1290. Caloenas nicobarica.
The Nicobar Pigeon.
Columba nicobarica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 283 (1766). Caloenas nicobarica, G. R. Gray, List Gen. B. p. 59 (1840); Blyth, Cat. p. 238 ; id. J. A. S. B. xxviii, p. 274; Ball, J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 32; id. S. F. i, p. 81 ; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 271; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 147 ; Hume & Ban. S. F. vi, p. 425; Hume, Cat. no. 798 bis; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 299 ; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 365; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxi, p. 615.
Coloration. Head and neck dark slaty grey, most of the neck-hackles the same, but the longest hackles and the upper plumage generally rich metallic green, changing to coppery bronze; outer wing-coverts and outer borders of quills steel-blue; primary and secondary quills, except on their outer upper borders, black; tail with longer upper and lower coverts white ; lower parts dark metallic green, purplish on upper breast.
Young birds want the hackles, and the tail is bronzy green, while the plumage generally is duller.
Bill and fleshy base deep blackish grey ; irides deep brown ; feet pinkish lake to dull purplish lilac ; claws yellow (Hume).
Length about 16; tail 3.5; wing 10.25; tarsus 1.7; bill from gape 1.5.
Distribution. The Malay Archipelago from the Nicobars to the Solomon Islands. This bird apparently never visits the Continent; it abounds on the Nicobars and breeds in numbers on the island of Batty Malve and perhaps on some of the other islands. It has been sent from the Cocos north of the Andamans, and a single individual was once seen by Davison near Aberdeen in South Andaman. It is also said to visit the Mergui Archipelago.
Habits, &c. This grand Pigeon roosts and builds its nest on trees, but feeds entirely on the ground on seeds. Its flight is heavy ; it is a silent bird, but occasionally utters a hoarse croak. It makes the usual nest, a platform of twigs on a tree, and lays a single pure white egg, minutely pitted throughout, not glossy, and measuring about 1.84 by 1.27.