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The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1, by Allan O. Hume, Edited by Eugene William Gates This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at Title: The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1 Author: Allan O. Hume Release Date: August 5, 2004 [eBook #13117] Language: English ***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE NESTS AND EGGS OF INDIAN BIRDS, VOLUME 1*** E-text prepared by the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team from images provided by the Million Book Project THE NESTS AND EGGS OF INDIAN BIRDS, VOLUME 1 by ALLAN O. HUME, C.B. Second Edition. Edited by Eugene William Gates Author of "A Handbook to the Birds of British Burmah and of the Birds in the Fauna of British India," With Four Portraits. London 1889 [Illustration: ALLAN OCTAVIAN HUME] [Illustration: ALERE FLAMMAM] AUTHOR'S PREFACE. I have long regretted my inability to issue a revised edition of 'Nests and Eggs.' For many years after the first Rough Draft appeared, I went on laboriously accumulating materials for a re-issue, but subsequently circumstances prevented my undertaking the work. Now, fortunately, my friend Mr. Eugene Gates has taken the matter up, and much as I may personally regret having to hand over to another a task, the performance of which I should so much have enjoyed, it is some consolation to feel that the readers, at any rate, of this work will have no cause for regret, but rather of rejoicing that the work has passed into younger and stronger hands. One thing seems necessary to explain. The present Edition does not include quite all the materials I had accumulated for this work. Many years ago, during my absence from Simla, a servant broke into my museum and stole thence several cwts. of manuscript, which he sold as waste paper. This manuscript included more or less complete life-histories of some 700 species of birds, and also a certain number of detailed accounts of nidification. All small notes on slips of paper were left, but almost every article written on full-sized foolscap sheets was abstracted. It was not for many months that the theft was discovered, and then very little of the MSS. could be recovered. It thus happens that in the cases of some of the most interesting species, of which I had worked up all the notes into a connected whole, nothing, or, as in the case of Argya subrufa, only a single isolated note, appears in the text. It is to be greatly regretted, for my work was imperfect enough as it was; and this 'Selection from the Records,' that my Philistine servant saw fit to permit himself, has rendered it a great deal more imperfect still; but neither Mr. Oates nor myself can be justly blamed for this. In conclusion, I have only to say that if this compilation should find favour in any man's sight he must thank Mr. Oates for it, since not only has he undergone the labour of arranging my materials and seeing the whole work through the press—not only has he, I believe, added himself considerably to those materials—but it is solely owing to him that the work appears at all, as I know no one else to whom I could have entrusted the arduous and, I fear, thankless duty that he has so generously undertaken. ALLAN HUME. Rothney Castle, Simla, October 19th, 1889. EDITOR'S NOTE. Mr. Hume has sufficiently explained the circumstances under which this edition of his popular work has been brought about. I have merely to add that, as I was engaged on a work on the Birds of India, I thought it would be easier for me than for anyone else to assist Mr. Hume. I was also in England, and knew that my labour would be very much lightened by passing the work through the press in this country. Another reason, perhaps the most important, was the fear that, as Mr. Hume had given up entirely and absolutely the study of birds, the valuable material he had taken such pains to accumulate for this edition might be irretrievably