(21) Urocissa melanocephala magnirostris.
THE BURMESE RED-BILLED BLUE MAGPIE.
Psilorhinus magnirostris Blyth, J. A. S. B., xv, p. 27 (1846) (Ya Ma Ding Mt.). Urocissa occipitalis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 26.
Vernacular name, Hnet-daw-pya (Burmese).
Description. Differs from occipitalis in having a darker back, more suffused with purple-blue, and it also differs both from that bird and from melanocephala in having no white tips to the primaries.
Colours of soft parts as in melanocephala.
Measurements. This is a slightly larger bird than occipitalis, with a wing of about 200 to 210 mm. and a much larger bill, 36 to 37 mm.
Distribution. Hills south of the Brahmaputra, Manipur and Burma to Siam. It is very rare in the Khasia, N. Cachar and Manipur Hills, but more common in the Naga Hills and comparatively common in the Chin and Kachin Hills, West Shan States and North Siam.
Nidification. Similar to that of occipitalis, but the eggs are quite different. The ground-colour seems always to be a very pale salmon or pink stone-colour and the marks consist of light reddish blotches and freckles over the whole surface, with numerous others underlying them of pale neutral tint. Eggs taken by Col. Bingham and by Messrs. Hopwood, Mackenzie and Harington were all of this description and I have seen none of occipitalis anything like them. The full clutch numbers three to six.
The breeding season is March to April in Lower Burma, April and May in Upper Burma.
Habits. This bird is said to come right down into the plains in winter and even to breed at very low elevations. In Assam and Northern Burma it keeps to the higher ranges and is seldom found below 5,000 feet.
They are said to keep much to the deciduous forests in Burma, but in Assam haunt rhododendron, oak and mixed evergreen forests.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Under parts a rather dark lilac U f. flavirostris, p. 43.
B. Under parts almost pure white U. f. cucullata, p. 44.