1120. Eudynamis honorata.
The Indian Koel.
Cuculus honoratus, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 169 (1766). Cuculus orientalis, apud Blyth, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 913, nec Linn. Eudynamis orientalis, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. L. S. xi, p. 222; Pearson, J. A. S. B. x, p. 657; Blyth, J. A. S. B. xii, p. 245 ; xvi, p. 468; id. Cat. p. 73; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 707; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 342; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 363 ; A. Anderson, Ibis, 1873, p. 74. Eudynamis honorata, Walden, Ibis, 1869, p. 338; Hume, N. & E. p. 139; id. S. F. i, p. 173; Adam, ibid. p. 373; A. Anderson, Ibis, 1875, p. 142; Hume, 8. F. iv, p. 463; Butler, S. F. vii, p. 182 ; Ball, ibid. p. 207; Hume, Cat. no. 214; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 257 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 251 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 27 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 130 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 392; Shelley, Cat. B. M. xix, p. 316. Eudynamis malayana, Cab. Heine, Mus. Hein. iv, p. 52 (1862); Walden, Ibis, 1869, p. 339; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 192; xi, p. 77; id. Cat. no. 214 his; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 162 ; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 119; Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) iv, p. 581; v, p. 669. Eudynamis chinensis, Cab. & Hein, l. c. note; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 81.
Koel, H.; Kokil, Beng.; Kokila, Nallak, Podak, Tel.; Kusil, Koel, Tamul (Ceylon); Kaputa Koha, Gomera Koha, Cing.; Ou-au, Burmese.
Coloration. Male black throughout with a bluish-green gloss.
Female. Above brown with an olive gloss; head and neck spotted with white all round, more closely below ; back and wing-coverts also spotted; quills and tail-feathers barred with white; the spots of the fore-neck pass gradually into equal bars of white and glossy brown, which cover the breast and abdomen.
The nestling is black throughout at first, but it soon assumes a livery much like that of the adult female, but with the spots and bars rufous, the head with broad rufous shaft-stripes, the throat with broad whitish streaks, the breast with large white spots, and the abdomen with dark arrowhead marks. From this both sexes-appear to pass into the adult plumage without moulting. Some young males are found almost without rufous spots or bars. Probably the changes that take place vary.
Bill dull green, dusky at the gape; iris bright crimson; legs plumbeous, claws dark horny.
Length about 17; tail 7 to 8.5 ; wing 7 to 8.25; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. Throughout India, Ceylon, and Burma, except on the Himalayas above the tropical zone. This bird is rare in Sind and the Punjab, and not known to occur farther west; to the eastward its range extends to China, and to the south-east throughout the Malay Archipelago to Flores. Mr. Hume found it in the Laccadive Islands, and it is common on the Andamans and Nicobars. The race from the countries east of the Bay of Bengal has been distinguished as E. malayana on account of rather larger size and a little stronger bill, the female, too, is said to be more rufous, but the differences are neither well marked nor constant.
Habits, &c. The Koel is one of the familiar Indian birds, well known to every resident in the country. In the breeding-season, from March or April till July, its cry of ku-il, ku-il, repeated several times, increasing in intensity and ascending in the scale, is to be heard in almost every grove. It has another call, like ho-y-o, uttered by the male alone. This Cuckoo keeps much to groves of trees in cultivated tracts, and is rare in large forests. In Pegu and Tenasserim, according to Oates and Davison, it makes its appearance in February and disappears about July, but it probably does not migrate to any great distance, and in India generally it is a resident. It feeds entirely on fruit. It lays in May and June in the nests of Crows, generally Corvus splendens, less frequently in those of 0. macrorhynchus, and not unfrequently two or more Koel's eggs may be found in the same nest. The eggs much resemble those of Crows, but are smaller ; they are dark green, blotched and spotted with reddish brown, and measure about 1.19 by .92. The Crows bring up the Koel, which at times, at all events, ejects the young Crows, after they are hatched. Koels are often kept caged by natives of India, who admire the bird's rich melodious call-notes.