1573. Dupetor flavicollis.
The Black Bittern.
Ardea flavicollis, Lath. Ind. Orn. ii, p. 701 (1790) ; Jerdon, Ill. Ind. Orn. pl. 16; Hume, N. & E. p. 621. Ardetta flavicollis, Blyth, Cat. p, 282; Jerdon, B. I. iii, p. 753; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 274; Hume & Oates, S. F. iii, p. 191; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 483 Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 308 Doig & Butler, ibid. p. 504; Hume, Cat. p. 932; Doig, S. F. viii, p. 376; Bingham, S. F. ix, p. 198 ; Damson, S. F. x, p. 416: Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 383; Littledale, Joum. Bom. N. H. Soc. i, p. 200; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 335. Ardeiralla flavicollis, Oates, S. F. v, p. 167; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 1159; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 255; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 251. Dupetor flavicollis, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xxvi, p. 247.
Kala-bagla, H.; Nol-bogla, Beng.; Ay-jan, Assamese; Karu-Nari, Tam. (Ceylon) ; Karawal koka, Kalu koka, Cing.
Coloration. Male. Crown and upper parts throughout, with the wings, dark slaty grey, sometimes almost black; tail nearly black; sides of head slaty black; a band of ochreous yellow down each side of the neck; chin and throat white with chestnut blotches, which become large and mixed with black on the fore neck, where the feathers are parti-coloured, one web generally buffy white, the other partly chestnut, partly black; breast and abdomen blackish slaty, with white streaks on the upper breast and whitish edges to the abdominal feathers.
Females are browner. Young birds are dark brown, the feathers of the upper parts with buff edges, the sides of the head chestnut, more or less mixed with black, and the lower parts much browner than in adults, and with broad whitish edges to the feathers of the abdomen.
Bill dusky reddish brown, lighter below; facial skin purplish brown; eyelids bluish ; iris golden-brown or pale red ; legs dark brown (Oates); irides yellow, in some with an outer circle of red (Jerdon).
Length about 23; tail 2.7; wing 8; tarsus 2.5; bill from gape 4.
Distribution. This Bittern has been found on the Eastern Nara, Sind, by Doig, also by the same observer near Ahmedabad, and by Littledale near Baroda, by Jerdon in Malabar and near Madras, by Davison on the Nilgiris and in the Wynaad, by Bourdillon in Travancore, and by several people in Ceylon. It has not been obtained elsewhere in India, so far as I am aware, west of Calcutta; but it becomes more common in Eastern Bengal, Assam, Sylhet, and Burma, and ranges thence to China, the Philippines, and Celebes.
Habits, &c. The Black Bittern closely resembles the species of Ardetta in habits, but is more exclusively nocturnal. It is said to have a deep booming call. It has been found breeding in Sind by Doig about June, and in Pegu by Oates in July and August; it makes a nest of twigs, leaves of grass or aquatic plants, generally on a thorny bush in a swamp, and lays four very pale green eggs, measuring about 1.66 by 1.26.