1495. Centropus bengalensis bengalensis

(1495) Centropus bengalensis bengalensis (Gmelin).
Centropus bengalensis bengalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 194.
This Coucal has a very wide range. A single specimen has been obtained in Ceylon, Thence it occurs over the whole of South¬-Western India from Travancore to Kanara in the Bombay Presidency ; Wynaad, Mysore, Orissa, Bengal, Bihar, Assam, Burma South to North Tenasserim ; Siam, the Indo-Burmese countries, Hainan, Yunnan and South-West China to Formosa.
Ticehurst considers that the birds found in the South of Tenasserim and the Malay States are nearer to the Javan form, C. b. javanensis Dumont.
In habits and nidification this Crow-Pheasant very closely follows its larger cousins. It is found in the plains and in the hills up to about 5,000 feet, though more commonly below 3,000 feet. It is, perhaps, more strictly a grass-loving bird than any of the sinensis group, but it is also found sometimes in scrub of all sorts and also in secondary growth.
The nests are placed either in low dense bushes standing in grass or in thick tussocks of grass or reeds and, even when placed in bushes, they seem nearly always to choose one in which grass is more or less mixed up with the foliage. They are always placed low down, generally about 3 or 4 feet, often within a few inches of the ground and never, so far as I am aware, over 6 feet from it.
The nest is very much like that of Centropus sinensis, but decidedly smaller, measuring between 6 by 6 inches to about 8 by 10, one taken by Shopland near Calcutta measuring 12 by 8 inches, It is made principally of grass and very often the living grass in which it is built is incorporated in the nest, the blades being turned over and intertwined loosely with the other grass of which the nest is composed. Rarely twigs and leaves, especially bamboo-leaves, are worked in with the grass, but the use of these is exceptional, and two nests out of every three are built entirely of grass, living or dead. Gammie says that the nest is occasionally lined with green leaves, while Inglis says that they are neatly lined with thatching grass. I have never seen green leaves used and the thatching grass in those I have examined has been just the same as that used for the body of the nest.
In India the Lesser Coucal breeds from May to September, In the plains most birds breed after the Rains break in June, but in the hills many birds lay in May and a few in April. In Siam also Herbert found them breeding in April. In Malabar Vidal took their eggs in August and September.
The normal full clutch is three or four, but two eggs only are often incubated, while I twice took clutches of five in North Cachar.
The eggs are just small replicas of those of the Larger Coucal, but on the whole are more spherical.
Fifty eggs average 28.2 x 23.8 mm. : maxima 34.1 x 24.3 and 28.6 x 25.3 mm. ; minima 25.0 x 22.0 and 27.7 x 21.9 mm.
The birds sit close and have the same flustered way of leaving the nest common to the family. When leaving they generally drop to the ground at once and scuttle away through the grass on foot.
Both birds incubate and both take part in building the nest.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1495. Centropus bengalensis bengalensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Common Lesser Crow-pheasant
Centropus bengalensis bengalensis
Vol. 3

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