lasts for the greater part of the year, 
though the principal breeding- months in the north-east of India and in Burma 
would seem to be April and May, and in southern and Central India January 
to March. 

In North Cachar, where the bird was not very common, I have seen 
their nests containing either eggs or young in every month from March to 
November, and have no doubt that they occasionally breed in the other months 
also. They certainly liave two broods in tlie year and many probably have 
tliree. The second brood may be reared either in the old nest or in a new 
one, in most cases perhaps the latter. I have often noticed when nests are 
taken late in the year that a short search often produces another and older 
nest in the immediate vicinity, sometimes in the same bush or cane-brake ; 
at the same time, I have more than once kno'nTi two broods reared in the 
same nest. Their nests may be found in buslies, cane-brakes, small saplings, 
or clumps of bamboo, generally fairly low dorni between 5 and 10 ft. from 
the ground, now and then higher up than this, and still more rarely 3 or 4 ft. 
only from it. 

There has been little or no attempt to conceal such nests as I have found 
myself, or wliich have been pointed out to me. A few, from their positions 
in the interior of a tliick bush, bamboo-clump or dense cane-brake, may 
have been hard to detect at first, but the majority were in quite con- 
spicuous positions, often on a bare branch or cluster of twigs, and quite 
visible yards away. 

The normal nest is no better made or shaped than is usual witli this 
family ; the twigs and short bents of which it is composed are roughlj', though 
fairly strongly, interlaced so that they form a rough circular platform some 
six or seven inches in diameter by an inch or two in depth. As a rule the 
material is so scanty that the eggs or young can easily be seen through the 
bottom of the nest. Wlien a second clutch is laid in the same nest as the 
first, there are always a few featliers and a good deal of the yellow down 
from the previous young adhering to tlie nest, and the materials, as a whole, 
get matted, and present a more solid appearance tlian is the case with 
fresh nests. 

Irwin, it should be noted, described a nest of this bird as being " neatly 
constructed of twigs, circular in shape, ^^ith the egg cavity somewhat deep, 
certainly unlike the platform nest described by Capt. Hutton." 

The bird is a very close sitter, and I have stood \\-ithin a yard or two 
of a nest with eggs upon which the bird has sat, its eyes steadily fixed 
upon me, but making no attempt to fly off until my hand was actually 
raised towards the nest. Botli birds take an equal share in all the labour 
appertaining to a family : the male collects the material for the nest which 
the female constructs, both attend to the incubation, and the male does 
at least as much of the feeding as tlie female. 

The eggs are invariably t^^■o in number, and of the usual description 
of Doves' eggs, i.e. white in colour and broad ovals in shape, the ends equal. 
The texture is fine and close and there is a fair gloss on the surface. 

A very large series of these eggs wliich liavo passed through my hands, 
or are now in my collection, vary in length from 1 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) to 
1.37 in. ( = 34.8 mm.) and in breadth from .82 in. ( = 20.3 mm.) to .97 in. 
( = 24.6 mm.). The egg measuring 1.37 by .97 in. is one of a pair of quite 
abnormally large eggs, and eliminating these, the average size of eighty 
eggs is 1.12 in. { = 28.4 mm.) by .88 in. ( = 22.4 mm.). 



INDIAN RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE 193 

Although the bird is, as I have said above, a resident form over 
the whole of its breeding-area, they appear to wander considerably 
further afield during the winter, more especially in the extreme west. 
These local migrations are probably due to the migratory instinct 
inherited from the parent stock being still not quite exhausted. The 
original bird, probably Streptopelia t. turtur, the European Turtle-Dove, 
from which all our Indian subspecies are descended, must have been a 
migratory bird, breeding possibly in the far north and migrating, more 
or less, over the whole of India during the winter. In time a few birds 
remained behind in the lower hills of the Himalayas and developed 
into om* ferrago, the Indian Turtle-Dove, which has greatly restricted 
its migrations, and now goes no further north than the Himalayas to 
breed. Next, yet other birds settled m the plains of India, and from 
these has come the non-migratory form meewa, Sykes's Turtle-Dove. 
In the hills of Nepal and eastwards, yet another set of birds settled 
down and developed the small changes in plumage which constitute 
the subspecies orientalis. 

It is, therefore, probable that on the western coasts this bird is 
only a visitor in the cold-weather months, during which fewer birds 
are breeding. 

It is a very sociable bird and is often seen consorting in large 
numbers when feeding in rice and wheat fields, etc., and some writers 
consider it actually gregarious. Thus Jerdon says it is often seen in 
large flocks, and Blewitt writes that his experience leads him to suppose 
" that this species congregates in flocks after the breeding-season." 
Personally, I have never seen a flock of these Doves, either in the plains 
or hills, for though many have often been together in the same field, 
their actions, except in pairs, have always seemed to me quite independent 
of the rest of the birds. When they are disturbed they fly off in pairs 
or singly, and in all directions — some only to the nearest tree, others to 
a considerable distance, and some quite out of sight. 

They are often found in very great numbers picking up the fallen 
rice after the fields have been cut and, shocking as it may appear to 
shoot Doves, they really give one many an afternoon's very pretty 
sport, and shooting quite difficult enough to satisfy even a good shot. 
After the first cartridge or two has been fired, they get up at thirty yards 
or so and get away very quickly, twisting and doubling as they rise, 
so that it is no tyro's work to drop them right and left in a satisfactory 

o 



194 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

maimer. The only point against them is that at first a good many 
birds will seek refuge in the nearest tree, and then think they are 
safe, but the sportsman can well afford to leave these alone and pursue 
the others. 

For the table they are delicious, and excel any of the Pigeons in 
delicacy of flavoiu", whilst they equal them in plumpness and general 
condition. 

It is not a bird of heavy forest and jungle, keeping much to thin 
scrub and patches of light jungle round about villages and cultivation, 
and feeding almost entirely in the open. It is more of a bird of the 
plains than of the hiUs, but ascends the latter certainly up to 4,000 ft. 
and commonly iip to about 2,000 ft. — in Burma possibly a good deal 
higher. It is principally a grain and seed eater, but will also devour 
most fruit obtainable when hungry. They are very active on their 
feet and get their food for the most part from the groimd, spending 
the greater portion of their time upon it when not sleeping during the 
heat of the day or roosting during the night. Their note is a thrice- 
repeated, very deep " coo," of the same nature, 3^et quite distmct from, 
that of most Doves, and easily recognizable. 

It is a favourite cage-bird, very easily tamed and very easy to 
feed and keep, for no matter how small the cage, this fleet-winged and 
wide-ranging bird does not appear to suffer from confinement. In 
captivity it becomes very lethargic and silent, except during its 
selected breeding-months, when it wakes up, displays, " coos," and makes 
love to its companions should it be lucky enough to have any. Blewitt 
writes of a pair kept by him : " The pair I have are very tame, and the 
coo of the male (I have not heard the female) is far oftener heard of 
a morning and evening than during the day. When irritated they 
utter a peculiarly loud hissing kind of note." 

It must, however, be remembered that they are quarrelsome birds- 
and though doubtless they would be much more interesting pets in a 
fair-sized aviary than they are in the tiny native cages, they cannot 
be kept in company with other birds. 

Nearly all Doves are thirsty birds, and whilst the majority drink 
every morning early and every evening before retiring to rest, all, I 
think, do so regularly and deeply before they take their mid-day siesta, 
and many again before commencuig to feed. 

As a rule they take a few long sips, rim about on the bare sand 



INDIAN RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE 195 

or shingle, picking up scraps of it as they go, and then take another 
drink. This process may be repeated several times before they eventually 
fly off. The pebbles they swallow are sometimes of comparatively 
large size, and I have taken round stones from some Doves' crops and 
stomachs almost as big as a smaU pea. 



(39) STREPTOPELIA TURTUR ORIENTALIS (Lath.). 
THE RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE. 

Columha orientalis Lath., Ind. Orn., II p. 606 (part), 1783 (ex Sonnerat). 

Columba rupicola Pall., Zoogr. Rosso-As., I p. 566. 

Columha agricola Tickell, J.A.S.B., II p. 581 (1835). 

Turtur orientalis Blyth, ib., XIV p. 876; Hutton. ib.. XVII 2nd pt. 
p. 13 (?) ; Scully, Str. Feath., VIII p. 340 ; Dresser, J.B.N.H.S., XVI 
p. 729 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 403 
(part) ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 40 (part) ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 77 
(part) ; Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 94 (part). 

Turtur rupicolus Jerdon, B.I. (part). III p. 477. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded which really refer to this form of 
Streptopelia. 

Description. — Adult male. Differs from the Rufous Turtle-Dove (jneena) 
in being much paler-coloured below, the centre of the abdomen is albescent, 
and the feathers of the vent and tibial plumes are practicallj^ white ; the 
under tail-coverts, flanks, and under wing-coverts are a paler dove-grey, and 
the fore-head, chin, and tliroat are also decidedly paler. The differences 
pointed out are sufficient to distinguish this race at a glance from its southern 
prototype, and in addition to this it is a considerably larger bird. 

Measurements. About 14 in. ( = 345.6 mm.) in total length; wing 7.50 
( == 190.5 mm.) to 7.85 in. ( = 199.4 mm.) and averaging 7.70 in. 
( = 195.5 mm.) ; tail 5.2 to 6 in. ( = 132 to 152 mm.) ; bill at front about 
.7 in. ( = 17.7 mm.) and from gape about 1.1 in. ( = 28 mm.) ; tarsus rather 
over .90 in. ( = 22.8 mm). 

" Weight 6 oz." (Davison). 

"Length 12 to 12.9; expanse 21.7 to 23.7; wing 7.3 to 7.95; tail 
5.0 to 5.6 ; tarsus 1.0 ; bill from gape 0.9 to 0.95 ; bill at front 0.65 to 0.71 ; 
closed wings short of tail 1.5 to 2.5 ; weight 6.5 to 7.5 oz." (Scully). 

Colours of soft parts. " Irides orange ; bill dusky leaden ; cere at base, 
gape, and margins of eyelid, purple ; eyelid plumbous ; tarsi purple, toes 
livid purple, claws dusky " (Davison). 

" Iris pale red ; bill dusky hornj', skin purplish ; legs and feet pale lake 
red " (Walton). 

Female resembles the male in all respects. 

Scully considers the female to be smaller than the male and gives the 
following measurements of six birds: "Length 11.75 to 12.5; expanse 
20.5 to 22.8 ; wing 6.85 to 7.6 ; tail 5.0 to 5.6 ; tarsus 0.97 to 1.13 ; bill 
from gape 0.87 to 0.95 ; bill at front 0.6 to 0.75 ; closed wings short of tail 
2.0 to 2.6 ; weight 6 to 7.5 oz." 

Young. Exactly like that of meena, but rather paler below. 



RUFOUS TURTLE-DOVE 197 

Distribution. Sikhim, Tibet, Nepal, and thence into China and north 
to Manchuria, Corea, and Japan. 

There is a very typical specimen from Darjiling in the British Museum 
Collection, but most birds from tliis district, at least all those from low 
elevations, are typical meena ; the Nepal birds are without exception true 
orienialis, as are those from Sikliim and Tibet. 

Owing to Streptopelia iurtur ferrago, the Indian Turtle Dove, migrating 
over so large an area throughout India during the cold-weather montlis, and 
to the present bird also in some cases meeting the last bird, Sykes's Turtle- 
Dove, and intergrading with it — it is not always easy to decide into wliich 
of the three subspecies some specimens may belong. Thus Davidson says : 
" Now in Western Khandesh I have shot right and left specimens, one of 
which had white under tail-coverts and the other grey, and I have seen others 
that I could hardly say whether the coverts were pure white or greyish-white. 
... I would add to this that I have shot moulting birds, with the new 
under tail-coverts white and the old ones grey." This, however, does not, 
as Hume points out in Stray Feathers, mean that they are one and the same 
form, and though one may, as Davidson did, shoot the two forms out of the 
same tree, it merely shows that the migratory form has visited the district 
in which the other form is resident. 

Nidification. The Nepalese Rufous Tiu:tle-Dove breeds throughout 
the area it inliabits, but it moves higher up or lower down the mountains 
according to the season of the year. 

I can find absolutely nothing on record about the breeding of this Dove 
either in China or India, although its eggs are not very rare in collections. 

I have its eggs from Nepal, Tibet, and native Sikhim, but never having 
taken its eggs myself can only put on record tlie notes of my collectors, both 
Eiu-opean and Indian. According to these it builds a nest just like that of 
its European cousin — a flimsy flat construction of tvngs, very carelessly and 
very untidily put together and measuring anything between 6 and 8 in. in 
diameter. 

The site selected seems to be in some high thick bush, small sapling, 
or a tangle of briers, and I have had no account of any nest taken at more 
than some ten or twelve feet from the ground. In Sikhim and Tibet the 
nests were taken in very open country, sometimes in quite isolated bushes 
and trees, but in Nepal my informants tell me that they took the nest 
generally in well-wooded ravines and sometimes in the inside of quite 
extensive forests. All the nests, as far as I am aware, were taken at over 
8,000 ft. elevation, and some up to 12,000 ft. 

The few eggs I have vary in length between 1.16 in. ( = 29.4 mm.) and 
1.36 in. ( = 34.5 mm.), and in breadth between .90 in. ( = 22.8 mm.) and 
1.10 in. ( = 27.9 mm.), whilst they average 1.28 in. ( = 32.5 mm.) by 1.03 in. 
( = 26.1 mm.) 

In shape they are the usual ovals, practically equal in form and size 
at the ends, but I think on an average they are rather longer in proportion 
than are most Doves' eggs. The texture and surface are as usual. 

My eggs from Tibet were all taken in July, and those from Sikhim 
and Nepal in the end of May and June. 

Scully says that : " This Dove is fairly common in one part or 
another of the Nepal Valley throughout the year. In May, June, and 
July it is only found in the forests, at elevations of from 7,000 to 8,000 ft. 



198 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

where it breeds. From August to September it is plentiful in the central 
woods of the valley. From January to March only a few birds are to 
be found in the central part of the valley, the majority having moved 
down to wanner regions ; and in the latter part of March and through- 
out April it is again common in the central woods. I also found it 
common in the Nawakot district in November and in the plains of 
Nepal in December. It is usually seen in parties of from six to ten, high 
up in trees ; and its note is a low, deep, kur-kur-ku." 



(40) STREPTOPELIA TURTUR FERRAGO (Eversm.). 
THE INDIAN TURTLE-DOVE. 

Oolumba meena. ^ Sykes, P.Z.S. 1832, p. 149. 

Turtur auritus Vigne (nee Auct.), P.Z.S. 1841, p. 6. 

Columba ferrago Eversm., Add. ad Zoogr. Rosso-As., fasc. ni p. 17 (1842). 

Columba pulcrata Hodg., in Gray's Zool. Misc., p. 85 (1844). 

Columba orientalis Layard (nee Lath.), Ann. Mag. N.H. (?), XIV p. 62. 

Turtur ferrago Wardl. Ramsay, Ibis 1880, p. 68; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI 
p. 401 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 41 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 78 : 
Gates, Cat. Eggs, B.M. I p. 95 ; Wilson, J.B.N.H.S. XII p. 639 ; Inglis, 
lb., XIV p. 562 ; Foulton, ib., XVI p. 60 ; Inglis, ib., p. 73 ; Rattray, 
ib., p. 663 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Magrath, ib.. XVIII p. 298 ; id 
ib., XIX p. 155; Perreau, ib., p. 919; Whitehead, ib., XX p. 967; 
id. ib., XXI p. 161. 

Turtur vitticollis Hume, Lath, to Yark., p. 274. 

Turtur ptdchrata Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 500 ; Butler and Hume, Str. 
Feath., IV p. 3 ; Hume, ib., VI p. 421 ; Butler, ib., IX p. 420 ; Reid, 
ib., X p. 60 ; Davidson, ib., p. 315 ; Davison, ib.. p. 407 ; Barnes, B. 
Bom., p. 290. 

Turtur jmlchratus Hume, Str. Feath., VIII p. 110 ; id., Cat. no. 792 ; Legge, 
B. Cey., p. 711 ; Barnes and Davidson, J.B.N.H.S., V p. 330. 

Turtur pulchrala Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 349. 

Vernacular Names. Koin, Chamba ; Hulagud, Mahr. ; Powari, Marie 
Gond. ; Kullah, Behari ; Lai Punduk, Hin. ; Pahari Perki, Lucknow ; Ram 
Gkaghu, Bengali ; Lali Kopu-ku, Assamese ; Hagrani Daotu, Cachari. 

Description- — Adult male. Similar to Streptopelia turtur orientalis, but 
differs in being still paler below ; the chin and centre of the throat are albes- 
cent, the whole of the abdomen from the breast downwards is white or nearly 
so. the under-tail coverts are white and the tip of the tail and edge of the 
outer- web of the outermost feather are either pure white or very pale-grey ; 
the under wing-coverts and flanks are a paler, purer grey also than in either 
Sykes's or the Rufous Turtle-Dove. 

Dimensions. About 13.5 in. ( = 343 mm.) ; wing 6.65 in. ( = 169 mm.) 
to 7.85 in. ( = 199.4 mm.), average about 7.50 in. ( = 190.5 mm.) ; tail 5 in. 
( = 127 mm.) to 5.75 in. ( = 146 mm.) ; bill at front about .65 in. ( = 16.5 
mm.), and from gape about .95 in. ( = 24.1 mm.) ; tarsus .85 in. ( = 21.6 mm.). 

Colours of soft parts. Bill dusky-horny, reddish on base and on cere, and 
quite a purple on the latter in some cases ; irides bright cinnamon-brown, 
orange, reddish-orange or golden-yellow ; feet dull red, lake-red, or reddish- 
purple, the soles paler and the claws blackish-homy. 

The female does not differ from the male in coloration or size or in the 
colour of the soft parts. 



200 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Young birds differ from the adult in the same way that the young of 
orientalis differ from the full-grown birds. 

Distribution. Western Central Asia, Turkestan, Persia, Afghanistan 
and the Himalayas as far east as Sikhim, migrating in the cold \\'eatlier 
over practically the whole continent of India and Ceylon. 

It is not very uncommon in the Deccan and occurs as a straggler into 
Gujerat, near Sambhur, but does not appear to be ever found in Sind. To 
the south, Hume gives about lat. 15° as its usual limit ; Davidson obtained it 
in western Khandesh, and Davison in Mysore, and it probably occurs prac- 
tically over the whole of southern as well as northern India, for it has twice 
been recorded from Ceylon. So far, however, it seems to have escaped 
observation in the Nilgherries, Palnis, Shevaroys, and many other places in 
southern India where it must occur occasionally. North of the Madras 
Presidency it is very common in the cold weather, and is numerous through- 
out Orissa, west Bengal, and thence less common in east Bengal and Assam, 
but not in the extreme east of the latter province. I have not met with 
it in Dibrugarh, Sibsagar, or Tezpur, but it is said to occur in Goalpara, 
and is certainly an occasional straggler into Dhubri. 

Nidifi cation. Hume thus sums up the breeding -range of this bird : 
" Our Indian Turtle-Dove breeds tliroughout tlie lower ranges of the 
Himalayas, from y\fghanistan to Sikliim at any rate, at elevations of 
from 4,000 to 8,000 ft. It is for the most part only a summer visitant to 
these hills. 

" Turtur pulchrala" (=ferrago) "lays throughout the summer. I 
have found eggs early in May and late in August, but the majority lay in 
June. It makes a loose, but rather more substantial, twig nest than many 
of its congeners, placed on some horizontal branch of a large tree, usually 
not far from the extremity." 

In and about Murree, Mussoorie, and Kashmir it breeds in great 
numbers, and its nests and eggs have been taken by many collectors. It 
appears to build at all heights, as Hutton says " that it makes its nest on 
tall forest trees," wliilst Captain Cock recorded it as building " on trees and 
bushes at no great height from the ground in May and June." 

Normally this bird is a resident of the hills and the liills alone during 
the breeding -season, but in 1901 Inglis found it breeding in the plains of 
Behar, and in the Bombay Natural History Journal thus records his find : 
" This year I was successful in securing this bird's eggs for the first time. 
I shot a male in March, whicli was evidently breeding, and so had a good 
look-out kept wherever any of these birds frequented ; it was not, however, 
until the 25th of May that the first nest was secured at Jainagar ; it contained 
a single egg. On the 20th June, near Baghownie, a second nest was found 
containing two eggs. Botli nests were on mango trees." 

This is an extraordinary extension of this Dove's breeding-range, and 
looks as if the subspecies ferrago was gradually also becoming a non- 
migratory bird, in which case we should eventually have those settling in 
the plains merging into meena and those settling in the hills reverting to 
orientalis, or differentiating themselves yet again. 

A very curious instance of this bird's nesting, or rather non-nesting, 
has been observed by Mr. C. S. R. Pitman, ^^•ho writes to me that ho " took 
a fresh egg at Nathea Gali, on 10/5/12, but the bird had not troubled to make 
a nest, the egg being laid on some dry earth which had accumulated in an 
open hollow in the side of a trunk of a large tree. Altitude about 8,500 ft." 



INDIAN TURTLE-DOVE 201 

It probably has two, or perhaps even three, broods during the year, 
though there is as yet no direct evidence on this point. 

The eggs, which are the usual two in number, do not differ in any respect, 
except size, from other Doves' eggs. Gates gives the average of twenty-one 
eggs as 1.22 in. by .93 in. ( = 30.9 by 23.5 mm.), and the extremes in length 
as 1.1 in. to 1.34 in. ( = 27.9 to 34.0 mm.), and in breadth .85 to 1 in. 
( = 21.6 to 25.4 mm.). 

The eggs in my own collection come within the above measurements. 

This Dove breeds principally between 3,500 and 8,000 ft., whereas 
the Rufous Turtle-Dove breeds exclusively over the latter height, and 
generally between 8,000 and 12,000 ft. altitude. 

The Indian Turtle-Dove seems to keep, both in its breeding haunts 
and those visited on migration, much to well-forested and well-watered 
tracts, and to prefer such as are a combination of cultivated areas and 
patches of jungle or orchard. At the same time, provided the water 
supply is ample, they may be found in considerable numbers in stretches 
of rice and wheat country where there is no real jungle, though there 
may be plenty of mango and other orchards. 

They are almost entirely grain and seed feeders, though doubtless 
they also feed on fruit to some extent, and also at odd times on tiny snails 
though, it always seems to me, these may have been picked up by the 
birds in mistake for seeds. Like most Doves they drink regularly morning, 
noon and evening, and seem to take a lot each time they drink. When 
there is sand or grit and small pebbles close by, they generally pick 
some up during the intervals of drinking. 

