1150. Loriculis vernalis.
The Indian Loriquet.
Psittacus vernalis, Sparrm. Mus. Carls, no. 29 (1787). Loriculus vernalis, Blyth, Cat. p. 10; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 627; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 265; Blyth, Ibis, 1863, p. 6; Walden, P. Z. S. 1866, p. 538; 1873, p. 298; Beavan, Ibis, 1867, p. 320; 1869, p. 412; Hume, S. F. ii, pp. 185, 471; iii, p. 57 ; iv, p. 388; v, p. 25 ; xi, p. 56; id. Cat. no. 163; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 58; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 120, 500; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 52; Bingham, ibid. p. 161; Butler, ibid. p. 384; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 146; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 92; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 111; Salvadori, Cat. B. M. xx, p. 517. Coryllis vernalis, Finsch, Papag. ii, p. 721 (1868).
Bhora, Bho-ara, H. in S. India; Latkan, H. in Bengal; Kyay-thatah, Kyun-hto, Burm.
Coloration. Male. Upper parts green, except the rump and upper tail-coverts, which are rich crimson ; crown rather lighter green, outer webs of quills above and upper surface of tail-feathers darker, back tinged with yellow; lower parts also green, but paler and yellower, especially on the breast; a patch of blue on the throat; inner webs of quills inside and larger under wing-coverts, also lower surface of tail-feathers, verditer-blue.
The female is a little darker in colour, and wants the blue on the throat partially or wholly. In young birds the crimson of the rump is mixed with green. Bill dull coral-red, yellow at tip, cere red; iris pale yellowish white; legs pale orange (Oates, Pegu): bill dark yellow; feet leaden (Jerdon, Malabar).
Length about 5.5; tail 1.7 ; wing 3.7 ; tarsus .45 ; bill from cere .5.
Distribution. The neighbourhood of the Malabar coast from Cape Comorin to the latitude of Bombay, also east of the Bay of Bengal. This bird is found on the Nilgiris up to about 6000 feet, also in Western Mysore, and in Dharwar, Belgaum, &c., but only near the Sahyadri; it is unknown throughout the rest of India south of the Himalayas, and in the Himalayas it has not been recorded west of Sikhim and the Bhutan Duars, where it is found, also in Assam, Sylhet, Cachar, Khasi hills, Manipur, and throughout Burma, extending to the Malay Peninsula, in the southern portion of which it is replaced by L. galgulus. It is common in the Andaman Islands, but has not been observed in the Nicobars. It is replaced by the next species in Ceylon.
Habits, &c. In some parts of the Western Ghats this is said to be a cold-weather visitant, above the Ghats it is only found in the rains ; it probably, like other Parrots, shifts its quarters with the seasons, but to no great distance. It is swift of flight, and utters a screaming call when flying. It is found chiefly in clearings amongst forest, in gardens, and especially in groves of fruit-trees. It feeds on fruit of various kinds and on flower-buds, and is said to be particularly fond of cocoanut-palm juice—so much so as often to be captured in a stupified state after indulging in the intoxicating liquid. In the case of the allied L. indicus the juice of the wild palm Garyota wens is said by Legge to intoxicate the birds.
This Loriquet is often caged, and, like other species of the genus, becomes very tame, and has the habit of sleeping with its head downwards, hanging from its perch. It breeds from March to May, in Tenasserim in February, and lays 3 to. 5 eggs in a hole or hollow in a tree without any nest. The eggs are white and measure about .74 by .6.