Genus PERICROCOTUS

The genus Pericrocotus contains an assemblage of species, the majority of which are of very brilliant plumage, scarlet and yellow being the predominant colours. They are found only in India and Eastern Asia.

The birds of this genus are remarkable for the stiffened shafts of the feathers of the rump. This character is shared by the next two genera. In the larger species these stiffened shafts can easily be felt by the fingers, but in the smaller species the rigidity of the shafts is ascertained with difficulty although always present.

Some of the Minivets are migratory, but their migrations appear to be of limited extent, with the exception of two or three species which wander according to season from China, and even Japan, down to Singapore and the Islands.

In Pericrocotus the bill is half the Length of the head, strong, hooked and notched; the nostrils are concealed by plumes ; the wing is long and pointed, the tail greatly graduated, and the feet weak. In all the species the sexes are very differently coloured except in two, in which the colours are very dull and the difference between the sexes comparatively trivial.

The young bird resembles the female in general distribution of colours, but the whole upper plumage is barred with white, each bar being preceded by a black or brown line.

The Minivets are strictly arboreal, going about in small flocks and searching the leaves and branches of trees for insects.

Key to the Species.

a. Tail black and red ; upper tail-coverts red.
a1. Crown and back glossy black.
a2. Tertiaries with isolated red oval drops.
a3. First two primaries entirely black.
a4. Tail exceeding 4 inches………………P. speciosus p. 479.
b4. Tail not exceeding 3.5 inches………………P. fraterculus p. 481.
b3. First three primaries entirely black.
c4. Middle pair of tail-feathers en¬tirely or nearly entirely, black………………P. andamanensis p. 481.
d4. Middle pair of tail-feathers with the outer webs red………………P. flammifer p. 482.
c3. First four primaries entirely black. P. flammeus………………p. 482.
b2. Tertiaries with no isolated red oval drops.
d3. Under wing-coverts and axillaries crimson.
e4. Tail about 4 inches; black of throat and red of breast meeting in a straight line………………P. brevirostris p. 483.
f4. Tail about 3.5 inches; black of throat encroaching on red of breast in a rounded form ………………P. neglectus p. 484.
e3. Under wing-coverts and axillaries yellow………………P. igneus p. 484.
b1. Crown and back ashy or grey; never black.
c2. Wing considerably over 3 inches.
f3. Lower plumage bright,scarlet………………P. Solaris p. 485.
g3. Lower plumage rosy red………………P. roseus p. 486.
d2. Wing not exceeding 3 inches.
h3. Lower plumage variegated; throat grey to black; breast scarlet………………P. peregrinus p. 487.
i3 Lower plumage entirely of one colour.
g4. Lower plumage pale yellow………………P. peregrinus p. 487.
h4. Lower plumage bright yellow………………P. igneus p. 484.
b. Tail black and yellow ; upper tail-coverts yellow.
c1. Tertiaries with isolated yellow oval drops.
e2. First three primaries plain.
k3. Tail exceeding inches………………P. speciosus P. 479.
l3. Tail not exceeding 3.5 inches………………P. fraterculus p. 481.
f2 First four primaries plain.
m3. Forehead and lower plumage orange-yellow.
i4. Tail about 3.6 inches………………P. andamanensis p. 481.
k4. Tail about 3.1 inches………………P. flammifer p. 482.
n3. Forehead and lower plumage pure yellow………………P. flammeus p. 482.
d1. Tertiaries with no isolated yellow oval drops.
g2. Crown of head not concolorous with lower back………………P. Solaris p. 485.
h2. Crown of head concolorous with back.
o3. Rump and upper tail-coverts pure deep yellow.
l4. Tail about 4 inches………………P. brevirostris , p. 483.
m4. Tail about 3'5 inches………………P. neglectus p. 484.
p3. Rump and upper tail-coverts olive-yellow margined with yellow………………P. roseus p. 486.
c. Tail black and white; upper tail-coverts grey, brown, or black.
e1. Rump red, or white marked with red.
i2. Dark parts of upper plumage glossy black.
q3. Forehead and chin black………………P. erythropygius p. 488.
r3. Forehead and chin white………………P. albifrons p. 489.
k2. Dark parts of upper plumage smoky brown.
s3. Rump uniformly orange-red………………P. erythropygius , p. 488
t3. Rump white with a few red streaks ………………P. albifrons p. 489.
f1. Rump without a trace of red.
l2. Back and rump the same colour………………P. cinereus, p. 489.
m2. Rump conspicuously paler than back………………P. cantonensis, p. 490.

The males and females of the first five species are characterized by the presence of oval drops on the tertiaries.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
Genus PERICROCOTUS
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1889
Page No: 
478
M_ID: 
18666
M_SN: 
Pericrocotus
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
670

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