328. Dicrurus longicaudatus.
The Indian Ashy Drongo.
Dicrurus longicaudatus, A. Hay, Jerdon, Madr. Journ. L. S. xiii, pt. ii, p. 121 (1845) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 202; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 152; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 430; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 27 ; Oates in Humeis N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 203. Dicrurus pyrrhops, Hodgs, in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844) (no description). Dicrurus cinerascens, Gray, Cat. Mamm. &c. Nepal, p. 98 (1846). Dicrurus himalayanus, Tytler, Ibis, 1868, p. 200. Buchanga waldeni, Beavan, Ibis, 1868, p. 497. Buchanga longicaudata (A. Hay), Hume, N. & E. p. 189 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 249; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 390; Hume, Cat. no. 280; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 270. Buchanga pyrrhops (Hodgs.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 251. Buchanga longicauda (Hay), Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 154.
The Long-tailed Drongo, Jerd.; Sahim or Sahim-pho, Lepch.; Che-chum, Bhut.; Nil finga, Beng.; Erratoo valan kuruvi, Tam.
Coloration. The whole upper plumage metallic indigo; lower plumage dark grey ; frontal feathers and lores blackish.
The young are dark brown ; on assuming the plumage of the adult the feathers of the under tail-coverts and under wing-coverts are tipped with white, and these white tips are gradually lost with age.
Bill, legs, and claws black; iris red.
Length about 12 ; tail up to 7, but usually between 5.5 and 6.5; wing up to 5.8 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape 1.1 ; depth of fork of tail more than two inches.
Large and small specimens of this species occur in the same place; for instance the tail varies thus: - Nepal 6.2-6.6; Sikhim 5.6-6.3; Simla 5.9-6.4; Bombay 6.1-7.0; Belgaum 6.2-7.0; Etawah 6.0-6.3 ; Dollah 6.2-6.8 ; Ceylon 5.6-5.8. The wing varies from 5 in Ceylon to 5.8 in Belgaum, Sikhim, and Dollah. The colour of all continental birds, large or small, is absolutely the same.
Distribution. The whole of India from the Hazara country to Assam, north of the Brahmaputra river, and from the Himalayas to Ceylon. The only portion of this vast tract from which this species appears to be absent is Sind, Guzerat, and portions of Rajputana. On the Himalayas it is found as high as 10,000 feet, and Stoliczka observed it far up the valley of the Sutlej river. On the east the river Brahmaputra appears to be everywhere its limit, the Drongo of Dacca and Shillong being D. cineraceus.
Habits, &c. Very similar to those of D. ater, but the present species is more frequently found in forests and well-wooded localities, and less frequently near houses. It perches habitually on the summit of trees and takes longer swoops, rarely touching the ground. It breeds chiefly in May and June, constructing its nest high up in trees. The eggs are of various types, but on the whole resemble the spotted eggs of D. ater and measure .95 by .74.