(8) Corvus levaillanti andamanensis Tytler.
THE BURMESE JUNGLE-CROW.
Corvus coronoides andamanensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 29.
Corvus levaillanti andamanensis, ibid. vol. vii, p. 593.
The Burmese Jungle-Crow breeds from Eastern and Southern Assam, Dacca and Mymensingh in Eastern Bengal through the whole of Burma to the North of Tenasserim. In the Southern part of peninsular Burma and Siam the birds approach the Malayan form C. m. macrorhynchus and are, perhaps, better relegated to that species. In Assam and Upper Burma it is entirely a jungle-bird, being found in dense virgin forest many miles from human habita-tion. Here, where scavenging is impossible and food therefore much harder to obtain, each pair of breeding birds has a very large breeding territory, extending often to more than a mile square, which it jealously guards and into which it allows no other of its own species to intrude. In Eastern Bengal it breeds everywhere where there are large trees in ample supply, while in Dacca its nest is sometimes built actually in the streets of the city, a habit I have seen in no other town or large village. Here the birds lived as scavengers pure and simple, food was abundant and territory of no importance, so that one often saw several nests built on one and the same clump of trees. Thus on the combined Race-course and Golf-links outside Dacca town many pairs of birds nested annually in the clumps of trees growing round the mausoleums dotted about them. In Lower Burma again these Crows, though not found actu¬ally in the villages themselves, haunt the open well-wooded country all round them and are seldom, if ever, found in deep forest.
The breeding season in Assam is April and May but in Eastern Bengal the bird has two quite definite seasons. Many breed in December and January, with a few individuals extending their laying into early February. Then in May there is another, but smaller, burst of breeding. It is curious to note that the common House-Crow has two similar periods for nesting in these districts and that during both periods both species of Crow are regularly cuckolded by the Koel, who has also adopted the two same seasons for laying its eggs. In Lower Burma and Siam the local Jungle- Crows breed in January and February. In most of the areas in which it breeds the nest of this Crow is just a replica of that of the Northern Indian bird but is neater and more compact, leaves and roots forming an important part of its material, whilst jute-fibre is the most usual—as it is the most easily obtained material for lining. In North Cachar, however, and often on the adjoining Khasia Hills, the nest is made almost entirely of green moss, mixed with roots, leaves and a few supple twigs, so that the whole forms a really beautiful though massive cup, so well and neatly put together that it seems incredible that it is Crows' work. One such nest taken and measured by myself was 7 inches in diameter by 4 inches deep, with a cup for the eggs 6 inches across at the top and 2.1/2 inches deep in the centre.
This Jungle-Crow prefers large trees in which to build and nests are more often above, than below, 30 feet, whilst those birds which breed in forests often choose sites at the tops of lofty trees which are practically unclimbable. In the Khasia Hills they nearly always select the tallest pine of that particular patch of forest and make their nests at any height between 20 and 50 feet from the ground.
The eggs differ from all those already described in being much darker when examined as a series and they are, perhaps, as a whole rather broader. One hundred and twenty eggs average 44.2 x 31.0 mm. : maxima 49.1 x 29.1 and 45.2 x 35.8 mm. ; minima 36.7 x 28.0 and 38.0 x 25.5 mm.
Incubation apparently takes 17 days. A nest containing five eggs, three of this Crow’s and two of the Koel, had the first egg of the former hatched on the 17th January, having been laid on the 31st December or 1st January ; the second egg hatched on the 18th January ; but when the nest was visited on the 19th January it contained only one young Koel. A second nest in Dacca, found with four fresh eggs on the 12th January, contained five young birds, just hatched, on the 30th of the same month.
A very curious clutch containing one brilliantly erythristic egg was taken by Mr. Anderson at Haddo in the Andamans. This red egg was given to Mr. Hopwood, and among Mr. J. M. D. Mac-kenzie’s eggs I found two normal eggs of the same date and locality which may possibly be of this clutch. Owing to Mr. Anderson’s death it was impossible to obtain further details.
8. Corvus levaillanti andamanensis
(8) Corvus levaillanti andamanensis Tytler.