991. Temenuchus pagodarum

(991) Temenuchus pagodarum (Gmel.).
THE BLACK-HEADED MYNA.
Temenuchus pagodarum, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 47.
There is nothing to add to the distribution of this handsome little Myna as given in the ‘Fauna’ :—“The whole of India from Ceylon to the Himalayas up to 4,000 or 5,000 feet and up to 8,000 feet in Afghanistan and Gilgit. To the East it is a straggler into Eastern Bengal and Assam and I have seen it both in Dacca and Gowhati.” To the West it is not very rare in Sind, where Ticehurst saw a good many birds breeding in old nest-holes of the Sind Pied. Woodpecker.
This little Myna is found everywhere except in the wettest forests and the most arid plains. It haunts towns, buildings and villages, open and cultivated country and, less often, thin forest.
Usually it makes its nest, such as it is, in holes in trees, which may be natural hollows or the old nesting-holes of Woodpeckers and Barbets. These may be at any height from the ground between 5 and 25 feet and even up to 40 feet, though such nests are exceptional. In different areas it seems to choose different trees. In Hansie Mr. W. Blewitt says that it selects “shishum, peepul, neem and siriss trees on the banks of the Hissar Canal. The holes were from 12 to 15 feet from the ground.” Prom Delhi, however, Mr. P. R. Blewitt writes to say that they choose holes “in mango, tamarind and high-growing jamun trees.”
In Behar, where the birds are very common, they seem to breed in any kind of tree and sometimes also resort to old factory walls and buildings, building in holes caused by bricks or stones falling out. Elsewhere, also, they have been recorded as making their nests in buildings.
Jerdon says that in Madras they normally breed in “large buildings, pagodas, houses etc.” Butler found them breeding in the roofs of houses, under the tiles, at Belgaum, on one occasion three pairs of birds all breeding in the roof of the same house. Aitken found two pairs breeding in holes in the wall of the Medical College, Madras.
The nest is much the same as that of the Mynas of the genus Sturnia but feathers often form part of the scanty materials at the bottom of the hole, and green leaves are never used as a lining.
The breeding season is from early May to the end of August but most eggs are undoubtedly laid between the 15th June and. 15th July, after the first break of the rains, though many birds have two and a few have three broods in the season.
The eggs number three to five, generally four. They are pale blue in colour, paler than the eggs of Sturnia, but otherwise very like them in shape, texture, gloss etc.
One hundred eggs average 24.6 x 19.0 mm. : maxima 29.2 length and 20.3 mm. breadth (Hume) ; minima 21.3 length and 16.8 mm. breadth (Hume). I have seen no eggs nearly as big as Hume’s maxima, but I have an egg measuring only 20.6 x 17.3 mm. and another 24.0 x 16.6 mm.
Both parents assist in making the nest and both incubate. Incubation is said to take fourteen days, but have never been, able to confirm this.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
991. Temenuchus pagodarum
Spp Author: 
Gmel.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
991
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
522
Common name: 
Black Headed Myna
M_ID: 
26831
M_CN: 
Brahminy Starling
M_SN: 
Sturnia pagodarum
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
14080

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