982. Sturnia malabarica malabarica

(982) Sturnia malabarica malabarica (Gmelin).
Sturnia malabarica malabarica, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 39.
This Myna is resident, and breeds, over a very wide area, practically the whole of India except North-West of a line drawn roughly from Mt. Abu to Dehra Dun. It has not been recorded as breeding South of Belgaum, though there is one specimen in the British Museum from as far South as Travancore, where the breeding race is blythi. East it extends as far as the Shan States, Yunnan and Cochin-China.
It breeds all over the plains and up to 7,000 feet in the hills, though it is rare above 4,000 feet. It occurs alike in open well- wooded country and in jungle and forest of almost any description, but very seldom in dense humid tree forest. In Assam its favourite haunts were clearings made for rice cultivation in forest, where it laid its eggs in holes in the trees, ringed and left standing until they rotted and fell. It was in such places that J. P. Mills obtained many nests in the Naga Hills and that I found most of those taken by me in the Cachar Hills.
It makes its nest, if such it can be called, in natural hollows in branches and trunks of trees, very rarely using the deserted nest-holes of Woodpeckers or Barbets. Generally they select natural hollows with a small entrance already suitable to their needs, but at other times they will enlarge an entrance and even, according to Cripps, sometimes hollow out a hole for themselves in a branch or trunk which has become sufficiently rotten for them to peck away bits with ease.
Cripps also relates how a pair of these Mynas “widened out” an old nest-hole of the Coppersmith. He says that “during all May and June I watched these birds pecking away at the rotten wood and throwing the bits out. They generally used to engage in this work during the heat of the day.”
They build at all heights from 5 to 30 feet from the ground but, more often, under than over 12 feet. Personally I have never seen anything worthy of the name of a nest, but Gammie describes one as “a shallow pad of fine twigs, with long strips of bark intermingled in the base of the structure and thinly lined with very fine grass stems. The nest was about 4 inches in diameter and less than 1.1/2 inches in height exteriorly, and interiorly the depression was perhaps half an inch deep.”
In the many cases in which I have seen young or eggs in the hole there has been nothing more than a pad or bed of leaves, grass and miscellaneous articles, just thrown in anyhow into the bottom of the nest, with no attempt to form them into any shape or to give a lining softer than the rest of the pad, except for a few small green leaves which are often placed on the top of the other materials and are sometimes renewed when they dry up.
Wherever found this Myna breeds in May, June and July and no one has found eggs in other months. At the same time they must occasionally lay in April quite early, as I have seen fully- fledged young in the latter half of May.
Full clutches of eggs number four to five and I have never seen three incubated.
In colour they are a pale blue-green, or sea-green as Hume calls it, decidedly deeper than in the eggs of the true Starlings (Sturnus), but not so deep as in the eggs of the Laughing-Thrushes.
In shape they vary from short, broad ovals to rather long, pointed ovals ; the texture is very fine and close, hard with a distinct gloss. Like all eggs of the Sturnidoe, they fade rather quickly if exposed.
Fifty eggs average 23.8 x 18.2 mm. : maxima 26.2 x 19.1 ram. ; minima 21.1 x 18.0 and 22.3 x 17.0 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
982. Sturnia malabarica malabarica
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Grey Headed Myna
Sturnia malabarica malabarica
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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