(617) Cochoa purpurea.
The Purple Thrush.
Cochoa purpurea Hodgs., J.A.S.B., v, p. 350 (1S36) (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 159.
Vernacular names. Cocho (Nepal); Lo-nyum-pho (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. Lores, a narrow 'line next the bill, supercilium, sides of head and a narrow line round the crown black; crown lavender-blue; wing-coverts and bars of secondaries lavender-purple; primary-coverts black; first two primaries all black; other primaries with a patch of lavender-grey on the base of the outer webs ; tips of secondaries black; tail lavender-purple with a black tip; remainder of plumage brownish purple, darkest on the throat and breast.
Colours of soft parts. Iris crimson-brown or red-brown; bill black; legs and feet slaty-black.
Measurements. Total length about 300 mm.; wing 140 to 144 mm.; tail 95 to 105 mm.; tarsus about 28 mm.; culmen about 14 to 15 mm.
Female. Differs from the male in having the purple parts replaced by reddish brown.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in male.
The Nestling is similar to the female but has the blue crown replaced by white feathers edged with blackish; the feathers of the upper parts have fulvous shafts terminating in a fulvous spot; below the plumage is dull fulvous barred with dusky.
The young male is like the adult but has the crown white barred with purple-black and the underparts brown barred with dull black.
Distribution. Himalayas from Simla to Eastern Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra; Manipur, Chin and Kachin Hills, Hills of Central and South Burma to Tenasserim.
Nidification. This beautiful Thrush breeds in May, June and July at heights between 3,500 and 6,000 feet and possibly up to 8,000 feet. It makes a rather loosely put together, shallow cup-shaped nest of living green moss lined with black fern and moss-roots and rachides. It is very untidy outwardly, scraps of moss sticking out in every direction but the inner cup of roots is more firm and compact. It is usually placed on a small tree, 6 to 20 feet from the ground, standing in evergreen forest but it sometimes breeds in pine-forests. The eggs number two or three, very rarely four, and are typically Thrush-like in character but very handsome and richly coloured. They range from eggs like those of the English Blackbird, though brighter and redder, to eggs with a bright pale sea-green ground richly blotched with reddish. The texture is fine and close but not glossy as in Citrina eggs, and many are practically indistinguishable from the eggs of Zoothera, though generally longer ovals in shape. Fifty eggs average 31.3 x 21.6 mm.: maxima 35.1 x 21.5 and 31.2 x 23.0 mm.; minima 29.2 X 20.5 and 31.2 x 20.3 mm.
Habits. This Thrush is essentially a forest bird and prefers forests which are dense, humid and evergreen but about Shillong I found it breeding in the pine-forests where there was undergrowth and a mixture of other trees in the ravines. It is a shy bird and in spite of its brilliant colouring by no means conspicuous until it strikes a patch of sunlight, when it is transformed at once into a most beautiful object. It is a very quiet bird and beyond a low chuckle I have heard no note. It feeds largely on fruit and berries and to a less extent on insects.