(1877) Streptopelia senegalensis cambaiensis.
THE INDIAN LITTLE BROWN DOVE.
Columba cambaiensis Gmelin, Syst. Nat.,i, p. 779 (1789) (Cambaya). Turtur cambayensis. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 45 (part.).
Vernacular names. Chota Fakhta, Perki, Tortra Fakhta, Panduk (Hind.); Chitti-bella guwa, Sowata guwa (Tel.); Touta pora (Tam.).
Description. Whole head and neck a beautiful lilac-pink, darker on the crown and forehead, paler on the chin and throat; a patch of black feathers on either side of the neck, meeting in a narrow gorget below the throat, each feather bifurcate and broadly tipped bright rufous ; back, scapulars and adjoining lesser and median coverts, innermost secondaries, rump, upper tail-coverts and central rectrices pale earthy-brown, sometimes tinged rufous; two pairs of tail-feathers next the central ones greyish-brown with small white tips, the remaining feathers black at the base., white on the terminal halves, the white extending down the outer edge of the outermost pairs; remaining wing-coverts grey-brown., the greater edged paler; edge of wing and winglet blackish-brown, three or four of the outer narrowly edged pale grey ; secondaries dark slaty-brown, the first few edged paler; breast chestnut,, shading to vinous-pink and thence into white on the abdomen and under tail-coverts ; axillaries, under wing-coverts and flanks grey.
Colours of soft parts. Iris, outer ring dark brown, inner ring white; bill dark horny-brown to blackish ; legs and feet lake-pink, pale scarlet or deep flesh-colour ; claws black.
Measurements. Total length about 250 to 260 mm.; wing 120 to 132 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 21 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
Young birds have no black gorget, the plumage generally is duller and browner and the feathers of the upper parts and wing-coverts are edged with rufous; the breast is duller and less pink.
Nestlings in down are dull yellowish-fawn.
Distribution. A1J India West of a line drawn from Calcutta, West of the Rivers Hugh, Ganges and Kosi. In Sind, Baluchistan and the North-West Frontier it meets S. s. ermanni and, though here many birds are indeterminate, the majority are large and pale and should be placed under that race. Bourdillon found it on the Malabar coast in the extreme South and it has occurred in the Andamans but not in Ceylon.
Nidification. In the Plains the little Brown Dove breeds throughout the year, most eggs being laid in February to April or September to November; whilst in the hills it breeds continuously from April to October. It has normally two or three broods each year and many birds have five or six. The nest is placed on any tree, bush, bramble, cane-brake, bamboo-clump or cactus-hedge. Often it is placed in the verandahs of houses or on walls and under eaves, whilst twice it has been found on the bare ground. The site selected is anywhere except in forest but the birds prefer the vicinity of villages and human habitations. The eggs are long and elliptical and sixty average 25.3 x 19.3 mm.: maxima 27.2 x 20.0 and 26.7 x 20.9 mm.; minima 22.6 x 18.2 and 28.0 x 18.0 mm.
Habits. This pretty little Dove is a resident bird, only moving locally under pressure of food-conditions or vertically according to seasons. It is typically a bird of civilization, exceedingly common all round villages and towns and one of the tamest and most confidential of our Indian birds. It has a very sweet, rippling little "coo" but is a quarrelsome bad-tempered bird,even with its own kind. It feeds principally on the ground, on seeds, grain, fruit and buds and it runs with rapidity and ease.