1251. Baza lophotes.
The Black-crested Baza.
Falco lophotes, Temm. Pl. Col. pl. 10 (1824). Falco lathami, J. E. Gray in Griff. An. King, vi, p. 30 (1829). Baza syama, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 777 (1836); vi, p. 362. Baza lophotes, G. R. Gray, List Gen. B. (1840) p. 4 ; Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xiii, pt. 2, p. 117; Blyth, Cat.?. 17; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xii, p. 102; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 62; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 111; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 337 ; Godw. Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 93: Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 352; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 60; Inglis, S. F. V, p. 15 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 24; Hume, Cat. no. 68; Bingham, S. F. viii, p. 191; ix, p. 145 ; Legge Birds Ceyl. p. 98; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 208 ; Hume & Cripps, S. F. xi, p. 16; Hauxwell, Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. vii, p. 403.
Coloration. Adult. Head and neck all round with long nuchal crest, and upper plumage generally, including the wings and tail, black; the inner portion of the scapulars and a band across the tertiaries white ; some ferruginous red on the tertiaries and sometimes on the scapulars below the white, also on the outer webs of the later primaries and earlier secondaries; lower surface of quills,, of larger under wing-coverts and of tail-feathers ashy, except the ends of the primaries and subterminal patch on some of the tail-feathers, which are blackish; a broad white gorget, followed by a black band more or less mixed with ferruginous ; lower breast and long feathers on the flanks buff with ferruginous cross-bars; abdomen, posterior flanks, and lower tail-coverts black.
In younger birds there is much more ferruginous red and rather more white on the scapulars and quills, the upper surface and throat are duller black, the dark pectoral band behind the white gorget is mostly ferruginous red, and the red bands on the long feathers of the flanks are faint or wanting.
Bill horny plumbeous,tipped brownish above and whitish below; cere, legs, and feet dull leaden blue; irides purplish brown ; claws horny (Bingham).
A male measures : length about 12.5 ; tail 5.5 ; wing 9 ; tarsus 1.1; mid-toe 1.2; bill from gape 1. Females are rather larger: length 13; wing 9.9.
Distribution. The base of the Himalayas as far west as Nepal, Assam, Cachar, Manipur, Arrakan, Tenasserim, Cochin China and the Malay Peninsula, and in Ceylon. This bird is also occasionally killed near Calcutta (according to Blyth in the rainy season); a specimen was once shot by Jerdon near Nellore. According to both Blyth and Jerdon, B. lophotes occurs sparingly throughout India, but it appears doubtful whether it has ever been met with near the west coast. Ball has not recorded it from Chutia Nagpur, and I never saw nor heard of it in the Central Provinces nor in the Bombay Presidency. It breeds in Assam and Burma; but is regarded by Legge as probably a cold-weather migrant in Ceylon.
Habits, &C. A denizen of high tree-forest; this, one of the most beautiful of Accipitrine birds, appears to be nowhere common. It is somewhat gregarious, has a sharp kite-like cry, and lives mainly on insects, though a lizard is said in one case to have been found in its stomach. Very little is known of the nidification: Mr. Cripps obtained a nest containing two young birds in Upper Assam on June 21st, and Colonel Bingham saw two adults feeding a young bird near the Thoungyin, Tenasserim, on August 11th; but quite recently Mr. Hauxwell obtained a nest with three eggs, also in the Thoungyin valley, on April 30th. The nest was about afoot in diameter, formed of twigs, with a slight central depression lined with fresh leaves. The eggs were hard-set, chalky white in colour, and broad ovals, measuring on an average 1.5 by 1.25.
This and other species of Baza, have the habit, when seated, of erecting their crests almost vertically.