1299. Alsocomus elphinstonii.
The Nilgiri Wood-Pigeon.
Ptilinopus elphin-tonii, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 149; Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xii, p. 11. Columba elphinstonii, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiv, p. 866; Jerdon, Ill. Ind. Orn. pl. 48; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxi, p 304. Palumbus elphinstonei, Blyth, Cat. p. 233; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 465; Hume, N. & E. p. 498; Morgan, Ibis, 1875, p. 323; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 262 ; v, p. 408 ; Bourdillon, S. F. iv, p. 404 ; Hume, Cat. no. 786; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 74 ; Butler, ibid. p. 419 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 407 ; Maegregor, ibid. p. 440; Terry, ibid. p. 479: Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 288; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 347.
Coloration. Crown, sides of head and neck, and nape grey, with a slight metallic gloss; a large patch on the hind neck of black feathers, with glossy edges and white tips; back reddish brown, glossed with reddish lilac changing to metallic green ; wings blackish, most of the lesser and median coverts with brown edges; rump and tail blackish brown, feathers of the former with glossy edges; lower parts grey ; chin and throat whitish ; breast ashy with a slight gloss, the abdomen slightly tinged with lilac ; lower tail-coverts slaty ; wing-lining dark slaty grey.
Corneous part of bill and claws horny white ; fleshy part of bill, eyelids, legs, and feet pink ; irides pale yellowish red to red-brown (Davison).
Length about 16.5 ; tail 6 ; wing 8.5; tarsus 1 ; bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. The higher parts of the Western Ghats or Syhadri hill-ranges near the Malabar coast from Mahableshwar to Cape Comorin, in forest. On the Nilgiris this Pigeon is only found above about 5000 feet in the sholas.
Habits, &c. This bird has very much the habits of Carpophaga; it keeps to the woods singly or in small parties and feeds on fruit, buds, and, according to Jerdon, snails. It occasionally descends to the ground outside the forest to feed. It breeds from March to July, builds the usual loose platform of sticks on large trees in dense forest, and lays one egg measuring about 1.5 by 1.1.