(22) Urocissa flavirostris flavirostris.
The Yellow-billed Magpie.
Psilorhinus flavirostris Blyth, J. A. S. B., xv, p. 28 (1846) (Darjeeling). Urocissa flavirostris. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 27.
Vernacular names. Tying-jongring (Lepcha); Pianging-jabring (Bhutea).
Description. Head, neck and breast black, the nape white and the feathers of the crown tipped white; back, scapulars, rump and upper tail-coverts purplish ashy, the last tipped black and with a narrow pale band in front of the black; wing-coverts, the outer webs of the primaries and outer secondaries and the whole of the inner secondaries purplish blue; all the quills tipped white, the earlier primaries whitish on the terminal half of the outer web; tail blue with a broad white tip and all but the central pair of feathers with a subterminal black band; lower plumage from the breast downwards lilac tinged with purple.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright yellow; bill pale wax-yellow to a strong wax-yellow; legs and feet bright orange-yellow.
Measurements. Length about 630 to 650 mm.; wing from 178 to 190 mm.; tail up to 470 mm.; culmen about 65 mm.
The female is similar to the male but generally smaller, wing 170 to 180 mm. and the iris is a dull blue-brown.
Distribution. Bhutan, Sikkim and hills N. of the Brahmaputra, probably Eastern Nepal. Chin Hills.
Nidification. I have one egg of this race from Chambi, north of Sikkim, taken from the usual twig nest at an elevation of some 9,000 or 10,000 feet. The egg is erythristic and almost certainly abnormal. The ground-colour is a very pale cream and the markings are bright reddish brown with others underlying of pale neutral tint. It measures 32.0 x 22.9 mm. and was taken on the 7th May.
Habits. These probably do not differ from those of the better known Western form but it may be a bird of higher elevations, as my collectors assured me they met with it in Chambi in Tibet at about 11,000 feet. It is found at 6,000 to 8,000 feet round about Darjeeling and keeps much to the evergreen forests.
A form of this Magpie extends well into Burma, but the only skin I have seen thence differed in many respects from the normal type, and further material may prove it to be a new subspecies.