(992) Gracupica nigricollis.
The Black-necked Myna.
Gracula nigricollis Payk., Stockholm Acad. Handl., xxviii.. p. 291 (1807) (China). Graculipica nigricollis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 534.
Vernacular names. Zayet (Burmese); Nok-king-krong (Siam).
Description. Whole head white followed by a broad black collar round the lower throat and neck; next the collar on the back is a band of black feathers broadly tipped and margined with white; a broad white band across the rump; remainder of upper plumage, wing-coverts, scapulars and inner secondaries dark brown with white tips, often abraded or obsolete on the back; primary-coverts all white; primaries dark brown very narrowly tipped white ; below white ; axillaries and under wing-coverts black and white.
Colours of soft parts. " Iris creamy grey, skin round eye chrome-orange; beak black-brown; legs and feet dull ivory'" (Forrest).
Measurements. Total length about 275 mm.; wing 150 to 159 mm.; tail 87 to 91 mm.; tarsus 41 to 42 mm.; culmen about 29 to 30 mm.
Young birds have the whole head and neck light brown.
Distribution. South China, the whole of the Indo-Chinese countries, Shan States, Kachin Hills, Siam and Southern Burma.
Nidification. This Myna breeds from the level of the Plains up to nearly 5,000 feet in Siam, Burma and the Shan States. In Siam it lays from March to July, whilst in Maymyo, Upper Burma, eggs have been taken as late as August. It builds a huge untidy nest of grass, leaves and miscellaneous odds and ends, domed and placed high up in a tree or Palm. It is a very conspicuous sight, added to by the fact that several birds sometimes breed in company, The eggs number three, more rarely four and are just like large specimens of the Common Myna, perhaps when fresh a rather richer blue. Fifty eggs average 32.4 x 22.5 mm.: maxima 37.4 X 24.5 mm.; minima 29.4 x 21.7 and 30.6 x 21.5 mm.
Habits. This is a Myna of open country and is a familiar bird is the vicinity of towns and villages. It seeks its food almost entirely on the ground and is as good an exterminator of locusts and grasshoppers as is the Common Myna. It is sturdy on the leg but not as good a flier as the genera already dealt with, whilst its notes are said to be harsh and discordant. It is a noisy bird and collects in flocks in the evenings before roosting, as do so many others of this Family.