(1885) Macropygia rufipennis.
THE ANDAMAN CUCKOO-DOVE.
Macropygia rufipennis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xv, p. 371 (1846) (Java) ; Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 50.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Whole head and hind-neck chestnut, glossed with lilac-purple on the crown ; chin and throat very pale rufous-white; upper back dark brown, stippled with pale rufous, forming bars in younger birds; remainder of upper plumage dark brown, becoming more chestnut on the upper tail-coverts ; central tail-feathers chestnut-brown, the outermost bright chestnut with an oblique subterminal dusky band; lesser wing-coverts and scapulars brown, edged chestnut; median wing-coverts the same with broader edges ; greater coverts and quills dark brown, the primaries cinnamon and the innermost secondaries rufescent-brown on the inner webs; whole lower plumage light rufous-brown, darkest on the breast and palest on the abdomen, barred with narrow wavy lines of black; under tail-coverts, axillaries and under wing-coverts ferruginous-red ; under aspect of tail ferruginous with grey central patches on the outer feathers.
Colours of soft parts. Iris violet or light blue with an inner ring of carmine; bill dull horny or purplish-red, paler at the gape ; legs and feet dull pinkish-red in front, bright pale pink behind, soles still paler.
Measurements. Wing 180 to 193 mm.: tail 210 to 233 mm.: tarsus about 23 to 25 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm. Weight 8 to 10 oz.
Female. The stipplings on the back more pronounced and barlike in character; generally there is a certain amount of black mottling on the head; lower plumage more chestnut than in the male, the sides of the neck slightly streaked with brown and the remainder of the lower plumage immaculate.
Young birds have the feathers of the head and neck edged with black, the barring on the upper parts more developed; the wing-quills are edged and tipped with rufous and the whole tone of the plumage more rufous than in the adult.
Distribution. Andamans and Nicobars.
Nidification. Davison says that it breeds in May, building among the mangroves in Trinkut and he found one nest which, though he was doubtful at the time, was evidently that of this bird. An egg in my collection obtained in the Nicobars in 1901 is like that of Macropygia u. tusalia but only measures 34.0 X 23.0 mm.
Habits. This bird is very common in the Andamans, frequenting gardens, clearings and secondary growth but retiring to deep forest during the heat of the day. It is said to feed almost entirely on chillies but Butler also found hard black seed, small' berries and large green fruit in their stomachs,
Columba ruficeps Temm., Pl. Col, pl. 561 (1835).
The Tenasserim bird is very close to the typical Javan form., with which it agrees in size but differs in having rather less metallic gloss on the hind-neck and in having the breast mottled with dark brown in fully-grown adults. This last character is proved to be of some importance by the series of this Dove in the collection of the Federated Malay States Museum.