(754) Lalage melaschista avensis.
The Pale Grey Cuckoo-Shrike.
Campephaga avensis Blyth, Cat. B. A.S., p. 327 (1847) (Arakan) (description in J. A. S. B., xv, p. 307,1846). Campophaga melanoptera, Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 492.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. A decidedly paler bird both above and below than melaschista. The female is generally paler than the male and retains faint markings resembling those of the immature bird.
Young bird like that of the preceding race but much paler.
I find that with the immense series now available for examination, about 200 skins, it is quite impossible to distinguish between avensis (= melanoptera), intermedia and Koratensis. The principal characters depended upon for separation have been (1) depth of colour, (2) size and (3) amount of white on the abdomen and under tail-coverts. In each case these characters are purely individual and, when series from various geographical ranges are laid out side by side, each area will be found to contain individuals which agree exactly with others from elsewhere and, so much is this the case, that even the averages are much the same.
As regards size the following are the measurements I have been able to obtain;—
Northern birds, Chin Hills to Wing 112 to 122 mm.
Shan States etc. Tail 86 to 94 „
Central Burmese and Siam birds.. Wing 111 to 129 „
Tail 89 to 100 „
South Tenasserim and Siam birds . Wing 107 to 129
Tail 88 to 95 „
Chinese birds Wing 115 to 129 „
Tail 89 to 100
Distribution. Burma from extreme North to South, the whole of Shan States, Siam, Yunnan and South China.
Nidification. Similar to that of the Dark Grey Cuckoo-Shrike. The few eggs I have seen were collected for me in Tenasserim and sent to me with nests and parent-birds. They were taken in May and the eggs measure from 20.2 to 24.0 mm. in length and from 17.1 to 18.2 mm. in breadth.
Habits. Those of the preceding race.