lost or further injured by lapse of time unless early steps were taken to utilize it. A few words of explanation appear necessary on the subject of the arrangement of this edition. Mr. Hume is in no way responsible for this arrangement nor for the nomenclature employed. He may possibly disapprove of both. He, however, gave me his manuscript unreservedly, and left me free to deal with it as I thought best, and I have to thank him for reposing this confidence in me. Left thus to my own devices, I have considered it expedient to conform in all respects to the arrangement of my work on the Birds, which I am writing, side by side, with this work. The classification I have elaborated for my purpose is totally different to that employed by Jerdon and familiar to Indian ornithologists; but a departure from Jerdon's arrangement was merely a question of time, and no better opportunity than the present for readjusting the classification of Indian birds appeared likely to present itself. I have therefore adopted a new system, which I have fully set forth in my other work. I take this opportunity to present the readers of Mr. Hume's work with portraits of Mr. Hume himself, of Mr. Brian Hodgson, the late Dr. Jerdon, and the late Colonel Tickell. EUGENE W. OATES. SYSTEMATIC INDEX. Order PASSERES. Family CORVIDAE. Subfamily CORVINAE. 1. Corvus corax, Linn. 3. —— corone, Linn. 4. —— macrorhynchus, Wagler 7. —— splendens, Vieill 8. —— insulens, Hume. 9. —— monedula, Linn. 10. Pica rustica (Scop.) 12. Urocissa occipitalis (Bl.) 13. —— flaviostris (Bl.) 14. Cissa chinensis (Bodd.) 15. —— ornata (Wagler) 16. Dendrocitta rufa (Scop.) 17. —— leucogastra, Gould 18. —— himalayensis, Bl. 21. Crypsirhina varians (Lath.) 23. Platysmurus leucopterus (Temm.) 24. Garrulous lanceolatus, Vigors 25. —— leucotis, Hume 26. —— bispecularis, Vigors 27. Nucifraga hemispila, Vigors 29. Graculus eremita (Linn.) Subfamily PARINAE. 31. Parus atriceps, Horsf. 34. —— monticola, Vigors 35. Aegithaliscus erythrocephalus Vig. 41. Machlolophus spilonotus (Bl.) 42. —— xanthogenys Vig. 43. —— haplonotus (Bl.) 44. Lophophanes melanolophus Vig. 47. —— rufinuchalis (Bl.) Subfamily PARADOXORNITHINAE. 50. Conostoma aemodium, Hodgs. 60. Sea orhynchus ruticeps (Bl.) 61. —— gularis Horsf. Family CRATEROPODIDAE. Subfamily CRATEROPODINAE. 62. Dryonastes ruticollis (J.S.S.) 65. —— caerulatus (Hodgs.) 69. Garrulax leucolophus (Hardw.) 70. —— belangeri, Lesson 72. —— pectoralis (Gould) 73. —— moniliger (Hodgs.) 76. —— albigularis Gould 78. Ianthocincla ocellata (Vig.) 80. —— rutigularis, Gould 82. Trochalopterum erythrocephalum (Vig.) 83. —— nigrimentum, Hodgs. 87. —— phaeniceum (Gould) 88. —— subunicolor, Hodgs. 90. —— variegatum (Vig.) 91. —— simile, Hume 92. —— squamatum (Gould) 93. —— cachinnans (Jerd.) 96. —— fairbanki, Blanf. 99. —— lineatum (Vig.) 101. Grammatoptila striata (Vig.) 104. Argya earlii (Bl.) 105. —— caudata (Duméril) 107. —— malcolmi (Sykes) 108. —— subrufa (Jerd.) 110. Crateropus canorus (Linn.) 111. —— griseus (Gmel.) 112. Crateropus striatus (Swains.) 113. —— somervillii (Sykes) 114. —— rufescens (Bl.) 115. —— cinereifrons (Bl.) 116. Pomatorhinus schisticeps, Hodgs. 118. —— olivaceus, Bl. 119. —— melanurus, Bl. 120. —— horsfieldii, Sykes 122. —— ferruginosus, Bl. 125. —— ruficollis, Hodgs. 129. —— erythrogenys, Vig. 133. Xiphorhamphus superciliaris (Blyth) Subfamily TIMELIINAE. 134. Timelia pileata, Horsf 135. Dumetia hyperythra (Frankl.) 136. —— albigularis (Bl.) 139. Pyctorhis sinensis (Gm.) 140. —— nasalis, Legge 142. Pellorneum mandellii, Blanf. 144. —— ruficeps, Swains 145. —— subochraceum, Swinh 147. —— fuscicapillum (Bl.) 149. Drymocataphus nigricapitatus (Eyton) 151. —— tickelli (Bl.) 160. —— abbotti (Bl.) 163. Alcippe nepalensis (Hodgs.) 164. —— phaeocephala (Jerd.) 165. —— phayrii, Bl. 166. Rhopocichla atriceps (Jerd.) 167. —— nigrifrons (Bl.) 169. Stachyrhis nigriceps, Hodgs 170.—— chrysaea, Hodgs. 172. Stachyrhidopsis ruficeps(Bl.) 174. —— pyrrhops (Hodgs.) 