(2204) Pseudibis papillosus.
The Indian Black Ibis.
Ibis papillosus Temm., Pl. Col., pi. 304 (1824) (India). Inocotis papillosus. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 362.
Vernacular names. Baza, Kala Baza, Karan-kal (Hind.); Nella kankanum (Tel.) ; Kala-akohi-bog (Assam).
Description. Neck, mantle, lower back, rump and lower plumage brown, the scapulars and back with a bronze-green gloss; tail black, richly glossed with blue-green; a patch of white on the inner lesser wing-coverts; remainder of wing black, glossed richly with deep blue or purple-blue.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dull to bright orange-red; bill plumbeous-green or dull green ; naked skin of head black, a mass of brilliant red papilla covering the skin from a point above the forehead and cut off square at the back of the nape; legs and feet brick-red.
Measurements. Wing 365 to 400 mm.: tail 165 to 194 mm.: tarsus about 75 to 85 mm.: culmen 138 to 158 mm.
Young birds have no papillae but have that portion of the crown and also the head and throat covered with dull brown feathers, the wings and tail are glossless brown and the feathers of the upper parts have rufescent margins.
Distribution. The plains of Northern India, South to Mysore, except on the Western coast. It is said not to occur in Bengal and Assam but Godwin-Austin obtained it in Mymensingh, whilst I knew of a pair in Dacca and obtained one specimen in Sylhet. Blyth also records it as having occurred in Arrakan.
Nidification. The Black Ibis breeds all over India and at almost all times. In Bombay Davidson found it breeding in May and again from November to January; through most of Northern India eggs have been taken in every month from March to December but most birds lay either in April and May or after the rains commence from July to September. Unlike other Ibises they do not breed in colonies or with other birds, though rarely one or two to four nests may be found in the same tree, whilst in Sind they are said to breed in colonies of some size. Occasionally they make use of old nests of Vultures. They lay from two to four eggs, the latter exceptional, which are dull pale blue in colour, sometimes immaculate but generally with a few blotches and splashes of light brown. Fifty-six eggs average 63.0 x 43.8 mm.: maxima 70.3 x 44.2 and 65.4 x 49.9 mm.; minima 56.0 x 43.0 and 63.5 x 38.0 mm.
Habits. The Black Ibis is found more often in open dry cultivation than in marshy land, though it sometimes visits the -latter and hunts for frogs. It very seldom wades and fish do not form any part of its diet which is principally insectivorous, though it will also eat most kinds of ripe grain and it has been known to kill and devour small snakes. During the breeding-season it utters a harsh, loud croak but, like the rest of the family, it is a very silent bird; Bell likens its call to that of " a bird-of-prey, a screaming two- or three-note cry."