1126. Phoenicophaes pyrrhocephalus.
The Red-faced Malkoha.
Cuculus pyrrhocephalus, Forster, Ind. Zool. p. 16, pl. vi (1781). Phoenicophaeus pyrrhocephalus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 927 ; id. Cat. p. 75; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xiii, p. 453; Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 433 ; Legge, S. F. i, p. 346. Phoenicophaes pyrrhocephalus, Walden, Tr. Z. S. viii, p. 52, fig. 8; Sharpe, P. Z. S. 1873, p. 605, fig. 11; Hume, Cat. no. 216 bis; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 255, pl. xii; Parker, Ibis, 1886, p. 184; Shelley, Cat. B. M. xix, p. 395.
Mal-kaendetta, Warreliya, Cingalese. (The first-named appears to have been the origin of the term Malkoha, quoted by Forster, and applied to several Ground-Cuckoos by European ornithologists.)
Coloration. Crown, hind neck, and sides of neck black, with a greenish gloss, narrowly streaked with white; rest of upper parts metallic bluish green-; quills more blue; tail-feathers with long white tips, longest on the outer rectrices; chin and cheeks white with black shaft-marks ; throat and fore-neck glossy black; rest of lower parts white.
Bill apple-green; irides brown in males, white in females ; whole sides of face crimson; legs and feet bluish slate (Legge).
Length about 18; tail 11; wing 6.25; tarsus 1.4; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. Peculiar to Ceylon, found in the forests of the lower tracts almost throughout the island.
Habits, &c. According to Legge this is a shy bird, generally keeping to forests with much undergrowth. It is often seen in small flocks. As a rule it is silent, but at times utters a low monosyllabic call when flying about. It lives chiefly on fruit, but occasionally eats small insects, and its flesh is said to be well-flavoured.