They are very active on foot, and obtain most of their food on the 
ground, running in and out of the wheat or rice stubble with consider- 
able speed. 

Their flight is in no way distinct from that of the other subspecies, 
and their note is a loud deep "coo," trisyllabic like that of the rest. 

Dm'ing their migrations, and shortly before they commence, the 
Indian Turtle-Doves collect in very large flocks, often numbering a 
hundred or more individuals, but at other times, though very sociable, 
the flocks break up and the birds go about either in pairs or singly, 
generally the former. 



Species SURATENSIS. 

This species, and the Burmese fonn tigrina, have been placed by 
Sharpe in a different genus — Spilopelia, but I cannot see that there are 
any differences sufficiently pronounced to make it either necessary or 
convenient to divide our Indian Doves into different genera, and I 
therefore retain them under the name Streptopelia together with those 
Turtle-Doves in which the male and female are similarly plumaged. 



Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Back distinctly and boldly spotted with pale rufous 

B. Back spotted very indistinctly or not at all 



.. S.s. suratensis. 
.. S. s. tigrina. 



Well-marked specimens of these two subspecies are very easily 
discriminated, and even where the two meet the area over which the 
intermediate form prevails is very small, and in nearly all cases birds 
can be assigned to one or the other of the two. 



(4i) STREPTOPELIA SURATENSIS SURATENSIS (Gm.). 
THE SPOTTED DOVE. 

Colutnha suratensis Gm., Syst. Nat., I p. 778, no. 48 (1788); Lath., Ind. Orn., 

II p. 609. 
Columba tigrina (part) Temm. ; Pig. et Gall., I pp. 317, 481 (1813). 
Turtur vitticollis Hodg., in Gray's Zool. Misc., p. 85 (descr. nulla). 

Tiirtur suratensis Strick., P.Z.S. 1842, p. 168 ; Blyth, J.A.S.B.. XIV, 2nd pt., 
p. 874 (part) ; id.. Cat. M.A.S.B., p. 236 ; id., J.A.S.B., XXIV p. 263 
Jerdon, B.I., in p. 479 ; Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. 2 p. 67 
Godw-Aus., ib.. XXXIX pt. 2 p. 112; Hume, Str. Featli., I p. 218 
Adam, ib., p. 390 ; Ball, ib., II p. 425 ; Hume and Butler, ib., IV p. 3 
id.. Nests and Eggs, p. 504 ; Fairbank, Str. Feath., IV p. 262 ; id. ib. 
V p. 409 ; Hume and Boiud., ib., VII p. 39 ; Dav. and Wend., ib. 
p. 86 ; Ball, ib., p. 224 ; Cripps, ib., p. 297 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110 
id.. Cat. no. 795 ; Scully, Str. Feath., VIII p. 341 ; Vidal, ib., IX p. 75 
Butler, ib., p. 420 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 705 ; Raid, Str. Feath., X p. 60 
Dav., ib., p. 408 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 291 ; Hume, Str. Feath., XI 
p. 298 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 353 ; ShaqDe, 
Yarkand Misc. Av., p. 119; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 444; Blanf., 
Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 43 ; Barnes, J.B.N.H.S., V p. 331 ; Butler, ib., X 
p. 310 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 474 ; id. ib., XIV p. 562 ; Bourdillon, XVI 
p. 3 ; Fulton, ib., p. 60 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Stuart Baker, ib., 
p. 971 ; Magrath, ib., XIX p. 155 ; Perreau, ib., p. 919 ; Moss-King, 
ib., XXI p. 99, Whitehead, ib., p. 167; D'Abreu, ib., p. 1167; Dewar, 
Birds of the Plains, p. 124. 

Spilo'pelia suratensis Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 80 ; Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., 
I p. 99. 

Vernacular Names. Chitroka fakhta., Chitia fakhta, Perki, Chitla, Kangs- 
kiri, Panduk, Hin. ; Chaval ghughu, Telia ghughu, Bengali ; Kawala, Mahr. ; 
Bode, Gond. ; Powari, Marie Gond. ; Poda-bella-guwa, Tel. ; Puli-pora, Tamil ; 
Mani-praa, Tam. Ceylon ; Kobeya, Allikoheya, Cing. ; Ku-po-hu, Assamese ; 
Kodaya punduk, Behari ; Daotu, Cachari ; Inruigu, Naga. ; Vohkurup, Kuki. 

Description- — Adult male. Upper portion of head and nape vinous, 
more grey on tlie fore-head and often also above the eye ; a small spot or 
streak of black between the eye and base of bill ; a demi-collar on back and 
sides of neck of black feathers, bifurcate and with two wliite spots at the 
tip ; on tlie uj^per-back the feathers gradually change from the rich velvety- 
black to brown, and the spots from pure white to rufous ; the bifurcations 
become less pronounced and cease on the lower-back where the spots 
become narrow terminal bars ; lower-back and rump brown with narrow 
rufoue fringes ; upper tail-coverts slaty-bro\ni, bifurcated and tipped narrowly 



204 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

with brown and still more narrowly subtipped rufous, the latter bar some- 
times obsolete. Central taU-feathers brown obsoletely barred darker ; the 
next pair almost black with broad terminal band of dark slate, each succeed- 
ing pair has the slate-colour darker and the band of grey paler and wider 
until on the outermost tlie basal lialf is quite black, and the terminal half 
and a narrow edge down the other web practically pure white ; scapulars 
and innermost secondaries brown like the back, but with larger, paler spots 
tinged with vinous ; lesser and median wing-coverts grey-brown v.i.th large 
terminal spots of vinous, divided by a streak of deep brown, broadest termin- 
ally and narrowest towards the base ; towards the shoulder of the wing the 
spots fade and the grey increases, making this part look grey streaked 
with brown ; greater-coverts grey ; edge of wing, primary-coverts and quills 
dark brown, outer primaries and outer secondaries narrowly edged with 
grey. Below, chin white and centre of tliroat albescent, changing into 
the vinous-pink on the sides of tlie head, throat, and breast ; centre of 
abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts white, the latter often having a small 
V-shaped spot of black or dark brown at the tip. 

Some birds, irrespective of age, have a few fine bars on the lower- 
plumage formed by the feathers of the breast, abdomen and shorter tail- 
coverts being fringed with dark brown. 

A few other birds, all of which seem to be very old males, have the lower- 
back and rump a slaty-grey, the feathers more or less edged with rufous. 

Measurements. "Length about 11 inches, wing 5.5, tail 5.5, bill 0.55, 
tarsus 0.9 " (Salvadori). 

Tliis little Dove varies very considerably in size, not only in different 
localities, but individually. 

The following is a resume of the vdng-measurements of the very large 
series in the British Museum, to which are added a few others : — 

Wing. Average. 

North-west India 5.25 to 5.80 in. = 134.3 to 147.3 mm. 5.55 in. = 141.0 mm. 

North-east India 5.35 to 5.70 in. = 135.9 to 144.8 mm. 5.55 in. = 141.0 mm. 

Southern India ... 5.05 to 5.65 in. = 128.3 to 143.5 mm. 5.35 in. = 139.9 mm. 

Ceylon 4.85 to 5.10 in. = 123.2 to 129.5 mm. 4.98 in. = 126.5 mm. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides bright reddish-hazel and of two rings, the 
outer redder and the inner more hazel ; eye-lids and narrow orbital bare 
space red ; bill dark horny-brown or horny-plumbeous ; legs and feet dull 
red, lake-red, or purplish-red, never very bright; claws dark horny-brown. 

Female. Similar to the male, but I have seen no specimen with the pure 
slate-grey rump sometimes acquired by old males. 

Measxirements. The female is slightly smaller than the male on an 
average, the wing being about \ in. less, but the largest females consider- 
ably exceed in size the smallest males from the same locality. 

Colours of soft parts as in the male. 

Yoxmg birds are browner and paler on tlie liead and Iiave no nuchal 
collar of black and «-hite, the upper-parts are paler and are barred instead 
of spotted with rufous and vinous, the black streaks are entirely wanting 
at first and the markings on the wing-coverts and inner secondaries are pale 
sandy-rufous instead of vinous; the primary-coverts are narrowly and the 
secondaries broadly tipped vdih rufous, a considerable portion of the inner 
webs of the inner primaries being of this colour. The under-parts are 



SPOTTED D0\^ 205 

pale fulvous-brown instead of vinous, and the breast-feathers are fringed 
with narrow edges of pale fulvous. 

Colours of soft parts. Same as in the male, but the irides are pale brown 
and the feet a paler duller red. 

Young, after the first moult, acquire a certain amount of vinous tinge 
on the breast and flanks, and have the neck-patch represented by a few 
feathers with black bases \^•hich sliow through ; the scapulars and outer 
lesser wing-coverts become streaked with dark brown and occasionally the 
vinous spots begin to appear. 

The Ceylon bird, as may be seen from tlie measurements given above, 
is very much smaller than the northern bird and somewhat smaller even 
than tlie southern Indian one, but I can trace no difference between the 
two forms in plumage. 

If divided from the northern form on account of the smaller measure- 
ments the Ceylon form would bear the name Streptopelia suratensis ceylon- 
ensis (Rchnb., Syn. Av., Columbariae, Novit., t. 253b (1851).) 

Birds from Cachar Plains and Sylhet are intermediate between the 
Indian Spotted Dove and the Burmese form, whilst those from the North 
Cacliar Hills and Manipur are almost typical tigrina. Birds from Gilgit 
are very pale in their plumage both above and below. 

Distribution. There is little to add to Blanford's summary of this 
bird's habitat. He says that it is found " throughout the whole of India 
and Ceylon ; most common in well-wooded countries, rare in drier regions, 
and wanting in desert tracks. Tliis Dove is found tliroughout the Himalayas 
up to 7,000 ft. and in Gilgit and Ladak. (The statement in tlie British 
Museum Catalogue that it inliabits Yarkand is a mistake). To the east- 
ward it is found in Assam, Cachar, and Manipur, but is replaced in Burma 
by T. tigrinus." 

Throughout Assam Dr. H. N. Coltart and myself found only suratensis, 
and never came across tigrina, yet in North Cachar I found this latter 
to be the common form, whilst some birds sent me from Manipur 
were intermediate but leaning more to the Burmese than the Indian 
form. In Chittagong and the Chittagong hill-tracks also the former is the 
one met with. 

Captain Maiden reported it as " pretty common in the south of Sind," 
but it probably only enters this part of India in exceptionally wet seasons 
as no one else seems to have noticed it there. Both " Eha " and Dewar 
state tliat this Dove is never found on the island of Bombay though both 
the Little Brown Dove and Ring-Dove swarm. 

Nidification. The Spotted Dove breeds from the level of the plains 
up to at least 8,000 ft. in the Himalayas and possibly even at higher elevations 
than this. In the plains it breeds practically all the year round, and in the 
higher portions of its hUl-range from March to September. In Bengal 
undoubtedly March to June and, again, September and October, are the 
principal breeding-months, but Cripps found them breeding in Furredpore 
from November to May also. I think, however, that during the height 
of the rainy season most birds stop breeding, though I once found a Spotted 
Dove seated on her very exposed nest in August, during unusually heavy 
rain which had soaked her, the nest, and all its surroundings through and 
through. In Kumaon, Thompson found them breeding from February to 
October ; in the Konkan, Vidal got nests from October to April, and Cardew 
says that it nests in the Neilgherries from February to September. 



206 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

It would appear therefore that it breeds in the hills during the whole 
time of its visit to them, and that in the plains it only stops breeding during 
the height of the rains in the rainj' climates and during the season of extreme 
drought in the drier climates. 

It does not breed in the interior of heavy forests and not often in open 
country which is devoid of a plentiful growtli of trees ; short of tliis it may 
be found breeding anywhere and everywhere. In gardens, and even in 
verandahs and outhouses ; in small trees growing in rice, wheat, or other 
grain-fields ; in orchards, in bushes, in scrub-jungle, or in uninliabited tracts 
on the borders of forests or tliinly-wooded plains. 

Mr. R. Thompson, wTiting from Kumaon, gives the following very 
interesting note on the breeding of this Dove : " The Spotted Dove is the 
most common and abundant of the family in the lower Himalayas, remaining 
on the lower hills throughout the winter. 

" The nest is composed of from about fifty to one hundred and fifty small 
twigs and roots laid loosely together, that portion of a bush or tree being 
selected for the purpose wliich will give the broadest foundation, no matter 
whether it be the intertwining of many slender branches or a hollow in a 
thicker one. 

" The breeding-season commences as early as February in the warmer 
valleys and continues to the end of October. Two or even more broods 
are reared during the season. 

" The eggs are piu'e white and two in number and nearly perfectly oval. 
The young remain in the nest until able to fly, when they come out and perch 
on the branches, but are easily frightened out of the nesting-tree by the 
approach of a person, and not being able to sustain a protracted flight can 
easily be taken if followed up. 

"The female sits very close on her nest, but if forced from it she will 
at times fly, or in fact throw herself down upon the ground in front of the 
intruder, and will then mimic before his astonished gaze all the actions and 
efforts of a wounded bird trying to escape its pursuers, and thus endeavour 
to turn him from its nest. 

" In their selection of sites for their nests these birds show very little 
intelligence, suiting themselves to the first place they find handy, often 
amongst old furniture in the verandah of a house, cornices of old buildings, 
low hedges and bushes, or even the lopped trunlc of a tree if a flat surface 
is left sufficient to ])lace the nest on, and often in the most exposed situations, 
when the -ivretched birds are sure to pay the penalty of their imprudence." 

Many people, when thej' notice in what exposed positions the nests are 
placed, have wondered at the great abundance of this little Dove, but though 
only two eggs are laid at a time, the hen-bu'd invariably has two or three 
broods in the year and often five or six, so that if but one pair escape final 
destruction in every two or three years it is enougli to replace the deaths 
amongst adult birds, \\lulst if but one pair escape every year there would 
very soon be no room for any other species of bird in India. 

The Spotted Dove is one of tliose birds which often makes its nest 
close to that of the nest of some bird of prey — a most curious trait ; and as 
neither themselves nor their young are ever molested it would really seem 
as if there was some law of nature governing this habit and protecting the 
weaker bird from the normal habits of the stronger. The nest of this 
Dove has been found in the same tree as that of the Laggar, a Falcon which 
preys more upon Pigeons and Doves than any other bird. It has also been 
found breeding either in the same tree or close beside one occupied by the 



SPOTTED DOVE 207 

Turumpti {Falco chiquera), by the Fish-Eagles (Poliaetus ichthyaelus and 
humilis), and also in a bush under a tree in which a family of young Black- 
winged Kites (Elanus coeruleus) were being brought up. 

Wliatever this law may be, however, it is not obeyed by the Crow, who 
is a law unto liimself, or tlie Magpie (Dendrocitta) — an outcast amongst birds 
and a destroyer of all life feebler than himself, and one of the worst egg- 
thieves in India. 

The eggs are, of course, only two in number although, long ago, Tickell 
recorded them as numbering " two to six." Equally of course they are 
pure white and the normal Dove-shaped oval. 

Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, gives the average of thu'ty-three 
eggs as being 1.06 by .82 in. ( = 26.9 by 20.8 mm.), the extremes in length 
as .95 and 1.17 in. ( = 24.1 and 29.7 mm.), and in breadth .75 and .95 in. 
( = 19.0 and 24.1 mm.). 

Mr. C. R. S. Pitman sends me the measurements of a large series which 
averaged the same as Oates's in length but measures .85 in. in breadth 
( = 21.6 mm.). His extreme measurements are, however, well within 
those given by Gates. A hundred eggs measured by myself give the same 
average in size as given by Mr. Pitman and does not extend the maximum 
or minimum given by Gates. 

The Spotted Dove is one of the most familiar and widespread of 
birds in India over aU but the most bare and desert portions, such as 
parts of the Deccan and Sind. It is a bird that is very intolerant of 
thirst, so that a plentiful supply of water is an absolute necessity, and, 
given this, it wiU be found practically everywhere, plains and hiUs alike, 
at any rate up to some 8,000 ft. Where water is plentiful there also 
wiU be found trees and vegetation in sufficiency, for the Spotted Dove 
does not require heavy forest in which to hide, and though it does not 
shun the vicinity of such, it will be met with more frequently in 
cultivated country, especially if this be well supplied with groves 
and trees. 

If not persecuted it is a most confiding little bird, and will run 
about on the ground close to human beings without taking fright. It is 
much given to haimting roads and vUlage-paths, and one can hardly 
travel many himdred yards along such without coming across one or 
more pairs searching for grain in the droppings and dust. They are 
nearly always in pairs and, though the two birds may keep some little 
distance apart, their constant sweet " coos " are uttered and answered 
every few minutes ; and when they do fly away it is always together, 
the nearest tree generally offering them a convenient perch where 
they can sit side by side until the interloper has passed and they can 
once more return to their quest for food. Their " coo " is a very soft 
melodious tone, difficult to set forth in writing, but which Blyth has 



208 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

tried to express by the words " oot-raow-oo oot-raow-oo," and others 
by the syllables " ku-krroo-ku," repeated two or three times. 

During the heat of the day and also in the early mornings and 
evenings in Bengal they resort much to the mango-groves which are to 
be found in the vicinity of most villages, and during these hours the 
place is full of the melody of their calls, for they are by no means sparing 
of their voice. When disturbed on the groimd they rise very straight 
into the air for a few feet, making a great fluster and clapping of wings 
in so doing, and then flap quickly away with tail widespread so as to 
show the white on each side. Once weU off the wing-beats are few 
and the tail-feathers less spread, but the flight is seldom continued far. 

A pair of these Doves once built in the verandah of my house, 
selecting the top of one of the verandah piUars for their nesting-site, 
and soon became so tame that they would not move more than a foot 
or two out of the way of the servants and others using the verandah. 
Both birds would come down to the table when the dish-washer was 
carrying on his work, and feed on any of the scraps throwTi to them 
as his duties proceeded. I noticed then that these Doves, by nature 
almost entirely grain and seed feeders, would eat almost anything 
thrown to them — bread, potatoes, cabbage, and indeed almost any- 
thing but meat and fish. 

They were a most loving little couple, and in the rare intervals 
when they had no eggs to hatch or greedy young ones to attend, they 
always roosted close side by side on the top of the pillar next the one 
on which was their nest. 

Cripps and others say that this bird never uses the same nest twice, 
but this pair used the same many times, of course repairing it on 
each occasion, but never starting a new one, though there were many 
other verandah pillars quite as convenient. As parents both birds 
were equally excellent and attentive, sharing all duties fairly, in addi- 
tion to which the cock-bird was very attentive to his little wife, often 
taking her up special dainties from the table below. 

They are very easy birds to keep in confinement, and though they 
quarrel very badly amongst themselves or with other Doves, are not 
so pugnacious with other birds. They are also much more active and 
interesting than the Green Pigeons, and breed freely, even if kept in 
comparatively smaU cages. 

The Indians feed them principally on suttoo, a mixture of meal and 



SPOTTED DOVE 209 

water, and on rice, both husked and unhusked ; but they will eat any 
grain freely, and should also be given any fruit which may be obtainable. 
Above all, however, they should be supplied with an ample bath daily, 
for they love splashing and washing in a shallow pan with about an inch 
of water in it. When wild they seem to relish aUke a dust-bath or a 
swill in some shallow streamlet. 

They are extremely good to eat, and, in India, where it is so often 
hard to get a change from the ubiquitous fowl, many a Spotted Dove 
goes into the pot, and haArnig regaled the eye and the ear of the camper- 
out in the morning, ministers to his wants in yet another way in the 
evening. 



(42) STREPTOPELIA SURATENSIS TIGRINA (Temm.). 

THE MALAY OR BURMESE SPOTTED DOVE. 
(Plate 21.) 

Columba tigrina Temm. and Knip, Pig., I pi. 43 (1808-11). 

Columhina inornata Gray, List Gallinae B.M., p. 13 (1844). 

Turtur chinemis Gray, Gen. B., II p. 472 (1844). 

Columba chinensis Thienem, Fortplf., p. 59. 

Turtur suratensis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XV p. 372; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., 
X p. 360 ; Venning, ib., XXI p. 631. 

Turtur tigrinus Blyth, J.A.S.B., XXIV p. 480 ; id. ib., XXXIX pt. 2, p. 332 
Ball, Str. Feath., I p. 80 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 506 ; id., Str 
Feath., II p. 269 ; Blyth. and Wald., B. Burma, p. 145 ; Hume, Str, 
Feath., Ill p. 164 ; Armstrong, ib., IV p. 337 ; Gates, ib., V p. 164 
Hume and Dav., ib., VI p. 422 ; Anderson, Yun-nan Exp., Av., p. 665 
Hume, Str. Feath., VIII p. 110 ; id.. Cat. no. 795, bis ; Bingh., Str, 
Feath., IX p. 194 ; Hume and Inglis, ib., p. 258 ; Gates, ib., X p. 235 
id., B. Burma, II p. 290 ; Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 299 ; Gates, in 
Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 356 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI 
p. 440 : Blanf ., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 44 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 68 ; 
Macdonald, J.B.N.H.S., XVII p. 496 ; H. R. Baker, ib., p. 760 ; Mears, 
ib., XVIII p. 86 ; Harington, ib., XIX pp. 306 and 365 ; Allan, ib., 
p. 523; Harington, ib., XX p. 1010; Hopwood, ib., XXI p. 1214; 
Robinson, J.F.M.S. 1905, p. 57. 

Turtur tigrina Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 461. 

Spilopelia tigrina Sundev., Meth. Nat. Av. Disp. Tent., p. 100 (1872) ; Sharpe, 
Hand-List, I p. 80 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 99. 

Vernacular Names. Tekukor, Malayan ; Gyo, Gyo-le-byouk, Burmese ; 
Daotu, Cachari ; Inruigu, Naga. ; Vohkurup, Kuki. 

Description. — Adult male. Similar to S. s. suratensis, but differing 
in the following respects : The rufous spots on the upper-back are absent, 
and those on the wing-coverts, scapulars, and innermost secondaries are 
either wholly wanting or are only faintly shown ; the vinaceous spots on the 
wing are absent, though the outer webs of the median coverts are more or 
less a pale vinous-brown. The grey greater coverts of surateiisis, are replaced 
by pale vinous-brown with merely grey edges in tigrtTia. 

Below the chin is less albescent and often almost concolorous with the 
breast ; there is less albescent on the abdomen, which with the under tail- 
coverts is often a fulvous-vinous with no white at all. 

