262. Hypocolius ampelinus.
The Grey Hypocolius.
Hypocolius ampelinus, Bonap. Consp. Av. i, p. 336 (1850); Heugl. Ibis,,1868, p. 181, pl. v; Blanf. Ibis, 1875, p. 388 ; Sclater, P, Z. S. 1875, p. 633; Blanf. S. F. iii, p. 358; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 416, v, p. 349; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 316; Hume, Cat. no. 269 quat.; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 149; Sharpe, Ibis, 1886, pp. 477, 494; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 162 note. Ceblepyris isabellina, Heugl. Syst. Uebers., Sitzungsb. k.-k. Acad. Wien, xix, p. 284 (1856).
Coloration. Male. The feathers immediately near the nostrils, the lores, ear-coverts, the feathers above and below the eye, and a band carried round the nape black; forehead, crown, cheeks, chin, throat, the middle of the abdomen, vent, thighs, and under tail-coverts pinkish cream-colour ; remainder of the body-plumage, wing-coverts, and tertiaries drab-grey ; winglet and primary-coverts blackish shaded with ashy, and partially margined with grey; primaries black, with broad white tips shaded with grey on the first two or three; secondaries black, broadly edged and tipped with ashy, the black diminishing in amount on the later quills, and occupying only a portion of the inner web; tail drab-grey, broadly tipped with black.
Female. The upper plumage and the whole wing greyish isabel-line, the quills shaded with brown interiorly, and edged and tipped with light grey ; the tail is merely brown towards the end and tipped paler ; the lower plumage pinkish cream-colour, suffused with drab-grey across the breast. There is no black whatever on the head.
The bill of a male killed in April is black; in one killed in June the basal half is horn-colour, and the terminal half black; legs yellow. The female has the hill dark brown.
Length about 9.5; tail 4.6 ; wing 4 ; tarsus .9: bill from gape .9.
Distribution. A specimen was killed in March by Blanford's collector amongst the lower hills on the eastern flanks of the great Khirthar range dividing Sind from Khelat. Another specimen was procured at Nal in Khelat. This appears to be a common bird on the shores of the Persian Gulf, especially at Fao and Bushire, where it is recorded as arriving about the 10th April. It also occurs in Persia, and it was first discovered in North-east Africa.
Habits, &c. This bird is found about the date-gardens of Fao and other places in the Persian Gulf, but Blanford procured it on the bare hill-sides of a stony range of hills. At Fao it breeds in June and July, constructing a cup-shaped nest lined with grass, wool, or hair, on a leaf of a date-palm at no great height from the ground. The eggs, four in number, are dull white, spotted with grey, and measure about .86 by .63.