Melophus melanicterus, Gm.
724. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. II, p. 381 ; Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 498 ; Deccan, Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 417 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 189 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India ; Ibis, 1885, p. 129.
THE CRESTED BLACK BUNTING.
Length, 6.5 ; expanse, 10 ; wing, 3.25 ; tail, 2.75 ; bill at front, 0.5.
Bill fleshy-brown ; irides dark-brown ; legs red-brown.
Male. :- The whole body, with crest, glossy blue-black ; wings and tail dark cinnamon, with dusky tips ; tail-coverts at their base, black and cinnamon.
The female is dusky-brown above, the feathers edged light olive-brownish ; beneath rufescent-white, or pale brownish-fulvescent with dusky streaks ; quills and tail dull and paler cinnamon than in the male, dusky internally, and on the central tail-feathers. She is a little smaller, and the crest is not so highly developed.
The Crested Black Bunting occurs more or less in suitable localities throughout the region ; in many it is a permanent resident breeding during the rains, in banks, under clumps of ferns and grasses. The eggs, three in number, are rather broad ovals in shape, and are of a dull whitish-grey color, with a sprinkling of light-brown spots ; the markings are always most dense at the larger end, and sometimes the markings are so closely set as to leave little of the ground-color visible.
They average 0.79 inches in length by nearly 0.63 in breadth.