(1856) Columba livia intermedia.
THE INDIAN BLUE SOCK-PIGEON.
Columba intermedia Stride, Ann. Mag. Nat. Hist., 1844, p. 39 (India) (Calcutta) ; Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 29 (part.).
Vernacular names. Kabutar (Hind.); Paraira (Mahr.); Gudi Purai (Tel); Mada praa (Tam., Ceylon); Kabtretar (Behar); Noni Daotu (Cachari); Kho or Taw-kho (Burmese).
Description. Similar to the European Rock-Dove but the whole plumage a darker grey, whilst the lower back is concolorous with the upper back or only slightly paler; the rump is distinctly darker; the quills are darker with less and darker grey on the inner webs.
Colours of soft parts. Iris orange-yellow to orange-red; bill black, the cere livid grey or whitish and the base of the mandible paler; legs crimson-red, sometimes very dark, sometimes lighter coral-red, soles paler and claws horny.
Measurements. Wing, 210 to 238 mm., 202 to 223 mm.
Distribution, Ceylon and practically the whole of India with the exception of the area occupied by the preceding race, I have never seen it in Assam East of Goalpara, whilst South of the Brahmapootra it is rare but it is again common in the Bengal districts East of the Bay, In Burma it is common in the dry central zone and Macdonald records it as common in the Myingyan District but it seems to be rare, or absent, in the wetter areas of North and South Burma. There is a skin in the British Museum from Siam which, however, may be that of a domesticated bird.
Nidification. This Pigeon breeds practically the whole year round but most eggs are laid from February to April and fewest during the wettest mouths, July to September. In some parts of India, such as the old fort at Bhurtpore, where they are held sacred, they breed in colonies of countless thousands, whilst on the cliffs about the Gaisoppa Palls they are almost equally numerous. The nests, which are verminous piles of all sorts of rubbish, straw, feathers, etc, are often packed close together and I once counted over 200 nests in the roof of a police-station in Nadia, the nests touching one another in large clumps and apparently used again and again. The two eggs laid are of the usual rather long elliptical shape and one hundred eggs average 36.9 x 27.8 mm.: maxima 41.4 x 27.6 and 37.3 x 32.7 mm.; minima 35.0 x 26.0 mm.
Habits. The Indian Blue Bock-Pigeon is found throughout the plains except in some of the wettest areas and ascends the hills of Southern India up to 4,000 feet or higher. In the Himalayas, however, it does not seem to occur much over 2,000 feet, except casually. It roosts at night at its breeding-places, whether these be cliffs or buildings of various sorts, and good sport can often be obtained as they flight backwards and forwards in evenings and mornings. They are excellent birds for the table, though big squabs from the nest are better than old birds. They are principally grain-feeders and, where not held sacred or semi-sacred, one often gets appeals to shoot them on account of the damage they do to crops. They also eat fruit and various kinds of shoots and buds. Their flight is swift and direct and, generally, not very high from the ground, whilst they walk and run easily and quickly. Their note is the deep " coo coo " of the domestic Pigeon.