1847. Muscadivora senea sylvatica

(1847) Muscadivora aenea sylvatica (Tickell).
The Indian Green Imperial Pigeon.
Muscadivora aenea sylvatica, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v. p. 208.
This the beat known of the Green Imperial Pigeons, is a resident breeding bird from Nepal to Eastern Assam throughout the lower hills and Terai and in the plains of Bihar and Bengal. It occurs in Orissa, but there are no records of it breeding there, though it may do so, and it has also been recorded (doubtfully) from Northern Madras. It is found throughout Burma, the Shan States and Northern Siam as far South as Northern Tenasserim. The Northern Tenasserim birds, though they average very white below and on the forehead and face, are generally accepted as being indistinguishable from the present race.
This is essentially a forest bird, breeding in the forests of the plains and also in the hills up to some 5,000 feet, though more commonly under 3,000 feet. It may leave forest for feeding purposes when some of the different Fici are in fruit in cultivated and open ground, but I have never heard of their breeding in open country. They like deep forest. The nest is the usual rough plat¬form of sticks and twigs laid either criss-cross loosely or, more often, interlaced so as to leave a shallow depression in the centre. Inglis mentions grass being used in a nest, similar to that found by Bingham in the nest of the Southern form, but this must be quite exceptional. I must have seen at least between forty and fifty nests, but I can remember only one in which some coarse grass was intertwined, though even in this instance it was not used as a lining. The great majority of nests are built upon small saplings at a height of about 25 feet, or under, from the ground but, occasionally, they are built in very large trees and may be 40 feet or so up in the smaller branches. In Burma Hopwood describes them as built low down in small trees in forest, while in the Andamans Osmaston obtained several eggs all taken from nests between 15 and 20 feet up in small trees in ever¬green forest.
The breeding season throughout the whole range is principally April and May, but in Assam a few eggs may be taken in June and March ; in Burma it breeds from February to May, while in the Andamans Osmaston took all his eggs in April and Wimberley obtained two eggs in July.
Inglis says that in the plains of Cachar and Sylhet the birds breed in the rains, i. e., from the 15th June onwards, but I have not found this to be the case in my own experience.
It is probable that sometimes they breed twice in the year.
Only one egg is laid but, rarely, they may lay two, as Inglis once took two young from a nest.
Twenty-two eggs average 45.4 x 33.5 mm ; maxima 51.5 x 33.5 and 45.6 x 87.6 mm. ; minima 41.1 x 32.2 and 42.6 x 31.2 mm.
The nest takes anything from three days to three weeks to build. Both birds work at it but, if the female is not ready to lay, they will play at nest-building for a few minutes only in the mornings and evenings, placing a few twigs in position and then pulling them all out again to start afresh in a new place. Sometimes they will get a dozen small twigs together and then leave them for a couple of days and have to start again when they find that these have all been blown down. Once the female is ready to lay both birds work better for an hour or so morning and evening, and in three or four days the nest is complete and then, usually, the egg is laid the next day.
The male does much of the incubation during the day, and when we have shot a bird off the nest it has generally been the male, I do not know how long incubation lasts. One nest, in which the egg was laid on or about the 1st of May, when I next examined it on the 24th had a chick in it which looked about two or three days old. This would make incubation about twenty to twenty-one days, which is probably about right, as the Rock-Pigeon, a bird of much the same size, takes nineteen or twenty days.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1847. Muscadivora senea sylvatica
Spp Author: 
Tickell.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1847
Year: 
1935
Page No: 
141
Common name: 
Indian Green Imperial Pigeon
M_ID: 
5703
M_SN: 
Ducula aenea sylvatica
Volume: 
Vol. 4
Term name: 
id: 
15021

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