(1004) Sturnopastor capensis capensis.
The Indian Pied Myna.
Sturnus capensis Linn., Syst. Nat., 12th ed. i, p. 290 (1766) (India). Sturnopastor contra. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 542.
Vernacular names. Ablalc maina (Hindi) ; Ablaka gosalik, Guia-leggra (Beng).
Description. Lores, round the eye, ear-coverts and a few streaks above the nostrils white; a line behind the ear-coverts white or vinaceous white; a few streaks on the shoulders vinaceous; remainder of head, throat and neck black; rump white; remainder of upper plumage deep chocolate-brown, a most black; a bar of white across the wing formed by the white tips of the median wing-coverts; remainder of wing black; lower plumage pale vinaceous grey, paling to white on the vent and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white to yellow, orbital skin orange; bill deep orange on the basal half, white or pale wax-yellow on the terminal; legs and feet pale yellow, claws pale horny.
Measurements. Total length about 225 mm.; wing 115 to 124 mm.; tail 74 to 76 mm.; tarsus about 36 to 37 mm.; culmen 27 to 29 mm.
Young birds are much paler and browner and the breast is streaked or smeared with vinaceous brown.
Distribution. Bhutan Duars, Assam, Eastern Bengal, S. Chin Hills, Chittagong and Akyab.
Nidification. The Pied Myna breeds principally in April, May and June, but in Dacca I found eggs laid as early as March 15th and as late as September 3rd. They often have two broods and sometimes three in the year. The nests are huge, domed affairs of sticks, roots, grass, leaves, rags, eta. lined with soft material of any kind or with feathers. They are very large compared with the size of the bird, sometimes measuring as much as two feet by eighteen inches and often over eighteen or fifteen inches. The entrance is near the top but there is no attempt to finish this off, the stray ends of material sticking out in every direction. They may be placed at any height from live to fifty feet from the ground and there is no attempt at concealment.
One hundred eggs average 28.2 x 20.8 mm. They are, of course, blue like all other Mynas' eggs and have a fair gloss, typically they are rather broad ovals rather compressed towards the smaller end. It occasionally breeds in regular colonies and often two or three nests may be seen in one large tree.
Habits. Very much the same as in the genera Acridotheres and AEthiopsar but, perhaps, less entirely a ground feeder than the former genus. It is both frugivorous and insectivorous and, though grasshoppers probably form its staple diet, it devours a good deal of ripe grain.