(1327) Pitta gurneyi.
Pitta gurneyi Hume, Str. Feath., iii, p. 296, pi. 3 (1875) (South Tenasserim); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 395.
Vernacular names. Nok-tao-rao (Siam).
Description. - Male. Forehead, anterior crown, a broad supercilium, lores, sides of the head and neck and a narrow supercilium black; hinder crown and nape glistening blue, the feathers long and forming a crest; upper plumage, wing-coverts and innermost secondaries rufous-brown; wing-quills brown, the inner primaries and outer secondaries edged pale rufous ; tail bright pale greenish-blue, the concealed portions blackish; a few of the longest upper tail-coverts blue; point of chin black; chin and throat white, shading into bright, yellow on the upper breast and hinder hides of neck; breast and abdomen black; under tail-coverts black with broad blue tips; flanks barred black and bright yellow ; under wing-coverts and axillaries black, a few feathers in the centre of the former white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black; legs and feet fleshy-white to fleshy Indian-red.
Measurements. Wing 97 to 102 mm.; tail 46 to 54 mm.; tarsus 40 to 42 mm.; culmen 20 to 22 mm.
Female. Forehead, crown and nape pale orange-ferruginous; upper plumage like that of the male but duller rufous-brown; sides of the head and neck black; chin, throat and behind the black of the neck white, or fulvous-white, the feathers next the black with obsolete black edges; breast and flanks closely barred yellow and black, more fulvous on the abdomen, where the bars are very faint and narrow; under tail-coverts black, edged with yellow; axillaries and under wing-coverts mixed white and brown or blackish; a little fulvous on the outer axillaries.
Young birds have the head and neck rufous-brown with black edges and, probably, the whole of the lower parts, except the white chin and throat, fulvous-brown with black edges.
Distribution. Peninsular Siam and Burma to Malacca.
Nidification. Herbert took a nest with four eggs of this Pitta at Klong Wahip, near Tung Song in Peninsular Siam on the 9th of October, shooting the female, from which he extracted a fifth egg, not quite ready to be laid. The nest was of the usual type, made entirely of bamboo-leaves and placed at the foot of a bamboo clump. The eggs can be matched with many eggs of Pitta cuculluta and measure from 25.3 x 22.0 mm. to 27.0 x 22.4 mm.
Habits. Apparently a resident form as it has been met with by various collectors from February to July, by Oates still earlier in the year and by Herbert with fresh eggs in October. It is a bird of evergreen-forests and but little is known about it.