992. Gracupica nigricollis

(992) Gracupica nigricollis (Payk.).
Gracupica nigricollis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 49.
Within Indian limits this Myna breeds in the Bhamo and Kachin Hills, Shan States, South to Tenasserim and outside the Indian Empire East to Southern China.
It breeds in open country from the plains up to about 5,000 feet and frequents the outskirts of villages and trees in open and culti¬vated country. Harington, Grant and others took their nests in the Bhamo Hills and Shan States, Williamson and Herbert found it very common in Siam, and Vaughan and Jones say that it is even more common in Southern China.
For breeding purposes the birds select large trees, sometimes one of a clump, sometimes a large single tree standing in cultivation and often on the outskirts of villages. The nests are placed on boughs at any height from 20 to 40 feet or more up, but nearly always at the ends of the larger boughs, where they cannot be easily got at. They are huge globular affairs. Herbert says “the nest is a very conspicuous object, composed chiefly of straw and grasses, and is generally built in a fork of a tree which has not very dense foliage, though a Palmyra-palm is sometimes chosen. The nesting season extends over several months from the commence¬ment of the rains.”
Williamson, in epistola, informs me that "these birds make huge untidy nests of grass, leaves, bamboo-leaves etc., which they construct on boughs, generally fairly high up and often near the end of the branch, so that they are hard to get at. Sometimes several pairs build in quite close proximity to one another, often several on the same tree. It is a common bird and the huge nests cannot be passed over.”
Harington gives a similar description of the nest and adds “feathers and all sorts of rubbish” to the materials noted as having been used. He once found seven nests on the same tree ; while on other occasions he found two or more built together.
A most interesting account of the breeding in holes in river-banks of this and the Collared Myna is given by Harington, and will be found on p. 533, dealing with the nidification of this latter bird.
In Burma the breeding season is April, May and occasionally June, while Grant took one nest with eggs on the 1st August.
In Siam Williamson and Herbert took eggs on all dates between the 22nd March and the end of June, while in China the birds seem to lay from March to August.
The number of eggs laid in a clutch varies from three to five.
In colour they are a deep turquoise-blue, rarely with a faint shade of green. The texture varies considerably ; some eggs are excessively smooth and glossy, other eggs have many tiny corruga¬tions, but in all there is some gloss and the shell is hard and close.
In shape the eggs are usually rather long ovals, sometimes distinctly pointed.
I have one clutch of eggs taken by Vaughan and Jones which has one egg quite freely marked alt the larger end with blackish and lavender blotches, two of the other three having a few black spots. A single egg taken by the same collectors is pure white.
Seventy-five eggs average 32.4 x 22.8 mm. : maxima 37.4 x 24.5 and 33.0 x 25.0 mm. ; minima 29.4 x 21.7 and 30.6 x 21.5 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
992. Gracupica nigricollis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Black Necked Myna
Black-collared Starling
Gracupica nigricollis
Vol. 2

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