(1860) Columba aenas eversmanni.
THE EASTERN STOCK-PIGEON.
Columba eversmanni Bonaparte, Compt. Rend., xliii, p. 838 (1856) (Central Asia); Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 31.
Vernacular names. Kamar-Kular (Hind.); Ban-Parawa, Bagar (Bihari); Pahari Kabutar (Hind., Lucknow); Kaputh, Char-i-kaputh (Baluchi) ; Kaftar (Persian).
Description. Upper part of the head and neck ashy-grey, tinged with vinous or lilac; cheeks, ear-coverts, lores, chin and throat dove-grey; the three first sometimes tinged lilac; hind-neck and interscapulars ashy-grey, glossed with green and a little lilac-red; sides of neck the same but with a well-marked patch of glossy purple-red; back and scapulars greyish-ashy ; lower back pure white; rump and upper tail-coverts slaty-grey, the feathers margined with dark brown ; tail brownish-black at the tip, slate-grey at the base with a dark band on all but the central feathers about 35 mm. from the tip; outer webs of outermost rectrices white below the black tip; wing-coverts dove-grey, all except the primary-coverts margined with ashy-grey like the back ; bases of median and greater secondary coverts black, showing as two bars across the wing; primaries and outer secondaries ashy-grey, the base of the inner web of the first primary white, inner secondaries like the back but with a broad basal bar of black; breast dove-grey, strongly washed with lilac or vinous-pink; abdomen and under tail-coverts grey, darkest on the latter; axillaries and under wing-coverts white ; edge of wing grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light yellow or golden-yellow to golden-brown ; bill pale greenish, slaty at the base, amber-green at the tip ; legs and feet pale fleshy- or yellowish-pink to purplish, nails horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 280 to 305 mm.; wing 190 to 210 mm.; tarsus about 24 to 25 mm.; culmen 15.5 to 18.5 mm. With the exception of one Turkestan specimen there are none with a wing of over 204 mm.
Distribution. West Siberia to Turkestan, East Persia, Afghanistan and Baluchistan, migrating in Winter into North-West India, as far East as Bihar and South into Sind, the Southern Punjab and United Provinces.
Nidification. This Pigeon breeds in May and June, making the usual Pigeon's nest of sticks, better put together than most and placed high up in a tangle of branches or on a stout branch.
Poplars seem to be favourite sites. An egg taken by Barnes in Afghanistan measures only 34.3 x 26.1 mm. but others sent me by Kuschel from Eastern Turkestan measure from 37.7 X 28.0 to 40.0 x 29.2 mm.
Habits. This Pigeon is only a Winter visitor to India but then often appears in very large numbers, moving about from place to place as various food-crops ripen and attract them. They often collect in huge flocks when roosting at night or during the great heat of the day and in feeding sometimes do serious injury to crops. They are both grain and fruit eaters and greedily eat many kinds of nuts. In the Kurram Valley Whitehead noticed them during the Spring migrations feeding on the ripe mulberries. Like their Western cousin they are good birds for the table and, though rather tame and confiding, fly well and strongly, sometimes furnishing good sport.