Copsychus saularis, Lin.
475. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 115 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 474 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 404; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 137; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 124.
THE MAGPIE ROBIN.
Length, 7.75 to 8.5 ; expanse, 11.5 ; wing, 3.8 to 4 ; tail, 3.25 ; tarsus, 1.12 ; bill at front, 0.68.
Bill black ; irides brown ; legs black.
Head, neck, breast, body above, and wings, black, glossed blue on all parts except the wings; abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts, white ; the four outer tail-feathers on each side white.
The female is duller black than the males and somewhat ashy on the breast.
The young birds have the breast dusky with ruddy spots, the upper surface olive-brown turning to slaty.
The Magpie Robin is distributed generally throughout the district, common in parts of the Deccan, very common in Western Rajputana, and not uncommon in Guzerat. In Sind it occurs but rarely.
I do not think that any remain to breed in Guzerat, but at Poona, at Mhow, and again in Neemuch, I found them breeding plentifully during May, June and July. The nest is generally in a hole in a tree sometimes at a considerable height from the ground, but generally not more than eight or ten feet.
The nest is saucer-shaped, sometimes only a mere pad, and is composed of grass roots, fibres, feathers, &c. The eggs, four or five in number, are typically oval in shape ; the ground color is subject to considerable variation.
In some it is greenish or pale-greenish blue, in others greenish-white, or even pale sea-green, streaked and blotched with different shades of reddish-brown, most densely so at the larger end. They average 0.87 inches in length by 0.66 in breadth.