668. Merula kinnisi.
The Ceylon Blackbird.
Merula kinnisii, Kelaart, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xx, p. 177 (1851); id. Ibis, 1867, p. 304; Hume, Cat, no. 360 bis; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 252 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 90. Turdus kinnisi (Blyth), Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 449.
Coloration. Male. Upper plumage black, each feather with a bluish-grey margin at all seasons apparently; quills and wing-coverts black, with similar margins ; tail black, the feathers with narrow and less distinct bluish-grey margins; lower plumage slaty brown, each feather with a pale margin.
Female. The small series of this bird in the British Museum appears to consist entirely of males. Legge thus describes the female :—Above dark bluish slate, pervaded with brownish on the head, the margins of all the feathers black ; outer webs of primaries and secondaries washed with brownish slaty ; tail blackish brown; beneath slaty washed with earthy brown, the feathers of the abdomen sometimes with light shaft-streaks; under wing-coverts edged with earthy brown.
In the male the iris is pale brown ; eyelid and bill orange-yellow ; legs and feet paler yellow than the bill; claws yellowish horny. In the female the bill is yellowish orange ; eyelid yellow; legs and feet pale yellow (Legge).
Length about 9.5 ; tail 3.6 to 4; wing 4.3 to 4.5; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 1.2.
This species differs from M. maxima in being very much smaller and in having yellow feet; from M. simillima in being smaller and blacker; from M. bourdilloni also in being smaller, and in having the feathers of the upper plumage margined with bluish grey; and from M. erythrotis in having the whole head black or brown.
Distribution. A resident in the forests of Ceylon above 2500 feet elevation. Breeds from April to June, constructing a cup-shaped nest in trees, and laying four eggs, which are pale green marked with reddish-brown and umber, and measure about 1.05 by .82.