(1834) Dendrophasa bicincta bicincta.
THE INDIAN ORANGE-BREASTED GREEN PIGEON.
Vinago bicincta Jerdon, Madr. J. L. S., p. 13 (1840) (Madras). Osmotreron bicincta. Blanf. & Oates, iv, p. 11 (part.).
Vernacular names. Chitta-putsa-guwa (Tel.) ; Harial (Hind.); Haitha (Assam).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, lores and crown to the eye dull yellowish-green changing to blue-grey on the nape, hind-neck and upper back and then again into brownish-green on the back, scapulars, rump, upper tail-coverts and smaller wing-coverts; these last are rather less and the upper tail-coverts rather more brown than the other parts; tail dark ashy-grey with a broad terminal band of pale grey and a dark, almost black, subterminal band, narrowest and least defined on the central feathers and broadening outwardly; median wing-coverts green with broad yellow borders to the outermost; greater coverts black with broad yellow edges; primaries and outer secondaries black, the former narrowly, the latter broadly edged with yellow; the inner secondaries more green, the innermost almost the same as the back; chin, throat and fore-neck green, the centre of the chin and throat yellow; a broad band of lilac across the breast, followed by a second broader band of deep orange; lower breast pale yellowish-green, becoming bright yellow on the abdomen; tibial plumes yellow, splashed with dark green and grey; under tail-coverts cinnamon, the outer and longest edged with pale yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris with two rings, the inner ring bright ultramarine to deep blue, the outer pink to crimson; bill pale blue or pale green, the basal half darker and brighter; legs and feet coral-red to deep crimson-red, the soles paler and the claws horny-brown; eyelids and orbital skin bright lavender-blue.
Measurements. Total length about 280 to 300 mm.; wing 153 to 164 mm. (once 170 mm.); tail 91 to 110 mm.; tarsus about 23 to 25 mm.; culmen about 12 to 13 mm.
Female. Has no lilac and orange bands across the breast; the blue-grey of the upper parts is duller and less in extent; the under tail-coverts are pale dull cinnamon, much mottled with greenish on the inner webs ; the colours of the soft parts are the same but duller than in the male.
Young birds are like the female but duller and darker. The iris is pale watery-brown.
Distribution. The Malabar Coast, perhaps excluding the South of Travancore, whence the birds are very small and nearer leggei; Bombay Presidency; Northern India from the United Provinces along the Terai through the foot-hills and adjoining plains to Eastern Assam, North of the Brahmapootra; Bengal and Behar but replaced in the extreme East—i. e., Assam, South of the Brahmapootra, Commilla and Chittagong—by praetermissa. I obtained it in Chota Nag-pur, where, however, it must be very rare and probably only a "Winter visitor and it is more common in Manbhum, Puralia and adjoining Eastern districts.
Nidification. There is practically nothing on record about the breeding of this race of Orange-breasted Green Pigeon. Blyth once took a nest with two eggs in the Botanical Gardens, Calcutta; Hodgson says it breeds in Nepal from April to July, whilst Coltart and I took numerous nests in Upper Assam. In the latter district the birds build in bamboo clumps, high bushes and small trees either in forests or on the outskirts of these and only rarely in the open country. The nests are of the usual type and the eggs, two in number, like those of the rest of the family. The only ten eggs I have measured average 28.6 x 23.0 mm.: maxima 30.2 x 23.9 mm.; minima 27.7 x 21.0 mm.
The breeding-season lasts from the end of March to August and many birds have two broods.
Habits. This Green Pigeon is essentially a bird of forest-country where there is a heavy rainfall and, as Hume points out, is never found in the more dry and arid districts. It is usually found in rather small flocks of half-a-dozen to twenty birds and I have never seen it in the huge flocks some of the Green Pigeons affect. Odd birds or pairs are often met with and at other times one or two will mingle with flocks of other species. Like all other Green Pigeons they are practically entirely frugivorous, their one unusual item of diet being termites. Voice and flight are indistinguishable from those of other birds of the genus.