Measurements. On an average the Burmese Spotted Dove is decidedly 
bigger than the Indian bird. Total length about 13 in. ( = 330 mm.), wing 
5.40 in. ( = 137.1 mm.) to 6.05 in. ( = 155.1 mm.), and with an average of 




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MALAY SPOTTED DOVE 211 

5.70 in. ( = 144.8 mm.), as against an average of 5.55 in. ( =141 mm.) in 
the largest local form of the Indian bird. 

The bill is also slightly larger, being .65 in. ( = 16.5 mm.) from the front 
against .55 in. ( = 14 mm.) in the Indian Spotted Dove, and about .9 in. 
( = 22.8 mm.) from the gape. 

Colours of soft parts. Iris reddish-brown, or bright hazel with a reddish 
outer-ring ; bill dark homy or slaty-brown, sometimes nearly black ; edges 
of eyelid and narrow bare orbital-skin reddish-lake ; legs and feet dull red, 
reddish-purple, or deep coral-red. 

The Sumbawa birds are said to have the irides pale bright yellow 
(Guillem, P.Z.S. 1885, p. 510) and the birds from Menado and Talisse islands 
brown ones (Buttik., Notes Leyd. Mus., IX p. 76). 

Female. Similar to the male. 

Measurements. A trifle smaller than the male with an average wing- 
measurement of about 5.55 in. ( = 141 mm.) and the other measurements in 
proportion. 

Young differ from the adult in the same way as the young of the Indian 
Spotted Dove differ from the adult of that subspecies ; but. Judging from 
the few young specimens in the British Museum Collection, the young of 
the Burmese bird are far more rufous in their upper-plumage than are the 
young of the Indian one. 

Nestling. At first a naked blaek-skinned object, with sparse yellow-buff 
down here and there, gradually becoming thicker as the bird grows older. 

Distribution. From Chittagong, Looshai Hills, Manipur, and North 
Cachar, through Burma, Yun-nan, Siam, Cochin-China, the whole of the 
Malay Peniasula, and Sumatra as far south as Timor and the Moluccas, where 
Salvadori considers it a winter- visitor only. 

The birds from Chittagong, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and the Looshai 
HjIIs are all typical tigrina, but as I have already sho^vn, the birds from 
Manipur are intermediate though the majority are nearer the Burmese than the 
Indian form, whilst those from the North Cachar Hills are either typical 
Burmese birds or very nearly so. 

The birds from the Sunda Islands and especially from Java, Lombock, 
and Timor, are said to be somewhat larger, with a wing averaging 5.9 in. 
( = 150 mm.), but with the large amountof material available for examination 
in the British Museum I cannot differentiate between the birds of these islands 
and further north. 

Nidification. All writers agree that this bird breeds practically all 
the year round. Macdonald, Major H. R. Baker, Gates, and Hariagton say 
that this is the case, and no one seems to have selected any special months 
as the ones in which most eggs may be taken. 

Gates, writing from Upper Pegu, remarks that this Dove " is common 
everywhere except on the hills, where I did not meet with it. It seems to 
breed all the year round." Again, writing from Wau in Lower Pegu, he adds : 
" The nest of this bird is to be found all the year tlrrough." 

The nest is like that of the Indian Spotted Dove, a very flimsy concern 
made of fine twigs and coarse grasses, with occasionally a few roots and weed- 
stems added to the others. These are all interlaced to form a rough and 
very transparent platform 5 or 6 in. in diameter, which is placed in any 
shrub, bush, sapling, clump of bamboos or cane-brake a few feet from the 
ground, never over some 20 ft. or so, generally lower and sometimes as low 

F 2 



212 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

as 3 ffc. At this height Mr. J. Darling found a nest built on the upper surface 
of a large-leaved tree growing on a range of hills east of Tavoy. 

More curious even than this is the finding of two nests of the Malayan 
Turtle-Dove on the ground by Mr. C. W. Allan. Writing from Henzada in 
Burma, he says : " Yesterday, the 3rd March, I found two nests of the 
Common Dove (Turtur tigrinus) built on the ground. 

" The first I found in the morning whilst inspecting a timber cutting in 
the Kyangin forest reserve. It was on the ground, right out in the open, 
under a teak tree and was of the ordinary kind, just a few twigs collected 
on some fallen leaves. There was no attempt at concealing the nest. There 
were two eggs in this nest, freshly laid. 

" The second nest I found the same evening. It was placed at the foot 
of a catechu {Acacia catechu) tree not far from my camp. The bird flew off 
as I approached the tree. There were two eggs in this nest, also freshly laid. 

" In all my wanderings in Burma and India I have never before come 
across Doves nesting on the ground and cannot account for these, as there 
were lots of bushes and trees about to build on." 

The eggs of this bird cannot be distinguished from those of the Indian 
Spotted Dove. 

The eggs recorded in Hume's Nests and Eggs varied in breadth from 
.76 in. ( = 19.3 mm.) to .88 in. ( = 22.3 mm.), and the series in the Museum 
average 1.18 by .86 in. ( =30 by 21.8 mm.) whilst the extremes in length 
are 1.05 and 1.25 in. ( = 26.6 and 31.7 mm.) and in breadth .8 and .9 in. 
{ = 20.3 and 22.8 mm.). 

Macdonald's eggs average a good deal smaller than this and he records 
the measurements as 1.05 by .88 in. ( =26.6 by 22.3 mm.), but it will be 
noticed that his eggs are broader than those in the Museum series. 

The eggs in my collection all come within the limits given above. 

The Malayan Turtle-Dove differs but little in its habits from its 
Indian cousin. It is perhaps on the whole more of a jungle and forest- 
bird, and it certainly does not seem to ascend the hills to so great a 
height, not commonly being met with much above 4,000 ft. At the same 
time it does not haimt jungles and forests unless these are broken up 
with open land, either cultivated or barren, for it is a bird which 
generally seeks its food on the ground and the greater part of this 
consists of grain and seeds which are obtained in the cultivated areas. 

Robinson's remarks on this bird's habits in the Malay States are 
worth quoting. He writes : " This bird is found in much the same 
situations as the Barred Groimd Dove, but is less tied to cultivation 
than that species. It is widely distributed throughout the Peninsula, 
and is particularly abundant in the sandy wastes and casuarinaa that 
fringe large portions of the East Coast. It is also very common in Negri 
Semlilan, especially in the Linggi district, but is rarer in Selangor and 
Perak. In habits it is less terrestrial than Geopelia striata and is much 
shyer. It is also more gregarious, and at certain times of the year 



MALAY SPOTTED DOVE 213 

ia found in flocks that may number as many as thirty or forty indivi- 
duals, though this is exceptional. It is a common cage-bird with all 
classes of natives." 

Over the whole of its range this character for shyness given it by 
Robinson seems to hold good, and nowhere do I find any record of its 
being the famihar village-bird that the Common Spotted Dove so often 
is. At the same time in some parts of northern Burma, in the more 
populous, cultivated areas, it is comparatively tame and confiding. 

It has the same habit of frequenting roads and village-paths in 
search of food as has the previous bird, and, like that, when disturbed, 
gets up with the same fluster of wing and expanded tail, and also like 
that bird makes for the nearest tree for refuge. Both these subspecies 
have a predilection for sitting on dead trees or on dead branches of 
live ones, and may often be seen in cultivated clearings, in which the 
few trees left standing are all ringed and dead, perched in numbers 
high up on their leafless boughs. 

As a rule they go about in pairs, and though sociable and fond of 
collecting in numbers in their feeding-haunts, they are not generally 
considered gregarious in the true sense of the word. 



(43) STREPTOPELIA CAMBAYENSIS (Gm.). 

THE LITTLE BROWN DOVE. 

(Plate 22.) 

Cambayan Turtle Lath., Syn., II 2, p. 652, no. 47 (1783). 

Columba cambayensis Gm., Syst. Nat., I 2, p. 779, no. 49 (1788) ; Lath., Ind. 
Orn., II p. 609. 

Turtur senegalensis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 873 (part) (1845) ; id.. Cat. 
B.M.A.S.B., p. 237; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 479; Blanf., E. Persia, II 
p. 276 ; Davidson and Wen., Str. Feath., VII p. 86 ; Hume, ib., VIH 
pp. 66, 110, and 463; Vidal, ib., IX p. 74; Barnes, ib., pp. 219 and 
408 ; Butler, ib., p. 420 ; Reid, ib., X p. 60 ; Davidson, ib., p. 320 ; 
Dav., ib., p. 408 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 291 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests 
and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 351; Sharpe, Yarkand Misc. Av., p. 118; 
Barnes, J.B.N.H.S., V p. 331. 

Turtur cambayensis Bp., Con. Av., II p. 62 ; Jerdon, B.I., HI p. 478 ; 
Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVH pt. 2 p. 66 ; id. ib., XLI pt. 2, p. 248 ; 
Hume, Str. Feath., I p. 218 ; Adam, ib., p. 390 ; Butler, ib., IV p. 3 ; 
Fau-bank, ib., p. 262 ; id. ib., V p. 408 ; Ball, ib., VII p. 224 ; Sal- 
vadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 45 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. L, FV p. 45 ; Marshall, 
J.B.N.H.S., XV p. 352 ; Bourdillon, ib., XVI p. 3 ; Fulton, ib., p. 60 ; 
Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 489; Ward, ib., p. 943; Perreau, ib., XIX 
p. 919; Fenton, ib., XX p. 221; Wliitehead, ib., p. 967; Moss-King, 
ib., XXI p. 100 ; Whitehead, ib., p. 168 ; D'Abreu, ib., p. 1167 ; Dewar, 
Birds of the Plains, p. 125; Aitken, Com. B. Bom., p. 151. 

Stigmatopelia cambayensis Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 80 ; Oates, Cat. Eggs 
B.M., I p. 100. 

Vernacular Names. Chota fakhta, Perki, Tortra fakhta, Panduk, 
Hin. ; Ghitti bella guwa, Sowata guwa, Tel. ; Touta-pora, Tamil. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head and neck a beautiful lilac- 
pink, darkest on the crown and fore-head, and palest on chin and throat ; 
a patch of black feathers on either side of the neck, meeting in a narrow 
gorget below the throat, each feather bifurcate and broadly tipped with bright 
rufous ; back, scapulars with lesser and median coverts adjoining them, 
innermost secondaries, rump, upper tail-coverts, and central rectrices pale 
earthy-brown, sometimes slightly rufous ; the two pair of feathers next the 
central rectrices greyish-brown with small wliite tips, the remaining pairs 
black at the base and white on the terminal half, the white also extending 
on the outermost pair down the outer web ; remaining wing-coverts french- 
grey, the greater edged slightly paler ; edge of wing and winglet blackish- 
brown ; primaries brown, three or four of the outer ones edged pale ; outer 
secondaries dark slaty-brown, a fine narrow bro^^'n edge to some of them; 
breast, shading from the chestnut of the collar to a vinous-pink, and from 




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LITTLE BROWN DOVE 215 

that into white on the abdomen and under tail-coverts ; under wing-coverts, 
axillaries, and flanks dark dove-grey. 

Measurements. Length 10 to 11 in. ( = 254 to 280 mm.) ; wing from 
4.75 in. ( = 120.6 mm.) to 5.15 in. ( = 130.8 mm.) and averaging about 
4.95 in. ( = 125.7 mm.) ; tail 4.5 in. to 5.2 in. ( = 114.3 to 132.1 mm.) ; bill 
at front .5 in. ( = 12.7 mm.) and from gape about .7 in. ( = 17.7 mm.), 
tarsus about .8 in ( = 20.3 mm.). 

Colours of soft parts. Irides dark liazel-brown with an inner conspicu- 
ous ring of white ; bill dark horny-brown, often nearly black ; legs and feet 
pink-lake, pale scarlet or deep flesh-colour, the claws black. 

Female. Similar to the male. 

Measurements. According to Salvadori the female of this and the 
closely allied senegalensis, from Africa, are a trifle smaller than the male, but 
I cannot discover any such difference from the large series I have examined, 
though probably the female is more slender and lighter. 

Colours of soft parts, as in the male. 

Young are similar to the adult, but have no signs of the gorget of black- 
and-red feathers ; the head is duller, more brown, and less vinous-pink, and 
the scapulars and wing-coverts are narrowly tipped with pale dull rufous 
and subedged with a black band ; the feathers of the upper-back are also 
obsoletely barred with darker. The breast is duller and less vinous-piok 
and the grey feathers of the wing are margined \^'ith rufous and submargined 
with dark grey. 

Young at an older stage than this have narrow whitish-rufous bars show- 
ing on wing-coverts and back, and also sometimes show the faintest indications 
of narrow bars on the breast. After the autumn-moult these all disappear 
and the gorget appears first in blackish spots, the black base of the feathers 
showing through the plumage before the rufous spots are developed. 

Nestling, in down. A dirty yellowish-fawn above and below. 

Distribution. Practically the whole of India west of Calcutta and 
a line drawn thence west of the rivers Hugli, Ganges, and Kosi. But even 
west of these rivers the Little Brown Dove is rare in all the very wet districts 
of eastern Bengal, and I believe only wanders into these during the dry 
months. Inglis does not report it as occurring in the Madliubani district 
of Behar, but it certainly occurs in other districts of that province, and it 
is found in Chutia Nagpiu", though not commonly except in the comparatively 
dry districts of Hazaribagh and Ranclii. It is generally said to be absent 
from the Malabar coast, but Bourdillon notes that it is to be found in the dry 
region of the extreme south, not far from Cape Comorin, though by no means 
common even there. It is not found in Ceylon, but occurs in the Andamans, 
according to Osmaston, though he himself did not meet with it there, and it is 
probably extremely rare, or possibly the occurrences are only individuals 
which have escaped from captivity. It is not recorded thence by Hume, 
and KIoss and Butler also did not meet with it. Outside India it is found 
in Turkestan, Arabia, south Persia, Baluchistan, and Afghanistan. 

Nidification. Over the greater part of its range the Little Brown Dove 
breeds throughout the year, the months February to April, and again Sep- 
tember to November, being, perhaps, more favoured than the rest. In the 
hUls, to which this bird is only a summer-visitor in the higher parts, it breeds 
more or less continuously from April to October. How many times a year 



216 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

these little Doves indulge in a family it is impossible to guess ; all have two 
or three broods, and some of them probably have as many as five or six, for. 
with strict attention to business, there is time for this each year. On an 
average the nest may be said to take a week to build, the eggs a fortnight to 
hatch, and the young ones a month to bring up and turn into the world to 
fend for themselves, so that in a couple of months the parent birds are quite 
ready to start their domestic cares once more. For the second brood 
the old nest suffices, and in some instances even a third is brought up in 
it after which, if the female is still intent on laying, she usually turns to 
another site. 

As regards the site itself, tlie bird is not hard to please. Most nests are 
placed in bushes, small saplings, tangles of cane, briers, or creeping plants ; 
some rest on boughs open to all the world to inspect, and many are placed 
somewhere or other inside human habitations. Nests on the tops of masonry 
pillars of verandahs are common, others are placed on the walls or on beams 
across the ceiling. Mr. A. Anderson had a pair build on the corner rope of 
his tent whilst in camp ; the rolled up blinds — or " chics " as they are called 
in India^ — used to keep the sun out of the verandaLs are favourite sites for 
their nests, and I have even heard of one pair who buUt their nest in a 
dining-room of a big house between a fiicture and the wall from which it was 
hanging. 

The history of a pair of birds who built their nest on the top of one of 
these " chics " is told by Dewar in his Birds of the Plains. This little pair 
built their first nest, and reared two young, on the top of a " chic " whilst 
it was rolled up, and when it was let do^\n in the hot weather they stuck to 
the site and actually built another nest and hatched out three more broods 
of young ones, and after this a pair of domestic Pigeons, whose eggs had 
been substituted for a pair of their own. 

Perhaps more strange than any of the above nests are some which have 
been found actually on the ground. The first record of this kind is that of 
a nest found by Mr. B. Aitken " on the ground, at the top of a ditch, in a 
plain covered with short grass, eitlier spear-grass, or some very fine sort like 
spear-grass. Not a stick or straw had been carried to the spot, but the grass, 
as it grew, had been worked into a very neat nest." 

More recently Mr. Fenton has recorded in the Bombay Natural History 
Society's Journal, that he " found, some years ago at Chorwar in Khatiawar, 
the nest of Turiur cambayensis (the Little Brown Dove) placed on the ground, 
on a large bare plot surrounded by tlie ordinary Indian Cactus. The nest 
contained two young birds." 

Considering the amount of vermin, winged and foiu' footed, wliich swarms 
everywhere in India, it seems incredible that any birds could ever reach 
maturity under such circumstances, for most ground-birds are adepts at 
concealing their eggs, or these latter are adaptive in coloration. 

Needless to say, the eggs are always t;^o in number. It may be that 
on rare occasions three are laid [vide Jerdon and others), and sometimes but 
one is laid when the birds have already reared two or three broods. They 
are white, smooth in texture, with a slight gloss, a stout shell for their size, 
and in sliape they are a regular oval, both ends subequal in size and shape 
and often somewhat lengthened. 

All the eggs I have seen come within the dimensions given by Gates in 
Hume's Nests and Eggs, and their average is the same as his. The measure- 
ments he gives are as follows : " In length the eggs vary from 0.88 to 1.18 in. 
( = 22.3 to 30.0 mm.) and in breadth from 0.75 to 0.90 in. ( = 19.0 to 



LITTLE BROWN DOVE 217 

22.8 mm.) " ; but the average of forty eggs is 1.01 in., barely, by 0.86 in. 
full ( = 25.6 by 21.9 mm.). 

They breed up to at least 5,000 ft. in the Himalayas. 

The Little Brown Dove is a resident, non-migratory bird, but like 
many others of this family, moves about locally according to the abun- 
dance or otherwise of its food-supply, and also up and down the mountains 
to some extent under the influence of the various seasons. 

On the whole, it is a bird of drier climates than is the Spotted Dove, 
far more tolerant of heat and drought combined and also more re- 
stricted to open country. In its habits it is just as confiding and tame 
as the last bird, and resorts regularly to gardens and compovmds and 
the immediate vicinity of villages, where it rims about on the ground 
picking up grain and the various seeds upon which it chiefly feeds. 
If not harassed or frightened it will hardly move out of the way of the 
children as they play about, and when forced to move, merely flies 
to the nearest bare branch of a tree, where it sits and " coos " until 
it once more returns to the ground to feed. 

Its flight is much like that of the Spotted Dove : they rise with a 
clatter and much flapping of the wing straight up from the groimd 
for two or three feet, and then more quietly fly straight away. Once 
on the wing they are capable of Qying with great speed, but normally 
fly rather leisurely and with slow beats, alternating with short sailing 
movements. 

When courting, their actions on the wing are very pretty : as a 
rule they perch high up on some bare branch, and after much billing 
and cooing to his little mate, the male suddenly launches himself high 
into the air, his wings meeting over his head in loud claps as he mounts 
higher and higher, and then there is a sudden stoppage of the noise 
and he sinks slowly with widespread wings in gradually lessening spirals 
back to the side of his wife. 

These birds probably pair for life and are most affectionate to one 
another and very faithful. They are also excellent parents and 
share all duties between them, the hen generally sitting by day when 
they have eggs, and the cock by night, and the latter also constantly 
feeds and attends to his wife when she is thus employed. But though 
in their own family circle they show such admirable traits, outside 
they share in fuU with the other members of their tribe the faults of 
greediness and quarrelsomeness. 



218 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

They are favourite cage-bird3 and constantly utter their soft 
kroo kroo in captivity. Their voice has been well described as " low, 
subdued and musical, a dissyllabic sound, repeated four or five times 
successively." 

They drink regularly in the mornings and possibly also at midday 
before their siesta, and again in the evenings, but there seems to be no 
evidence on this point. 

They are excellent eating, but are sometimes said to be rather 
more dry than the Spotted Dove, though similar to it in taste. 



(44) STREPTOPELIA RISORIA RISORIA (Linn.). 
THE INDIAN RING-DOVE. 

Turtur indicm Aldrovandus, p. 510 (1637). 

Columba risoria Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 285 (1766). 

Turtur douraca Hodg., in Gray's ZooL Misc., p. 85 (1844) (descr. nulla); 
Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 430 ; Newman, Avi. Mag. 1896, p. 321. 

Turtur risorius Strick., Ann. and Mag. N.H., XIII p. 38 ; BIyth, J.A.S.B., 
XIV p. 870 ; id.. Cat. B.M.A.S.B., p. 235 ; id., J.A.S.B., XXIV p. 261 ; 
Jerdon, B.I., III p. 481 ; Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXVII pt. 2, p. 67 ; id. 
lb., LXI pt. 2, p. 248 ; Godw-Aus., ib., XXXIX pt. 2, 272 ; Hume, 
Str. Feath., I p. 218 ; Adam, ib., p. 390 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, p. 506 ; 
Blanf., E. Persia, II p. 270 ; Butler, Str. Feath., IV p. 3 ; Fairbank, 
ib., p. 462 ; id. ib., V p. 409 ; Butler, ib., VII p. 171 ; Ball, ib., p. 224 ; 
Cripps, ib., p. 297 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110 ; id.. Cat. no. 796 ; Vidal, 
Str. Feath., VIII p. 173 ; Scully, ib., p. 342 ; Vidal, ib., IX p. 75 ; 
Butler, ib., p. 420 ; Barnes, ib., p. 458 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 702 ; Reid, 
Str. Feath., X p. 60 ; Davison, ib., p. 408 ; Gates, in Hume's Nests and 
Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 357 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 291 ; Hume, Str. Feath., 
XI p. 299 ; Aitken, Com. B. Bom., p. 152 ; Dewar, Birds of the Plains, 
p. 124 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 46 ; Barnes, J.B.N.H.S., V p. 332 ; 
Stuart Baker, ib., X p. 360 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 474 ; Wilson, ib., XII 
p. 639 ; Inglis, ib., XIV p. 562 ; Marshall, ib., XV p. 353 ; Bourdillon, 
ib., XVI p. 3 ; Fulton, ib., p. 60 ; Dewar, ib., p. 495 ; Nicol Gumming, 
ib., p. 691 ; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943 ; Perreau, ib., XIX p. 919 ; White- 
head, ib., XX p. 967 ; Moss-King, ib., XXI p. 100 ; Whitehead, ib., 
p. 168; D'Abreu, ib., p. 1167. 

Turtur stoliczkae Hume, Str. Feath., 11 p. 519 ; id. ib., Ill pp. 217 and 415 ; 
Scully, ib., IV p. 178 ; Sharpe, Yarkand Misc. Av., p. 117. 

