Genus MERULA

I restrict this genus to those Thrushes in which the sexes are different in coloration and in which the under wing-coverts and axillaries in both sexes are uniformly of one colour or nearly so. The lower plumage of the Thrushes of this genus is, moreover, never blue, nor chestnut combined with black or blue.

In Merula the bill is about half the length of the head; the rictal bristles moderate ; the wing long and sharp, the first primary being small; the tail rather ample, and the tarsus long. The underside of the wing has no pattern.

Key to the Species.

a. General colour of plumage black or brown, unrelieved by any distinctive marks.
a1. Legs black or brown……………………M. maxima, p. 123.
b1. Legs yellow or orange.
a2. Wing quite 5 inches and generally more.
a3. Lower plumage uniformly dark brown; crown of male not much darker than back……………………M. simillima, p. 124.
b3. Lower plumage albescent on abdomen and under tail-coverts; crown of male black, forming a cap conspicuously darker than back……………………M. nigripileus, p. 126.
b2. Wing about 4-5 inches, rarely reach¬ing 5.
c3. Upper plumage with all feathers margined……………………M. kinnisi, p. 124.
d3. Upper plumage uniform.
a4. Sides of head of much the same colour as other parts of head……………………M. bourdilloni, p. 125.
b4. Sides of head rufous……………………M. erythrotis, p. 126.
b. Plumage variegated.
c1. Hind neck of different colour from back.
c2. Crown and back of same colour……………………M. albicincta, p. 127.
d2. Crown and back of different colours……………………M. castanea, p. 128.
d1. Hind neck of same colour as hack.
e2. Feathers of upper plumage variegated with dark central marks……………………M. fuscata, p. 129.
f2. Feathers of upper plumage not varie¬gated.
e3. Tail, throat, and upper breast chiefly chestnut……………………M. ruficollis, p. 130.
f3. No chestnut on tail, throat, or upper breast.
c4. Wings boldly marked with a large patch of grey or rufous……………………M. boulboul, p. 130.
d4. Wings uniform.
a5. Under wing-coverts and axillaries wholly or in part chestnut or orange-brown.
a6. Sides of breast and abdomen grey or brown.
a7. Throat and breast uni¬formly of one colour.
a8. Throat and breast black……………………M. atrigularis p. 131.
b8. Throat and breast slaty grey……………………M. unicolor p. 132.
b7. Throat and breast streaked.
c8. Under wing - coverts orange-brown; axillaries rufous-grey……………………M. atrigularis p. 131.
d8. Under wing - coverts and axillaries uniformly chestnut-brown……………………M. unicolor , p. 132.
b6. Sides of breast and abdomen orange-ferruginous……………………M. protomomelaena,[p. 133.
b5. Under wing-coverts and axillaries slaty grey.
c6. Breast and sides of abdomen chestnut-brown.
c7. Wing 4.8; second primary longer than fifth……………………M. obscura, p. 134.
d7. Wing 5.4; second primary shorter than fifth……………………M. subobscura, p. 135.
d6. Breast and sides of abdomen slaty grey……………………M. feae, p. 135.
* Of M. kinnisi, M. bourdilloni, and M. erythrotis the series to which I have access is so very small and unsatisfactory that the characters for these three species given here may not prove to hold good in all cases.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.2 1890.
Title in Book: 
Genus MERULA
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1890
Page No: 
121
M_ID: 
27260
M_SN: 
Turdus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
Term name: 
id: 
913

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