Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/88

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CORVIDÆ.

himalayensis. They average about 28·5 × 21·9 mm and were taken in April and March near Port Blair.

Habits. Davison obtained this bird near Port Blair and more commonly at Mount Harriet and Aberdeen. He observes that it is a forest bird and never ventures away from the cover of large trees; also that it never descends to the ground. Oates did not obtain it either on the Great Cocos or on Table Island.

 

Genus CRYPSIRHINA Vieill., 1816.

With this genus we come to the end of the true Magpies or Long-tailed Crows. The members of the present genus are small and are characterized by a tail of peculiar structure, the central pair of feathers being spatulate at the ends. The bill is small and the nostrils are concealed by a mass of fine velvety plumes, which also surround the base of the bill.

The Racket-tailed Magpies are quite arboreal and in the course of many years' observation Oates never saw one of them on the ground.

Key to Species.

A.
All tail-feathers black
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
C. varians, p. 56.
B.
Central tail-feathers black, outer feathers grey
....................................................................................................................................................................................................................................................
C.cucullata, p. 57.


The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1) 88.jpg
Fig. 13.—Head of C. varians.


(36) Crypsirhina varians.

The Black Racket-tailed Magpie.

Corvus varians Lath. Ind. Orn. Suppl., xxvi, (1801) (Java); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 35.

Vernacular names. Ami-whine (Burmese).

Description. The whole plumage metallic bronze-green, tinged with bluish on the head; wings brown, the outer webs of the primaries greenish, the other quills more or less entirely tinged with greenish; tail black, with the same tinge but with more sheen; forehead, round the eye and about the gape dull black, the feathers of a velvety texture.

Colours of soft parts. Iris blue; bill black, mouth flesh-colour; legs and claws black.

Measurements. Length about 310 to 330 mm.; wing about 110 to 116 mm.; tail from about 175 to 200 mm.; tarsus about 30 mm.; culmen about 23 mm.