Streptopelia dourica Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 79 ; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., 
I p. 96. 

Vernacular Names. Dhor fakhta, Perlci, Punduk, Ghigi, Hin. ; Daola or 
Doula, Hin. Behar ; Kalthak, Kakalaki, Pankghugu, Bengali ; Pitha hola, 
Mahr. ; Pedda-bella guwa, Tel. ; Cally-praa, Tamil, Ceylon ; Daotu gophu, 
Cachari ; Jungle Kapoth, Biluchi ; Pakktah, Turki. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head and neck lilac-grey, the throat 
paler and the chin sometimes albescent ; in some birds the fore-head is paler 
than the crown, as are also the sides of the head ; a narrow collar of white 
succeeded by a broader one of black, a few of these latter feathers being very 
narrowly edged with white, forming a third very narrow and indefinite band, 
which extends with the others to form a nuchal collar about two-thirds 
round the neck ; upper-parts from shoulders to tail and including inner wing- 
coverts pale brown, varying from fa\^'n-brown to pale earthy according to 
state of plumage. Central tail-feathers pale brown, but often more or less 



220 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

suffused with ashy-grey ; succeeding pair of feathers more grey and with 
narrow white tips, the outermost pair black at the base and white on the 
terminal half and edge of outer web, intermediate feathers grading from 
one to the other. Outer wing-coverts pale grey, gradually changing into the 
colour of the back ; primaries dark brown edged pale whitish-brown, 
secondaries more grey, finely edged with whitish. Breast lilac lil-ce the head, 
gradually changing to pale dove-grey on the abdomen and to darker french- 
grey on the under tail-coverts ; flanks, axillaries and under wing-coverts 
pale silver-grey ; under aspect of primaries light brown and of secondaries 
greyisli-white. 

Measurements. Total length about 13 in. ( = 330 mm.) ; wing 6.25 in. 
to 7.10 in. ( = 158.7 to 180.3 mm.) and averaging 6.65 in. ( = 168.8 mm.) 
in Indian birds ; bill at front about .7 in. ( = 17.8 mm.) and from gape nearly 
1 in. ( = 25.0 mm.) ; tarsus about 1 in. ( = 25.4), and tail varying from 4.6 in. 
( = 116.8 mm.) to 5.5 in. ( = 140.0 mm.). 

Colours of soft parts. Irides lake-red, red, or crimson ; bill almost black ; 
edge of eyelid red, and narrow orbital skin round eye wliite, pale livid, or pale 
slaty-grey, never yellow ; legs dark f)inkLsh-red, crimson-red, or dull purple, 
the claws almost black. 

Female. Similar to tlie male. 

Measurements. From the series I have examined it Ls impossible to 
determine that the female is any smaller than the male, but aviculturists 
claim that the female is distinctly the lighter build of the two sexes and 
easily recognizable. 

Young are browner and less vinaeeous below ; the wing-coverts are 
edged -with pale sandy-brown, and there are narrow dark bars on the breast. 

Nestling, in down. A dirty pale yellowish-white. 

Birds from China would seem to run very large, a male in the British 
Museum series having a wing of no less than 7.40 in. ( = 188 mm.) ; a female, 
however, from the same place has one of only 6.75 in. ( = 171.4 mm.), a size 
exceeded by several unsexed Indian birds. Again, a female from Japan 
has a wing of only 6.30 in. ( = 160 mm.), which is practically the same in 
size as that of our smallest Indian specimen. 

The colour does not seem to vary geographically, though bleached birds 
are, of course, much paler than those in fresiily-moulted plumage. 

As regards the name wliich the Indian Turtle-Dove must bear, there 
has been a great deal of discussion and many opinions given. In 1903 Dresser, 
referring to the synonymy of certain Palaearctic birds, attempted to sliow that 
neither the name douraca of Hodgson nor risoria of Linnaeus could be used 
for this bird — risoria presumably on the strength of the oft-repeated assertion 
that Linnaeus only intended this name to apply to the domestic bird, and 
do2iraca because tliat name is a later one than decaocia of Frivaldsky, who 
gave the Balkan bird this name in 1838. 

An examination of Linnaeus, however, shows that tlie bird he calls 
risoria is that wliich Aldrovandus named Ttirtur indicus in 1637. On p. 510 
of Vol. 15 of the Works of Aldrovandi there is an excellent plate of the Turtle- 
Dove, and on pp. 511 et seq. there is the usual full account of habitat, habits, 
etc. etc. Here Aldrovandus gives India as the country from which it comes, 
adding many other places, and amongst other items observing that it is 
most common amongst the Tartars. 

Further Linnaeus quotes Albin and Brisson, both of whom give India 



INDIAN RING-DOVE 221 

as the bird's habitat, and finally Linnaeus himself simply states " Habitat 
in India." 

There cannot, therefore, be the slightest doubt that Linnaeus meant 
the name risoria to be applied to the wild Dove which had the headquarters 
of its habitat in India. 

In the Avxculturxst Magazine Newman again refers to the name by which 
this Dove should be known, and after showing why decaocta must be accepted 
for the Balkan bird named by Frivaldsky, proceeds to show that douraca 
must stand for our Indian bird. He does not, however, attempt any reference 
to Aldrovandus, Brisson, and Linnaeus, but merely states as a fact that 
risoriiis can only be applied to the domestic form. I cannot, myself, find 
any constant distinguishing characteristics between the east European and 
the Indian bird, but if the former is worthy of separation it mil stand as 
Streptopelia risoria decaocta whilst our bird will remain S. r. risoria. 

Distribution. The Indian Ring-Dove is found practically throughout 
India and Ceylon except in the wettest, most heavily-forested portions of 
the eastern Himalayas, and from parts of the Malabar Coast. It is common 
in eastern Bengal in the open country and is fairly so in western Assam in 
the cultivated plains portion, but becomes much more rare in the extreme 
east and in Cachar and Sylhet. In Chittagong, I tliink, but am not sure, 
that it is replaced by the Burmese Ring-Dove. The exact dividing line 
between the two subspecies, of which the latter has but recently been 
distinguished, has not yet been definitely settled either in regard to the 
Indian or the Chinese borders. It is quite certain, however, that the Indian 
form does not occur in Burma. 

This bird is probably entirely absent from the greater part of the 
Malabar Coast, as Davidson only once met with it in the extreme east of Kanara, 
and Bourdillon says it is only found in the dry stretch of country near to 
Cape Comorin. In Cachar and to the east of this I think it is but a rare 
straggler ; Inglis hardly ever saw it in the plains, and I do not think I saw 
a dozen specimens in the hills in as many years. 

It ascends the Himalayas up to some 8,000 to 9,000 feet, but is not 
resident in the higher hUls much over 4,000 ft. Outside Indian limits it 
extends as far as Turkey in Europe and throughout the intervening countries, 
being replaced in Palestine, Egypt, and northern Africa by other subspecies. 

Nidification. The Indian Ring-Dove breeds throughout the year in 
the plains portion and lower hills of its habitat. To mention but one or 
two of its collectors, Inglis says that he has taken its eggs in every month 
of the year except February; Bingham says they breed practically all the 
year round, and Hume took the eggs in every month from December to 
August. In eastern Bengal very few birds breed during the most rainy 
months, July, August, and September, most of them nesting in the two 
or three months immediately preceding and succeeding the rains. 

In the higher hills the breeding-season is considerably curtailed, few 
eggs will be found before April, or after September, and the principal montlis 
are May and June. Each pair of birds, like most other Doves, are responsible 
for at least two broods a year, and many of them doubtless have four or five. 
As a rule, I think, they generally build a new nest for each brood, but some- 
times they rear two or even more in the old one, merely repairing this 
sufficiently for the time being. 

The nest is the usual Dove's structure of sticks made into the roughest 
of platforms, with but little or no depression in the centre for the eggs. 



222 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Occasionally, however, it is rather better made, more cup-shaped, and vnth 
other materials, such as grass, roots, tendril and moss roots intermixed, and, 
according to Hume, it is sometimes lined regularly with grass. In diameter 
it may be anything between some five and seven inches, but the shape is very 
irregular and often a couple of inches longer one way than the other. 

The nest is placed, in most cases, in thick bushes — ^prickly ones are 
especially affected — cane-brakes, bamboo clumps, or small saplings. Hume 
says : " The nest is placed in any bush or tree, prickly and thorny sites, such 
as are afforded by the Ziziphus, wild date, babool, Ewphorhias, etc., being 
often, but by no means universally selected. Generally the nest is within 
15, not very rarely within 5 ft. of the ground, but again, I have found it 30 or 
40 ft. up in a large tree." 

Mr. A. Anderson, who found the nest of the Spotted Dove on the ground, 
also found a nest of this bird in a similar position. He remarks : " I have 
discovered a curious nesting site for Turtur risorius, viz. the hare grmind. 
On the 20th November (of the present year) whilst drawing sandy downs, 
covered \vith a low flowering grass, such as the Desert Fox delights in, a Dove 
was flushed from off her nest which contained a pair of fresh eggs. These 
clearly belonged to T. risorms, but not having seen the bird myself, and 
identification in a matter of this sort being an absolute necessity, I replaced 
the eggs and subsequently shot one of the parent birds. 

" The nest, if such it can be styled, consisted of a few dry twigs which 
rested on the bare sand. There was no tree nearer than a mile, but the 
ground on all sides was covered with grass seeds, which constitutes the 
chief food of these birds ; and this pair were evidently sensible enough to 
adapt themselves to the force of circumstances." 

The site selected is generally a bush or tree in quite open country, or 
such as is only tliinly covered with trees, never, as far as I am aware, is it 
placed inside heavy forest. Although not actually entering buildings for 
nesting purposes, as both the Spotted and Little Brown Doves do, they will 
often select a bush within gardens and compounds or the environment of a 
village. They do not take much care to place tlieir nests in concealed positions, 
although they certainly, as Hume says, prefer thorny trees to others. I have 
seen a nest so placed in a small babool tree, standing quite by itself, that it 
was visible from at least two hundred yards away in every direction, yet in 
spite of this and of the fact that kites, crows, magpies, and other egg devourers 
swarmed on all sides, they had managed to hatch and rear two young ones. 

Scully says that in Turkestan they often make their nests on the tops 
of walls. 

The eggs, two in number, are of the regular smooth, rather glossy texture 
of all Dove's eggs ; the shell rather stout in proportion to its size, and in shape 
the normal oval, the two ends almost equal, whilst abnormal eggs tend to be 
rather lengthened, and often somewhat pointed at both ends. 

There is a big series of these in the British Museum Collection, 
of which Oates writes : " The eggs of the Indian Ring Dove in the collection 
possess a comparatively small amount of gloss, and measure from 1.05 to 
1.25 in length, and from .85 to 1 in breadth." 

My own eggs come \\dthin the extremes given by Oates, and these together 
with the Museum eggs average 1.16 in. by .93 in. ( = 29.4 by 23.5 mm.). 

The Indian Ring-Dove is an extremely common bird over the 
greater part of its range, but is rather capricious in its tastes, and is 



INDIAN RING-DOVE 223 

rare in some districts which would seem suitable for its habitat, and 
common in a few others which appear to be quite the reverse. On the 
whole, this Dove seems to require ample open country, and to dislike 
heavy forests and jungle and, whilst being able to stand in comfort the 
drought and heat of the hottest and most desert places, such as Sind, 
the Deccan, etc., is unable to endure a very heavy rainfall such as 
occurs in the Assam Valley or in the district stretching from Cachar 
and Sylhet towards Burma. 

It is not a migratory bird in the true sense of the term, but moves 
about locally, according to the seasons and the food-supply obtainable, 
probably wandering a good deal further east during the cold weather 
and dry season than in the rains. 

Vertically it moves upwards with the advent of the hot months, 
being found up to at least 8,000 ft. in the western Himalayas, probably 
a good deal higher, and in October it returns to the lower hills and 
plains. Ward speaks of it as common in Kashmir, but does not say 
up to what height it is found, nor unfortunately do Colonel Wilson, 
Davidson, and others who have so industriously worked this State. 

In its habitat and haunts the Indian Ring-Dove is almost as con- 
fiding and tame as the Spotted Dove and Little Brown Dove, and it 
may be seen feeding round about the villages in any open patch of 
cultivation, whilst it constantly enters the compounds and gardens of 
the European houses. It runs about the groimd much in the same 
way as do the Doves just referred to ; perhaps they are not quite so 
tame as those Doves are, and perhaps also they are not quite so ex- 
clusively ground-birds. Besides resting on trees during the heat of the 
day and roosting thereon at night, they perch a good deal at odd times, 
and occasionally feed on fruit-trees. 

Their diet is, of course, principally grain and seed, which they 
obtain from the cultivated country and grass-land, but they are also 
fruit-eaters when necessity compels. 

In Turkestan, Afghanistan, etc., it appears to be quite as fond 
of the vicinity of human habitation as it is in India. Scully writes 
of it in Turkestan : " It is always to be found near villages and houses : 
perching on trees, or running about on the ground picking up grain 
and seeds. The birds are very tame, and in winter they would come 
right up to the door of my room at Yarkand to be fed. A regular colony 
of these Doves Uved about the oompoimd of the Residency at Yarkand. 



224 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

A favourite trick of the Yarkand boys is to capture one of these Doves 
and smear its feathers all over with soot mixed up with oil. The bird 
is then allowed to fly away, and after a few days, when the feathers 
have shaken into their ordinary position, the Ring- Dove presents quite 
a natural appearance, only as it moves about with its fellows it looks 
truly a Dove in mourning." 

It is a very sociable bird, and is generally found feeding in some 
numbers together, but it, strictly speaking, keeps more in pairs than in 
flocks, only collecting in these latter prior to indulging in one of their 
local migrations when, according to some writers, they assemble in 
very large numbers, often of a hundred or so more individuals. 

Their flight is much the same as that of the Spotted Dove, but 
stronger and quicker ; they rise off the ground in the same noisy 
manner, but, when disturbed, generally fly further before re-settUng. 

Their note is a trisyllabic " coo," repeated softly two or three 
times, and is very melodious and sweet. According to Blji^h it "is 
quite different from that of the domestic Turtle-Dove, and may be 
expressed by kookoo-koo, kookoo-koo." 



(4S) STREPTOPELIA RISORIA XANTHOCYCLA (Newman). 
THE BURMESE RING-DOVE. 

Turtur xanthocyda Newman, Avi. Mag. 1896, p. 321 ; Mears, J.B.N.H.S., 
XVIII, p. 86; Harington, B. Burma, p. 68. 

Turtur dauraca Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 430 (part). 

Turtur risorius Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 46 (part) ; Anderson, Yunnan 
Exp., p. 666; Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 165; Wald., in Blyth's B. Burma, 
p. 146 ; Gates, Str. Feath., X p. 235 ; id., B. Brit. Burma, II p. 293 ; 
Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 299 (part) ; Macdonald, J.B.N.H.S., XVIII 
p. 496. 

Streptopelia dourica Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 79 (part) ; Gates, Cat. Eggs 
B.M., I p. 96 (part). 

Vernacular Name. Oyo-Un-hya, Burmese. 

Description. — Adult male. " In general appearance like T. decaocta 
decaoeta " (Streptopelia risoria), " but easily distinguished by broad yellow 
bare rings round the eyes " (Newman). 

" The colour generally is darker and more vivid than in Indian specimens 
of this species, and the collar is larger and more crescentic than in ordinary 
T. risorius, and if Jerdon's measurements are founded on fresh specimens, 
this bird is decidedly larger. He gives 13 in. as the extreme length, but my 
specimen measures 14 in., its wing 7 in., and its tail 6 in." (Anderson's 
Report on the Expedition to Western Yunnan.) 

There is little on record about this Dove except what has been written 
by Mr. Newman in the Avicultural Magazine already referred to ; he there 
sums up as follows the evidence to show that the Burmese and eastern bird 
is different to the Indian : " The Burmese bird possesses most remarkable 
yellow rings of bare skin round its eyes, which are most conspicuous in the 
living bird. I do not know any other Turtle-Doves of any species what- 
ever that has yellow round the eye. I had hoped to have been able to 
compare the plumage with birds from India, etc., which the lamentable 
destruction of the specimen now renders impossible. I am informed by 
those who know the Collared Turtle-Dove well in India, where it is a common 
bird and frequently kept in cages, that there it has no such yellow bare 
skin, in fact, in this respect it seems to resemble the domestic Barbary 
Dove. I have also looked up numerous references, and in every case when 
the colour of the orbital skin is given (excluding the two localities Burma 
and China mentioned below) it is described as ' Lower eyelid slaty-grey ' 
(this is the typical form from Yarkand), Scully, Stray Feathers, IV p. 178 ; 
' orbital skin bluish-white ' (Eastern Bengal), Cripps, ib., VII p. 297 ; 
and again ' orbital skin bluish-white ' (Ceylon), Legge, Birds of Ceylon, 
p. 702 ; also ' orbital skin whitish ' (Palestine), Dresser, Birds of Europe, 
Vn p. 51. In the original drawing from which fig. 2 in the plate has been 
traced, which was taken from the type of Turtur douraca, the skin round 
the eye is coloured greyish-white, with no sign of yellow. This is a native 



226 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

drawing, and great care has been taken, in this wonderful series of drawings 
of the Birds of India, bound in six large folio volumes, collected by the late 
Mr. B. M. Hodgson, to get the soft parts of his birds correctly coloured. 
Gates, in his Handbook to the Birds of Burmah, \mtes : ' Eyelids and skin 
of face yellow ' ; Swinlioe \\Tites, in Proceedings of the Zoological Society 
for 1870, p. 446, on a bird from Cliina, 'its eyelid is pale yellow.'" 

Distribution. Burma to the extreme south of Pegu, and extending 
thence to the countries in the east and north-east into China. \Miether it 
is this bird which spreads tlirough south central China and into Japan there 
is at present nothing on record to show, but this seems very likely to be the 
case. Harington only records it as occurring in the dry zone in Upper 
Burma and the Chindwin. It has, however, also been found in Arrakan, 
Pegu, Yun-nan, Cochin China, and the north-east Shan States. 

Nidification. Macdonald reports this bird as common all over the 
Myingyan District, and breeding jDrincipally during tlie latter end of the 
rainy season. 

I have had a fair series of its eggs sent me from Burma, and these cannot 
be in any way distinguislied from those of the Indian Ring-Dove. The 
notes accompanying the eggs also show that the nest is, as one would have 
expected, of precisely the same description, and the only thing necessary 
to say about it is that it seems to be more often found in comparatively 
thickly-wooded country or even in thin forest. 

In habits this bird takes in Burma exactly the same position 
as the Indian Ring-Dove does in India. It haunts open spaces and 
cultivation near villages, and also the more open but uninhabited up- 
lands in the Chin Hills and Shan States, though even here it would seem 
to be more common round about villages than in the wilder parts. 

Oates merely says that it is found round about villages in cultivated 
parts, either singly or in pairs, or else in smaU flocks. 

Harmgton says that it is a very common bird in the dry zone, 
and that it is a larger and heavier bird than the Indian one. He 
also remarks that its notes are deeper and that it has "as it flies 
an almost hawk-lilce call quite different to its ordinary notes." 

It appears to be rather less intolerant of wet than is the Indian 
bird and, probably because of this, to be found rather more frequently 
in the better-forested parts of the coimtry. 

In some notes sent to me, Major Harington says : "' It is very 
partial to thorny scrub jvmgle, feeding in the fields morning and evening, 
but I have never seen them actually in the villages. Like Turtur 
tigrinus it is essentially a jungle bird. It is very fond of soaring, when 
it utters a hawk-Uke cry." 



Genus OENOPOPELIA. 

This genus is one created by Blanford for two birds, subspecies, 
which differ from other Doves, as sho^vn by him in the Avifauna of 
British India : " The httle Ruddy Ring-Dove is distinguished from 
all other species by its long wing, with its first primary nearly or quite 
equal to the second, and by having the sexes dissimilar in plumage." 
He then adds : " Two species are generally attributed to this group, 
but I cannot see that they are sufficiently distinct to deserve separa- 
tion." There certainly is not enough difference between them to form 
two species, nor would it be correct to do so for the two intergrade 
and the Burmese form is but a geographical race, or subspecies, of the 
Indian bird. At the same time they are distinct enough to make it 
an easy matter to at once pick out specimens of either race from 
amongst a series of the two races mixed together, wth the exception 
of a certain number which are to be found in the area where the two 
forms meet. 



Q2 



Key to the Subspecies. 

A. Paler, more especially on the lower-parts ; under ^ving- 

coverts, axillaries, and flanks very pale-grey 0. t. tranquebarica. 

B. Darker and more red, especially on the lower-parts ; under 

wing-coverts, axillaries, and flanks dark grey ... 0. t. humilis 



(46) OENOPOPELIA TRANQUEBARICA TRANQUEBARICA (Herm.). 
THE INDIAN RED TURTLE-DOVE. 

Columba tranquebarica Herm., Obs. Zool., p. 200 (1804). 

Columba humilis Step, (nee Temm.), Gen. Zool., XIV p. 280 (1826). 

Oena murwensis Hodg., in Gray's Zool. Misc., p. 85 (1844). 

Turtur humilis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XIV p. 872 ; id.. Cat. M.B.A.S.B. p. 236 ; 
id., J.A.S.B., XXIV p. 261 ; Jerdon, B.I., HI p. 482 (part) ; Hume, 
Str. Feath., I p. 218 ; Butler, id., II p. 424 ; Hume, Nests and Eggs, 
ni p. 507; Butler and Hume, Str. Feath., IV p. 3 ; Fairbank, ib., 
p. 262. 

Streptopelia humilis Bp., Con. Av., II p. 66. 

Turtur tranquebarica Wald., Trans. Z.S., IX p. 219 ; Hume, Str. Feath., IV 
p. 292 ; Davidson and Wen., ib., VII p. 86 ; Ball, ib., p. 224 ; Cripps, ib., 
p. 297; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110; Scully, ib., p. 342; Doig, ib., p. 371 ; 
Hume, Cat. no. 797 ; Legge, B. Cey., p. 708 ; Vidal, Str. Feath., IX p. 75 ; 
Butler, ib., p. 421 ; Reid, ib., X p. 61 ; Barnes, B. Bom., p. 292 ; Gates, 
in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., p. 359 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI 
p. 437; Barnes, J.B.N.H.S., I p. 55 ; id. ib., V p. 332; Stuart Baker, 
ib., X p. 360 ; Rattray, ib., XII p. 345 ; Inglis, ib., XIV p. 562. 

