Cissa chinensis (Boddaert, 1783) sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Cissa chinensis (Boddaert, 1783) sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Editorial Status

Ongoing collection of data, unrevised text, last update: 2017-01-02.

Common Name

English: Common Green MagpieA, Green JayB, Green MagpieA,C, Green PieB, Hunting CissaB, Hunting CrowB


Asia-Temperate China (China South-Central (YunnannativeD), China Southeast (GuangxinativeD), Tibet (TibetnativeD)), Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent (Assam (AssamnativeA,D,1), BangladeshnativeA,2, East HimalayanativeA,D, Nepal (NepalnativeD), West HimalayanativeA,D,E,3); Indo-China (Laos (LaosnativeD), Myanmar (MyanmarnativeD), Thailand (ThailandnativeD), Vietnam (VietnamnativeD)); Malesia (Borneo (SarawaknativeD), Malaya (Peninsular MalaysianativeD), Sumatera (SumateranativeA,D))
1. S Assam hills (to Lushai Hills) (Rasmussen), 2. EC Bangladesh (Tippera, not Chittagong specimens traced) (Rasmussen), 3. Jerdon (1863): Found in the South-eastern Himalayas; also in the hill ranges of Assam, Sylhet, Arracan, and Tenasserim. Not rare in Sikhim from 1200 feet to 5000 feet or nearly so.


General colour beautiful pale chrysophrase green, fading to bluish green, yellowish on the head, the feathers of which are lengthened, forming a crest; a black streak from the lores through the eyes to the nape, meeting the opposite one, and forming the lower part ofth crest; wing-coverts and quills fine darf red, fading to rufous brown, or greenish brown in old specimens; the secondaries tipped pale blue-green, broadly edged above with black; tail with the central feathers tipped white, the outer ones tipped black and white. Bill and legs coral red; irides dark red brown; orbits vermilion.

Length 15,5 inches; expanse 8 inches; wing 6; tail 8,5; bill at fron 1 3/8; tarsus 1 7/7.E


Wanders about from tree to tree, and picks various insects, grasshoppers, locusts, mantides et cetera, off the leaves and branches.E

Biology And Ecology

Breeding season March to August (possibly double-brooded).A


Building cup-nest in low tree or bamboo.A


Observation from captivated birds: The Shrike-like habit, in confinement, of placing a bit of food between the bars of their prison, is in no species, more strongly exemplified than in this. Hamilton states that it is said to be trained in Tipperah to hunt like a hawk, and catch small birds.E Usually shy and remarkably well camouflaged, keeping to dense cover; often in small groups in bird waves, especially with laughingthrushes. Forages mostly in understorey and on ground, taking animal food; rarely flies over open ground.A


Rather loud, not unpleasant call, besides the usual harsh cry of the Jays and Magpies.E Highly vocal, with varied repertoire given mostly in cover, including clear, loud, sweet notes, rattles and mimicry. Typically, calls are short and sound disjointed, even in repetitive pattern; could be taken for drongo but most notes very sweet, piping and fluty. Includes discordant notes; piping whistles; a kik-wee; loud shrill kreek; harsh rattling kak-ak-ak-ak...; rapid soft harsh chak-chak-chak-peep; soft chattering churr-chak-chak-chak-chak; hoarse, high-pitched scolding chatter, raucous mewing; melodious squealing whistles. Recorded calls include a very loud, short, metallic, ringing, grating KRINk, KRINk (centred at 3 kHz, note d 0.25 s, rate 1 pair/s, repeated after short pauses; Malaysia-BTA); a shrill, piping, raptor-like strophe given mechanically in series, first note sounding double-toned, then ending in quieter, hrder notes, e.g. kaLEEEIp! kIEEp-kIEEp (first note pitch 1.5-3 kHz, note d 0.3 s, strophe d 0.75-1 s, repeated every few s; Sikkim-PCD); variants give just first note, and perhaps one other; may be followed by or interspersed with short, shrill, metallic, rattling triplets (pitch centred at 3 kHz, triplet d 0.5 s, rate 6 notes/s); rattles may be followed by an explosive single, sharp, bell-like spink! (pitch 3 kHz, note d 0.25 s); a quick tumbled triplet of loud metallic gurgling notes (range 4.5-1.8 kHz, triplet d 0.5 s); other call-types include doubled harsh notes followed by a quick rising clear chink!; quick, clear, ringing, repeated cha/weeng!(pitch 2.2-2.8 kHz, couplet d 0.3 s, rate 1 note/s; N India-KDB); plaintive, rising short whistles (range 1.8-2 kHz, note d 0.5 s).A


A. Rasmussen, P.C. & Anderton, J.C., Birds of South Asia. The Ripley Guide., 2nd edition, 1 and 2. 2012: 595 [8772]
B. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 202 [3]
C. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 200 [3]
D. The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. 3rd Edition. 2003
E. Jerdon, T.C., The Birds of India : being a natural history of all the birds known to inhabit continental India, with descriptions of the species, genera, families, tribes, and orders, and a brief notice of such families as are not found in India, making it a manual of ornithology specially adapted for India. v. 2, pt. 1. 1863: 312 [1228]