1826. Croeopus phoenicopterus phoenicopterus

(1826) Crocopus phoenieopterus phoenieopterus (Lath.).
THE BENGAL GREEN PIGEON.
Crocopus phoenieopterus phoenieopterus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. v. p. 181.
This very lovely bird is found all along the lower hills and base of the Himalayas from Oudh and the Jumna River to Eastern Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra. In the Punjab it is rare and it is not common even in the drier parts of the United Provinces. South it is a straggler as far as Central India and Orissa and is extremely common in Bengal and Bihar. Like all the Green Pigeons, it is a bird of well wooded areas, hut it is found alike in deep evergreen forest up to 2,000 feet, the dense tangles of undergrowth and tree-jungle all along the Terai and, again, in cultivated lands, the vicinity of villages and towns and even in gardens and parks.
Exceptionally it is found up to 4,000 feet in the hills, and I have seen it at this elevation in the Khasia Hills, while it has been noticed at similar heights in the Darjiling district.
The nest is a typical Pigeon’s nest of small twigs forming a flat platform about 6 to 8 inches across and 1 to 2 deep. The twigs are placed criss-cross and the whole fabric looks as if a breath of wind would hurl it to the ground. They are, however, a good deal stronger than they look and, in spite of the exposed positions in which they are often built, stand a good deal of wind and shaking before they come to grief. Generally the nests are placed in small trees and saplings at no great height from the ground, but this is not always the case, and it sometimes makes its home in very large trees, such as Mango-trees, both solitary and in groves. Hume, Cock, Marshall, Inglis and Coltart have all taken eggs from nests built in Mango-trees, and they have also been known to breed in Jack, Tamarind, Mulberry and Banyan.
Cock, writing from Seetapore, says the nest is “frequently placed on an excrescence, or where some parasitic plant shoots out and thickens the foliage, so as to render the bird more difficult to be seen,” while McMartin, writing from Chikalda, describes just the contrary. He remarks that the nest is “placed haphazard at the end of a branch, but from this cause it is exceedingly well concealed, as the bough selected always appears to be a bare one, on which the dry twigs do not attract attention.” The sitting bird, however, would bo very conspicuous, and though both Cock and McMartin are correct in their facts, I think the true significance is that these very confidential little Pigeons do not much mind where they build their nests or whether they are well hidden or not.
This Pigeon is an early breeder, most birds laying in March and the first half of April, while many lay on until May and June, and I have actually taken fresh eggs on the 26th August.
As usual with this order two eggs form the normal clutch, though once Inglis took three from the same nest and, rarely, one egg only is laid.
One hundred eggs average 31.8 x 24.4 mm. : maxima 35.0 x 26.1 mm. ; minima 28.4 x 22.6 mm.
The birds sit very close and will often allow an approach to within a few inches before slipping off the nest.
Occasionally the birds breed in company. Two or three times I have found nests on adjoining trees and once three nests quite close together, while Inglis found three nests all on the same tree.
Incubation takes thirteen to fourteen days and both sexes take a part in it, the male sitting mostly by night and the female by day. Both sexes also help to build the nest.
The courtship of the Green Pigeons is typical of the family. The male bird puffs out his throat and breast, lowers his wings and then prances solemnly up and down a branch, continually bowing his head and whistling softly as he makes his way backwards and forwards to and from the lady he imagines he is captivating. Unlike most birds the female does occasionally condescend to cease feeding and spend a moment or two admiring the display, and will sometimes even join in the show and perform a brief skirt-dance on her own. The display is exactly the same, so far as I have seen, in every species of Green Pigeon, and the description given for this one suffices for all.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 4. 1935.
Title in Book: 
1826. Croeopus phoenicopterus phoenicopterus
Spp Author: 
Lath.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1826
Year: 
1935
Page No: 
124
Common name: 
Bengal Green Pigeon
M_ID: 
5480
M_SN: 
Treron phoenicopterus phoenicopterus
Volume: 
Vol. 4
id: 
14994

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