Turtur humilior Hume, R.A.S.B. 1874, p. 241 ; id., Str. Feath., IV p. 279 ; 
id. ib., IV p. 292. 

Oenopopelia tranquebarica Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 47 (part) ; Inglis, 
J.B.H.N.S., XIV p. 562; Ward, ib., XVII p. 943; Whitehead, ib., 
XX p. 967; Moss-King, ib., XXI p. 100; Whitehead, ib., p. 168; 
D'Abreu, ib., p. 1167; Gates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 97. 

Onopopelia tranquebarica Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 79. 

Vernacular Names. Seroti fakhta, Ghirwi fakhta, Bilci, Hin. ; Oolabi 
ghugu, Ithuiya ghugu, Tuma khuri, Bengali ; Itoo-ah, Behari ; Rak-guwa, Peri- 
aripu guwa, Tel. ; Powari, Marie Gond. 

Description. — Adult male. Upper part of head and neck dark ashy- 
grey, the fore-head and lores sometimes, and the sides of the head invariably, 
rather pale ; a black collar across the sides and back of neck, a few birds 
also showing the faintest indications of grey fringes to the lowest feathers ; 
back, scapulars, wing-coverts, and innermost secondaries on visible portions 
vinous red, tinged with brick-red everywhere except, sometimes, on the 
back and scapulars ; lower-back, rump, and upper tail-coverts dark slaty- 
grey ; central tail-feathers light greyish-brown, the amount of grey varying 
in different individuals, succeeding two pairs dark grey at the base, pale 
grey on the terminal third, remaining three pairs dark slate-black on the 
basal two-thirds, white on the terminal third, and white also on the outer 
web of the outermost pair; primary-coverts and edge of wing greyish- 
black, quills blackish-brown very narrowly edged with whitish. Below, chin 



230 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

and centre of the throat albescent, remainder of lower-plumage to the vent 
vinous-red ; vent, and feathers of tibia white, tinged with vinous, and under 
tail-coverts nearly pure white ; under wing-coverts, axillaries, and flanks 
very pale grey, the latter often being pure white ; under aspect of the tail 
black at the base, pure white on the terminal third. 

Measurements. Length about 9 in. ( = 228.6 mm.) ; wing 5.15 
{ = 130.8 mm.) to 5.7 in. ( = 144.8 mm.), with an average of 5.4 in. 
( = 137.2 mm.) ; tail 3.75 ( = 95.2 mm.) to 4.20 in. ( = 106.7 mm.), generally 
about 4 in. ( = 101.6 mm.) ; bill at front .52 in. ( = 13.2 mm.), and from 
gape about .75 in. ( = 19 mm.) ; tarsus about .7 in. ( = 17.8 mm.). 

The bird with a wing measuring 5.7 in. is a specimen from Nepal 
where the birds are intermediate between tranquebarica and humilis. 

Colours of soft parts. Irides hazel-brown to dark brown ; edge of eye- 
lid plumbeous ; bill black, ratlier leaden on the cere and gape ; legs dull red, 
dull purplish-red, or bro'(\'nisli-lake ; claws black. 

Female. The grey of the head and the ^'lnous-red on the upper-parts 
of the male are replaced by pale earthy-brown, generally paler on the head, 
whicli is often more or less tinged with grey ; rump and tail as in tlie male ; 
chin and centre of throat albescent, lower-throat and breast light earthy- 
brown, paler than the back and generally with a certain amount of vinous- 
red suffused over it ; abdomen paler, and under tail-coverts and vent wliite ; 
wing-coverts the same colour as the back, the outer lesser and median 
coverts often much more grey, rarely a pure grey ; quills as in the male, 
except innermost secondaries, which are the same colour as the back. 

The black collar on the female is sometimes edged above with grey. 

Measurements. The female Ls slightly smaller than the male on an 
average : the wing runs from 4.80 in. ( = 122 mm.) to 5.35 in. ( = 135.3 mm.) 
with an average of 5.15 in. ( = 130.7 mm.), and the other measurements 
vary correspondingly. 

Colours of soft parts as in the male. 

Young in first plumage resemble the female, but the feathers of the 
upper-plumage, wing-coverts, and breast are narro^\ly edged with very pale 
fulvous, scarcely noticeable on the breast and most distinct on the scapulars. 
The iris is a pale dull brown. 

Young male after autumn-mxndt assumes in part the plumage of the 
adult, the black colour of the collar appears in a patch on either side of 
the neck, the breast becomes more distinctly vinous-red, and the same 
colour appears in patches on the wing-coverts, scapulars, and upper-back ; 
the grey head is one of the last characteristics to be developed, and at this 
stage of the plumage the innermost-secondaries and outer-coverts are tipped 
pale and subtipped with a bar of blackish-bro\\n. 

Nestling, in doion, is yellowish-white, the upper-parts darker than the 
lower and rather buff in tint. 

Distribution. Practically throughout India from the extreme west in 
Bind and the North-west Provinces, as far east as Bengal and Behar in the 
plains, and the ^est of Nepal in the hills. In the south of India it is rare in 
the wet, forested portions of Malabar and Travancore, but extends to the 
drier area in the latter countrj'. Throughout south-east India it is found 
as far north as Orissa, being rare in the forested portions of that province. 
In Bengal it Ls common in the west, rare in the east, and in Assam and the 



INDIAN RED TURTLE-DOVE 231 

Surrma Valley is replaced by the Burmese form, though birds in the nest 
of the former valley are intermediate. Birds from the Nepal Terai are inter- 
mediate, but nearer the Burmese than the Indian form, whilst those from 
east Nepal proper are true, or nearly true, humilis. 

It has once been found in Ceylon by Layard, who obtained it one year 
in some numbers in the dry portion of the north, «here they were breeding 
in coconut gardens. 

Nidification. The Red Turtle-Do ve breeds throughout the j^ear over 
the greater portion of its habitat, but only from April to September in the 
hills, and after the rains break in those parts which are subject to the greatest 
drouglits. 

The sites they select for their nests are generally at a little distance from 
human habitations, and often in tJiin forest, big groves, or similar places, 
but they occasionally build round about villages and in gardens and com- 
pounds. The sort of tree selected varies greatly in different places. Hume 
" always found the nests at or near the extremities of the lower boughs of very 
large trees, at heights of from 8 to 15 ft. from the ground, and laid across 
any two or tliree convenient branchlets." In Sind, Butler " noticed nests 
innumerable on the babool trees below the camp." Cripps once found a 
nest in a clump of bamboos near a cultivator's house, and they have also 
been taken from bushes, especially thorny ones, palms, cacti, cane-brakes, 
and saplings. Barnes, however, adds yet other and more curious places. 
He writes : " I have taken nests both before and after the rains, but I think 
tlie majority of them breed just after the rains. I have always found the 
nests in small trees, well in the jungle — acacia trees for preference. The 
nest is very frail, and the eggs are usually visible from beneath. I have 
taken the eggs from old Crow's nests, and once found a nest built in the 
foundation of a Tawny-Eagle's nest, which had on the opposite side a nest 
of the Common Munia." 

The nest is a very flimsy, roughly-built one, even for a Dove's, and looks 
as if it would be blown away by the smallest gust of wind, yet it often 
stands severe storms and lives through bad weather long enough for the 
brood it contains to be hatched and reared. 

As a rule the nest is made of twigs, bents, and pieces of grass very roughly 
put together and without lining of any sort ; but Mr. C. R. S. Pitman writes 
me that he found a nest " in the branch of a ' Bolass ' tree, about 12 ft. from 
the ground, with a lining of dead grass." 

As a rule the eggs are two in number, but curious to relate this 
Dove appears not uncommonly to lay three eggs in a clutch. Hodgson 
says that in the Nepal Terai — this, as I have said above, is nearer the Burmese 
form — it lays tico or three eggs. 

Colonel Butler found a nest on the 6th June at Deesa, containing three 
eggs, and writing of Sind says : " On several occasions I have seen three eggs 
in a nest, and once or twice three young birds." 

The eggs are said by nearly all writers to be more often than not an 
ivory-white rather than a pure white, a tint which is quite discernible when 
the eggs are placed alongside truly white eggs, sucli as those of the Wood- 
Pigeon, Rollers, etc. Many eggs, however, have not got tliis ivory tinge, 
and I cannot say that I remember this characteristic in the few eggs of the 
species taken by myself in Bengal. 

In texture they are smooth and slightly glossy, and perhaps rather finer 
in grain than most Doves' eggs — much like the eggs, in fact, of Streptopelia 



232 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

cambayensis. They about equal these eggs also in size, but in shape are 
generally a little longer in comparison -with their breadth. 

The series in the British Museum Collection, and the others which I have 
measured have averaged 1.05 by .81 in. ( = 26.7 by 20.6 mm.), whilst the 
greatest and least in length were 1.12 and .97 in. ( = 28.4 and 24.6 mm.) 
respectively, and in breadth .87 and .75 in. ( =22.1 and 19.0 mm.) 

Although the Red Turtle-Dove is a very common, familiar bird 
in many parts of the wide area over which it is distributed, it cannot 
be said anywhere to be quite so confiding in its habits as either the 
Little Brown Dove or the Spotted Doves. It frequents the outskirts 
of villages and may, on rare occasions, even be found in gardens of 
European houses, but it only enters these latter in search of food, and 
when disturbed is not content with flying up on to the nearest tree 
like the other Doves, but clears out altogether. 

It feeds almost entirely on the ground, and its main articles of diet 
are grass and other seeds and various kinds of ripening grain ; it also, 
however, eats a certain amount of green food and buds of plants, for 
I have shot them with their crops fuU of young mustard-leaves. 

It is generally to be foimd where there is a certain amount of 
forest or jimgle of some kind, rather than in the more open country ; 
but it is very capricious in its choice of hamits, and it is not always 
easy to say why it selects one particular piece of country for a home and 
rejects apparently similar places close by. It must have water some- 
where near, for it is as thirsty a bird as are the other Doves, and drinks 
morning, noon, and evening. 

Mr. C. R. S. Pitman, wTitmg to me about this Dove, says : "I 
found it plentiful in the Chanda District of the Central Provinces, and 
generally well distributed throughout the jungle and forest tracts, 
but, like all other Doves, it is dependent on the water-supply, and whUst 
I failed to meet with it in some places, in others which seemed to me 
to be no more suitable, it simply swarmed. . . In one of these latter 
places the dry, bare paddy fields, shorn of their crops, looked a rich 
magenta-colour in patches from the number of male Red Turtle-Doves 
which were feeding there. It was curious to see these vast flocks which 
were composed entirely of males, whereas one generally sees them 
goiog about in pairs. 

" I found these Doves much more shy than the other species, and 
they were very wary whenever I was out with a gun in my hand." 

The flight of the Red Turtle-Dove is extremely fast, aa one would 



INDIAN RED TURTLE-DOVE 233 

imagine from the shape of the wing, and it probably covers as much 
groiind per second as any of the Pigeons. It also gets up from the 
ground quicker and " jumps into its stride " at once, so they make very 
good shooting, and after but a very few shots have been fired, it is 
really quite hard to get within killing distance of them. Of course, 
as food they are excellent, and being almost invariably very plump 
and well-conditioned, form a savoury dish to the camper when other 
game fails him. 

Its note can hardly be called a " coo," as it is very short and deep, 
more a monosyllabic grunt, repeated at distinct intervals. 



(47) OENOPOPELIA TRANQUEBARICA HUMILIS (Temm.). 

THE BURMESE RED TURTLE-DOVE. 

(Plate 23.) 

Columba humilis Temm., PI. Col. 259 (^) (nee pi. 258) 1824. 

Turtur humilis Gray, Gen. B., II p. 472 (1844) ; Jerdon, B. I., Ill p. 482 (part) ; 
Hume, Str. Featli., II p. 269 ; id., Nests and Eggs, p. 507 (part) ; Wald., 
in Blyth's B. Burma, p. 145 ; Hume, Str. Feath., Ill p. 165 ; id. ib., IV 
p. 292 ; Armstrong and Hume, ib., p. 338 ; Hume and Davidson, ib., VI 
p. 423; Hume, ib., VIII p. 210; id.. Cat. no. 797, bis; Bingham, Str. 
Feath., IX p. 194 ; Gates, ib., X p. 235 ; id., B. Brit. Burma, II p. 294 ; 
Hume, Str. Feath., XI p. 299 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 434. 

Streptopelia humilis Bp., Con. Av., II p. 66. 

Turlur humilior Hume, P.A.S.B. 1874, p. 241 ; id., Str. Feath., Ill pp. 279, 
280. 

Turtur tranquebarica Blytli, B. Burma, p. 145 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., 
X p. 360 ; Inglis, ib., XI p. 474. Gates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 
2nd ed., II p. 359 (part) ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 69. 

Oenopopelia tranquebarica Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 47 (part) ; Gsmaston, 
J.B.N.H.S., XVII p. 489; Macdonald, ib., 496; Hears, ib., XVIII p. 86; 
Harington, ib., XIX pp. 309 and 365 ; id. ib., XX p. 1010 ; Hopwood, 
ib., XXI p. 1214. 

Oenopopelia humilis Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 74. 

Vernacular Names. Gyo-ni-bu, Burmese ; Daotu kashiba gajao, 
Cachari ; Lali Pohu, Assamese. 

Description. — Adult male. Similar to 0. t. tranquebarica, but is, 
generally speaking, a darker bird. The vinous-red is darker, more especially 
on the lower-parts, and the feathers about the vent are more grey. The under 
mng-coverts, axillaries, and flanks are a much darker grej^ and the axillariea 
are never wliite. T}rpical birds from Burma can be separated from birds 
from continental India at a glance, but birds from the intervening countries 
are intermediate. 

Measurements. The Burmese Red Turtle-Dove is a rather larger bird 
than the Indian, with a wing averaging 5.55 in. ( = 141 mm.) and varying 
from 5.4 ( = 137.1 mm.) to 5.8 in. ( = 147.3 mm.). 

Colours of soft parts. Similar to the same parts in the Indian bird. 
" Bill black ; irides dark brown ; eyelids plumbeous ; legs vinaceous brown ; 
claws black ; the joints of tlie scales on the legs white " (Gates). 

Female differs from the male in the same way as the last bu'd, and can 
be distinguished from the previous subspecies by its generally darker 
plumage, the dark grey of the under-wing coverts and flanks, and by its 
slightly larger size. 




^y- 






THE BURMESE RED TU RTLE-DOVE— 0£/VOPOP£Z./^ T. HUMtLIS. 

(J Nat. Size — Male on left, female on right.) PLATE 23 



BURMESE RED TURTLE-DOVE 235 

Young birds are similar to those of the same age in the last subspecies ; 
differing in the same degree as do the adults. 

Distribution. Cachar, SyUiet, and tlie districts east to Cliittagong, 
the Assam Valley from Sibsagar eastwards and back west through the 
Darjiling Terai and eastern Nepal, \\'here the t^o forms meet and birds are 
more or less intermediate. The birds of the Khasia, North Cachar, Naga, 
Manipur, and Looshai Hills are all of this form, and it extends throughout 
the Andamans, the Chin Hills, Shan States, Yun-nan, Cochin-China, Siam, 
Cliina, and the Phillipmes. 

As regards the Malay Peninsula, Robinson, in his Hand-list of the Birds 
of the Malay Peninsula, says : " The only specimens recorded from the Malay 
Peninsula are those in the British Museum obtained at Malacca by Wallace 
and Maingay. The bird is imported from Soutli China to Singapore as a 
cage bird, and I am inclined to think that these birds were escapes from 
captivity, as the species is one that is not at all likely to be overlooked, and 
no recent collector has met with it." 

Nidification. Curiously enough tliere is practically nothing on record 
concerning the breeding of this extremely common Dove. Harington writes 
in the Bombay Journal that it was very plentiful at Maymyo, 3,500 ft., and 
was breeding there ; again, in his Birds of Burmah, he notes that " they 
generally breed in trees, placing the nest in a big branch so that it is invisible 
from below, and can only be found by seeing the bird fly out and leave two 
creamy-white eggs." 

In Volume X. of the Bombay Journal I also recorded the fact that I had 
taken many eggs of the Red Turtle-Dove, though by a slip I am credited 
with saying that the eggs are larger than those of Steptopelia t. meena. Of 
course, it should be smaller. 

In North Cachar I found it exceedingly common up to about 2,500 ft., 
but rare over 3,500 or 4,000 ft., and in the plains in the Lakhimpur 
district it was also very common, and both Dr. Coltart and I took many 
nests and eggs. 

Tliere is little about the nests and eggs to distinguish them from those 
of the previous bird, but I think the Burmese Red Turtle-Dove is even 
more exclusively a forest-bird than the Indian form, and many of our nests 
were taken in comparatively heavy forest. Some were in the secondary 
growth, which so soon grows up over areas which have been cultivated and 
abandoned, and others were in trees in more open country or thin scrub and 
tree jungle. 

On the whole, also, this bird builds its nest at greater elevations than do 
any of the other Doves whose nests I have taken. Not a few may be found 
at twenty to twenty-five feet or greater heights even than this, up to some 
forty feet or so. They also frequent big trees for nesting purposes rather than 
bushes and saplings, and the nest itself is often difficult to find owing to its 
being placed in thick foliage. 

In size and construction the nest is just like that of the Indian Red 
Turtle-Dove, and calls for no remark. 

Harington, in a letter to me, saj^s that he took this Dove's eggs at both 
Kindat and Maymyo in April and May, and, he adds, " I found several nests 
built close to those of Drongos, both Dicrurus ater and Dicrurus cinneraceus " 
[probably nigrescens] "and also Chibbia, evidently built in these positions 
for tlie sake of the protection given by these pugnacious little birds. The first 
nest I found was in a leafless tree in which there was also a nest of the Black 



236 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Drongo ; it, the Dove's uest, was very high-up and in a most exposed situa- 
tion, but I spotted the bird in the first instance and it was not until I drew 
nearer that I saw it was sitting on a nest. Tlie eggs seem to be creamy and 
not quite a pure white." 

^'; The eggs cannot be distinguished from those of the Indian Red Turtle- 
Dove, but average a trifle larger, viz. 1.08 by .83 in ( = 27.4 by 21.1 mm.). 

In habits this bird seems to be even more strictly confined to the 
better-wooded districts than is its Indian cousin, but it certainly prefers 
such districts when they also contain plenty of open spaces and cul- 
tivation. In Assam and the Surma Valley they were equally common 
all the year round, but Harington tliinks that in Burma they are locally 
migratory and that they only \isit the dry zone in the cold weather. 
During that season he found them in large flocks, whilst in other parts 
they were nearly always to be seen in pairs, or less often singly. 

Even in Assam, however, after the rice and other crops have been 
cut, they desert the cover to some extent and feed in very great numbers 
in the fields, when they offer very good sport indeed. They are magni- 
ficent little fliers and rise and get away like lightning, seldom allowing 
one to get within thirty yards or so before they take to wing. If the 
food is tempting, the stubble fairly long, and the open country exten- 
sive, they will fly half a mile or more before again alighting, but when 
flushed a second time leave for the forest and do not return to feed 
that evening. I have, however, known bags of twenty and thirty couple 
of this little Dove shot in a couple of hours in an evening, and though 
the birds may swarm and keep rising all romid, not one in twenty 
comes within shot, so that this toll on their numbers has httle or no effect 
in checking their increase. 

They are delicious eating, though it, takes a good many to make a 
square meal, and they seem always to be in splendid condition. 

Their note is the same single, abrupt grunt as that of the Indian 
bird, and is rather freely indulged in in the mornings and evenings, 
each utterance being accompanied by a funny little bob, as if the soimd 
had to be jerked out. 

I have seen them drinking at all times of the day, and they are fond 
of bathing as well, or dusting themselves in dry earth. 



Genus MACROPYGIA. 

The genus Macropygia is included by Salvadori in his family 
Columbidae, but, together with three other genera, is placed in a sub- 
family, Macropygiinae, whilst Blanford retains it with the Wood- and 
Rock -Pigeons and the true Doves in his Columbinae. It is a very well- 
marked genus, Avith a long tail exceeding the wing in length and having 
the feathers very much graduated, in both these respects differing 
from all our other genera of this subfamily. The bill is small and weak, 
the tarsus short and feathered for the greater part of its length, the 
toes long, and the soles broadened. The feathers of the rump are 
spinous, and the tail-coverts elongated. 

One of the most remarkable features m the plumage of this genus, 
in so far as it is found within Indian Umits, is in regard to the barring 
found on the plumage of the adult male or female. Thus, in one species, 
tusalia, the lower plumage is barred throughout in the adult female 
and not at all in the male, whereas m the next species, rufipennis, the 
male bird is barred and the fully adult female is entirely without barring 
on the lower -plumage ; and yet agam in the third species, ruficeps, there 
is no barring on the breasts of either sex when adult, but the breast 
is mottled with black in the female and with white in the male. 

As it is to be presumed that all these tluee species have descended 
from one ancestor, it is interesting to try to work out which is the primi- 
tive type of plumage, and if, as would probably be held to be the case, 
the barred plumage is the earliest type of colouring, why has this per- 
sisted in the male in one species, in the female in another, whilst it has 
practically disappeared u) a third ? 

In the Ibis for April, 1890, Wardlaw Ramsay dealt at some length 
with the genus Macropygia, in which he recognized twenty-six species, 
including the above three species, but not including assimilis. The 
questions of differentiation m sex he considers, in this article, very care- 
fully, and it will be seen that on the whole I agree with the conclusions 
at which he arrives, but that I do not consider the males and females 
of rufipennis are entirely aUke when fully adult. 

Although Wardlaw Ramsay does not divide assimilis from ruficeps, 
he appears to consider that the Tenasserim bird is larger than the latter 
and should be divided, but I have gone very carefully mto the question 
and cannot agree with him on this point. 



Key to the Species. 

A. Tail banded throughout on the central rec trices with 

alternate black and rufous ... ... ... ... M.tuscdia. 

B. Tail plain brown with no bands : 

a'. Wing exceeding 7 in. ... ... ... ... M.rufipennis. 

b'. Wing under 6.5 in. ... ... ... ... ... M.ruficeps. 



(48) MACROPYGIA TUSALIA (Hodg.). 

THE BAR-TAILED CUCKOO-DOVE. 

(Plate 24.) 

Coccyzura tusalia Hodg., J.A.S.B., XII p. 937 (1843). 

Macropygia leptogrammica Blyth, J. A.S.B., XIV p. 809 ; id., Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 
p. 235 ; Oates, B. of Brit. Burma, II p. 295. 