175. Cyanoderma erythropterum (Bl.) 176. Mixornis rubricapillus (Tick.) 177. —— gularis (Raffl.) 178. Schoeniparus dubius (Hume) 182. Sittiparus castaneiceps (Hodgs.) 183. Proparus vinipectus (Hodgs.) 184. Lioparus chrysaeus (Hodgs.) Subfamily BRACHYPTERYGINAE. 187. Myiophoneus temmincki, Vig. 188. —— eugenii, Hume. 189. —— horsfieldi, Vig 191. Larvivora brunnea, Hodgs 193. Brachypteryx albiventris (Fairbank) 194. —— rufiventris (Bl.) 197. Drymochares cruralis (Bl.) 198. —— nepalensis (Hodgs.) 200. Elaphrornis palliseri (Bl.) 201. Tesia cyaniventris, Hodgs. 203. Oligura castaneicoronata (Burt.) Subfamily SIBIINAE. 203. Sibia picaoides, Hodgs. 204. Lioptila capistrata (Vig.) 205. —— gracilis (McClell.) 206. —— melanoleuca (Bl.) 211. Actinodura egertoni, Gould 213. Ixops nepalensis (Hodgs.) 219. Siva strigula, Hodgs. 221. —— cyanuroptera, Hodgs. 223. Yuhina gularis, Hodgs. 225. —— nigrimentum (Hodgs.) 226. Zosterops palpebrosa (Temm.) 229. —— ceylonensis, Holdsworth 231. Ixulus occipitalis, (Bl.) 232.—— flavicollis (Hodgs.) Subfamily LIOTRICHINAE. 235. Liothrix lutea (Scop.) 237. Pteruthius erythropterus (Vig.) 239. —— melanotis, Hodgs. 243. Aegithina tiphia (Linn.) 246. Myzornis pyrrhura, Hodgs. 252. Chloropsis jerdoni (Bl.) 254. Irena puella (Lath.) 257. Mesia argentauris, Hodgs. 258. Minla igneitincta, Hodgs. 260. Cephalopyrus flammiceps (Burt.) 261. Psaroglossa spiloptera (vig.) Subfamily BRACHYPODINAE. 263. Criniger flaveolus (Gould) 269. Hypsipetes psaroides, Vig. 271. —— ganeesa, Sykes 275. Hemixus macclellandi (Horsf.) 277. Alcurus striatus (Bl.) 278. Molpastes haemorrhous (Gm.) 279. —— burmanicus (Sharpe) 281. —— atricapillus (Vieill.) 282. —— bengalensis (Bl.) 283. —— intermedius (A. Hay) 284. —— leucogenys (Gr.) 285. —— lencotis (Gould). 288. Otocompsa emeria (Linn.) 289. —— fuscicaudata, Gould 290. —— flaviventris (Tick.) 292. Spizixus canifrons, Bl. 295. Iole icterica (Strickl.) 299. Pycnonotus finlaysoni, Strickl. 300. —— davisoni (Hume) 301. —— melanicterus (Gm.) 305. —— luteolus (Less.) 306. —— blanfordi, Jerd. Family SITTIDAE. 315. Sitta himalayensis, J. & S. 316. —— cinnamomeiventris, Bl. 317. —— neglecta, Walden 321. —— castaneiventris, Frankl. 323. —— leucopsis, Gould 325. —— frontalis, Horsf. Family DICRURIDAE. 327. Dicrurus ater (Hermann) 328. —— longicaudatus, A. Hay 329. —— nigrescens, Oates 330. —— caerulescens (Linn.) 331. —— leucopygialis, Bl. 334. Chaptia aenea (Vieill.) 335. Chibia hottentotta (Linn.) 338. Dissemurulus lophorhinus (Vieill.) 339. Bhringa remifer (Temm.) 340. Dissemurus paradiseus (Linn.) Family CERTHIIDAE. 341. Certhia himalayana, Vig. 342. —— hodgsoni, Brooks 347. Salpornis spilonota (Frankl.) 352. Anorthura neglecta (Brooks) 355. Urocichla caudata (Bl.) 350. Pnoepyga squamata (Gould) Family REGULIDAE. 358. Regulus cristatus, Koch. Family SYLVIIDAE. 363. Acrocephalus stentoreus (H. & E.) 366. —— dumetorum, Bl. 367. —— agricola (Jerd.) 371. Tribura thoracica (Bl.) 372. —— luteiventris, Hodgs. 374. Orthotomus sutorius (Forst.) 375. —— atrigularis, Temm. 380. Cisticola volitans (Swinhoe) 381. —— cursitans (Frankl.) 382. Franklinia gracilis (Frankl.) 383. —— rufescens (Bl.) 384. —— buchanani (Bl.) 385. —— cinereicapilla (Hodgs.) 386. Laticilla burnesi (Bl.) 388. Graminicola bengalensis, Jerd. 389. Megalurus palustris, Horsf. 390. Schoenicola platyura (Jerd.) 391. Acanthoptila nepalensis (Hodgs.) 392. Chaetornis locustelloides (Bl.) 394. Hypolais rama (Sykes) 402. Sylvia affinis (Bl.) 406. Phylloscopus tytleri, Brooks 410. —— fuscatus (Bl.) 415. —— proregulus (Pall.) 416. —— subviridis (Brooks) 418. Phylloscopus humii (Brooks) 428. Acanthopneuste occipitalis (Jerd.) 430. —— davisoni, Oates 434. Cryptolopha xanthoschista (Hodgs.) 435. —— jerdoni (Brooks) 436. —— poliogenys (Bl.) 437. —— castaneiceps (Hodgs.) 438. —— cantator (Tick.) 440. Abrornis superciliaris, Tick 441. —— schisticeps (Hodgs.) 442. —— albigularis Hodgs. 445. Scotocerca inquieta (Cretzschm.) 