555. Sturnopastor contra.
The Pied Myna.
Sturnus contra, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 290 (1766) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 109. Sturnopastor contra (Linn.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 526 ; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 323; Hume, N. & B. p. 426 ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, ii, p. 110; Hume, Cat. no. 683 ; id. S. F. xi, p. 261 ; Sharpe,
Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 57, pl. v, fig. 1; Oates, in Hume's N. & F. 2nd
ed. i, p. 386.
The Pied Starting, Jerd.; Ablak maina, Hind.; Ablaka gosalik, Guia-leggra, Beng. ; Venda gorinka, Tel.
Coloration. Feathers over the nostrils, lores, round the eye, and the ear-coverts white; a few white streaks above the lores ; forehead, crown, nape, neck all round, chin, and throat glossy black ; back and upper rump dark chocolate-brown, nearly black; scapulars broadly edged with white; lower rump white; upper tail-coverts and tail black; lesser wing-coverts and the inner median coverts white; remainder of wing glossy black; sides of neck and shoulders streaked with vinaceous; lower plumage from the throat downwards pale vinaceous grey; under wing-coverts white.
The young bird has the crown brown, the lower plumage pale vinaceous, the throat and fore neck streaked with brown, and the parts which are pure white in the adult sullied.
Iris yellowish white; orbital skin orange; legs yellowish white; claws light horny; bill, basal half deep orange, rest white; inside of mouth black (Cripps).
Length about 9 ; tail 2.7; wing 4.6 ; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape 1.4.
Distribution. India proper east of a line drawn from Umballa to Hyderabad, in the Deccan, and Masulipatam, ranging to the extreme east of Assam; throughout Bengal, Sylhet, Cachar, and the Khasi hills. A specimen from Arrakan in the British Museum is a typical S. contra.
Habits, &c. Breeds from May to August, constructing a massive shapeless nest of straw, leaves, and feathers on the branch of a tree, generally at no great height from the ground. The eggs, frequently five in number, measure about 1.11 by .82.