1003. Aethiopsar albocinctus

(1002) Aethiopsar grandis infuscatus Stuart Baker.
THE ASSAM YELLOW-BILLED JUNGLE MYNA.
Aethiopsar grandis infuscatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 59.
This Northern race of grandis is found over the whole of Northern Burma, Shan States, Manipur, Eastern Assam and Assam South of the Brahmapootra.
An excellent account by Harington of the breeding of this Myna and of the Collared Myna gives all the information available. He writes (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xvi, p. 166, 1905):— “The distribution of these two Mynas in Burma seems to be very well defined, both being common in the Shan States, again appearing in the Bhamo District, and from there across into the Myitkyinaand Upper Chindwin Districts. They are essentially birds, of a damp chmate, preferring fairly open country with large expanses of ‘Kine’ or Elephant grass. In the Upper Chindwin Ae. grandis appears as low down as Mingin and gets commoner the higher one goes up the river ; whilst Ae. albicinctus does not appear until about 40 miles above Kindat ; from there it is quite as plentiful as Ae. grandis.
“Both seem to prefer nesting in colonies of their own species or along with other mynas of different kinds ; and any old tree, especially if it be a Ficus of sorts, will have all the available holes filled with nests of these two mynas. The peculiarity of birds nesting together was very marked in a tree at Kindat, in which the following birds were found nesting in the month of May : the Siamese myna, common house-myna, white-winged myna, common pied myna, red turtle-dove, Burmese red-vented bulbul and king-crow ; and a month before from the same tree a friend of mine took eggs of the ‘Blue-Jay’ and Paloeornis rosa. Another tree at Tamanthe was inhabited by the Siamese, collared and grey-headed mynas and one nest of the lineated barbet. The holes taken up by the first three seemed all to have been made by barbets or woodpeckers ; one huge decayed branch, which was unsafe to climb, was full of mynas’ nests, the birds going in and out like pigeons from a dove¬cote.
“The strangest nesting site of Ae grandis and Ae. albicinctus was finding these nests in holes along the banks of the river. The Chindwin above Kindat flows through fairly level country and has steep sandy banks forming ideal nesting places for sand-martins and the blue-tailed bee-eater, which were nesting in thousands. While going up the river by launch we were surprised to see mynas in numbers flying in and out of holes in one bank. On getting out our glasses we found them to be of the above two kinds. This was in the latter half of May and was rather late, as the majority had hatched out or had hard-set eggs. A fortnight or so earlier one could have got eggs by the hat-full, as they were nesting in colonies after the manner of bee-eaters. Whether the holes were originally made by other birds and then enlarged by the mynas or dug out entirely by them would be hard to say, as in many cases the mynas were nesting in the same colony as the bee-eaters, but others I think must have been made solely by the mynas, as they ran from only one foot to two or three feet in depth. Both kinds of mynas were found nesting together, but generally managed to keep apart. All the nests were of the usual, myna type—made of grass, rags, feathers etc. The extraordinary thing about the nests was, however, that every nest we pulled out had pieces of snake-skin ; we must have examined some dozen nests or more and found it the rule without exception, so that it was not the weird fancy of a few birds, but the fashion or protective instinct of all.
“The eggs are of the regular myna-blue colour, the Siamese mynas as a rule laying rather long pointed eggs, and the collared mynas slightly smaller and rounder ones ; Ae. grandis laying in clutches of three to four, rarely two, and Ae. albicinctus generally four, and very rarely five.
“We also found Ae. grandis nesting in the roofs of houses and in Hpongi-choungs. ”
Mackenzie and Hopwood also obtained many nests on the Chindwin as far South as Pakokku on the 13th May, most eggs being then hard set. Most birds apparently lay in April and keep on during the whole of May in gradually lessening numbers. Mackenzie obtained several clutches of five eggs.
The eggs are quite typical Mynas’ eggs but, curiously enough, as a series are decidedly paler than those of the typical race. They vary very greatly in size.
Thirty eggs average 29.2 x 20.7 mm. : maxima 32.0 x 20.1 and 30.0 x 23.0 mm. ; minima 25.4 x 19.0 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
1003. Aethiopsar albocinctus
Spp Author: 
Godw.-aust.&wald.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1003
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
533
Common name: 
Collared Myna
M_ID: 
26795
M_CN: 
Collared Myna
M_SN: 
Acridotheres albocinctus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
14092

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith