(1847) Muscadivora aenea sylvatica.
THE INDIAN GREEN IMPERIAL PIGEON.
Columba sylvatica Tickell, J. A. S. B., ii, p. 581 (1833) (Borabhum). Carpophaga aenea. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 19 (part.).
Vernacular names. Dunhal or Dumkal, Pona Kabutra, Barra Harial (Hind.); Hunget-ma-nwa, Hnget-knit-nwa (Burmese); Paguma or Porguma (Assam); Daohukuruma (Cachari) ; Inrui-kura (Katcha Naga).
Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having the grey of the head and especially of the hinder neck a much purer grey; the vinous tint on the lower plumage is also less, or even absent; the green of the upper plumage is also more pure and brilliant with less copper tinge.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 212 to 254 mm., in Northern bird seldom under 224 mm.; Bengal and Orissa birds seldom under 220 mm.
Distribution. Nepal and Sikkim Terai; Bengal and Behar, South to Orissa and ? North Madras in the Circars; Assam, Burma to Central Tenasserim, Shan States and Northern Siam. Andaman birds are very green and average more white on the forehead and face but seem hardly separable from sylvatica.
Nidification. The Indian Green Imperial Pigeon breeds in Assam from March to June between the foot-hills and the ridges up to 4,000 feet or, rarely, 2,000 feet higher. Wimberly took eggs in the Andamans up to July and Osmaston many in April. In Burma they breed from February to May. In the plains of Assam and Bengal they are said to lay in June and July after the rains break. The nest is the usual rough platform of sticks and twigs interlaced so as to leave a shallow depression in the centre for the egg. Inglis and Bingham both mention a certain amount of grass in the construction of the nest, but this must be quite unusual. The great majority of nests are built upon small saplings at a height of about 25 feet from the ground but, occasionally, they are built in large trees at a height from the ground of 40 feet or over. The tree selected is always in forest and in most cases close to a stream, whilst bamboo-clumps similarly situated are occasionally used. One egg only is laid and twenty-two of these average 45.4 x 33.5 mm.: maxima 51.5 X 33.5 and 45.6 x 37.6 mm,; minima 41.1 x 32.2 and 42.6 x 31.2 mm.
Habits. This Pigeon is found both in the plains and in the hills up to about 6,000 feet or rather higher, being most common in the foot-hills and adjacent plains and up to 3,000 feet. They occasionally collect in small flocks of half a dozen to a score but-more often they are seen singly or in pairs. Where, however, there are fruit-trees in bearing, more especially some of the wild figs, the birds collect in immense numbers. They drink regularly morning and evening and for this purpose alight on the ground, moving quite freely thereon and every now and then walking to the water's brink,-where they thrust their bills deep in, taking long draughts. I have never seen them bathe in a state of nature, though tame birds do so frequently. They are almost entirely frugivorous but eat a certain number of buds and shoots as well. Their night is fast and powerful, though the small amount of napping indulged in gives one the idea that it is leisurely. When flighting from one feeding-ground to another or to and from their roosting-places they fly high and therefore seldom form part of a general Pigeon bag, though easy enough to shoot at their feeding-trees. Their call is a very deep, rolling " wuck-wuck-wurr." They are not quarrelsome birds and are easy to keep in captivity but they are lethargic and uninteresting pets unless kept unconfined, their most noticeable feature being greed. They are excellent birds for the table.