500. Pericrocotus peregrinus.
The Small Minivet.
Parus peregrinus, Linn. Syst, Nat. i, p. 342 (1766). Parus malabaricus, Gm, Syst. Nat. i, p. 1012 (1788); Hume, S. F. v, p. 182. Phoenicornis peregrina (Linn.), Gould, Cent. pl. 9. Pericrocotus peregrinus (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 193; Horsf. 8; M. Cat. i, p. 140; Jerd. B. I, i, p. 423; Hume, N. & F. p. 184; Hume, S. F. i, p. 177, iii, p. 96; Sharpe, S. F. iv, p. 209; Hume, S. F. v, p. 179; id. Cat. no. 276; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 366; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 76; Oates, B. B. i, p. 245; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 152 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 339.
Bulal-chasm, Hind.; Sath-sayili, Chota sath saki kapi, Beng.; Kunkum-pu-jitta, Tel.; Batugene Kurula, Kos-kurula, Ceyl.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, crown, nape, hind neck, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts pale to dark grey according to locality; rump and upper tail-coverts pale to deep scarlet; the two middle pairs of tail-feathers blackish, the others blackish with a gradually increasing red tip; chin, throat, fore neck, and sides of the head from dusky grey to black; breast scarlet; remainder of lower plumage varying from saffron to orange; wings brown to black, the first four or five primaries plain, the others and the secondaries with a median patch varying from pale red to scarlet.
Female. The grey of the upper parts is paler than in the male from the same locality; the sides of the head and the whole lower plumage white, more or less tinged with pale yellow; wing brown, with the wing-spot varying from yellow to pale orange; tail much as in the male.
Bill black; inside of mouth flesh-colour; legs, toes, and claws black.
Length about 6; tail 3; wing 2.65; tarsus .6; bill from gape .6.
The variations of colour in this species are very great, but are always a matter of degree and not of kind, and are correlated with the amount of rainfall. Specimens from the arid parts of Sind are the palest, and those from Southern India and the humid parts of Burma the darkest.
Distribution. Every part of India, except the extreme northwestern portion of the Punjab, from Sind to Bengal, and from the foot of the Himalayas to Cape Comorin; Ceylon; the Andamans; Assam and the whole country to the east of the Bay of Bengal down to Tenasserim, where this species becomes rare or entirely disappears. It does not ascend the Himalayas nor any of the higher hill-ranges of Southern India.
It extends into Siam and Cochin China, is not yet known to occur in the Malay peninsula, but reappears in some of the larger islands such as Java and Borneo.
Habits, &c. Breeds from June to October, constructing a very similar nest to that of P. roseus, but very much smaller, on high branches of trees, and laying, as a rule, three eggs, which are greenish white marked with brownish red, and measure about .67 by .53.