1004. Sturnopastor contra contra

(1004) Sturnopastor contra contra (Linn.).
THE ASSAM PIED MYNA.
Sturnopastor capensis capensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 62.
Sturnopastor contra contra, ibid. vol. viii, p. 650.
The Assam Pied Myna is resident, and breeds, in the Bhutan Duars, Assam, Eastern Bengal, Chittagong Hill-Tracts, Chin Hills and Northern Arakan. It is essentially a plains bird, wandering into the hills up to about 2,000 or 2,500 feet.
It nests in trees in gardens, villages and in and all round towns, as well as in single trees standing in cultivated land. I have seen a small colony of half a dozen nests in a group of trees standing on a mound in the middle of rice cultivation, and I noticed them often breeding in the Sunderbunds close to the scattered huts of the fishermen on small patches of higher land among a vast waste of swamp and lake. I have never seen the nests very far from human habitations but, occasionally, they are said to build in thin forest on the outskirts of cultivation, though I have never seen such nests.
As a rule they breed singly but, at times, a number breed in company. As already noted, I saw half a dozen nests in one tree in Cachar but, in Dibrugarh, nearly twenty pairs nested in some bamboo clumps near the Tinsukia railway Station, sharing their nestingsite with several species of Herons and with some Cormorants.
Inglis also writes that "about 100 nests may often be seen together in Cachar, where it prefers nesting on trees in the open fields."
The nest is a very large, very untidy ball of grass, roots, twigs, leaves and miscellaneous bits of all kinds, but often well lined with a mass of feathers. The nests built in the colony at Tinsukia were made principally of bamboo-leaves, held in place by long roots and reed-stems and densely lined with pure white feathers from the Egrets sharing their bamboo-clumps. The nests vary a good deal in size but few are under a foot in both height and width, while many are nearly double that size. The egg-cavity may be anything between 6 and 8 inches in breadth by rather more in depth.
This Myna does not place its nest at any great height from the ground. Most nests are built between 10 and 20 feet up, often in small trees, but occasionally a nest may be some 30 or even 40 feet up in a Mango-tree, Pepul or Banyan.
Both birds construct the nest and both share in incubation, but the female does nearly all the day-work, though during the hottest hours the eggs are often left uncovered.
It is an early breeder and many nests are commenced and some eggs laid in the end of March, the birds continuing nesting until August, many pairs having two broods and some three. In some cases the parents use the same nest throughout the breeding months but, in others, a new nest is built for the second brood, much of the material for this being taken from the old. nest.
The eggs number four to six and are of the usual spotless blue of all Mynas ; the texture is smooth and the surface glossy and without corrugation.
Since writing the ‘Fauna’ I have measured one hundred eggs, the measurements in the ‘Fauna’ being based principally on Oates’s measurements.
My present measurements for the above number give an average of 27.6 x 20.2 mm. : maxima 29.7 x 21.1 and 29.3 x 23.1 mm. ; minima 24.6 x 18.9 and 26.2 x 18.3 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
1004. Sturnopastor contra contra
Spp Author: 
Linn.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1004
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
534
Common name: 
Assam Pied Myna
M_ID: 
26813
M_SN: 
Gracupica contra contra
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
14093

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith