(1886) Macropygia ruficeps assimilis.
THE BURMESE LITTLE CUCKOO-DOVE.
Macropygia assimilis Hume, Str. Feath., ii, p. 441 (1874) (Tenasserim). Macropygia ruficeps. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 51.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper part of head, lores, cheeks, ear-coverts and anterior of sides of neck cinnamon-rufous, darkening and changing into purple-brown on the lower neck and back ; the purple being most pronounced on the sides; shoulders and sides of lower neck more or less glossed with lilac and with faint indications of dark bars and sometimes with a few pale rufous bars ; back, rump and upper tail-coverts brown, the latter tinged rusty; scapulars rather darker brown than the back; coverts dark brown, the coverts edged rufous, obsolete on the greater coverts in the oldest birds; primaries and outer secondaries narrowly and the inner secondaries broadly edged with rufous, the latter also with rufous bases to the inner webs; central tail-feathers dark red-brown with obsolete dark bars; outermost pair chestnut, a broad black or dark brown band across the terminal third and tipped broadly paler rufous; intermediate grading from one to another ; chin and throat whitish, remainder of plumage paler cinnamon-rufous,, darkest on the breast, flanks and under tail-coverts, palest on the abdomen, the breast mottled at the sides with blackish and the feathers also tipped whitish.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white, pearl-white or grey, sometimes pinkish-white and sometimes with an inner ring of blue ; orbital skin and eyelids pale blue; bill pale horny-brown, pinkish at the base; legs and feet brownish-pink to dark purplish-brown.
Measurements. Wing 140 to 151 mm.; tail 165 to 178 mm.; tarsus about 19 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
Female. Duller and darker above, the rufous of the head divided from the back and without purple tint or lilac sheen ; below darker and duller with more mottling; the upper back and neck minutely freckled with pale brown.
Young birds are like the female but have the whole upper parts barred with black and rufous: the upper tail-coverts broadly edged with rufous and the mottlings on the breast more extensive.
Distribution. Burma from Karennee and Shandoung in Pegu, South to Muleyit; South Shan States and once Siam.
Nidification. Robinson obtained the nest, a solid pad of moss, in a clump of bamboo, about 12 feet from the ground at Shandoung on the 19th April. The one egg it contained measured 1.26 x .84 in. An egg taken by Hopwood at Nwalabo in Tenasserim on the 14th May is exactly similar, a perfect ellipse, pale buff in colour, measuring 29.1 x 21.0 mm.
Habits. In Burma this Cuckoo-Dove is a hill-form, seldom found below 2,000 feet and occurs at least up to 6,000 feet but Robinson informs me that the subspecies in Malay comes right down to the plains to Hot Springs, so long as these are close to heavy forest. Davison syllabifies its call as '* Oo-who-who-oo," rapidly repeated. They go about in small parties, living on fruit, seeds, chillies, buds etc.