538. Sturnia malabarica.
The Grey-headed Myna.
Turdus malabaricus, Gm. Syst. Nat. i, p. 816 (1788). Sturnia malabarica (Gm.), Blyth, Cat. p. 110; Hume, Cat. no. 688; Oates, B. B. i, p. 387; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 256; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 372. Temenuchuns malabaricus (Gm.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 530; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 330 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 433; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 596. Poliopsar malaharicus (Gm.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 48.
Pawi, Hind.; Desi-pawi, Beng.: Pali-palisa, Tel.; Kat-halik, Assam.
Coloration. Forehead and the feathers over the eye whitish; the whole upper plumage dark grey, tinged with ferruginous on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; the shafts of the feathers of the head and neck whitish ; winglet, primary-coverts, and all the primaries black, the latter tipped with grey; remainder of the wing blackish; all the feathers tipped and edged on the outer web with grey, this edging becoming broader as the feathers approach the body; the middle pair of tail-feathers grey, the others brown at the base and tipped with dark ferruginous, the tippings increasing in extent exteriorly; cheeks and ear-coverts pale rufous grey ; chin, throat, and upper breast rufous grey, the feathers with white shafts; remainder of the lower plumage deep ferruginous, darkest on the under tail-coverts.
The above description applies to the bird when in new plumage; some time after the moult the feathers get worn down and the colours fade, the grey of the upper parts becoming brownish, and the deep rufous of the lower plumage fading to pale rufous.
Bill blue at base, green in the middle, and yellow at the tip; legs brownish yellow, claws greenish; iris light blue.
Length 8 ; tail 2.7 ; wing 4.1; tarsus .9 ; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. The whole Indian Empire east of a line drawn approximately from Dehra to Mount Abu. This species does not appear to be found universally distributed over the country, but to be local and confined to certain favourable tracts. It ascends the Himalayas in summer up to 4000 or 5000 feet. It is absent from Ceylon and the Andamans and Nicobars. It extends into Cochin China.
Habits, &c. Breeds in May and June in holes of forest trees. The eggs, from three to five, measure about .93 by .7.