261. Psaroglossa spiloptera.
Lamprotornis spilopterus, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 35; Gould, Cent. pl. 34. Saroglossa spiloptera ( Vig.), Horsf. & 31. Cat. ii, p. 545 ; Jerd. P. I. ii, p. 330; Hume, N. & 13. p. 434 ; Godio.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xliii, pt. ii, p. 170; Wald. in Blyth's Birds Burm. p. 91; Brooks, S. F. iii, p. 254; Armstrong, S. F. iv, p. 334 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 394 ; Wardlaw Ramsay, Ibis, 1877, p. 461; Hume, Cat. no. 691; id. S. F. ix, p. 256, xi, p. 208; Oates, B. B. i, p. 394. Psaroglossa spiloptera (Vig), Blyth, Cat. p. 109 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. 31. xiii, p. 117 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 161.
The Spotted-winy Stare, Jerd.; Puli at Mussoorie.
Coloration. Male. The upper plumage from the forehead to the upper back grey, each feather edged with black ; back and scapulars grey, each feather edged with brown ; rump plain brown; upper tail-coverts rufous-brown ; tail brown tinged with rufous ; lores, cheeks, and ear-coverts black ; chin and throat deep chestnut-maroon ; the whole lower plumage rufous, paler and whiter on the middle of the abdomen, and all the feathers narrowly edged with whitish; primaries, secondaries, and primary-coverts black edged with metallic blue, and all the primaries with a white patch at their bases; wing-coverts dark brown edged with grey; tertiaries light brown; under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Female. The whole upper plumage brown with greyish centres to the feathers, most conspicuous on the head and back and nearly obsolete on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; lesser and median wing-coverts brown, with a subterminal grey band ; greater coverts brown, broadly edged with grey; primaries and secondaries blackish with glossy margins, the bases of the former whitish; tertiaries like the back ; tail dark brown ; sides of the head uniform dark brown ; lower plumage brown, with broad whitish margins to the feathers and the whole suffused with a pale tinge of fulvous ; lower part of abdomen and the under tail-coverts nearly pure white.
The young appear to resemble the female.
Irides dull white ; bill dusky black, reddish black at base of lower mandible; upper and lower mandibles margined with pale yellow; legs, feet, and claws black (Armstrong).
Length 7.5 ; tail 2.5 ; wing 4.2 ; tarsus .85 ; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Dharmsala to the head of the Assam valley and also, but more rarely, the plains of Upper India; the Khasi and Garo hills ; Cachar; Manipur; the Karen hills east of Toungngoo; the southern part of Pegu near the Kangoon river; doubtfully Tenasserim.
This bird appears to be found up to 6000 feet. It also, as before noted, occurs in the plains, Mr. A. Anderson having killed one at Fatehgarh on the 2nd June.
Habits, &c. Captain Hutton remarks that the flight of P. spiloptera is similar to that of a Stirling. It delights to take a short and rapid flight and return twittering to perch on the summit of the forest trees. He never observed it on the ground, and its food appears to consist of berries.
This species breeds in the holes, of trees, laying its eggs on a few bits of leaves. The eggs are pale greenish speckled with red and purple, and they measure about 1.05 by .71.