1117. Surniculus lugubris.
The Drongo Cuckoo.
Cuculus lugubris, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 179 (1821). Pseudornis dicruroides, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. viii, p. 136 (1839). Cuculus dicruroides, Jerdon, Madr. Jour. X. S. xi, p. 221 (1840) ; Blyth, J. A. S. B. xi, p. 915; xii, p. 244; Layard, A. M. N. H. (2) xiii, p. 453. Surniculus dicruroides, Blyth, Cat. p. 72; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii. p. 696; Jerdon, B. 1. i, p. 336; Holdsworth, P. Z. S. 1872, p. 431; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xlvii, pt. 2, p. 14. Surniculus lugubris, Blyth, Cat. p. 72 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 695; Blyth & Wald. Birds Burm. p. 80; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, pp. 159, 502; Anders. Yunnan Exped. Aves, p. 587; Ball, S. F. vii, p. 207; Hume, Cat. no. 210; id. S. F. ix, p. 248: xi, p. 74; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 243; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 128; Oates, B. B. ii, p. 112; Salvadori, Ann. Mus. Civ. Gen. (2) vii, p. 380; Shelley, Cat. B. M. xix, p. 227.
Coloration. Black throughout, with a changeable green and purple gloss, brightest above; usually, but not always, there are two or three white feathers on the nape, not unfrequently a few white spots remain on the upper tail-coverts ; there is always a white spot on the inner web of the first primary and an oblique band formed by patches on the inner webs of the other quills; part of the thigh-coverts and markings on the lower tail-coverts are white, and there are white bars, generally imperfect, on the outermost tail-feathers and a few spots on the next pair.
In the young there is less gloss on the feathers, and small terminal white spots are irregularly dispersed over the plumage; the white markings are more developed on the tail-feathers, and the under wing-coverts are partly white.
Bill black; iris brown; legs plumbeous; claws blackish (Oates).
Length about 10 ; tail 5.25; wing 5.5 ; tarsus .65 ; bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. Apparently very rare in the Peninsula of India, having been observed only near Raipur, on the Godavari below Sironcha, and perhaps at another locality in the Southern Central Provinces (Jerdon's locality in "Central India"), also in the Wynaad and Malabar coast-land. This bird is more common in Ceylon, but is locally distributed. It is found at low elevations in the Himalayas as far west as Nipal, and from the Eastern Himalayas throughout Assam, Burma, and other countries east of the Bay of Bengal to Borneo and Java. Probably it is more widely distributed in India, but its extraordinary resemblance to a King-Crow causes it to be overlooked.
Habits, &c. According to Legge, this is a tame, quiet bird, with a straight flight, and a remarkably human whistle of six ascending notes, as if some one were practising a musical scale. Its food consists of caterpillars and beetles with various seeds. It is supposed to deposit its eggs in the nests of Dicruri; and Davison has seen two King-Crows feeding a young Surniculus.