508. Campophaga sykesi

508. Campophaga sykesi.

The Black-headed Cuckoo-Shrike.

Lalage sykesii, Strickland, A. M. N. H. (1) xiii, p. 36 (1844) ; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 175; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 89; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 369. Campephaga sykesi (Strickl.), Blyth, Cat. p. 191; Oates, B. B. i, p. 234; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 346. Volvocivora sykesii (Strickl.), Jerd, B. I. i, p. 414; Hume, N. & E. p. 179; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 210; Hume, Cat. no. 268; Davison, S. F. x, p. 365 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 148.
Jungli Kasya, Hind.; Chinna akurayi, Tel.

Coloration. Male. The head, neck, upper back, chin, throat, and upper breast black; lower breast and sides of the body grey; abdomen, vent, and lower tail-coverts white ; back, scapulars, lesser wing-coverts, rump, and upper tail-coverts grey, the tail-coverts paler margined; median wing-coverts chiefly black, the tips and the terminal halves of the outer webs grey ; greater coverts black narrowly margined with grey; primary-coverts all black ; quills black, the primaries with a large patch of white on the inner webs and narrowly margined with white on the outer; the secondaries more broadly margined with white and tipped with the same; middle tail-feathers grey, the others black broadly tipped with white.

Female. The upper plumage, including the head, grey, becoming lighter on the rump and upper tail-coverts, which are cross-barred with dusky; cheeks, sides of neck, and the whole lower plumage whitish, closely and narrowly barred with black, the bars becoming obsolete on the abdomen ; vent and under tail-coverts pure white; wing-coverts and quills dark brown, each feather margined with greyish white, and the inner web of each with a white patch as in the male; ear-coverts greyish mottled with brown and the shafts white ; the middle pair of tail-feathers grey narrowly tipped with white, the others blackish brown broadly tipped with white.

In the young each feather of the upper plumage is tipped with a white band preceded by a black band, and the lower plumage is more closely barred than in the adult female. The young male changes into adult plumage in the first spring.

Iris brownish red; bill black; legs and feet black with slaty edges to the scales of the tarsi; claws black (Legge).

Length about 7.5; tail 3.3; wing 4 ; tarsus .8 ; bill from gape .85.

Distribution. The greater part of the peninsula of India from the foot of the Himalayas to Cape Comorin. The western limit appears to be a line drawn through Deesa, Abu, and Sambhar. To the east this species has been found as far as the Bhutan Doars and Furreedpore in Eastern Bengal. In the British Museum there is a specimen collected in Assam by McClelland, and Blyth states that this species occurs in Upper Pegu. This statement has received no confirmation by any other collector in Pegu and must be accepted with reservation. This Cuckoo-Shrike occurs in Ceylon.

C. sykesi is said to be a migrant, but I cannot ascertain this to be a fact from the specimens I have examined. It possibly wanders about a good deal, and this may have led to the idea that it is migratory.

Habits, &c. Breeds from May to July, constructing a shallow saucer-like nest of fine twigs, bound together with cobwebs, in a fork of a tree. The eggs, usually three in number, are greenish white marked with pale brown and measure about .83 by .65.

* Lalage melanothorax, Sharpe (Cat. B. M. iv, p. 91), from Madras, has since been discovered to be an artificially constructed bird (P. Z. S. 1886, p. 354), the head and neck of a Dicrurus ater having been joined to the body of a Campophaga sykesi.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
508. Campophaga sykesi
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Black Headed Cuckoo Shrike
Coracina melanoptera sykesi
Vol. 1

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