Macropygia tusalia Blytli, J.A.S.B., XII p. 936 : Jerdon, B.I., III p. 473 ; 
Godw.-Aus., J.A.S.B., XXXIX pt. 2, p. 112; Hume, Nests and Eggs, 
p. 500 , Wald., in Blyth 's B. Burma, p. 146 ; Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., 
. VI p. 419 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110 ; id.. Cat. no. 791 ; id., Str. Feath., XI 
p. 297 ; Oates, in Hume's Nests and Eggs, 2nd ed., II p. 362 ; Salvadori, 
Cat. B.M., XXI p. 338 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 49 ; Sharpe, Hand- 
List, I p. 73 ; Oates, Cat. Eggs B.M., I p. 91 ; Stuart Baker, J.B.N.H.S., 
X p. 361 ; Osmaston, ib., XV p. 515 ; Stuart Baker, ib., XVII p. 971 ; 
Hears, ib., XVIII p. 86 ; J. P. Cook, ib., XXI p. 675 ; Venning, ib., 
p. 632; Robinson, ib., p. 261 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 69; Robinson, 
J.F.M.S. 1905, p. 54. 

Vernacular Names. Tusal, Nepalese ; Ka-er, Lepcha ; Daofukimt- 
laima, Cachari. 

Description. — Adult male. Fore-head, lores, cheeks, chin, and throat 
buff, faintly tinged with lilac ; crov\-n, hind-neck, and sides of neck behind 
the ear-coverts metallic lilac-purple, tliLs colour not contrasting with, but 
changing gradually from, the buff of the face ; rest of upper-surface from 
the back to the tail barred black and rufous, the black bars being boldest 
on the upper tail-coverts and most narrow on the upper-back and slioulders 
where they are overlaid with a beautiful green, puq^le, or copper-sheen, all 
these tints being visible in certain lights and varyingly dominant in others. 
Tail dark brownish-black, narrowly barred with rufous, the rufous disappearing 
on the outermost rectrices, wliich are dark grey with a broad band of black 
about one-third of their length from the tip ; the intermediate feathers are 




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BAR-TAILED CUCEOO-DOVE 239 

also intermediate in colour, grading from one extreme to the other. Upper- 
breast lilac like the shoulders, but the bars of black always less apparent 
and in old birds often entirely absent, and with the metallic sheen covering 
this portion of the plumage as on the upper-back ; lower-breast more dull 
in tint and with no gloss, gradually changing into buff on the abdomen and 
under tail-coverts. Wing-coverts and innermost secondaries like the back, 
primaries and outer secondaries dull deep brown. 

Colours of soft parts. Bill deep lead-colour, almost black ; irides pink, 
with an inner ring of very pale blue, eyelids fleshy-purple and narrow orbital- 
ring grey ; legs dull purplish-red, with the claws black. 

" Legs and feet are pinkish-brown or brownish-red " (Davison). 

Measurements. About 16 in. ( = 406.4 mm.) ; wing 7 in. ( = 177.8 mm.) 
to almost 8 in. ( = 203.2 mm.), and averaging about 7.6 in. ( = 193 mm.); 
tail about 8 in. ( = 203.2 mm.) ; bill at front 0.55 in. ( = 13.9 mm.), and 
from gape 1.0 in. ( = 25.4 mm.) ; tarsus about 0.66 in. ( = 16.7 mm.). 

This species varies a good deal in size, and young birds probably do not 
attain their full dimensions until well into their second year. 

Weight of old male in fat condition 12 oz., average weight about 10 oz., 
or rather less than this. A male weighed by Hume was only 9 oz. 

Ad^ilt female. The upper-plumage like that of the male, but lighter, 
and the upper-surface of the central rectrices much more boldly barred with 
rufous ; the sheen on the shoulders is less, and that on the head very slight, 
and the crown itself is more a brown than lilac-grey ; the fore-head, cheeks, 
and sides of the tliroat are more or less barred with dark brown, the bars 
sometimes extending on to the throat in the younger birds, and much fainter 
everywhere in very old individuals. The rest of the plumage below is barred 
buff and dark brown or brownish-black, the latter colour being tlie prevailing 
one on the breast and flanks, but the buff increasing gradually in extent 
until the abdomen and under tail-coverts are almost entirely of this colour. 
The under aspect of the tail is, like that of the male, a dull brown-grey, with 
curious bars of rufous, looking as if a thick pigment had been laid on with 
a paint-brush. 

Very old females often have a pronounced gloss on the breast, this showing 
most as a beautiful green on the dark bars wlien held facing the light. 

Colours of soft parts. The same as in the male. 

Measurements. The female is slightly smaller than the male, the average 
wing-measurements of twenty-seven individuals being 7.3 in. ( = 185.4 mm.). 
They are also considerably lighter, weighing only from 8 oz. to 10 oz., and 
averaging about 9 oz., or rather less. Davison gives the weights as 7 oz. 
only in Stray Feathers, but his data tickets give heavier weights. 

Young male. Like the female but with no gloss, and barred throughout 
on head and nape. 

^Vhen nearly adult the males are still heavily barred on the chest, and 
do not appear to lose this barring until the autumn of their second year. 
There is also a considerable amount of rufous edging to the wing-coverts 
until the bird is in its second year. 

Distribution. The Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove is found throughout the 
Himalayas from Simla in the west, tlirough Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, and all 
the Mishmi and Abor ranges north of the Brahmapootra River into Burma. 
South of the Brahmapootra it is exceedingly common from the Khasia and 
Garo Hills in the extreme west to the various Naga ranges in Dibrugarh 



240 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

on the east. Thence it is found through the whole of the liili country of 
Burma, Chin Hills, and Shan States into southern Burma, where it meets 
M. leptograinmica, its southern representative in the Malay Peninsula. 

Davison records it as very rare in Tenasserim. 

There are two races of this Dove, M. tusalia leptogrammica found, as 
already mentioned, in tlie Malay States, and in Java and Sumatra, and 
M. tusalia swinhoei, which occurs in Hainan. The former race, or subspecies, 
which may possibly enter the extreme south of Tenasserim, is a smaller form 
with its plumage generally more rufous and less glossy. The latter subspecies 
is about the same size as our bird, but is darker in general tint. 

Nidification. I found this bird breeding in great numbers in North 
Cachar, wliere I took many nests. The nest is typical of the Order, but is 
perhaps rather more stoutly built than most : the twigs of which it is com- 
posed are nearly always torn from the living tree, and are thus pliant and 
easy to manipulate when first used, and therefore interwoven with one 
another very compactly. Another curious feature is that the birds sometimes 
use grass or, still less frequently, moss as a rough lining to the nest. This 
lining I saw in several nests taken at Hungrum, a place some 6,000 ft. up in 
the Barail Range in Cachar, but in the nests taken in the adjoining Khasia 
Hills, where it was equally common, I only saw about two nests with a lining 
of this description. 

The greater number of nests found by myself and my collectors were 
placed in small saplings, or in small stunted oak trees at any height between 
six and sixteen feet from the ground, but a few were found on high, thick 
bushes, and a good many on taller trees, thirty feet or more above it. 
Mr. S. M. Robinson (I.e.), however, records finding a nest of this species 
" placed on bracken leaves not far from the ground in dense bamboo 
and undergrowth." 

The majority of birds lay but one egg ; but in a certain number of nests 
two eggs will be found, and, strange to say, in North Cachar the single eggs 
were generally of a different type to those taken in pairs. I remarked on 
this long ago in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, where 
I \vrote of these two types : " The first (those laid in pairs) is a long oval 
decidedly pointed at one end, though not much compressed, and the second 
is the normal Doves' egg shape, only being of a rather longer oval than usual. 
The colour ranges from a buff, so pale as to appear white unless contrasted 
with real white, to a rather warm tint of cafe-au-lail. Curiously enough, too, 
the first type of egg mentioned is almost invariably darker than the second." 
The eggs, however, bleach and fade so quickly that in a year or two after they 
are taken they are all much of a muchness in tint. 

Mr. B. B. Osmaston took a number of the Cuckoo-Dove's eggs round 
about Darjiling, but in no case found more than a single egg in the nest, 
though he, too, remarks on the two different types of egg laid. He gives the 
average of his eggs as being : — 

" Large pointed ovals — average 1.44 in. X 1.00 in. 
Small ellipsoid ovals — average 1.25 in. X 0.96 in." 

The average of 200 eggs measured by myself is 1.39 in. ( = 35.3 mm.) 
by 1.0 in. ( = 25.4 mm.), and the extremes in length are 1.20 in. ( = 30.4 mm.) 
and 1.52 in. ( = 38.1 mm.), and in breadth 0.87 in. ( = 19.8 mm.) by 1.09 in. 
( = 27.6 mm.). Their texture is very fine and close even for a Dove's egg, 
and the surface often has a considerable gloss when the eggs are first laid. 



BAR-TAILED CUCKOO-DOVE 241 

though this wears ofif to a great extent after they have been kept a few years. 
The shell is very strong and rather thicker in proportion than most Doves' 
eggs, and the inner lining is not quite so pure a white, being faintly tinged with 
buff or cream. 

They are late breeders as a rule, a few birds start in April, but not many 
will be found laying until late in May, and most birds in June and July, 
though I have taken eggs as late as the 15th of September in the Khasia Hills. 
They breed from 3,000 ft. upwards, most frequently between 5,000 and 
7,000 ft., but up to nearly 9,000 ft. 

Both birds assist in incubation, and they are very close sitters, for though 
I have never actually touched a bird whilst on its nest, I have more than 
once stood within two or three feet of a bird so engaged, and it has not 
stirred until I put out my hand to the nest. 

The Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove is normally a bird of considerable 
elevations, seldom remaining during the breeding-season much below 
2,500 ft., but in the cold weather they wander a short distance into the 
plains and are very common in the broken ground and foot-hills all 
along the Terai of the Himalayas and their various branches. Wardlaw 
Ramsay describes the bird as " a Ground-Dove of a tame natme, very 
partial to open glades and clearings in dense forest, especially when 
covered with a secondary growth of low scrubby jungle." I have 
quoted this in full as it does not quite agree with my ovna experiences. 
AU through the hot weather and rains I have found the Cuckoo-Dove 
to resort principally to dense evergreen or oak forest where it leads a 
life that is far more arboreal than terrestrial. Its deep booming " coo " 
calk one's attention from far away, and when the bird is finally located 
it is almost certain to be seated high up on some tree which stands 
well above those surrounding it. This trait is such a constant one in 
the bird's character, that when I wanted specimens my procedure was 
always to make for any conspicuous clump of lofty trees, and if not 
already made aware of the Dove's presence by its call, I would generally 
find it there on my arrival. 

The note consists of a single " coo," ending up in a sort of boom, 
difficult to syUabUze, but perhaps it may be represented by the 
word " croo-omm," the two syllables nmning into one another, and 
the tone very deep and vibrating, so that it can be heard at a great 
distance. 

They feed both on trees, on acoms, berries, etc., and on the ground 
on seeds, grain and shoots of young crops, and they are particularly 
fond of the tender young shoots of the mustard-plant. 

They are not one of our sporting-birds, being easy to kill in every 

B 



242 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

way. In the first place they are so tame that anyone can get near 
enough for a shot, and secondly their flight is slow when they first 
take to wing, and their plumage does not resist shot like that of the 
Green Pigeon, so that they do not carry away or resist shot as the latter 
birds do. Nor when killed are they of much use, unless wanted for a 
museum, as their flesh is generally very hard and dry, and only palatable 
when made into stew with claret and vegetables. 

The male bird has a curious habit during the breeding-season, 
not uncommon amongst members of the family, of perching on the top- 
most twig of some tree and then lavmching itself high into the air with 
vigorous clappings of its wings until it has risen some 50 ft. or so, when 
it spreads its wings out straight, puffs out its feathers, especially the 
long spiny ones of the rump, and sails slowly down in a spiral to its 
former perch. There it rests a few moments, booming at intervals 
of two or three seconds, and then once more parades in the air before 
its lady-love. At these times it is a very noisy bird and, where it is 
common, its deep call may be heard resounduig in every direction, but, 
at times other than the breeding-season, it is very silent. 

This bird is not gregarious in its habits, but where one is met the 
pair to it wiU assuredly not be far off, for the male and female seem 
to mate for life, and will be found together in breeding and non-breeding 
season alike. 

When shooting Jungle-fowl, Doves, etc., in the mustard-clearings 
in North Cachar, I almost invariably put up great numbers of these 
birds, and out of small patches, perhaps fifty yards wide by less than 
haK a mile long, must often have disturbed over a hundred Cuckoo- 
Doves. These mustard-fields are generally clearings made along the 
banks of some lull-stream and, more often than not, have dense forest 
on all three of the other boundaries away from the stream, so that they 
form favourite resorts for aU kinds of game, from Doves to Hombills, 
and from sqtiirrels to buffaloes and elephants, whilst the mustard, 
when full grown, provides cover so high and dense that even big deer 
can he close in it without being detected. Out of cover of this des- 
cription the Cuckoo-Doves flush in quick succession a few paces in front 
of one, rising straight up until they are six to ten feet in the air and 
then sailing away quite slowly to a distant part of the clearing, or to 
some tree upon which they sit until the intruder has passed by. Of 



BAR-TAILED CUCKOO-DOVE 243 

course, these birds, like all other Doves and Pigeons, when frightened 
or otherwise urged to exertion, are capable of flying at great speed, 
and during the breeding-season I have often seen them chasing one 
another in and out of the trees with wonderful activity. 



(49) MACROPYGIA RUFIPENNIS Blyth. 

ANDAMAN CUCKOO-DOVE. 
(Plate 25.) 

Macropygia rufipennis Blyth, J.A.S.B., XV p. 371 (1846) ; id., Cat. 
B.M.A.S.B., p. 234, no. 1422 ; Ball, J.A.S.B., XXXIX p. 32 ; id. ib., 
XLI p. 287 ; id., Str. Feath., I p. 80 ; Hume, ib., II p. 266 ; id. ib., 
VIII p. 110 ; id.. Cat. no. 721, bis ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 344; 
Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 50; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 73 ; Butler, 
J.B.N.H.S., XII p. 690 ; Osmaston, ib., XVII p. 489. 

Vernacular Names. None recorded. 

Description. — Adult male. Whole head and hind-neck chestnut -purple, 
chin and throat very pale rufous-white, upper-back dark brown, the feathers 
minutely stippled with pale rufous ; in some specimens, not quite adult, these 
frecklings develop into small bars ; the remainder of the upper-parts dark 
brown, becoming more chestnut on the upper tail-coverts. Central rectrices 
chestnut-brown, the outermost bright chestnut with an oblique subterminal 
dusky band; lesser wing-coverts and scapulars brown, more or less edged 
with chestnut, median wing-coverts still more distinctly edged with chestnut ; 
greater wing-coverts and quills dark brown, the primaries more or less 
cinnamon on the inner webs, and innermost secondaries rufescent-brown on 
the inner webs. Wliole of the lower surface light rufous-brown, darkest 
on the breast, and palest on the abdomen, barred throughout with narrow 
wavy lines of black ; under tail-coverts, under aspect of the wings, and 
axillaries ferruginous-red ; under aspect of tail pale grey-brown, the chestnut 
on the upper surface of the tail feathers showdng through strongly and the 
dark bar also visible, but to a less extent. 

Colours of soft parts. " Legs dull pinkish-red in front, bright but pale 
pink behind, soles whitish, claws horny ; bUl dull horny-red, tinged near gape 
with pink ; irides violet " (Davidson). 

Weight, according to Davison, from 8 to 10 oz. 

" Iris light blue, encircled with a ring of carmine ; orbital ring leaden- 
blue ; bill and legs purplish-pink " (Wardlaw Ramsay). 

Measurements. " Total length about 15.5 in. ; wing 7.3 to 7.7 in. ; 
tail 8.0 in. ; bill 0.9 in. ; tarsus 1.0 in." (Salvadori). 

The series in the British Museum gives a wing-length from 7.1 in. 
( = 180.3 mm.) to 7.6 in. ( = 193 mm.) ; bill at front about 0.5 in. ( = 12.7 mm.) 
and from gape 0.9 in. ( = 22 mm.). 

Richmond gives the total length as 394 to 425.5 mm. 

Adult female. General colour like that of the male, but the stipplings 
on the back are very much more pronounced, and nearlj' always developed 
into small bars, which, in all but very old birds, are continued to some extent 
on tlie lower-back. In practically every bird of this sex a certain amount of 
black mottling shows through tlie chestnut feathers of the head. The lower 





THE ANDAMAN CUCKOO-DOVE— .V/.-JCROP>-G/,-) RUFIPENNIS. 

(i Nat Size — Male on right, female on left.) PLATE ''S 



ANDAMAN CUCKOO-DOVE 245 

surface of the body is much more of a chestnut-hiown than it is in the male ; 
the bars on this part of the plumage are either entirely wanting or they are 
represented by a faint stippling of blackish-brown on the abdomen and 
lower-breast. 

In old birds the feathers of the lower-neck and upper-breast are edged 
with black, giving a somewhat striated appearance to this part of the plumage. 

According to Wardlaw Ramsay the adult female is similar to the adult 
male, but this does not appear to be the case. In the British Museum 
Collection there is not a single specimen of a female which is anything like the 
adult male. In both sexes in old birds in perfect plumage there is a faint 
lilac sheen on shoulders or breast or both, but the females which possess this 
sheen — ^never present in young birds — are all as described above. Moreover, 
as is shown below, immaturity is quite distinctly sho\m by definite markings, 
and the adult female cannot well be confounded with immature birds. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male. 

Measurements. The females are, perhaps, a trifle smaller than the 
males, the average wing-measm-ements of seventeen birds being 7.25 in. 
( = 184 mm.). In bulk they are decidedly less, weighing, according to 
Davison, from 6 to 8 oz., only one bird attaining the latter weight. 

Richmond gives the length of the female as 390.5 mm. 

Young males differ from the adult female in being more rufous in their 
general tone of coloration ; the wing-quills are broadly edged and tipped 
with this colour, the innermost secondaries being almost entirely rufous. 

The chestnut feathers of the head and neck are edged with black, and 
the barring on the upper- and lower-back is much more distinct, the bars being 
both wider and darker. The feathers of the rump, and to a less extent those of 
the upper taU-coverts, are also much more chestnut than in the adult male. 

Distribution. The Andaman and Nicobar Islands. 

Nidification. The nest and eggs of tliis Cuckoo-Dove have not yet 
been discovered with any certainty, though Davison found a nest which, at 
the time he found it, he believed to have belonged to this species. He says : 
" I have never found the nest of this bird, nor could I obtain any authentic 
information as to its nidification beyond that it breeds about May, building 
among the mangroves on the island of Trinkut. I found a nest, and from 
the sight I got of the bird as she left the nest I put it down at once as that 
of the present species ; but a few days afterwards I found a nest exactly similar, 
and containing exactly similar eggs, and off this nest I shot the female, which 
proved to be Chalcophaps indica, so I infer that the first nest was also one of 
O. indica." 

From what we know now of the eggs of the two allied species, tusalia 
and ruficeps, they only differ from the eggs of Chalcophaps in that those of 
tusalia are much bigger, and in the case of both birds are somewhat differently 
shaped as a rule, though I have eggs of ruficeps wliich could not possibly be 
distinguished from those of the Emerald Dove. In his identification of the 
bird which left the nest it would be utterly impossible for Davison to have 
made a mistake, and it seems certain, therefore, that his first identifi- 
cation was correct, and that the nest was that of the Andaman Cuckoo-Dove. 

Davison, as quoted by Hume in Stray Feathers (I.e.), says : " This 

Dove is very abundant at the Andamans, but somewhat less so at 

the Nicobars ; it frequents gardens, clearings, the secondary jimgle, 

etc., retiring to the forest during the heat of the day. As far as I have 

S 



246 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

observed, and I have examined a great many of these birds, I find that 
they hve exclusively on the Nepal or bird's-eye chilli. 

" This plant grows abimdantly all over the Andamans and Nico- 
bars, especially in the secondary jungle, and on the edges of clearings. 
I was informed, when at the Andamans, that the flesh of this bird was 
quite pungent from feeding on these chillies, but I tried several, having 
had them cooked without even the usual adjuncts of pepper or salt, 
and although the flesh had a somewhat pecuhar, but not impleasant, 
flavour, I could not detect the shghtest trace of this attributed 
pungency. " The amount of chillies consumed by these Doves must 
be enormous. I have often shot them with their crops so distorted 
that, falling from a moderate height, they have burst." 

In regard to this quaint diet, Messrs. Abbot and KIoss record that 
they fovmd the bird on all the islands except Car Nicobar, and most 
common on Katchal, where all those they shot were foimd to have 
been feeding on chillies. Butler, however, though he also examined 
the contents of the stomachs of nine dozen birds, never found a chilli 
in any of them. He notes the contents of four birds' stomachs as 
follows : " (1) Crop full of a small, hard, round, black seed, about the 
size of No. 1 shot. I bit open one or two of these and they had a 
white nutty kernel, which caused a slight but distinct irritation in the 
mouth, lasting for some moments. (2) Crop contained 39 green berries, 
looking very like large boiled peas, (3) Had been feeding on a long 
green fruit, an inch in length, with another inch of stalk attached. 
(4) Same as (2)." 

Like their bigger relative the Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove, they are 
both arboreal and terrestrial in their habits, feeding, as is shown in the 
notes quoted above, freely both on trees and on the groimd. Their flight 
is said to be quick and powerful, and Butler describes them as flying at 
a very great height when flighting to and from their feeding-grounds. 

Their plumage, like that of all others of this genus, is very lax, 
and seems to be loosely attached to the skin, so that when shot, and on 
falling to the ground, they lose so many feathers that it is very difficult 
to procure good specimens for museums. 

There appears to be nothing on record in regard to theii voice 
beyond Osmaston's note in the Bombay Natural History Society's 
Journal, where he states that it is very peculiar and somewhat 
resembling that of Cuculus c. canoriis, the common Cuckoo. _ 



(so) MACROPYGIA RUFICEPS (Temm.). 
THE LITTLE MALAY CUCKOO-DOVE. 

Columba ruficeps Temm., PI. Col., pi. 561 (1835). 

Macropygia amhoiensis (?) Raffl., Trans. L.S., XIII p. 318 (1822). 

Macropygia ruficeps Stoliczka, J.A.S.B., XXXIX pt. 2 p. 331 ; Blyth, 

B. Burma, p. 146 ; Hume, Str. Feath., VI p. 420 ; Everett, J.S.B.A.S. 

1899, p. 103 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 360 ; Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV 

p. 51 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 73 ; Robiason, J.B.N.H.S., XX p. 261 ; 

Cook, ib., p. 675 ; Robinson, J.F.M.S. 1905, p. 55. 

