Subfamily CORVINE

This subfamily contains the Crows, Magpies, Jays, Nutcrackers, and Choughs. All species occurring in India are resident in the Empire except the Rook and the Hooded Crow, which are winter visitors to the North-west. Their summer-quarters are, however, not far off and their migrations are only partial and local. The members of the genus Corvus, or the true Crows, are birds of wide distribution, but most. of the members of the other genera are restricted to small areas.

The Corvinae vary a good deal inter se in structure and habits. In one or two genera the nostrils are not so completely hidden by bristles as in the typical Crows. The majority feed habitually on the ground, others are strictly arboreal. They all agree in laying four or five spotted eggs ; but their mode of nidification varies extremely, some species breeding in holes of trees and cliffs, and others, the majority, constructing large nests of sticks and twigs. Most of them are omnivorous, but some of the smaller- tropical species appear to confine their diet to insects.

The Corvinae, as a subfamily, have few characters in common, and yet there is no group of birds which is more easily recognized.

Key to the Genera.

a. Nostrils distant from forehead about one third Length of bill; naral bristles rigid and
straight, reaching to about middle of bill; or rictal bristles and feathers on front of face
altogether absent.
a1. Tail much shorter than wing ………………….CORVUS, p. 12.
b1. Tail much longer than wing ………………….PICA, p. 23.
b. Nostrils distant from forehead less than quar¬ter Length of bill; naral bristles or plumes short, never reaching to middle of bill.
c1. Tail greatly graduated, the outer feathers much less than half Length of tail.
a2. Middle tail-feathers of uniform width throughout or widening gradually to¬wards the tip.
a3. Naral bristles spare, curly, and barely concealing nostrils bill red or yel¬low.
a4. Tail more than twice Length of wing ; eyelids not wattled ……………UROCISSA, p. 25.
b4. Tail less than twice Length of wing; eyelids wattled ………………….CISSA, p. 28.
b3. Naral bristles thick, straight and quite concealing the nostrils; bill black ………………….DENDROCITTA, p. 30.
b2. Middle tail-feathers suddenly broader near the tip …………………CRYPSIRHINA, p. 34.
d1. Tail not much graduated; outer feather more than half Length of tail.
c2. Graduation of closed tail more than Length of tarsus; rictal bristles extremely long ………………….PLATYSMURUS, p. 36.
d2. Graduation of closed tail less than Length of tarsus; rictal bristles mode¬rate or obsolete.
c3. Tarsus very distinctly and coarsely scutellated.
c4. Bill about half Length of head, deep and notched ………………….GARRULUS, p. 37.
d4. Bill about as long as head, slender, not notched………………….NUCIFRAGA, p. 40.
d3. Tarsus smooth or with indistinct scutellations.
e4. Both mandibles feathered to same extent at base ………………….GRACULUS, p. 42.
f4. Lower mandible much less feathered at base than upper.…………PYRRHOCORAX, p. 44.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily CORVINE
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1889
Page No: 
11
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
5

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