21. Crypsirhina varians.
The Black Racket-tailed Magpie.
Corvus varians, Lath. Ind. Orn. Suppl. p. xxvi (1801). Crypsirhina varians (Lath.), Blyth, Cat. p. 02; Hursf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 564 ; Wald. P. Z. S. 180(3, p. 552; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 140; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 83 ; Wardlaw Ramsay, Ibis, 1877, p. 459; Oates, S. F. v, p. 159; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 386; Hume, Cat. no. 678 quat.; Oates, B. B. i, p. 404; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd cd. i, p. 25.
Coloration. The whole plumage metallic bronze-green, tinged with bluish on the head; wings brown, the outer webs of the primaries greenish, the other quills more or less entirely suffused with green; tail black, more or less overspread with a metallic-green lustre; forehead, round the eye and about the gape dull black, the feathers of a velvety texture.
Iris blue ; mouth flesh-colour; bill, legs, and claws black.
Length 13; tail 8; wing 4.6; tarsus 1.1 bill from gape 1.
Distribution. This fine little Magpie has its headquarters in Lower Pegu, whence it extends sparingly up the valleys of the Irrawaddy and of the Sittoung to Thayetmyo and Toungngoo. To the west it extends to Bassein. To the south it occurs throughout Tenasserim as far as Mergui.
It is found in Siam, Cochin China, Sumatra, Borneo and Java.
Habits, &c. This bird is found in all parts of the country except heavy forest. It breeds in June or July, constructing a neat cup-shaped nest, of fine twigs lined with tendrils of creepers, in thorny bushes and branches of bamboo, at no great height from the ground. The eggs are usually three in number, greyish white covered with spots and dashes of ash and yellowish brown; they measure .98 by .72.