(964) Eulabes javana intermedia.
The Indian Grackle.
Gracula intermedia A. Hay, Madr. Journ. Lit. Sci., xiii, pt. ii, p. 157 (1844) (Cachar). Eulabes intermedia. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 511.
Vernacular names. Paharia maina (Hind.) ; Thaleegah (Burma); Dao-maina, Maina-gashim (Cachari).
Description. Similar to E. j. javana but smaller; in this race the patch under the eye is joined to that on the ear-coverts, whereas in the preceding bird it is divided by a feathered tract.
Colours of soft parts as in the Malay Grackle. The bill is orange to coral-red at the base and more yellow at the tip.
Measurements. Total length about 380 to 390 mm.; wing 161 to 173 mm.; tail 74 to 82 mm.; tarsus 33 to 35 mm.; culmen 24 to 26 mm. and in depth about 11 to 12.5 mm.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Kuman to Eastern Assam and the whole of Burma, where suitable, as far South as lat. 12° ; Siam, Shan States, Annam and Cochin China. It also occurs in the Hilly country in the South-Eastern Central Provinces of India.
Nidification. The Indian Grackle breeds during April and May from the foot-hills up to about 2,500 and, less commonly, up to 4,000 feet. Very often two, or even three pairs of birds will breed in the same tree or in trees close to one another. The trees selected are generally dead and very rotten and when a live tree is chosen the branch in which the hole is situated is invariably greatly decayed. Tear after year the birds keep to the same nesting-site though they may not use the same hollow. The entrance is usually a natural one but is often enlarged and finished off by the birds themselves, who employ both feet and bill in tearing away the soft, rotten wood. They will breed in heavy evergreen forest, thin deciduous forest, mixed bamboo and tree jungle or even in the open but, undoubtedly, their favourite site is a dead tree in deserted cultivation surrounded by forest. The eggs number two or three, generally the latter, and cannot be distinguished from those of the preceding bird. Thirty eggs-average 36.2 x 25.6 mm.: maxima 38.4 x 25.9 and 34.8 x 26.5 mm.; minima 33.5 X 26.0 and 35.9 X 24.3 mm.
Habits. This Grackle is a very common bird throughout the Himalayan Terai and hills of Assam and Burma and where food is plentiful often collects in some numbers. It has a fine musical whistle and a great variety of other notes, pleasant and the reverse. It is perhaps the best mimic among the birds of the genus and is a favourite cage-bird with natives. In captivity it is fed principally on boiled rice and bananas but eats both meat and insects when offered. It is apparently a long-lived bird, one which I saw in a cage having been with its owner twenty-four years.