14. Cissa chinensis.
The Green Magpie.
Coracias chinensis, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 38 (1783). Corvus speciosus, Shaw, Gen. Zool. vii, p. 364 (1809). Kitta venatorius, Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pl. 24 (1832). Cissa venatoria, Gray, Blyth, Cat. p. 92. Cissa sinensis (Briss.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 575; Jerd. B. 1. ii, p. 312; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 109. Cissa speciosa (Shaw), Hume, N. & E. p. 421; id. S. F. iii, p. 145, iv, p. 509; Bingham, S. F. v, p. 85. Cissa chinensis (Bodd.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 85 ; Hume Dav. S. F. vi, p. 385; Hume, Cat. no. 673; Oates, B. B. i, p. 406; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 258; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 17.
The Green Jay, Jerd.; Siryang, Beng.; Chap-ling-pho, Lepch.; Rab-ling-chapu, Bhut.; Pilitel, Dafla Hills.
Coloration. Head and neck greenish yellow; general body-plumage green ; the lores and a band through each eye, the two meeting behind on the nape, black; the cheeks, sides of neck, and lower plumage paler green; tail green, the central feathers tipped with white, the others tipped with white and with a subterminal band of black; lesser wing-coverts green, the other coverts red; wings brown on the inner webs, red on the outer ones; the tertiaries and some of the secondaries tipped with pale blue and with a band of black in front of the tips.
Bill red; eyelids yellowish brown, the edges red; legs coral-red ; iris blood-red; claws dull red; inside of the mouth reddish flesh-colour.
Length 15; tail 8; wing 5.9 ; tarsus 1.7; bill from gape 1.6.
The plumage of this bird changes after death and also in captivity from green to dull blue; and the red on the wings also undergoes a change under the same circumstances, becoming much duller. G. minor, a subspecies from Sumatra, is rather smaller.
Distribution. The Himalayas from the Jumna valley to Bhutan and Assam; thence through the hill-ranges of Eastern Bengal and Burma to Tenasserim, where this bird has been observed as far south as Mergui and the Thoungyeen valley. It is found from the base of the hills up to about 5000 feet.
Habits, &c This Magpie is found in all descriptions of jungle, but personally I have only observed it in the evergreen forests. It is as a rule shy and difficult to observe, keeping to the ground or to dense undergrowth. It breeds principally in April, constructing a cup-shaped nest of twigs, roots, and bamboo-leaves in a tree or bamboo-bush at no great height from the ground. The eggs, three in number, are dull white freckled with yellowish and brown, and measure 1.21 by .92.