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قراءة كتاب The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

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The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds, Volume 1

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 9

more or less sparsely set, and generally of a speckly character. The markings are of two colours: brown, varying in shade in different eggs, olive-yellowish, chocolate, and a grey, equally varying in different eggs from pale purple to pale sepia. None of my eggs of the Himalayan bird (I have unfortunately but few of these) correspond at all closely with these.

13. Urocissa flavirostris (Bl.). The Yellow-billed Blue Magpie.

Urocissa flavirostris (Bl.), Jerd. B. Ind. ii, p. 310; Hume, Rough
Draft N. & E.
no. 672.

The Yellow-billed Blue Magpie breeds throughout the lower ranges of the Himalayas in well-wooded localities from Hazara to Bhootan, and very likely further east still, from April to August, mostly however, I think, laying in May. The nest, which is rather coarse and large, made of sticks and lined with fine grass or grass-roots, is, so far as my experience goes, commonly placed in a fork near the top of some moderate-sized but densely foliaged tree.

I have never found a nest at a lower elevation than about 5000 feet; as a rule they are a good deal higher up.

They lay from four to six eggs, but the usual number is five.

Colonel C.H.T. Marshall writes:—"The Yellow-billed Blue Magpie breeds commonly about Murree. I have never seen the bird below 6000 feet in the breeding-season. They do not commence laying till May, and I have taken eggs nearly fresh as late as the 15th August. I do not think the bird breeds twice, as the earliest eggs taken were found on the 10th May.

"They build in hill oaks as a rule, the height of the nest from the ground varying much, some being as low as 10 feet, others nearer 30 feet. The hen bird sits close, and sometimes (when the nest is high up) does not even leave the nest when the tree is struck below. The nest is a rough structure built close to the trunk, externally consisting of twigs and roots and lined with fibres. The egg-cavity is circular and shallow, not at all neatly lined. The outer part of the nest is large compared to what I should call the true nest, and consists of a heap of twigs, &c. like what is gathered together for the platform of a Crow's nest.

"The eggs, which are four in number, vary in length from 1·45 to 1·25, and in breadth from 0·9 to 0·75. The ordinary type is an egg a good deal pointed at the thinner end. The ground-colour is greenish white, blotched and freckled with ruddy brown, with a ring at the larger end of confluent spots. The young birds are of a very dull colour until after the first month. The normal number of eggs laid appears to be four."

Captain Cock wrote to me:—"U. flavirostris is common at Dhurmsala, but the nest is rather difficult to find. I have only taken six in three years. It is usually placed amongst the branches of the hill oak, where it has been polled, and the thickly growing shoots afford a good cover; but sometimes it is on the top of a small slender sapling. The nest is a good-sized structure of sticks with a rather deep cup lined with dried roots; in fact, it is very much like the nest of Garrulus lanceolatus, only larger and much deeper. They generally lay four eggs, which differ much in colour and markings."

Dr. Jerdon says:—"I had the nest and eggs brought me once. The nest was made of sticks and roots. The eggs, three in number, were of a greenish-fawn colour very faintly blotched with brown."

The eggs are of the ordinary Indian Magpie type, scarcely, if at all, smaller than those of U. occipitalis, and larger than the average of eggs of either Dendrocitta rufa or D. himalayensis. Doubtless all kinds of varieties occur, as the eggs of this family are very variable; but I have only seen two types—in the one the ground is a pale dingy yellowish stone-colour, profusely streaked, blotched, and mottled with a somewhat pale brown, more or less olivaceous in some eggs, the markings even in this type being generally densest towards the large end, where they form an irregular mottled cap: in the other type the ground is a very pale greenish-drab colour; there is a dense confluent raw-sienna-coloured zone round the large end, and only a few spots and specks of the same colour scattered about the rest of the egg. All kinds of intermediate varieties occur. The texture of the shell is fine and compact, and the eggs are mostly more or less glossy.

The eggs vary from 1·22 to 1·48 in length, and from 0·8 to 0·96 in breadth; but the average of twenty-seven eggs is 1·3 by 0·92.

14. Cissa chinensis (Bodd.). The Green Magpie.

Cissa sinensis (Briss.), Jerd. B. Ind. ii, p. 312.
Cissa speciosa (Shaw), Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 673.

According to Mr. Hodgson's notes the Green Magpie breeds in Nepal in the lower valleys and in the Terai from April to July. The nest is built in clumps of bamboos and is large and cup-shaped, composed of sticks and leaves, coated externally with bamboo-leaves and vegetable fibres, and lined inside with fine roots. It lays four eggs, one of which is figured as a broad oval, a good deal pointed towards one end, with a pale stone-coloured ground freckled and mottled all over with sepia-brown, and measuring 1·27 by 0·89.

Mr. Oates writes:—"In the Pegu Hills on the 19th April I found the nest of the Green Magpie, and shot the female off it.

"The nest was placed in a small tree, about 20 feet from the ground, in a nullah and well exposed to view. The nest was neatly built, exteriorly of leaves and coarse roots, and finished off interiorly with finer fibres and roots; depth about 2 inches; inside diameter 6 inches. Contained three eggs nearly hatched; all got broken; I have the fragments of one. The ground-colour is greenish white, much spotted and freckled with pale yellowish-brown spots and dashes, more so at the larger end than elsewhere."

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