Macropygia assimilis Hume, Str. Feath., II p. 441 ; Wald., in Blyth's B. 
Burma, p. 146 ; Hume and Dav., Str. Feath., VI p. 420 ; Hume, ib., 
VIII pp. 68, 110 ; id., Cat. no. 791, ter ; Oates, B. Burma, II p. 296. 

Macropygia ruficeps assimilis Streseman, Nov. ZooL, XX p. 312. 

Vernacular Name. Tekukor api, Malay. 

Description. — Adult male. Upper part of the head, lores, cheeks, ear- 
coverts and anterior of sides of neck cinnamon-rufous, darkening posteriorly 
and changing gradually into purple-brown on the lower-neck and upper-back, 
the purple tint being generally most distinct on the sides. The shoulders 
and sides of the extreme lower-neck are more or less glossed with lilac, and, 
except in very old birds, there are always faint indications of dark bars on 
these parts and sometimes also a little pale-rufous barring as well. Back, 
rump, and upper tail-coverts brown, the latter more or less rusty in tint, 
and the scapiilars the same as the back, but rather darker. Wings deep 
brown, the coverts edged with rufous, least heavily so in the oldest birds, 
and in such practically not at all on the greater coverts ; primaries and outer 
secondaries very finely edged with rufous, and the innermost secondaries 
with broader rufous edges, and with a considerable amount of rufous at the 
bases of the iimer-webs. Tail, central feathers dark red-brown, in freshly- 
moulted birds showing very faint obsolete dark bars in a good light ; outer- 
most rectrices chestnut, a broad black or dark brown bar across the teminal 
third, the tips being broadly rufous of a paler tint than at the base, the 
intermediate feathers grading gradually from the central to the outermost 
in coloration. Below, chin and centre of throat whitish, varying greatly 
in purity in different individuals ; remainder of plumage below pale cinnamon- 
rufous, darkest on the upper-breast, flanks and under tail-coverts, and palest 
on the abdomen. The feathers of the breast are tipped with dull white, 
giving a mottled-white appearance to this part of the plumage, whilst the 
purple of the sides of the neck is sometimes extended so as to form a faint 
collar above the white mottling. 

Colours of soft parts. Legs and feet vary from brownish-pink or red, 
through a lake-brown to a dark purplish-brown ; bill pale horny-brown, 
sometimes suffused with pink, more especially at the base. Irides pearl- 

S 2 



248 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

white or grey, occasionally pinkish-white and sometimes grey with an inner 
ring of blue ; orbital skin and eyelids pale bluish. 

Measurements. Length 12 to 13 in. ( = 305 to 330 mm.) ; wing from 
5.3 to 5.95 in. ( = 134.6 to 151.1 mm.) ; tail 6.3 to 7.0 in. ( = 160.0 to 
177.8 mm.) ; bill at front, about .5 in. ( = 12.7 mm.), and from gape about 
.9 in. ( = 22.8 mm.) ; tarsus .75 in. ( = 19.0 mm.). 

" Weight 3.5 to 4 oz." (Davison). 

Males not quite adult. The amount of rufous edging to the feathers 
of the wing and back is greater in extent, and a certain amount of black 
mottling shows on the breast ; the dark barring on the neck and upper-back 
is more pronounced and the sheen less distinct. 

Female. Differs from the male in being duller and darker above ; the 
rufous of the head is well defined from the bro\^-n of the back and neck, and 
there is no purple tint or lilac sheen on these parts ; below also the colours 
are generally darker and duller, and the mottlings on the breast caused by 
the black bases and edges of the feathers is very pronoimced, this mottling 
often extending up on to the neck and even on to the sides of the throat. 
The feathers of the upper-back and neck are also minutely freckled with 
pale brown. 

Colours of soft parts. As in the male. 

Measurements. I cannot see that the female is any smaller than the 
male, though it is generally credited with being so. The largest bird in the 
British Museum Collection is a female from Flores, with a wing 6.3 in. 
( = 160 mm.), whilst the smallest is a bird of the same sex from Kina Balu, 
with a wing of only 5.15 in. ( = 130.8 mm.). 

Young males are like the female, but with the black mottling on the 
breast still more extensive, and with the whole of the upper-parts barred 
with black and rufous ; the feathers of the rump are more vermiculated than 
barred and have rufous fringes to the longer feathers, whilst the upper tail- 
coverts are broadly edged with rufous. 

As long ago as 1874 Hume {Stray Feathers, 11 p. 441) separated the 
Burmese form of ruficeps from the Javan bird, giving the former the name of 
assimilis, and very recently Streseman {Nov. Zool., XX p. 312) has again 
gone very carefully into the question of dividing ruficeps into local races. 
Hume divided his bird on account of three details in which, he said, the Burmese 
form differed from the southern : (1) Back of neck and interscapulary region 
dark brown, with scarcely any metallic gloss ; (2) breast conspicuously mottled 
with dark brown ; (3) chin and throat pale rufescent-white. As, regards 
these differences — (1) is worthless, as the three most highly-glossed and palest- 
coloured birds I have ever seen are three fine males from Tenasserim ; (2) is 
only a question of age ; (3) is partly a question of age and also partly a 
question of how a skin is made up. A series of skins, well made with the 
feathers lying flat, will show much whiter chins and throats, on an average, 
than will a series in which tliese parts are badly made. Also a series of very 
old birds will show up much whiter than a series of young. Now the skins 
Hume dealt with were Davison's well-made adult skins from Tenasserim, 
and a series not nearly so well made, and averaging much younger, from the 
Malay Peninsula and elsewhere, hence his third characteristic is also valueless. 
Streseman has divided this species into four subspecies : ruficeps ruficeps, 
ruficeps orientalis (Hartert), nana (Streseman), and assimilis (Hume). 

Streseman relies principally upon average measurements on which to 
base his subspecies, and to this adds : (1) amount of dark spotting on crop; 



LITTLE MALAY CUCKOO-DOVE 



249 



(2) green reflection on nape-feathers ; (3) white tipping on feathers of breast. 
All tliree of these characteristics are those of age alone, not of locality ; and, 
age for age, I can see no difference in the races from any of the localities 
whence the bird is obtained, which would permit of their being separated 
into local subspecies. As I have already said, the series from Burma have a 
larger percentage of adult birds than the series from Malay, Borneo, Sumatra, 
and the other islands, and hence, as a series, show whiter throats (Streseman 
does not refer to this), breasts less marked with black and more with white, 
and comparatively a higher gloss on the nape, neck, and upper-back. 

It is, however, on the variation in size principally that Streseman relies 
as a reason for separating the four forms he recognizes. These are : — 

Macrcpygia ruficeps ruficeps from Java, Bali, and Lombok, with an 
average wing-measurement of 144.5 mm. and extremes of variation in eight 
birds between 140-150 mm. 

Macropygia ruficeps nana from Borneo, Sumatra, and Malacca, with an 
average wing-measurement of 137.7 mm. and extremes of 127 and 148 mm. 

Macropygia ruficeps orientalis from Pantar, Flores, and Sumbawa to 
Lombok, with a wing averaging 157.0 mm. and ranging between extremes of 
146 and 167 mm. ; and finally — 

Macropygia ruficeps assimilis from Burma, with an average wing of 
146.6 mm. and extremes of 139 and 153 mm. 

To some extent these figures are borne out by measiurements taken by 
myself, which read as follows : — 



Java average 


wing 


142.7 


mm. 


Sumatra „ 


») 


140.4 


mm. 


Borneo „ 


n 


137.9 


mm. 


Flores „ 


J) 


154.9 


mm. 


Malay „ 


j> 


136.6 


mm. 


Burma ,, 


)» 


145.2 


mm. 



extremes 



139.1 
139.7 
131.8 
146.0 
135.1 
140.9 



and 



149.3 
140.9 
147.3 
160.0 
139.7 
150.3 



mm. 
mm. 
mm. 
mm. 
mm. 
mm. 



K we examine these figures carefully we find we have fairly well-defined 
groups — Java, Sumatra, etc., with a wing of about 140-142 mm., Borneo and 
Malay States with a ^^dng of about 137 mm., and Burma with a ^ving of about 
145 mm. Outside these three groups we have Flores, ^^dth a very big bird 
having a wing of 155 mm. But unfortunately the series from Borneo, chiefly 
from Mount Dulit and Kina Dalu, consists almost entirely of young birds, 
the same with those from the Malay States, whereas the Burmese series 
contains a high percentage of adult birds, and those few I have been able to 
examine from Flores are all ad'ilts. Thus it is more than possible that, though 
individuals from all localities vary very greatly in size, if there were equal 
series of adult specimens from each locality the differences would disappear. 

The alleged differences in coloration, on the evidence obtainable, appear 
to be entirely due to age and sex, and in the absence of better proof of a definite 
difference in size, I must retain the Indian form under the original name of 
ruficeps ; at the same time, it is more than probable that the bird from Pantar, 
Flores, and Sumbawa will turn out to be a good subspecies, greatly exceeding 
in size birds from other localities. Hartert (I.e.) separated the Sumbawa 
bird not only on account of its greater size, but by reason of its supposed 
darker, deeper rufous tail-coverts. The latter character, however, is only 
individual, and some birds from Borneo, and others again from Burma, 
are as dark as those from Sumbawa, and throughout its area of habitation 
it will be found that young birds are darker on this part of their plumage 
than are adults. 



250 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

Distribution. Burma, throughout the Malay States, Siam, Borneo, 
Sumatra, and Java. 

Within Indian limits it is found tliroughout Tenasserim in suitable 
localities, in southern Pegu, and at least as far north as Shandoung, about 
latitude 19°, in the Bre country, south of Karennee, where it was obtained 
by Messrs. S. M. Robinson and J. P. Cook. Davison also obtained it at 
Kolidoo, and Colonel (then Captain) Wardlaw Ramsay in the Karen Hills, 
east of Tonghoo, whence also Mr. de Wet sent specimens to Gates. 

Nidification. The first record of this little Dove's breeding is that 
of Mr. S. M. Robinson in the Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society. 
Wliilst bird-nesting in Shandoung on April 19th, 1911, he came across its nest, 
and thus records his find : " Higher up the hill, after the undergrowth had 
ceased, in bamboo jungle consisting of separate clumps of six, eight or ten 
bamboos and quite open, I saw a pad of moss where the bamboo shoots take 
off in a cluster. On going up, a long-tailed Dove flew off. I waited twenty-five 
minutes and shot it practically on the nest. This consisted of a flat pad of 
moss, almost quite hard, about 12 ft. up the bamboo. It was difficult to 
get the egg, as I erpected it would roll off every minute as we telescoped the 
bamboo. 

"The egg measured 1.26 by .84 in., a perfect ellipse, and cream tinted 
with very faint coffee-colour." 

On April 25th of the same year and at the same place Mr. J. P. Cook 
found a second nest containing one hard-set egg. The nest, like the last, 
was placed high up in a single bamboo, but unlike that taken by Mr. Robinson, 
was of the usual type and " composed of a very scanty collection of twigs." 
The egg unfortunately got broken in getting it down from the nest. I have 
had several eggs sent me by Mr. W. A. T. Kellow taken in the hills near 
Perak and also by my collectors in Tenasserim. 

The nests are described as the usual Dove's nests of sticks, but often with 
a base of moss and sometimes composed almost entirely of this material. 
Generally they are placed on bamboos, either singly or in clumps, at anjiihing 
from six to fifteen feet from the ground, but a few nests were taken from 
small saplings or high bushes, and in these latter cases no moss was ever used 
in their construction. 

The breeding-season seems to be an early one. In the extreme north 
of their range in the Karen Hills they lay, as we have seen, in April. Further 
soutli, my men took their eggs in February and March, and in Perak and 
the surrounding country they appear to lay in January and February, wliilst 
some eggs I have received from Borneo have also been taken in February. 
On the other hand, eggs I purchased from the Waterstradt Collection, also 
taken in North Borneo, were all laid in July, and I have also one or two eggs 
from Perak laid in May, so it seems probable that they have two broods in 
the year. 

They lay either one or two eggs, generally I believe the former, but my 
North Bornean eggs are all in pairs, and I have likewise had pairs from the 
Malay States and Tenasserim. 

The eggs in my collection vary very greatly in size, the biggest, possibly 
an abnormal egg, measuring 1.32 by .90 in. ( = 33.5 by 22.8 mm.), and the 
smallest 1.10 by .80 in. { = 27.9 by 20.3 mm.), wliilst the average of sixteen 
eggs is 1.17 by .83 in. ( = 29.7 by 21 mm.). 

They are in appearance very much like big eggs of the Emerald Ground- 
Dove, but average longer and narrower in proportion and are also a somewhat 



LITTLE ]\IALAY CUCEOO-DOVE 251 

paler cream or cafe-au-lait. In fact, they are miniatures of the eggs of 
Macropygia tusalia, and like them are of two types and sizes, the single eggs 
being bigger than those laid in pairs, and also, as a rule, less true ellipses. 

The Little Malay Cuckoo-Dove is a bird of high elevations and 
seems never, even during the cold weather, to descend to the level of 
the plains, or, indeed, much below 2,000 ft. Robinson and Cook found 
it at about and over 4,000 ft., and my men reported it as very rare 
below this height. 

Hume states that in the Karen HiUs about 3,000 ft. is its normal 
altitude. 

There is practically nothing on record about this little bird beyond 
what is noted by Davison, in Stray Feathers, to the following effect • 
" This bird is not very rare, but is still most difficult to obtain. It is 
extremely shy, and keeps to the densest parts of the forests ; on 
Mooleyet in the mornings and evenings I used to hear numbers calling. 
The note is very pecuHar, and sounds like Oo-who-who-oo, repeated 
quickly several times. The birds keep in small parties of four or six. 
They live on small fruits, and the stomachs of some I examined con- 
tained what looked to me like buds or tender undeveloped leaves." 



Subfamily GEOPELIINAE. 

The family Geopeliinae contains, according to Salvadori, three 
genera, but two of these are decidedly atypical, having twelve tail- 
feathers, whereas the first genus, Geopelia, has fourteen. 

The birds of this subfamily have no ambiens muscle or caeca, in 
these respects agreeing with the Green Pigeons : but it has no oil-gland, 
differing in this both from the Doves and the Green Pigeons. 

The bill is small, tail long and well graduated as in Macropygia, 
and the general form is that of a Turtur. 

The legs are devoid of feathering on the tarsi, which are rather 
long, and the feet and toes are built for running about on the ground. 

The only genus represented in India is Geopelia. 



Genus GEOPELIA. 

This genus contains five species, of which but one is represented 
in India, Geopelia striata. 

This httle bird is in all its external characters, as well as in its 
voice, habits, etc., very closely allied to the true Doves, and it is well 
placed by Blanford after the Barred Cuckoo-Doves, with which it has 
many external characters in common. 

It is a small bird with partly barred plumage. The first quiU is 
greatly attenuated over the terminal third, and the third quiU is longest, 
the wing itseK being short and well rounded. The sexes are alike. 



(si) GEOPELIA striata (Linn.). 

THE BARRED GROUND-DOVE. 

(Plate 26.) 

Turtur sinensis siriatus Briss., Orn., I p. 107 (1760). 

Turtur indicus striatus Briss., Orn., I p. 109 (1760). 

Columba striata Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 282 (1766) ; Lath., I. Orn., II p. 608. 

Columba sinica Linn., Syst. Nat., I p. 284. 

Columba malaccensis Gm., Syst. Nat., II p. 788 (1788) ; Lath., I. Orn., II 
p. 612. 

Oolumba bantamensis Sparm., Mus. CarL (1788). 

Columba lunulata Bonn. Enc. Meth., p. 251 (1790). 

Geopelia striata Gray, List Gen. B., p. 58 (1840) ; Blyth, Cat. B.M.A.S.B., 
p. 235 ; Jerdon, B.I., III p. 486 ; Hume, Str. Feath.. Ill p. 323 ; Hume 
and Dav., ib., VI p. 423 ; Hume, ib., VIII p. 110 ; id., Cat. no. 797, 
ter ; Gates, B. Brit. Burma, II p. 298 ; Salvadori, Cat. B.M., XXI p. 458 ; 
Blanf., Avi. Brit. I., IV p. 52 ; Sharpe, Hand-List, I p. 80 ; Gates, Cat. 
Eggs B.M., I p. 101 ; Harington, B. Burma, p. 118. Finn, J.B.N.H.S., 
XIV p. 576 ; H. R. Baker, ib., XVII p. 760. 

Vernacular Names. Merbok, Ketitir, Malayan. 

Description. — Adult mule. Fore-head and crown as far back as the 
Centre of the eye ashy-grey ; cheeks, chin, and throat the same but paler ; 
crown from the centre of the eye and nape light rusty-brown ; hind-neck, 
sides of neck, and throat and sides of breast barred blackish-brown and white, 
the pale bars on the upper-neck generally more or less tinged with fulvous ; 
whole upper-plumage from neck to tail earthy-brown, each feather edged 
with a black bar ; tail a darker brown on the central feathers which are 
obsoletely barred darker, the adjoining pair of feathers blackish-brown and 
the remaining four pairs black on the basal half and white on the terminal 
half, the -n'hite also extending some way down the edge of the outer web. 
Breast a beautiful vinous-pink, gradually changing to pale fulvous-wliite on 
the abdomen and to pure white on the under tail-coverts ; iianks barred 
brown or black, and vinous- or fulvous-white. Wing-coverts like the back, 
but with a silvery tinge ; quills a darker brown, except the innermost tertiaries 
which are like the back, and with the basal half of the inner webs chestnut 
under wing-coverts barred chestnut and black. 

Measurements. Total length 8.25 to 9 in. ( = 209.4 to 228.6 mm.) 
wing 3.75 in. ( = 95.2 mm.) to 4 in. ( = 101.6 mm.), with an average of 
3.90 in. ( = 99.0 mm.) ; tail 4 in. ( = 101.6 mm.) to 4.6 in. ( = 116.8 mm) 
bill at front about .48 in. ( = 12.2 mm.), and from gape about .7 in. 
( = 17.7 mm.) ; tarsus about .7 in. ( = 17.7 mm.). 



254 INDIAN PIGEONS AND DOVES 

"Length 8.35 to 9.25; expanse 11.75 to 12.62; tail from vent 3.62 to 
4.55 ; wing 3.75 to 4.1 ; tarsus .75 to .8 ; bill from gape .7 to .75 ; weight 2.0 
to 2.25 oz." (Davison). 

Female. Similar to the male. 

Measurements. The same as in the male, the largest and smallest 
birds in the Museum Collection are both females, the former with a wing 
of 4.1 in. ( = 104.1 mm.), and the latter of 3.70 in. ( = 92 mm.). 

Hume, it should be noted, makes out the female to average a good bit 
larger than the male : " Length 8.62 to 9.5 ; expanse 12.25 to 12.62 ; tail 
from vent 4.0 to 4.45 ; wing 3.75 to 4.5 ; tarsus .7 to 1.76 ; bill from gape 
.65 to .75 ; weight 1.75 to 1.25 ozs." 

Colours of soft parts. " Irides bluish-white ; orbital skin pale bluish- 
grey ; bill dull, pale plumbeous ; front of tarsus dull pale purple ; back dirty 
pink" (Davison). 

" Iris white ; legs dull purple ; bill dull blue ; orbital skin ultramarine " 
(Everett). 

A bird from Java, unsexed but probably a female, has the whole head 
reddish-brown, the fore-head more brightly rufous, and the feathers about 
the vent are broadly splashed with the same. This colour may be due to 
a stain from some fruit getting on to the bill and fore-head and thence to the 
other feathers on the bird preening itself. 

Young. Similar to the adult, but the banding on the sides of the breast 
and flanks is continued quite across the breast and abdomen ; the pink 
tint on the former part of the plumage is absent, being replaced by dull 
pale rufous on the pale bars. 

Distribution. This little Ground-Dove is found in the extreme south 
of Tenasserim, whence it ranges south throughout the Malay Peninsula 
and Archipelago, as far east as the Phillipines and the west of New Guinea ; 
it is also found in Siam, but is apparently rare there and was never met with 
by Count Gmldenstolpe during his expedition in 1911-12. 

It is not indigenous to, but has been introduced into, Seychelles, 
Madagascar, Mauritius, Round Island, Reunion, and St. Helena, and appears 
to thrive in these various climates. 

Nidification. There is practically nothing on record in regard to 
the nesting of this little Dove. The British Museum Collection contains 
only one egg which is described by Gates as "slightly glossy," and measures 
.82 by .64 in. ( = 20.8 by 16.3 mm.). 

My own collectors in Tenasserim failed to obtain the nest and eggs, but I 
have received the latter from Mr. W. A. T. Kellow, from near Perak, and from 
other collectors in the Malay States. All the eggs in my collection are very 
regular ovals, equal at both ends. The texture is fine, but not very glossy, 
and the shell very stout for so tiny an egg. The extremes in length are 
.93 and .78 in. ( = 23.6 and 19.8 mm.), and in breadth .70 and .56 in. ( = 
17.7 and 14.2 mm.). The difference in size between the largest and smallest 
egg is very remarkable, and I am inclined to think my smallest pair must 
be quite abnormal. The average is .87 by .65 in. ( = 22.1 by 16.6 mm.). 

The nest is said to be a tiny platform of thin twigs and bents, only about 
four inches in diameter, and most flimsy in character, placed on low scrubby 
bushes. 

The eggs in my collection were taken in January, February, and June. 




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BARRED GROUND-DOVE 255 

Although this is such a very common little Dove, notes on its 
habits are very meagre. Davison says : " The general habits of this 
little Dove are the same as those of tigrina, except that it never occurs 
in flocks, being always found singly or in pairs. It keeps about cultiva- 
tion and feeds on the ground, walking about here and there and picking 
up seeds. Its note is quite unUke that of any of the other Doves that 
I am acquainted with, and sounds like ' kok-akurr-kurr,' soft, but 
repeated several times. It is very common about cultivation in the 
WeUesly province." 

Robinson, in the Journal of the Federated Malay States Museums, 
notes : " The Barred Ground Dove is generally distributed throughout 
the Peninsula, but is never found in high forest and but rarely in 
Bluker (?). It is perhaps commoner in the East than in the West, and 
in the coastal districts rather than the more inland ones. It is usually 
very common in coffee cultivation, where it is found singly or in pairs, 
searching the ground for seeds, etc. It is a very favourite cage bird 
amongst the Malays, and high prices are paid for ' lucky birds,' lucky 
or the reverse being diagnosed by coimting the number of scales on 
the toes." 

