(11) Corvus splendens splendens.
THE COMMON INDIAN HOUSE-CROW.
Corvus splendens Vieill., Nouv. Dict. d'Hist. Nat., viii, p. 44 (1817) (Bengal); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 20.
Vernacular names. Kawa, Pati-kawa, Desi-kawar (Hindi in various districts); Kag or Kak (Bengali); Myen-Kwak ( Manipur); Kak-sorai (Assam) ; Noni Das-kak (Cachari); Manchi Kaki (Tel.); Nalla Kaka (Tamil).
Description. Forehead, crown, lores, cheeks, chin and throat deep glossy black; nape, ear-coverts, the whole head, upper back and breast light ashy brown; wings, tail and remainder of upper plumage glossy black; lower plumage from the breast dull brown¬ish black; the feathers of the throat are lanceolate and the whole of the black portions of the plumage are highly resplendent with purple-blue and greenish reflections.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; legs and bill black.
Measurements. Length about 420 to 440 mm.; wing from about 250 to 275 mm.; tail about 170 mm,; tarsus about 50 mm. and culmen 45 mm.
Distribution. The whole of India, except Sind and perhaps the extreme north-west, to the extreme south, Assam, Manipur, Lushai and the north of Arrakan and the Chin Hills.
Nidification. The breeding season varies very greatly according to locality. In the greater part of Bengal and its eastern range it breeds in March and April, but in Dacca I found it breeding in December, January and again in April and May; in its north-western range it breeds in May, June and July; and in Assam, Manipur and N". Burma in April and May. The nest is a rough affair of sticks lined with smaller twigs and other miscellaneous softer material, and is placed at all heights in trees, growing in and round about cities, towns and villages.
The eggs number four or five or sometimes six, very rarely seven. They are typical Crows' eggs and run through the same range of variations as do those of all the Corvidae. The ground is any shade of blue-green, and the markings are of dull reddish and brown with secondary markings of grey and neutral tint, usually they are small and irregular in shape and are scattered profusely over the whole egg. The average of 100 eggs is 37.2 x 27 mm.
Habits. The Indian House-Crow is one of the most familiar birds throughout its habitat, whatever race it may belong to. It haunts human habitations and follows human beings as civilization gradually usurps the place of jungle or forest and wherever man is, there, sooner or later, it will surely be found. Probably originally purely a plains' bird it has followed rail and road routes into the hills almost everywhere, being now found in hill stations at elevations "of 6,000 and 7,000 feet or even higher. Whitehead says that in the Kurram (this is probably zugmayeri) it remains in the hills all the year round except in very severe weather but in most of the higher haunts it is a winter visitor only. It is one of the boldest, yet one of the most astute of birds, and whilst on the one hand it will snatch food from the very hands of the Indian servants, a very few shots will keep every crow in the neighbourhood out of shot until the gun is put away. In many cities and towns they are so numerous as to become an actual pest and measures have to be taken to suppress them.