(999) AEthiopsar fuscus fuscus.
The Indian Jungle Myna.
Pastor fuscus Wagl., Syst. Av., Pastor, sp. 6 (1827) (India. Restricted to E. Bengal, Stuart Baker, 1921). Aethiopsar fuscus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 539.
Vernacular names. Pahari maina (Hind.); Jhonti maina (Hind, in Beng.) ; Jhont salik, Jungli salik (Bengali); Tau Zayet (Burm.).
Description. Upper part of head and crest glossy black, changing to dark cinereous brown on back, ramp, upper tail-coverts and lower wing-coverts ; tail blackish brown ; the centre tail-feathers narrowly, the others more broadly tipped with white; primary-coverts and bases of primaries white; winglet and rest of primaries black, the latter tipped with bronze ; outer secondaries black on the inner webs, bronze on the outer; inner secondaries and wing-coverts bronze narrowly edged with black ; chin, throat and upper breast dark ashy-grey, almost black on the chin, paling to ashy-brown on the lower breast and flanks and still paler on the abdomen; thigh-coverts dark grey; lower tail-coverts white, with blackish bases.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright yellow in Northern India and Burma, grey or pale blue-grey in Southern India; bill bright yellow, the base deep blue; mouth blue; legs and feet orange or chrome-yellow ; claws darker.
Measurements. Total length about 250 mm.; wing 118 to 130 mm., nearly always over 120 mm.
Young birds are all brown above, rather darker on the head and paler on the rump; below, the chin, throat, and breast are vinous brown paling to fulvous brown on the abdomen; vent and under tail-coverts fulvous white. The bill is wholly yellow and the legs paler chrome; iris glaucous blue-grey.
Distribution. The whole of India and Burma, excluding the deserts of Sind, Rajputana and the driest portions of the North-West; this form extends South to Travancore in India and to Han goon in Burma.
I cannot separate mahrattensis of Sykes. The Southern bird differs only in the adult nor. acquiring a yellow iris. It is no smaller than the Northern bird.
Nidification. In Southern India the Jungle Myna breeds from February to May and in Northern India from April to July, though many nests with eggs and young may be found both earlier and later. They have much the same breeding habits as Acridotheres t. tristis but do not keep only to villages, towns and open country, being also found in light forest or the outskirts of heavy forest. Preferably also they select holes in trees us nesting sites but sometimes use holes in walls and buildings, especially such as are deserted and derelict. The nest consists of a pad of all kinds of material, but they use moss more often in the construction of the nest than the Common Myna does, whilst the lining nearly always consists in part of feathers. They lay four or five eggs, sometimes six, just like those of the Common Myna but smaller. One hundred eggs average 28.9 x 20.9 mm.: maxima 32.8 x 21.3 and 30.0 x 23.0 mm.; minima 26.0 x 19.8 and 26.5 x 19.6 mm. Though not building in actual colonies, several pairs often breed close to one another.
Habits. This Myna is found up to about 5,000 feet or a little higher throughout the Outer Himalayas and the hills South of the Brahmaputra during the breeding-season, but these birds retire to the plains or lower hills in "Winter. In the Nilgiris, also, it appears to be locally migratory, ascending to some 5,000 feet in Summer. Although it may be found commonly round about all villages in well-wooded country it is distinctly more of a forest bird than Acridotheres is. Often it may be found in light forest far from human habitations and I have seen it on the fringes of evergreen and heavy, humid forest on many occasions though never in the interior of these. In habits generally it very closely resembles Acridotheres though it is, perhaps, a less noisy, less gregarious bird.