569. Turdus merula nigripileus

(569) Turdus merula nigripileus Lafres.
THE BLACK-CAPPED BLACKBIRD.
Turdus merula nigropileus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 128.
The Black-capped Blackbird is found in Western India North of the range of the Travancore bird, extending through the Bombay Presidency from the South as far North as Mount Abu and Sambalpur and to Raipur in the Central Provinces.
Wenden found many nests of this Blackbird near Khandalla from early July to early August in 1879, and Betham, 22 years later, still found it extremely common, breeding round Khandalla after the rains started and on to September, whilst Davidson obtained nests during the same months in Nassic and Taylor one nest in Mysore on the 25th May.
It would seem, therefore, to have a very definite breeding season, laying only during the rainy months of the year and not having two broods.
The nests are bulky cups made externally principally of moss, then of grass and coarse roots covered by a layer of mud and with an inner lining of rather finer roots and grass, quite neatly finished off. Leaves, small supple twigs, occasionally coarser twigs and lichen, sometimes form a portion of the materials used, but these vary in quantity considerably and are not always present.
Most nests are built in stout forks of small trees at any height between 5 and 25 feet from the ground ; others may be placed in Mangoes or in similar large trees, but at no greater height, while others again are built in thick bushes. At Khandalla Betham frequently saw their nests in cactus bushes and hedges. The birds do not seem ever to frequent gardens and parks for breeding purposes, keeping to the lighter forest, broken ground and ravines at all elevations from the foot-hills to the higher ghats at 3,000 feet, and even up to 6,000 feet in some of the higher ranges. Betham says that “the birds seem to prefer open country, quite lightly wooded, for nesting purposes, and nearly all my nests have been taken in the open.”
The number of eggs laid varies from three to five, both Davidson and Betham having taken clutches containing the latter number ; three, however, is the most usual clutch.
In colour they seem invariably to be of the boldly blotched type, and eggs marked like the common Blackbird are quite excep¬tional. The ground-colour varies from a pale grey-blue to a rather bright pale blue, blotched with pale reddish to deep reddish or umber-brown. In the majority of eggs the blotches are most numerous at the larger end, where they may coalesce in patches yet never form rings or caps, while over the rest of the surface they are sparse. The secondary blotches are of purple-grey or pinkish-lavender and often of considerable size. A curious clutch taken by Betham has three eggs of the grey-blue type well blotched all over with dark reddish-brown and lavender, the other two eggs being clear pale green-blue lightly speckled with only reddish-brown and grey.
Fifty eggs average 27.4 x 20.9 mm. : maxima 29.4 x 22.1 mm. ; minima 24.8 x 20.0 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
569. Turdus merula nigripileus
Spp Author: 
Lafres.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
569
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
114
Common name: 
Black Capped Black Bird
M_ID: 
27331
M_SN: 
Turdus simillimus nigropileus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
13743

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith