(1879) Streptopelia decaocto decaocto.
THE INDIAN SING-DOVE.
Columba risoria decaocto Frivalszky, A. M. Tarsasag Evk., p. 183 (1838) (Turkei). Turtur risorius. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 46 (part.).
Vernacular names. Dhor fakhta, Perki, Panduk, Gugi (Hind.) ; Dado, Doula (Hind., Bihar); Kalthak, Kakalaki Pankghughu (Beng.); Pitha hola (Mahr.); Pedda-bella-guwa (Tel.); Cally-Praa (Tamil, Ceylon); Daota gopha (Cachari); Jungli Kapoth (Beluchi); Paktah (Turki); Set~kepu (Assam); Ghero (Sind).
Description. Whole head and neck lilac-grey ; the throat paler and the chin sometimes albescent; in some birds the forehead and sides of the head are paler than the crown; a narrow collar of white, succeeded by a broader band of black, the latter more or less tipped white, forming a third band of white ; wing-coverts and upper parts vary from pale earthy- to fawn-brown; central tail-feathers brown, more or less suffused with ashy-grey; succeeding pair of feathers more grey and with narrow white tips, outermost pair of feathers black at the base, white on the terminal portions, intermediate feathers grading from one to the other; primaries dark brown, edged pale whitish-brown; secondaries more grey, finely edged with whitish; outer wing-coverts pale grey, gradually changing into the colour of the back; breast lilac like the head, gradually changing to pale dove-grey on the abdomen and again to darker French-grey on the under tail-coverts : flanks, axillaries and under wing-coverts silver-grey ; under aspect of primaries light brown and of secondaries greyish-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris lake-red, red or crimson ; bill almost black; edge of eyelid red ; narrow orbital skin round eye white, pale livid or pale slaty-grey, never yellow ; legs dark pinkish-red, crimson-red or dull purple ; claws black.
Measurements. Total length 320 to 340 mm.; wing 158 to 169 mm.; tail 117 to 140 mm.; tarsus about 23 to 26 mm.; culmen about 16 to 18 mm.
Young birds are browner and duller, the wing-coverts edged with pale sandy-brown and the breast narrowly barred.
Nestlings in down are pale yellowish-white.
Distribution. Throughout India and Ceylon except in the wettest areas such as the Malabar coast and North-Eastern Himalayas. Outside India it occurs throughout Eastern Europe to Turkey and Serbia; Western Asia everywhere to India and thence through China to Japan.
Nidification. The Indian Ring-Dove breeds throughout the year in the plains and lower hills but in Eastern Bengal few birds lay during the heaviest rains in July, August and September. In the hills they lay from April to. September. The nest is of the usual rough description but rather better made and a little more cup-shaped than that of some Doves. It may be placed low down in any kind of bush or tree, either in open country, scrub-jungle, round villages or in gardens but never in buildings, though, in Turkestan, Scully says it builds on the tops of walls. Sixty eggs average 30.1 x 23.2 mm.: maxima 32.2 X 23.9 and 32.1 x 25.0 mm.; minima 27.8 x 21.8 mm. This Dove breeds up to 8,000 feet in the Himalayas.
Habits. The Indian Ring-Dove is a resident bird, frequenting open country, tolerant of great heat and sandy deserts but less tolerant of heavy forest and excessive rainfall. Like the Brown Dove and Spotted Dove, it haunts the vicinity of humanity and is most common in cultivated country round villages and towns, freely entering gardens. It is a resident bird with but few even local movements and is very sociable, several pairs often feeding in company. They feed almost entirely on the ground on seeds, grain and berries but also on trees when these have fruit ripe. Their note is trisyllabic " coo " sounding like " koo koo-koo," constantly repeated.