446. Neornis flavolivaceus (Hodgs.) 448. Horornis fortipes Hodgs. 450. —— pallidus (Brooks) 451. —— pallidipes (Blanf.) 452. —— major (Hodgs.) 454. Phyllergates coronatus (Jerd. $ Bl.) 455. Horeites brunneifrons, Hodgs. 458. Suya crinigera, Hodgs 459. —— atrigularis, Moore 460. —— khasiana, Godw.-Aust. 462. Prinia lepida, Bl 463. —— flaviventris (Deless) 464. —— socialis, Sykes 465. ——sylvatica, Jerd 466. ——inornata, Sykes 467. ——jerdoni (Bl.) 468. ——blanfordi (Walden) Family LANIIDAE. Subfamily LANIINAE. 469. Lanius lahtora (Sykes) 473. —— vittatus, Valenc 475. —— nigriceps (Frankl.) 476. —— erythronotus (Vig.) 477. —— tephronotus (Vig) 481. —— cristatus, Linn 484. Hemipus picatus (Sykes) 485. —— capitalis (McClell.) 480. Tephrodornis pelvicus (Hodgs) 487. —— sylvicola, Jerd 488. —— pondicerianus (Gm.) 490. Pericrocotus speciosus (Lath.) 494. Pericrocotus flammeus (Forst.) 495. —— brevirostris (Vigors) 499. —— roseus (Vieill.) 500. —— peregrinus (Linn.) 501. —— erythropygius (Jerd.) 505. Campophaga melanoschista (Hodgs.) 508. —— sykesi (Shield.) 509. —— terat (Bodd.) 510. Graucalus macii, Lesson Subfamily ARTAMINAE. 512. Artamus fuscus, Vieill 513. —— leucogaster (Valenc.) Family ORIOLIDAE. 518. Oriolus kundoo, Sykes 521. —— melanocephalus, Linn. 522. —— traillii (Vigors) Family EULABETIDAE. 523. Eulabes religiosa (Linn.) 524. —— intermedia (A. Hay) 526. —— ptilogenys (Bl.) 527. Calornis chalybeïus (Horsf.) Family STURNIDAE. 528. Pastor roseus (Linn.) 529. Sturnus humii, Brooks 531. —— minor, Hume 537. Sturnia blythii (Jerd.) 538. —— malabarica (Gm.) 539. —— nemoricola, Jerd 543. Ampeliceps coronatus, Bl 544. Temenuchus pagodarum (Gm.) 546. Graculipica nigricollis (Payk.) 549. Acridotheres tristis (Linn.) 550. —— melanosternus, Legge 551. —— ginginianus (Lath.) 552. Aethiopsar fuscus (Wayl.) 555. Sturnopastor contra (Linn.) 556. —— superciliaris, Bl ERRATA. Page 103. After Drymocataphus tickelli insert (Blyth). Page 126. For Bhringa tenuirostris read B. tectirostris. Page 223. For Pnoepyga albiventris (Hodgs.), read Pnoepyga squamata (Gould). Page 311. After Lanius vittatus Insert Valene. [Illustration: THOMAS CAVERHILL JERDON.] [Illustration: BRIAN HOUGHTON HODGSON.] [Illustration: SAMUEL RICHARD TICKELL.] Order PASSERES. Family CORVIDAE. Subfamily CORVINAE. 1. Corvus corax, Linn. The Raven. Corvus corax, Linn., Jerd. B. Ind. ii, p. 293. Corvus lawrencii, Hume; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 657. I separated the Punjab Raven under the name of Corvus lawrencei ('Lahore to Yarkand,' p. 83), and I then stated, what I wish now to repeat, that if we are prepared to consider C. corax, C. littoralis, C. thibetanus, and C. japonensis all as one and the same species, then C. lawrencei too must be suppressed; but if any of these are retained as distinct, then so must C. lawrencei be[A]. [Footnote A: I think it impossible to separate the Punjab Raven from the Ravens of Europe and other parts of the world, and I have therefore merged it into C. corax.—ED.] The Punjab Raven breeds throughout the Punjab (except perhaps in the Dehra Ghazee Khan District), in Bhawulpoor, Bikaneer, and the northern portions of Jeypoor and Jodhpoor, extending rarely as far south as Sambhur. To Sindh it is merely a seasonal visitant, and I could not learn that they breed there, nor have I ever known of one breeding anywhere east of the Jumna. Even in the Delhi Division of the Punjab they breed sparingly, and one must go further north and west to find many nests. The breeding-season lasts from early in December to quite the end of March; but this varies a little according to season and locality, though the majority of birds always, I think, lay in January. The nest is generally placed in single trees of no great size, standing in fields or open jungle. The thorny Acacias are often selected, but I have seen them on Sisoo and other trees. The nest, placed in a stout fork as a rule, is a large, strong, compact, stick structure, very like a Rook's nest