(990) Sturnornis senex.
The Ceylon "White-headed Myna.
Heterornis senex Temm., Bonaparte, Consp. Av., i, p. 419 (1851) (Bengal, in errore; Ceylon). Sturnornis senex. Blanf, & Oates, i, p. 534.
Vernacular names. Mayina(Cing.).
Description. Whole head white; nape and sides of neck dull black with white shafts to the feathers; remainder of upper plumage, wings and tail black, the first slightly, the others strongly, glossed with very dark green; the whole lower plumage rather dark lavender-grey with white shaft-stripes, boldest on the breast; under tail-coverts buffy-white ; axillaries and under wing-coverts white, slightly mottled with black.
Colours of soft parts. "Iris dull whitish, with a narrow brown inner circle; orbital skin and eyelid dull bluish; bill, gape and base plumbeous-blue, the apical half bluish-brown ; legs and feet bluish-plumbeous, claws bluish " (Legge).
Measurements. Total length about 230 mm.; wing 105 to 110 mm. ; tail 69 to 73 mm.; tarsus about 26 mm.; culmen about 20 to 21 mm.
Young birds have the whole crown black.
Nestling. " Forehead, head and hind neck concolorous and of a dull brown hue; a whitish superciliary stripe passes from the nostrils over the eye; the ear-coverts are sullied white, but the white of the throat seems to extend lower down and to change abruptly into the dark grey of the chest and "....." there are no white mesial stripes " (Legge).
Nidification. Mr. Lewis took two eggs of this bird in April from a hole in the stem of a tree, which had been laid on the bare wood with no semblance of a nest. They were pale blue in colour, in shape narrow pointed ovals and "they measured 1.01" x 0.79" " (Wait). Eggs sent me from Ceylon and supposed to be of this Myna are of the usual blue colour and could not be distinguished from large eggs of Sturnia m. malabarica.
Habits. This Starling is arboreal in its habits, haunting fruit-bearing trees in heavy forest in small flocks. Its diet seems to be mainly frugivorous, though it doutless eats a certain number of insects also. Its voice is said to be a soft chattering and its flight fairly quick and direct.