It is regularly imported also into India as a cage-bird, where it 
is equally popular. I have often seen it in large cages with numerous 
other kinds of birds, and it appeared to live with them in perfect amity, 
so that it cannot be as quarrelsome a Dove aa most of its kind. 

They build and lay freely enough in captivity and are hardy little 
birds, thriving in almost any climate, ie'^ding on any grain or seed, or 
quite content with bread and milk, suttoo, or other substitute for their 
proper diet. 



INDEX. 



aenea, Carpophaga, 90, 91. 

, aenea, 90, 91. 

, Columba, 91. 

affinia, Columba, 130. 

, Osmotreron, 37. 

, pompadora, 26, 37. 

, Vinago, 37. 

afra, Columba, 186. 
agricola, Columba, 90, 196. 
albicapilla, Columba, 121. 
Alsocomus, 127, 163. 

elpliinatonii, 163, 164. 

hodgsonii, 156. 

palumboides, 163, 180. 

pulchricollif!, 163, 172. 

puniccus, 163, 176. 

torringtonim, 163, 168. 

torringtonii, 168. 

amboienns, Macropygia, 247. 
Andaman Cuckoo-Dove, 244. 
Andamanese Green Pigeon, 43. 

Wood-Pigeon, 180. 

andamensis, Osmotreron chloroptera, 43. 
apicauda, Sphenocercus, 72, 73. 

, TrcTon, 72. 

apicaudus, Sphenocercus, 72. 
arenicola, Streptopelia turtur, 184, 188. 
aromatica, Colurriba, 37. 

, Vinago, 37, 40. 

asaimilis, Macropygia, 247. 

, ruficeps, 247. 

Ashy-headed Green Pigeon, 27. 

Wood-Pigeon, 172. 

augusta, Chalcophaps, 121. 
auritus, Turtur, 186, 188, 199. 

badia, Carpophaga, 106. 
6a«taTOensi«, ColunAa, 253. 
Barred Ground-Dove, 253. 
Bar-tailed Cuckoo-Dove, 238. 
Bengal Green Pigeon, 7. 
bicolor, Carpophaga, 1 10. 

, Columba, 110. 

, Myristicivora, 110. 

bisincta, Osmotreron, 25, 48, 49, 56. 

, bisincta, 48, 56. 

, Treron, 49. 

, Vinago, 49, 56. 

Blue Hill-Pigeon, 144. 

Rock-Pigeon, 130. 

Bronze-winged or Emerald Dove, 121. 
Burmese Green Pigeon, 18. 

Red Turtle-Dove, 234. 

Ring-Dove, 225. 

Butreron, 5, 64. 
capelUi, 64. 

Calaenas, 113. 
nicobarica, 114. 



Calaenas nicobaricus, 114. 
Cambayan Turtle, 214. 
cambayensia, Columba, 214. 

, Stigmatopelia, 214. 

, Streptopelia, 184, 214. 

, Turtur, 214. 

cantillans, Treron, 80. 

, Vinago, 80. 

cantillus, Sphenocercus, 80. 
capellii, Butreron, 64. 

, Columba, 64. 

, Treron, 64. 

Carpophaga, 89, 90. 

aenea, 90, 91. 

aenea, 90, 91. 

insularia, 90, 97. 

badia, 106. 

bicolor, 110. 

cuprea, 106. 

elphinstonii, 164. 

griseicapilla, 104. 

insignia, 100, 104, 106. 

in-sularis, 97. 

myristicivora, 110. 

paluniboidei , 180. 

pusilla, 91. 

sylvatica, 91, 97. 

caoiotis, Columba, 160. 

, Palumbus, 1 60. 

Ceylon Wood-Pigeon, 168. 
Chalcophaps, 120. 

augttata, 121. 

indica, 121. 

chinensis, Columba, 210. 

, Turtur, 210. 

chlorigaster , Crocopua, 21. 

, Treron, 21. 

chlorogaster, Crocopua chlorogaater, 21. 

, phoenicopterua, 7, 21. 

, Finajo, 21. 

chloroptera, Osmotreron, 43. 

, pompadora, 26, 43. 

chloroptera, Treron, 43. 
Cinnamon-headed Green Pigeon 46. 
Coccyzura tusalia, 238. 
coeruleocephala, Columba, 121. 
Columba, 127. 

aenea, 91. 

a/7im.s, 130. 

o/ra, 186. 

agricola, 190, 196. 

albicapilla, 121. 

aromatica, 37. 

6a»i<am€n«t«, 253. 

bicolor, 1 10. 

caTJiiaj/erMw, 214. 

capellii, 64. 

casiotia, 160. 

c/imen«M, 210. 



INDEX 



257 



Columba coeruleocephala, 121. 

cuprea, 106. 

curvirostra, 66. 

domestica, 130. 

livia, 130. 

elphinstonii, 1 64. 

eversmanni, 129, 148. 

ferrago, 199. 

fulvicollis, 46. 

fusca, 148. 

gelastis, 190. 

gouldiae, 114. 

hardunchii, 7. 

hodgsoni, 156. 

humilis, 229, 234. 

indica, 121. 

intermedia, 135. 

leuconata, 129, 152. 

itt»a, 129, 130, 135, 145. 

cyanottts, 135. 

intermedia, 129, 135. 

-fom'o, 129, 130. 



- lunvlata, 253. 

- malaccensis, 253. 

- TOcena, 190, 199. 

- militaria, 7. 

- neqlecla, 130. 

- nepalensis, 156. 

- nicoharica, 114. 

- nicomhariensis , 114. 
-oenos, 130, 135. 

euersmanm, 148. 

■ rupestris, 144. 



orientally, 190, 196, 199. 

palumhoidcs, 180. 

paCumbus, 160. 

phoenicoptera, 7. 

pompadora, 40. 

piUchricollis, 172. 

pulcrata, 199. 

punicea, 176. 

purpurea, 59. 

risoria, 219. 

rupefitris, 129, 144. 

rupicola, 144, 190, 196. 

sinica, 253. 

spelaea, 130, 145. 

striata, 253. 

suraiensis, 203, 210. 

sylvatica, 91. 

tanqueharica, 229. 

«i?rma, 203, 210. 

torringtoniae, 168. 

turtur, 186. 

uernojis, 59. 

Columhina inomata, 210. 
communis, Turtur, 186. 
Crocopus, 55, 66. 

chlorigaster, 21. 

chlorogaster, 21. 

phoenicopterus, 7, 18. 

chlorogaster, 6, 21. 

phoenicopterus, 6, 7. 

viridifrons, 6, 18. 

viridifrons, 18. 

Cuckoo-Dove, Andaman, 244. 



Cuckoo-Dove, Andaman, Bar-tailed, 239. 

, Little Malay, 247. 

cuprea, Carpophaga, 106. 

, Colurnba, 106. 

, Dvjcula insignis, 99, 106. 

curvirostra, Columba, 66. 

Cushat, Eastern Wood-Pigeon, Ring-Dove, 

or, 160. 
cyanotu^, Colurnba livia, 135. 

Dendrotreron, 127, 155. 

hodgsoni, 156. 

domestica, Columba, 130. 
domvellei, Osmotreron, 49. 
dommllii, Osmotreron bisincta, 48, 49. 
douraca, Turtur, 219, 225. 
dourica, Streptopelia, 219, 225. 

, Turiur, 219. 

Dove, Andaman Cuckoo-, 244. 

, Barred Ground-, 2.54. 

, Bar-tailed Cuckoo-, 238. 

, Bronze- winged or Emerald, 121. 

, Burmese Red Tiu^tle-, 234. 

, Ring-, 225. 

Spotted or Malay, 210. 

Little Malay Cuckoo-, 247. 

Emerald or Bronze-winged, 121. 

Indian Red Turtle-, 229. 

Indian Ring-, 219. 
Turtle, 199. 

, Little Brown, 214. 

, Malay or Burmese Spotted-, 210. 

, Persian Turtle-, 188. 

, Ring-, Eastern Wood-Pigeon, or Cushat, 

160. 

, Rufous Turtle-, 196. 

, Spotted, 203. 

, Turtle-, 186. 

Ducula, 89, 99. 

cuprea, 106. 

griseicapilla, 104. 

insignis, 99, 100. 

cuprea, 99, 106. 

griseicapilla, 99, 104. 

insignis, 99, 100. 

Eastern Stock-Pigeon, 148. 

Wood-Pigeon, Ring-Dove, or Cushat, 

160. 
elphinstonii, Alsocomtts, 163, 164. 

, Carpophaga, 164. 

, Colurnba, 164. 

, Palumbus, 164, 168. 

, Ptilinopus, 164. 

eversmanni, Colurnba, 129, 148. 

, oenas 148. 

, Paluniboena, 148. 

ferrago, Columba, 199. 

, Streptopelia turtur, 184, 199. 

, Turtur, 199. 

flavogvlaris , Osmotreron, 40. 

, Treron 40. 

fulvicollis, Cotumiia, 46. 
, Osmotreron, 25, 46. 



258 



INDEX 



ftUvicollia, Treron, 46. 
fusca, Columba, 148. 

gelaetis, Columba, 190. 
Oeopelia, 252. 

, striata, 252. 

Geophilus nicoharicxif , 114. 
gouldiae, Columba, 114. 
Green Imperial Pigeon, 91. 
Grey-fronted Green Pigeon, 37. 

headed Imperial Pigeon, 104. 

griseicapilla, Ducula, 104. 

, insignia, 99, 104. 

Ground-Dove, Barred, 253. 

hardwickii, Columba, 7. 
Hill-Pigeon, Blue, 144. 
hodgsonii, Alsocomus, 156. 

, Columha, 156. 

, Dendrotreron, 156. 

Hodgson's Imperial Pigeon, 100. 
Hook-billed Pigeon, 66. 
humilior, Turtur, 229, 234. 
humilia, Columba, 229, 234. 

, Oenopopelia, 234. 

, tranquebarica, 228, 234. 

, Slreptopelia, 229, 234. 

, Turtur, 229. 

lanthoenaa nicobarica, 180. 

palumboides, 180. 

Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon, 135. 

Red Turtle-Dove, 229. 

Ring-Do ve, 219. 

Rufous Turtle-Dove or Skyes's Tuitle- 

Dove, 190. 

Turtle-Dove, 199. 

indica, Chulcophaps, 121. 

, Columba, 121. 

indicus, Turtur, 219. 
inornata, Columbina, 210. 
insignis, Carpophaga, 100, 104, 106. 
, Ducula, 99, 100. 

, insignis, 99, 100. 

irmularis, Carpophaga, 97. 

, aenea, 90, 97. 

intermedia, Columba, 135. 
, livia, 129, 135. 

jerdoni, Treron, 21. 

Jerdon'B Imperial Pigeon, 106. 

Large Thick-billed Green Pigeon, 64. 
leptogrammica, Macropygia, 238. 
Lesser Grange-breasted Green Pigeon, 56. 
leuconota, Columba, 129, 152. 
Little Brown Dove, 214. 

Malay Cuckoo-Dove, 247. 

livia, Columba, 129, 130, 135, 145. 

■ domestica, 130. 

- livia, 129, 130. 
lunuiata, Columba, 253. 

Macropygia, 127, 237. 

amboiensis, 247. 

assimilis, 247. 



Macropygia leptogrammica, 238. 

ruficeps, 238, 244. 

— ■ assimilis, 247. 

rufipennis, 238, 244. 

tusalia, 238. 

malabarica, Osmotreron, 37. 

, Treron, 27, 37, 40. 

, Yinago, 37. 

malaccensis , Coluirtba, 253. 

Malay or Burmese Spotted Dove, 210. 

meena, Columba, 190, 199. 

, Turtur, 190. 

, Slreptopelia turtur, 184, 190. 

migratorius, Turtur, 186. 
mi/itaris, Columba, 7. 
minor, Sphenocercus, 80. 
murwensia, Oena, 229. 
Myriaticivora, 89, 109. 

bicolor, 110. 

myriaticivora, Carpophaga, 1 10. 

neglecta, Columba, 130. 
nepalensis, Columba, 156. 

, Treron, 66. 

Nicobar Imperial Pigeon, 97. 

Pigeon, 114. 

nicobarica, Calaenaa, 114. 

, Columba, 114. 

, lanthoenas, 180. 

nicobaricus, Calaenaa, 114. 

, Oeophilua, 114. 

nicobariensia , Columha, 114. 
nipalenaia, Toria, 66. 

, Treron, 66. 

Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon, 104. 

Oerui murwensia, 229. 
oenae, Columba, 130, 135. 
oenicapilla, Palumboena, 148. 
Oenopopelia, 127, 227. 

humilia, 234. 

tranquebarica, 229, 234. 

humilis, 228, 234. 

tranquebarica, 228, 229. 

Orange-breasted Green Pigeon, 49. 
orientalia, CoVumba, 190, 196, 199. 

, Turtur, 190, 196. 

, Slreptopelia turtur, 184, 196. 

Oamotreron, 5, 25. 

affinia, 37. 

bisincta, 25, 48, 49, 56. 

bisincta, 48, 56. 

domvillii, 48, 49. 

chloroplera, 43. 

• aniiawKJnefVsts, 43. 



■ domvillei, 49. 

■ flavogularis, 40. 

■ fulvicollia, 25, 46. 

■ malabarica, 37. 

■ phayrei, 27. 

■ pompadora, 25, 26, 40. 
a/^nw, 26, 37. 

■ chloroplera, 26, 43. 

phayrei, 26, 27. 

• pompadora, 26, 40. 

■ pompadoura, 40. 



INDEX 



259 



Osmotreron vernana, 25, 59. 
viridis, 59. 

PaJumboena eversmanni, 148. 

oenicapilla, 148. 

palumboides, AUocomus, 163, 180. 

, Carpophaga, 180. 

, Columba, 180. 

, lanthoenas, 180. 

Palumhus, 127, 159. 
— — • casiotia, 160. 

elphinstonii, 164, 168. 

palumbus casiotia, 160. 

pulchricollis, 172. 

torquatue, 160. 

torringtoniae, 168. 

torringtonii, 168. 

palumhus, Columba, 160. 
Persian Turtle-Do ve, 188. 
phoenicopiera, Columba, 7. 

, Crocopus, 7, 18. 

, phoenicoptertis, 67. 

, Treron, 7. 

phayrei, Osmotreron, 27. 

, pompadora, 26, 27. 

Pigeon, Andamanese Green, 43. 
■ Wood-, 180. 

-, Ashy headed Green, 27. 

-, Ashy Wood-, 172. 

-, Bengal Green, 7. 

-, Blue Hill-, 144. 

-, Blue Rock-, 130. 

-, Burmese Green, 18. 

-, Ceylon Wood-, 168. 

-, Cinnamon-headed Green, 46. 

-, Eastern Stock-, 148. 

-, Wood-, Ring-Dove, or Cushat, 

160. 

-, Green Imperial, 91. 

-, Grey-fronted Green, 37. 

-headed Imperial, 104. 

, Hodgson's Imperial, 100. 

, Hook-billed, 66. 

, Indian Blue Rock-, 135. 

; Jerdon's Imperial, 106. 

, Large Thick -billed Green, 64. 

, Lesser Orange-breasted Green, 66. 

, Nicobar, 114. 

, Imperial, 97. 

, Nilgiri Wood-, 164. 

, Orange-breasted Green, 49. 

, Pink-necked Green, 59. 

■, Pin-tailed Green, 72. 

, Pompadour Green, 40. 

, Purple Wood-, 176. 

, Red Imperial, 110. 

, Snow-, 152. 

, Southern Green, 21. 

, Speckled Wood-, 156. 

, Thick-billed Green, 66. 

, Wedge-tailed Green, 80. 

Pink-necked Green Pigeon, 59. 
Pin -tailed Green Pigeon, 72. 
pompadora, Colurriba, 40. 

, Osmotreron, 25, 26, 40. 

, pompadora, 26, 40. 



pompadora, Treron, 40. 
Pompadour Green Pigeon, 40. 
pompadoura, Osmotreron, 40. 
Plilinopus elphinstonii, 164. 
pulcrata, Columba, 199. 

, Turtur, 199. 

pulchrata, Turtur, 199. 
pulchratus, Turtur, 199. 
pulchricollis, Alsocomus, 163, 172. 

, Columba, 172. 

, Palumbtw, 172. 

punicea, Columba, 176. 
puniceus, Alsocomun, 163, 176. 
Purple Wood-Pigeon, 176. 
purpurea, Columba, 59. 
pusilla, Carpophaga, 91. 

Red Imperial Pigeon, 110. 
Ring-Dove, Burmese, 225. 

, Eastern Wood-Pigeon, or Cushat, 160. 

, Indian, 219. 

risoria, Columba, 219. 

, Streptopelia, 184. 

, risoria, 219. 

risorius, Turtur, 219, 225. 
Rock-Pigeon, Blue, 130. 

, Indian Blue, 135. 

ruficeps, Columba, 247. 

, Macropygia, 239, 247. 

rufipennia, Macropygia, 239, 244. 
Rufous Turtle-Do ve, 196. 
rupeetria, Columba, 129, 144. 

, oenas, 144. 

rupicola, Columba, 144, 190, 196. 
ru/picollie, Turtur, 196. 

sencgalenais, Turtur, 214. 
ainica, Columba, 253. 
Snow-Pigeon, 152. 
Southern Green Pigeon, 21. 
Speckled Wood-Pigeon, 156. 
tpelaea, Columba, 130, 145. 
Sphenocercua, 5, 72. 

apicauda, 72, 73. 

apicaudua, 72. 

cantillus, 80. 

minor, 80. 

sphenura, 72, 80. 

aphenurua, 80. 

aphenura, Sphenocercua, 72, 80. 

, Vinago, 80. 

, Treron, 80. 

sphenurus, Sphenocercua, 80. 
Spilopelia auratensia, 203. 

tigrina, 210. 

Spotted Dove, 203. 
Stigmatopelia camhayenaia, 214. 
Stock-Pigeon, Eastern, 148. 
atoliczkae, Turtur, 219. 
Streptopelia, 127, 183. 

camhayenaia, 184, 214. 

dourica, 219, 225. 

humilia, 229, 234. 

risoria, 184. 

risoria, 219. 

xanthocycla, 225. 



260 



INDEX 



Streptopelia suratensis, 184, 202. 

suratensis, 202, 203. 

tigrina, 202, 210. 

turtur, 184, 186. 

arenicola, 184, 188. 

ferrago, 184, 199. 

meena, 184, 190. 

orientalis, 184, 196. 

- turtur, 184, 186. 



striata, Golumba, 253. 

, Qeopelia, 263. 

striatus, Turtur indicus, 253. 

. , sinensis, 253. 

suratensis, Columba, 203, 210. 

, Spilopelia, 203. 

, Streptopelia, 184, 202. 

, suratensis, 202, 203. 

, Turtur, 203. 

eylvatiea, Carpophaga, 91, 97. 
, Columba, 91. 

tranquebarica, Columba, 229. 

, Oenopopelia, 229, 234. 

, tranquebarica, 228, 229. 

, Onopopelia, 229. 

, Turtur. 229, 234. 

Thick-billed Green Pigeon, 66. 
tigrina, Columba, 203, 210. 

, Spilopelia, 210. 

, Streptopelia suratensis, 202, 210. 

, Turtur, 210. 

tigrinus, Turtur, 210. 
TorJa nipalensis, 66. 
torquatus, Palumbus, 160. 
torringtoniae, Alsocomus, 163, 168. 

, Columba, 168. 

, Palumbus, 168. 

torringtonii, Alsocomus, 168. 

, Palumbus, 168. 

Treron, 5, 66. 

— — apicauda, 72. 

bisincta, 49. 

cantillans, 80. 

capellii, 64. 

chlorigaster, 2 1. 

. chloroptera, 43. 

flavogularis, 40. 

fulvicollis, 46. 

jerdoni, 21. 

malabarica, 27, 37, 40. 

nepalensis, 66. 

nipalensis, 66. 

phoenicoptcra, 7. 

pompadora, 40. 

sphenura, 80. 

Dernans, 59. 

viridijrons, 18. 

Turtle-Dove, 186. 

, Cambayan, 214. 

, Burmese Red, 234. 

, Indian, 199. 

, Red, 229. 

, Indian Rufous or Sykes's, 190. 

, Persian, 188. 

, Rufous, 196. 

Sykes's or Indian Rufous, 190. 



Turtur auritus, 186, 188, 199. 

cambayensis, 214. 

chinensis, 210. 

communis, 186. 

douraca, 219, 225. 

ferrago, 199. 

humilior, 229, 234. 

humilis, 229. 

indicus, 219. 

striatus, 253. 

meena, 190. 

migratorius, 186. 

orientalis, 190, 196. 

pulchrala, 199. 

pulchrata, 199. 

pulchratus, 199. 

risorius, 219, 225. 

rupicollis, 196. 

sinensis striatus, 253. 

senegalensis, 214. 

stoliczkae, 219. 

suratensis, 203. 

tranquebarica, 229, 253. 

tigrina, 210. 

tigrinus, 210. 

tor^ur, 186, 188. 

vitticollis, 199, 203. 

vulgaris, 186. 

xanthocycles , 225. 

turtur, Columba, 186. 

, Streptopelia, 184, 186. 

, turtur, 184, 186. 

, Twrtur, 186, 188. 

tusilia, Coccyzura, 238. 
, Macropygia, 238. 

unicolor, Vinago, 49, 56. 

uerworw, Columba, 59. 

, Osmotreron, 25, 59. 

, Treron, 59. 

Vinago affinis, 37. 

aromatica, 37, 40. 

bisincta, 49, 56. 

cantillans, 80. 

chlorogaster, 21. 

malabarica, 37. 

sphenura, 80. 

tiJiicotor, 49, 56. 

mridijrons, Crocopus, 18. 

, phoenicopterus, 6, 18. 

, Treron, 18. 

viridis, Osmotreron, 59. 
vitticollis, Turtur, 199, 203. 
vulgaris, Turtur, 186. 

Wedge-tailed Green Pigeon, 80. 
Wood-Pigeon, Andamanese, 180. 

, Ashy, 172. 

, Ceylon, 168. 

, Eastern Ring-Dove, or Cushat, 160. 

, Nilgiri, 164. 

, Purple, 176. 

, Speckled, 156. 

xanthocycla, Streptopelia riaoria, 225. 
xanthocycluB, Turtur, 225. 





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