at home, and like these is used year after year, whether by the same birds or others of the same species I cannot say. Of course they never breed in company: I never found two of their nests within 100 yards of each other, and, as a rule, they will not be found within a quarter of a mile of each other. Five is, I think, the regular complement of eggs; very often I have only found four fully incubated eggs, and on two or three occasions six have, I know, been taken in one nest, though I never myself met with so many. I find the following old note of the first nest of this species that I ever took:— "At Hansie, in Skinner's Beerh, December 19, 1867, we found our first Raven's nest. It was in a solitary Keekur tree, which originally of no great size had had all but two upright branches lopped away. Between these two branches was a large compact stick nest fully 10 inches deep and 18 inches in diameter, and not more than 20 feet from the ground. It contained five slightly incubated eggs, which the old birds evinced the greatest objection to part with, not only flying at the head of the man who removed them, but some little time after they had been removed similarly attacking the man who ascended the tree to look at the nest. After the eggs were gone, they sat themselves on a small branch above the nest side by side, croaking most ominously, and shaking their heads at each other in the most amusing manner, every now and then alternately descending to the nest and scrutinizing every portion of the cavity with their heads on one side as if to make sure that the eggs were really gone." Mr. W. Theobald makes the following note of this bird's nidification in the neighbourhood of Pind Dadan Khan and Katas in the Salt Range:— "Lay in January and February; eggs, four only; shape, ovato-pyriform; size, 1·7 by 1·3; colour, dirty sap green, blotched with blackish brown; also pale green spotted with greenish brown and neutral; nest of sticks difficult to get at, placed in well-selected trees or holes in cliffs." I have not verified the fact of their breeding in holes in cliffs, but it is very possible that they do. All I found near Pind Dadan Khan and in the Salt Range were doubtless in trees, but I explored a very limited portion of these hills. Colonel C.H.T. Marshall, writing from Bhawulpoor on the 17th February, says: "I succeeded yesterday in getting four eggs of the Punjab Raven. The eggs were hard-set and very difficult to clean." From Sambhur Mr. R.M. Adam tells us:—"This Raven is pretty common during the cold weather, but pairs are seen about here throughout the year. They are very fond of attaching themselves to the camps of the numerous parties of Banjaras who visit the lake. "I obtained a nest at the end of January which contained three eggs, and a fourth was found in the parent bird. The nest was about 15 feet from the ground in a Kaggera tree (Acacia leucophloea) which stood on a bare sandy waste with no other tree within half a mile in any direction." The eggs of the Punjab bird are, as might be expected, much the same as those of the European Raven. In shape they are moderately broad ovals, a good deal pointed towards the small end, but, as in the Oriole, greatly elongated varieties are very common, and short globular ones almost unknown. The texture of the egg is close and hard, but they usually exhibit little or no gloss. In the colour of the ground, as well as in the colour, extent, and character of the markings, the eggs vary surprisingly. The ground-colour is in some a clear pale greenish blue; in others pale blue; in others a dingy olive; and in others again a pale stone-colour. The markings are blackish brown, sepia and olive-brown, and rather pale inky purple. Some have the markings small, sharply defined, and thinly sprinkled: others are extensively blotched and streakily clouded; others are freckled or smeared over the entire surface, so as to leave but little, if any, of the ground- colour visible. Often several