1292. Columba intermedia.
The Indian Blue Rock-Pigeon.
Columba intermedia, Strickl. A. M. N. H. xiii, p. 39 (1844); Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiv, p. 861; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xiv, p. 69 ; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 66; xli, pt. 2, p. 248 ; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 469; Hume, S. F. i, p. 217; Adam, ibid. p. 390;
Ball, S. F. ii, p. 425 ; iii, p. 208 ; vii, p. 224 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 499; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 698; Butler, S. F. iv, p. 3; Hume & Dav S. F. vi, p. 419 : Cripps. S. F. vii, p. 296; Hume, Cat. no. 788; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 339; Vidal, S. F. ix, p 74; Butler, ibid. p. 419; Barnes, ibid. p. 457; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 91 ; Reid S. F. x, p. 59 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 288 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 289; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 297; St. John, Ibis, 1889, p. 173; Oates in
Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 344; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xxi p. 259. Columba livia, apud Blyth, Cat. p. 233 ; id. Birds Burm. p. 145; nec Bonn.
Kabutar, H.; Purawa, Mahr.; Gudi pourai, Tel.; Kovilpura, Tam.; Mada-praa, Tam., Ceylon.
Coloration. Slaty grey, the neck glossed all round with metallic green, changing to purplish red, the latter prevailing on the upper breast; back, scapulars, and wings more ashy, no white band on the lower back; rump, upper tail-coverts, and tail darker; two bars of black across the wings, one on the greater coverts, the other formed by the tips of the secondaries, and a broad band on the tertiaries; tail with the terminal fourth blackish and the basal three-quarters of the outer web in the outermost rectrices white; axillaries, bases of quills, and inner part of wing-lining white or very pale grey.
Bill black, with a white mealiness at the tumid base of its upper mandible ; irides brownish orange; lids bluish white, and legs reddish pink (Blyth).
Length about 13 ; tail 5 ; wing 9 ; tarsus 1.2 ; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. Throughout India and Ceylon, except in forest or on high hills, ranging west to Southern Persia and east to China and Japan ; rare in Burma, wanting in Tenasserim and probably in Pegu, but found in Upper Burma.
Habits, &c. A bird haunting rocky cliffs, old buildings, walls, and, when encouraged, human habitations generally, nesting in all the places named and, in Western and North-western India especially, in wells. The Indian Pigeon is most common in cultivated country, and feeds on grain and seeds. It is, as Blyth has shown, the wild species, from which the numerous breeds of domestic pigeons, peculiar to India, are derived. Pigeons are generally protected by natives of India, both Hindus and Mahomedans ; in Rajputana they are regarded as almost sacred birds and no one is allowed to kill them. They breed in Northern India from December to May, later in the south, and lay two eggs in a hole in a cliff, wall, temple, tomb, or well. Eggs measure 1.45 by 1.12.