1123. Rhopodytes tristis.
The Large Green-billed Malkoha.
Melias tristis, Less. Traite d'Ornith. p. 132 (1831); id. Voy. Belanger, Zool. p. 231, Ois. pl. i. Phoenicophaeus longicaudatus, Blyth, J. A. S. B. x, p. 923 (1841); xi, p. 1095; xii, p. 246., Zanclostomus tristis, Blyth, Cat. p. 76; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 691; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 345; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. 2, p. 98; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 81. Rhopodytes tristis, Cab. & Heine, Mus. Hein. iv, p. 64 ; Oates Hume, S. F. v, p. 144; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 162; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 207 ; Hume, Cat. no. 215; id. S. F. xi, p. 77; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 258; Bingham, S. F. ix, p. 168; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 121;
Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) iv, p. 582; v, p. 569; vii,
p. 381; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 397 ; Shelley, Cat.
B. M. xix, p. 386.
Ban-kokil, Beng.; Sanku, Lepcha; Bamura, Assam; Wapalai, Burmese.
Coloration. Some black bristles scattered over the forehead and chin and around the gape; lores black, a band above the lores and naked orbital area black and white mixed; head and neck above ashy grey, with a greenish wash, which passes on the back into glossy green; wings and tail black, richly glossed with green both above and below; some blue gloss on the quills; tail-feathers broadly tipped with white; chin and cheeks whitish, feathers black-shafted, passing into colour of throat, which is pale brownish ashy, becoming darker on the breast and passing into dark ashy on the abdomen.
Bill pale green, tinged at gape and about base with red; irides brown or reddish brown ; orbital skin dull dark to bright crimson ; legs and feet dark greenish plumbeous (Davison).
Length about 23; tail about 15; wing 6.5 ; tarsus 1.6 ; bill from gape 1.6.
Distribution. The outer Himalayas below about 8000 ft. elevation as far west as Kumaun ; also Bengal and, according to Jerdon, Chutia Nagpur and the Northern Circars (this needs confirmation); common in Assam, the hill-tracts to the southward, throughout Burma, except to the extreme south of Tenasserim, and in Siam, Cambodia, and Cochin China.
Habits, &c. This bird, like others of the genus, keeps singly or in pairs to thick scrub, and is but rarely seen on the wing; its flight is slow and heavy, and when flushed it escapes into bush or forest as quickly as it can, and makes its way with great rapidity through dense cover. It feeds on the ground upon insects of all kinds. It has a low clucking note, called by Davison a cat-like chuckle. It. breeds in Sikhim. about May, in Burma from March till July; the nest is a loose platform of twigs, with two or three white chalky eggs, measuring about 1.46 to 1.05.