1025. Eurystomus orientalis.
The Broad-billed Roller.
Coracias orientalis, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 159 (1766). Eurystomus orientalis, Blyth, Cat. p. 51; Layard A. M. N. H. (2) xii, p. 171; Horsf. & M. Cat. p. 121; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 219; id. Ibis, 1872, p. 3 ; Blyth, Ibis, 1866, p. 345; Ball, J. A. S. B. xli, pt. 2, p. 277; Vipan, S. F. i, p. 495; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 164; xi, p. 43; id. Cat. no. 126 ; Morgan, S. F. ii, p. 531; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. 2, p. 154; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 72 ; Bourdillon, S. F. iv, p. 382 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 285 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 72; Davison, S. F. x. p. 351; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 70; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 57; Dresser, Ibis, 1891, p. 99 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 33, pl. ii, fig. 6. Eurystomus laetior, Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1890, p. 551; id. Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 36. Eurystomus calorynx, Hodgs. in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 82 (descr. nulla). Eurystomus calonyx, Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1890, p. 551; id. Cat. B. M. xvii, p. 38, pl. ii, fig. 2.
Tak-ral-vong, Lepcha; Mo-goun-hnet, Burmese.
Coloration. Head and neck above and at the sides blackish brown, more or less tinged with green ; back much greener, passing into dark bluish green on the rump and upper tail-coverts, and on the scapulars and tertiaries, and into brighter greenish blue on the wing-coverts ; primary-coverts deep blue, quills black, deep blue on the outer webs, the outer primaries crossed near the base by a broad pale blue band; tail-feathers black, the outer webs above and the inner below washed for a varying distance from the base with deep blue ; throat deep blue, with bright blue shaft-stripes; remainder of lower surface greenish blue, darker on the breast.
Bill, legs, and feet deep vermilion, tip of bill black; iris dark brown : gape yellowish (Oates).
The young is duller in colour, wants the bright blue streaks on the throat, and has a black bill.
Length about 12; tail 4; wing 7.5; tarsus .8; bill from gape 1.7.
Ceylon and Travancore birds are deeper in colour, the head very dark, almost black, and the underparts bluer. These form a well-marked race or subspecies, E. laetior of Sharpe. Sharpe also distinguishes the Himalayan and Chinese and some Burmese and Malay birds under the name E. calonyx, on account of the blue on the outer webs of the tail-feathers extending to the terminal half of the feathers and of the outer webs of the secondaries being washed with blue ; and he regards E. calonyx as a migratory and E. orientalis as a non-migratory form ; but I find considerable variation, and doubt whether two forms can be distinguished.
Distribution. Along the base of the Himalayas as far west as Kumaun up to about 3000 feet and from Lower Bengal, Cachar, and Assam locally throughout the Burmese countries to China and Manchuria, Siam and Cochin China, and down the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and the Philippines; common in the Andamans. Also found in Southern India near the Malabar coast as far north as the Wynaad, and in Ceylon, where this bird is rare.
Habits, &c. A forest bird, resident or locally migratory, haunting high trees and usually perching on a dead tree or branch, sometimes on a bamboo, whence it flies down to capture insects. It is somewhat crepuscular in its habits and is generally silent; its call is a monosyllablic deep-toned whistle, but occasionally in the breeding-season it makes a chattering noise. In confinement it eats plantains. It breeds in March and April, in holes in branches of trees, as a rule at a considerable height from the ground, and lays on the bare wood usually 3 white eggs, measuring about 1.38 by 1.15.