(1830) Dendrophasa pompadora phayrei.
THE ASHY-HEADED GREEN PIGEON
Osmotreron phayrei Blyth, J. A. S. B., xxxi, p. 344 (1862) (Tounghoo); Blanf & Oates, iv, p„ 8,
Vernacular names. Daorep (Chachari); Inruigum (Naga) ; Vohpolip (Kuki); Chota Haitha (Assam) Chota Harial (Sylhet) ; Ngu (Burma); Chota Harial (Bengali).
Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having the whole nape and crown grey, the forehead alone tinged with yellowish-green; the sides of the head are darker and the chin and throat more green, less yellow; the feathers of the vent and the under tail-coverts are cinnamon, the former marked with yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris pink with an inner ring of pale blue; orbital skin bluish or pale slate-grey; bill bluish-white, the base somewhat darker and lower mandible still paler; legs lake-red, the hinder part paler, the scales showing whitish edges in old birds.
Measurements. Wing, 143 to 165 mm., 145 to 160 mm. Weight generally 4 to 5 ounces, in exceptional cases as much as 7 ounces.
Distribution. Lower Bengal South to Calcutta; North and Eastern Bengal to Assam ; the greater part of Burma as far South as Tenasserim and East to Cochin China.
Nidification. This little Pigeon breeds in immense numbers in Assam from early in March to the end of June, a few birds having second nests in July and August. In Burma March and April seem to be the principal months for eggs, whilst in Bengal the few records available show that it breeds after the rains break in July. It may be found from the plains up to 4,000 feet and, very rarely, up to 5,000 feet but is most common below 3,000 feet. The nests are the flimsiest constructions, put together by both birds working in concert in three to five days. The male seems to do all the collecting whilst the female does the actual building. The nests may be placed in bamboo clumps, bushes, saplings or even big trees but these are always in forest or jungle of some kind, secondary growth in deserted cultivation being a very favourite site. Whilst the hen sits, the cock bird spends much of his time on a branch close by, whistling to her and sometimes giving a little crooning coo much like the lowest notes of a dove. Two eggs are always laid and two hundred of these average 27.5 x 21.8 mm.: maxima 30.5 X 22.2 and 30.1 x 24.1 mm.; minima 25.9 x 22.2 and 27.4 x 20.3 mm.
Habits. Similar to those of the preceding bird. This Green Pigeon is the most numerous of all pigeons in Assam and forms the bulk of those shot in the pigeon-shoots in that province, as many as three hundred being sometimes shot in a day. They are most excellent birds for the table, so that not a bird shot is wasted. Like other Green Pigeons they sleep during the great heat of the day, feeding from daybreak to about 11 A.M. and again from about 3.30 P.M. until dusk, when the flocks wend their way back to their usual roosting-place. When drinking, which Green Pigeons seem to do regularly morning and evening, they prefer such forest streams and pools as have growth all round them, which they can clamber down and so drink from the surface of the water. Most flocks of these pigeons number only one to three dozen, but I have seen others of fully three hundred. They have the usual soft whistle of the genus and are entirely frugivorous, swallowing with ease small fici and other berries nearly as large as their own heads.