(1845) Ducula badia cuprea.
JERDON'S IMPERIAL PIGEON.
Columba cuprea Jerdon, Mad. Journ. L. S., xii, p. 12 (1810) (Malabar). Ducula cuprea. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 22.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Differs from D. b. badia in having the back and wings olive-brown with little or no gloss and no tinge of purple or copper; the rump is darker and sometimes tinged with olive ; the terminal pale band is narrow, not exceeding one-quarter the length of the tail; the under surface is darker and more vinous and is often mixed with ochre on the abdomen and posterior flanks ; the under tail-coverts are freckled with dusky and the under aspect of the wing and axillaries are darker than in either D. b. insignis or D. b. griseicapilla; the white on the chin and throat is also more restricted than in these two races.
Colours of soft parts. " Bill dull lake-red at the base, slaty at the tip; orbits lake-red, irides red-brown; legs dull lake-red " (Jerdon).
Measurements. Wing 210 to 234 mm.
Distribution. Southern India, North to Kanara. Through the hills of Koorg, Wynaad and Nilgiris and the Mysore hills Southwards but not from Eastern Madras. It is common in Travancore and Stewart obtained a specimen in Ceylon.
Nidification. This Pigeon breeds commonly in Travancore, Bourdillon and Stewart taking many eggs between the foot-hills and 4,000 feet from March to April, whilst the former again found eggs in November. The nest is the usual rather untidy Wood-Pigeon's platform of sticks, with no lining and little or no depression for the eggs. It breeds both in evergreen and deciduous forest and in both big and small trees but seldom more than 20 or 25 feet from the ground. A series of ten eggs taken by Stewart average 44.5 x 34.7 mm.: maxima 47.1 X 34.0 and 43.0 x 35.4 mm.; minima 43.0 x 35.4 and 47.1 X 34.0 mm.
Habits. Like other Pigeons of this genus this is a bird of hills and forests, making occasional excursions into the plains, after certain kinds of fruits, and to salt swamps, where they eat the buds of Aricennia and other bushes. In other respects they do not differ in their habits from the other races.