671. Merula nigripileus.
The Black-capped Blackbird.
Turdus (Merula) nigropileus, Lafresnaye, Delessert, Voy. de l'Inde, pt. ii, p. 27 (1843); Blyth, Cat. p. 162; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 523; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 470; Hume, Cat. no. 359; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 63; Seebohm, Cat. B. M. v, p. 250; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 173; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 91.
Kasturi, Hind.; Poda palisa, Tel.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, crown, nape, and sides of head black, paling on the lower portion of the ear-coverts ; hind neck, mantle, sides of the neck, and the whole lower plumage brownish grey, infuscated on the throat and suffused with ashy. on the flanks ; the under tail-coverts whitish along the shafts ; lower back, scapulars, rump, the wings, and tail dark ashy; axillaries and under wing-coverts ashy.
Female. Whole upper plumage brown, tinged with ashy on the rump; wings and tail with the outer webs of the feathers suffused with ashy; ear-coverts with pale shafts ; chin and throat dull greyish white, streaked with brown; breast, upper abdomen, and flanks brownish grey; lower abdomen dull whitish; under tail-coverts whitish, broadly edged with ashy brown; axillaries and under wing-coverts brownish grey like the breast.
In the male the legs and feet are dirty straw-colour; iris dark brownish red; bill dirty orange: in the female the legs and feet are dark straw-colour; bill dark orange (Hume).
Length about 10.5; tail 4; wing 5.1; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape 1.2.
The male of this species cannot be confounded with any other Blackbird, but the female resembles the females of the other species somewhat in colour and M. simillima in size. From this latter she may generally be recognized by the whitish abdomen.
Distribution. The western parts of India from the Nilgiris and Mysore up to Mount Abu. This species extends into the interior of the peninsula, and has been recorded from Chikalda, Raipur, and Sambalpur. It appears to be a summer visitor only to the extreme northern portions of its range, but to be resident elsewhere.
Habits, &c. Breeds throughout its limits from May to July, constructing a nest of twigs and grass mixed with earth and moss, and laying three eggs, which are greenish marked with brownish red and purple, and measure about 1.08 by .82.