styles of marking and shades of colouring are combined in the same egg. Almost each nest of eggs exhibits some peculiarity, and varieties are endless. With sixty or seventy eggs before one, it is easy to pick out in almost every case all the eggs that belong to the same nest, and this is a peculiarity that I have observed in the eggs of many members of this family. All the eggs out of the same nest usually closely resemble each other, while almost any two eggs out of different nests are markedly dissimilar. They vary from 1·72 to 2·25 in length, and from 1·2 to 1·37 in width; but the average of seventy-two eggs measured is 1·94 by 1·31. Mandelli's men found four eggs of the larger Sikhim bird in Native Sikhim, high up towards the snows, where they were shooting Blood-Pheasants. These eggs are long ovals, considerably pointed towards one end; the shell is strong and firm, and has scarcely any gloss. The ground-colour is pale bluish green, and the eggs are smudged and clouded all over with pale sepia; on the top of the eggs there are a few small spots and streaks of deep brownish black. They were found on the 5th March, and vary in length from 1·83 to 1·96, in breadth from 1·18 to 1·25. 3. Corvus corone, Linn. The Carrion-Crow. Corvus corone, Linn., Jerd. B. Ind. ii, p. 295; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 659[A]. [Footnote A: Mr. Hume, at one time separated the Indian Carrion-Crow from Corvus corone under the name C. pseudo- corone. In his 'Catalogue' he re-unites them. I quite agree with him that the two birds are inseparable.—ED.] The only Indian eggs of the Carrion-Crow which I have seen, and one of which, with the parent bird, I owe to Mr. Brooks, were taken by the latter gentleman on the 30th May at Sonamerg, Cashmere. The eggs were broad ovals, somewhat compressed towards one end, and of the regular Corvine type—a pretty pale green ground, blotched, smeared, streaked, spotted, and clouded, nowhere very profusely but most densely about the large end, with a greenish or olive-brown and pale sepia. The brown is a brighter and greener, or duller and more olive, lighter or darker, in different eggs, and even in different parts of the same egg. The shell is fine and close, but has only a faint gloss. The eggs only varied from 1·67 to 1·68 in length, and from 1·14 to 1·18 in breadth. Whether this bird breeds regularly or only as a straggler in Cashmere we do not know; it is always overlooked and passed by as a "Common Crow." Future visitors to Cashmere should try and clear up both the identity of the bird and all particulars about its nidification. 4. Corvus macrorhynchus, Wagler. The Jungle-Crow. Corvus culminatus, Sykes, Jerd. B, Ind. ii, p. 295, Corvus levaillantii; Less., Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 660. The Jungle-Crow (under which head I include[A] C. culminatus, Sykes, C. intermedius, Adams, C. andamanensis, Tytler, and each and all of the races that occur within our limits) breeds almost everywhere in India, alike in the low country and in the hills both of Southern and Northern India, to an elevation of fully 8000 feet. [Footnote A: See 'Stray Feathers,' vol. ii. 1874, p. 243, and 'Lahore to Yarkand,' p. 85.] March to May is, I consider, the normal breeding-season; in the plains the majority lay in April, rarely later, and in the hills in May; but in the plains a few birds lay also in February. The nest is placed as a rule on good-sized trees and pretty near their summits. In the plains mangos and tamarinds seem to be preferred, but I have found the nests on many different kinds of trees. The nest is large, circular, and composed of moderate-sized twigs; sometimes it is thick, massive, and compact; sometimes loose and straggling; always with a considerable depression in the centre, which is smoothly lined with large quantities of horsehair, or other stiff hair, grass, grass-roots, cocoanut-fibre, &c. In the hills they use any animal's hair or fur, if the latter is pretty