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The Columbidæ or Dove Family

Jerdon's imperial pigeon (Ducula cuprea) is a beautiful bird 17 inches long, of which the tail accounts for 7 inches. The prevailing hue of this pigeon is grey. The head, breast, abdomen, and neck are suffused with lilac. The back and wings are olive brown. The legs are dull lake red, as is the bill, except the tip, which is blue. This fine bird is confined to dense forest; it is said to be fond of the wild nutmeg.

The Nilgiri wood-pigeon (Alsocomus elphistonii) is another forest-haunting bird. Its prevailing hue is dove grey, with a beautiful gloss on the back, which appears lilac in some lights and green in others. The only other ornament in its plumage is a black-and-white shepherd's plaid tippet. The wood-pigeon is as large as the imperial pigeon. Of the doves, that which is most often seen on the Nilgiris is the spotted dove (Turtur suratensis). This is easily distinguished from the other members of the family by its reddish wings spotted with dark brown and pale buff. The only other dove likely to be seen at the Nilgiri hill stations is the little brown dove (T. cambayensis), which utters a five-or-six-syllabled coo.