1008. Thereiceryx zeylonicus

1008. Thereiceryx zeylonicus.

The Common Indian Green Barbet.

Bucco zeylanicus, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 408 (1788) ; Blyth, J. A. S. B. xv, pp. 13, 282. Bucco caniceps, Franklin, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 121. Megalaima caniceps, Blyth, Cat. p. 66; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xiii, p. 446; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 637; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 310. Megalaima zeylanica, Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 638; Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 429. Megalaema caniceps, Beavan, Ibis, 1865, p. 411; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. 2, p. 22: Marshall, Mon. Cap. p. 91, pl. 39; McMaster, J. A. S. B. xl, pt. 2, p. 209; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 392; v, p. 413; vii, p. 206; Morgan, Ibis, 1875, p. 314; Hume, Cat. no. 193 ; Reid, S. F. x, p. 25; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 121. Megalaema zeylanica, Blyth, Ibis, 1867, p. 296; Marshall, Mon. Cap. p. 95, pl. 40; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 369; id. Cat. no. 193 ter; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 208, pl. x. Megalaema inornata, Walden, A. M. N. H. (4) v, p. 219 (1870) ; Marshall, Mon. Cap, p. 89, pl. 38; Jerdon, Ibis, 1872, p. 11; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 401; id. Cat. no. 193 bis; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 459; ix, p. 387; Vidal, 8. F. ix, p. 54; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 298; Littledale, Jour. Bomb. N. H. Soc. i; p. 197; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 121. Cyanops caniceps and C. zeylonica, Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, pp. 322, 324; Shelley, Cat. B. M. xix, pp. 76, 78. Thereiceryx zeylonicus, Blanf. Ibis, 1893, p. 237.

The common Green Barbet, Jerdon ; Barra Bussunta, H. & Beng.; Kutumra, Deccan; Kudrunga, H. in Central India; Kotur, H. (Rohilcund And Doab) & Mahr.; Sunterar, Beng. Manbhoom; Kuturga, Mahr.; Kutur haki, Can.; Gandu Karnam, Tel.; Kotoruwa, Cing.; Kutur, Tamil (Ceylon).

A large naked space round the eye extending to the gape, lores almost entirely naked. Culmen much curved.

Coloration. Head and neck all round, with the breast, and sometimes the upper abdomen, brown, the feathers with narrow pale shaft-stripes, the pale shafts generally inconspicuous on the head, but becoming more and more distinct behind ; upper parts from neck bright green ; interscapulary feathers, seapulars, and upper wing-coverts more or less distinctly pale-shafted with small terminal whitish spots. Abdomen paler green than back; tail below washed with light verditer-blue; quills brown, with pale inner margins and the primaries narrowly pale-edged near the end.

Bill pale orange-brown; iris red-brown; bare orbital skin dull orange ; legs light yellowish brown (Jerdon).

Length 10.5; tail 3.2; wing 4.7; tarsus 1.25; bill from gape 1.8. Ceylon and Tranvancore birds run smaller, wing about 4.4.

Distribution. Almost throughout India and Ceylon. Common at the base of the Western Himalayas in the Dehra Dun and Rohilcund Terai, throughout the North-west Provinces and the wooded parts of Central India, Eastern Guzerat, the Central Provinces, and South-western Bengal, the forest-tracts between the Ganges and Godavari, some of the better wooded regions of the Madras Presidency, and near the Malabar coast; wanting in the Punjab and Sind, in Rajputana except around Mount Abu, in Lower Bengal, and, I believe, in the open parts of the Deccan and Carnatic. In Ceylon this Barbet inhabits most of the low country and the lower hills, except close to the sea-shore, or in dense damp forest.

As in so many other cases, the Southern bird from Ceylon and Travancore is rather smaller and darker. This is typical T. zeylonicus. The North Indian bird caniceps is larger and slightly paler. The intermediate form from the Bombay coast has been separated as inornata. I can discover no constant distinction: some freshly moulted northern forms are quite as dark in colour as Ceylonese, and in the British Museum collection there is a female Ceylon skin with the wing 4.6 long, and a female Allahabad specimen with the wing measuring 4.5, both being adult and thoroughly good specimens.

Habits, &c. Like other Indian Barbets, this species lives chiefly upon fruit and seeds, and especially on the figs of the banyan and other kinds of Ficus. It is said, however, occasionally though rarely to eat insects, and Layard has related how an individual, kept in captivity, killed and swallowed small birds (Munias), its fellow-captives. The best known characteristic of this Barbet is its loud dissyllabic call, which Jerdon represents as kutur, kotur kotur, preceded by a harsh sort of laugh; this call is heard from January or February till June. Each bird continues to call for some time, frequently even on moonlight nights. The flight is strong but heavy and somewhat undulating. In Northern India the breeding-season is chiefly in March and April; 3 or 4 eggs are laid in a hole hollowed by the bird itself in a tree. The eggs are dull white, slightly glossy, and measure about 1.21 by .88.

The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Blanford, William Thomas, ed. The Fauna of British India: Including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.3 1895.
Title in Book: 
1008. Thereiceryx zeylonicus
Book Author: 
William Thomas Blanford
Page No: 
Common name: 
Common Indian Green Barbet
Brown-headed Barbet
Megalaima zeylanica
Vol. 3

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