Dendrocitta vagabunda (Latham, 1790) sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Dendrocitta vagabunda (Latham, 1790) sec. Droege, G., Corvids of the World

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Common Name

Bengali: HandichachaA, Takka-chorA; English: Common Indian MagpieA, Common Tree PieB, Indian Tree PieB, Plains Tree PieB, Rufous Tree PieC, Wandering Tree PieB

Mythology

The Bengalese women imagine whenever they hear this bird calling, that if forebodes the approach of religious mendicants, who, by partaking of the fare prepared for the family, will clean the pots used in cooking; from which circumstance, its native name is derived (Pan-scraper "Handichacha")A

Distribution

Asia-Temperate China (China South-Central (Yunnan nativeD)), Asia-Tropical Indian Subcontinent (Bangladesh (Bangladesh nativeD), India nativeA,D,1, Nepal (Nepal nativeD), Pakistan (Pakistan nativeD)); Indo-China nativeD
1. Jerdon (1863): Found throughout all India, from extreme south to the foot of the Himalayas on th east; but in the North-west ascending apparently to some height. It extens to Assam and even to China.

Description

Whole head. neck. and breast, sooty brown, or blackish, deepest on the forehead, chin, and throat, and passing into dusky cinereous; scapulars. back. and upper tail-coverts dark ferruginous; wing-coverts, and the outer web of the secondaries, light grey, the feathers all broadly tipped with black, least so on the centre feathers; beneath, from the breast, ferruginous or fulvous. Bill black; iridies blood-red; legs dark slaty.

Length 16 inches; wing 6; tail 10; bill at front through the frontal bristles 1 1/7, height 0,5 inch; tarsus 1,2.A

Habitat

In the plains it is most common in well-wooded districts; and, in the Carnatic, and bare table land, it is only found occasionally about the larger towns, and in hilly jungles. It is to be seen in every grove and garden, and about every village.A

Foraging

At times it feeds almost exclusively upon fruit, but at other times on insects, grasshoppers, locusts, mantides, and caterpillars. Destroys young birds and eggs, kills even bats.A

Nest

Builds a large nest of sticks, generally on lofty trees.A

Egg

Three to four eggs of a light greenish fawn colour, sometimes with a few indistinct pale brown blotches.A

Behaviour

It occurs singly occasionally, very frequently in pairs, and now and then in small parties. It flies from tree to tree with a slow undulating flight.A

Ectoparasite

Philopterus crassipes (Burmeister, 1838)E,F

Voice

Has a variety of notes; the usual harsh cry of the Magpie; a clear whistling, somewhat metallic call, which Sundevall syllabizes into Kohlee-oh-koor, or Kohlee-oh; the Begalees into Kotree; and it has also a feeble indistinct note at the pairing season, which the male utters, and the female responds to in a sort of chuckle. When several pairs are together, they have a curious guttural call, which sounds like kakak or keke-kak, repeated, several times.A

Bibliography

A. 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: 314-315 [1228]
B. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 208 [3]
C. Goodwin, D., Crows of the world. 1976: 206 [3]
D. The Howard and Moore complete checklist of the birds of the world. 3rd Edition. 2003
E. Ansari, M.A.R., Studies on phthirapteran parasites (Mallophaga) infesting birds in the Panjab in Indian journal of entomology 17. 1956: 395 [8188]
F. Price & Hellenthal, Taxonomy of Philopterus (Phthiraptera: Philopteridae) from the Corvidae (Passeriformes), with descriptions of nine new species. in Annals of the Entomological Society of America 91 (6): 786, 796 [78]