stiff. They do not, according to my experience, affect luxuries in the way of soft down; it is always something moderately stiff, of the coir or horsehair type; nothing soft and fluffy. Coarse human hair, such as some of our native fellow-subjects can boast of, is often taken, when it can be got, in lieu of horsehair. They lay four or five eggs. I have quite as often found the latter as the former number. I have never myself seen six eggs in one nest, but I have heard, on good authority, of six eggs being found. Captain Unwin writes: "I found a nest of the Bow-billed Corby in the Agrore Valley, containing four eggs, on the 30th April. It was placed in a Cheer tree about 40 feet from the ground, and was made of sticks and lined with dry grass and hair." Mr. W. Theobald makes the following remarks on the breeding of this bird in the Valley of Cashmere:— "Lays in the third week of April. Eggs four in number, ovato-pyriform, measuring from 1·6 to 1·7 in length and from 1·2 to 1·25 in breadth. Colour green spotted with brown; valley generally. Nest placed in Chinar and difficult trees." Captain Hutton tells us that the Corby "occurs at Mussoorie throughout the year, and is very destructive to young fowls and pigeons; it breeds in May and June, and selects a tall tree, near a house or village, on which to build its nest, which is composed externally of dried sticks and twigs, and lined with grass and hair, which latter material it will pick from the backs of horses and cows, or from skins of animals laid out to dry. I have had skins of the Surrow (Noemorhaedus thar) nearly destroyed by their depredations. The eggs are three or four in number." From the plains I have very few notes. I transcribe a few of my own. "On the 11th March, near Oreyah, I found a nest of a Corby—good large stick nest, built with tamarind twigs, and placed fully 40 feet from the ground in the fork of a mango-tree standing by itself. The nest measured quite 18 inches in diameter and five in thickness. It was a nearly flat platform with a central depression 8 inches in diameter, and not more than 2 deep, but there was a solid pad of horsehair more than an inch thick below this. I took the mass out; it must have weighed half a pound. Four eggs much incubated. "Etawah, 14th March.—Another nest at the top of one of the huge tamarind-trees behind the Asthul: could not get up to it. A boy brought the nest down; it was not above a foot across, and perhaps 3 inches deep; cavity about 6 inches in diameter, thickly lined with grass-roots, inside which again was a coating of horsehair perhaps a rupee in thickness; nest swarming with vermin. Eggs five, quite fresh; four eggs normal; one quite round, a pure pale slightly greenish blue, with only a few very minute spots and specks of brown having a tendency to form a feeble zone round the large end. Measures only 1·25 by 1·2. Neither in shape, size, nor colour is it like a Corby's egg; but it is not a Koel's, or that of any of our parasitic Cuckoos, and I have seen at home similar pale eggs of the Rook, Hooded Crow, Carrion-Crow, and Raven. "Bareilly, May 10th.—Three fresh eggs in large nest on a mango-tree. Nest as usual, but lined with an immense quantity of horsehair. We brought this home and weighed it; it weighed six ounces, and horsehair is very light." Major C.T. Bingham writes:— "This Crow, so common at Allahabad, is very scarce here at Delhi. In fact I have only seen one pair. "At Allahabad it lays in February and March. I have, however, only found one nest, a rather loose structure of twigs and a few thick branches with rather a deep depression in the centre. It was placed on the very crown of a high toddy palm (Borassus flabelliformis) and was unlined save for a wad of human hair, on which the eggs, two in number, lay; these I found hard-set (on the 13th March); in colour they were a pale greenish blue, boldly blotched, spotted, and speckled with brown."
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