10. Pica rustica.
Corvus pica, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 157 (1766). Corvus rusticus, Scop. Ann. i, p. 33 (1708). Pica media, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xiii, p. 393 (1844); id. Cat. p. 91; Horsf. &M. Cat. ii, p. 551. Pica caudata (Bay), Blyth, Cat. p. 91; Horsf. 8r M. Cat. ii, p. 550. Pica tibetana, Hodgs. A. M. N. H. (2) iii, p. 203 (1849). Pica bactriana, Bonap. Consp. i, p. 383 (1850); Horsf M. Cat. ii, p. 550 ; Hume & Henders. Lah. to York. p. 240 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 416; Scully, S. F. iv, p. 158. Pica leucoptera, Gould, Birds Asia, v, pi. 55 (1862). Pica pica (Linn.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 62. Pica rustica (Scop.), Hume, S. F. vii, p. 407; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 590; Hume, Cat. no. 668 bis; Biddulph, Ibis, 1881, p. 78; Scully, Ibis, 1881, p. 572; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 13. Akha, Cabul.
Coloration. The entire head and neck, the upper plumage, breast, thighs, vent, and under tail-coverts black, the rump with a whitish or greyish band across ; scapulars, abdomen, and the greater portion of the primaries white ; wings brilliantly glossed with blue, and the tail with green, lilac and purple.
Bill and legs black ; iris dark brown.
Length about 20 ; tail up to 12.5; wing 7.5 to 8.5 ; tarsus 1.8 to 2 ; bill at front 1.3.
With the exception of the amount of white on the primaries I cannot find that the Magpies of Asia differ in any respect from those of Europe. The amount of white is very variable and forms no character, in my opinion, by which two or more species may be recognized.
Distribution. The Magpie is a permanent resident over a considerable portion of Kashmir, coming down in winter to 5000 feet and ascending in summer to about 8000 feet. It occurs, so far as is known, in no other part of the Himalayas, but it reappears within our limits around Khelat in Baluchistan and also at Bhamo in Upper Burma, where both Anderson and my collector procured it in the cold weather.
This species is spread over a considerable portion of the Northern hemisphere.
Habits, &c. The Magpie is found in well-wooded parts of the country and near cultivation, and is said by Biddulph to be at all times common in Kashmir. He found two nests in May in that country. The nest is a large domed structure of sticks built in a tree or bush, and the eggs, usually five in number, are greenish marked with umber and sepia-brown and measure 1.25 by .97.