(25) Cissa ornata.
THE CEYLONESE MAGPIE.
Pica ornata Wagler, Isis, 1829, p. 749 (India Orientali). Cissa ornata. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 29.
Vernacular names. Kahibella (Ceylon).
Description. Whole head, neck, upper back and upper breast rich chestnut; remainder of the body plumage bright blue, suffused with cobalt next the chestnut of the neck; tail blue tipped with white and sub-terminally with black; wing-coverts brown,more or less margined and suffused with blue; quills chestnut on the outer webs, black on the inner, changing to blue on the inner secondaries; thighs dusky purple.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light brown to dark brown; eyelid deep red; orbital skin somewhat paler; bill, legs and feet coral-red, claws more horny and yellowish at their bases.
Measurements. Total length about 400 to 420 mm.; tail about 235 to 255 mm.; wing about 155 to 170 mm.; tarsus about 40 mm.; culmen about 37 mm.
Distribution. Ceylon only. The type-locality must be restricted to Ceylon.
Nidification. According to Legge, the breeding season of the Ceylon Magpie is December to February but eggs collected for me by Mr. J. E. Jenkins were taken in February and March and two clutches purchased with the skins of the old birds from Lazarus, a small dealer in Slave Island, were both taken in April.
The nest is said to be like that of the preceding bird and to be in tall bushes in evergreen jungle. The eggs are large replicas of those of Cissa chinensis, measuring about 32.2 x 23.2 mm.
Habits. Apparently similar to those of the Indian Green Magpie; Legge describes it as haunting evergreen forest up to at least 7,000 feet but also found it in similar forest in the foot-hills. It is a noisy bird, uttering its discordant notes both when perching and flying, so that but for its keeping to very dense cover its voice would have led long ago to its extermination by the plume-hunter.