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The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds - A. O. Hume

The Nests and Eggs of Indian Birds  (Volume 1) Second Edition 1889  -  by  Allan O. Hume

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198. Drymochares nepalensis (Hodgson). The Nepal Short-wing

Brachypteryx nipalensis, (Hodgson), Jerdon B. Ind. i, p. 494.

From Sikkim Mr. Gammie writes: "A nest taken by me on the 15th of June at 5000 feet, close to a large forest, contained three slightly-set eggs. It was placed on the moss-covered trunk of a fallen tree, and was hooded, with an entrance at the side; rather neatly made of dry leaves with an outer covering of green moss, and an inner lining of skeletonized leaves and black fibrous roots. Externally it measures 5 inches in height by about the same in width; internally 3 inches high by 24 across. The entrance was 23 in diameter. The front of the egg-cavity is but slightly depressed below the entrance, gradually sloping backwards to the depth of nearly an inch."

All the nests of this species that I have seen were of the same type, more or less globular, more or less hooded or domed, according to the situation in which they were placed, composed of dry flags and dead and more or less skeleton leaves, bound together with a little vegetable fibre and some moss, but chiefly with fine black fibrous roots, with which the entire cavity is densely lined, inside which again is a coating of more skeleton leaves; they measure exteriorly 4 or 5 inches in diameter, and the cavities are a little above 2 by 25 inches in diameter.

Mr. Mandelli found two of these nests at Lebong (elevation 5500 feet), near Darjeeling, on the 8th July. One contained three fresh eggs, the other three slightly incubated ones. They were about 12 yards apart, in a very shady damp glen, in very dense underwood, to the stems of which they were attached in a standing position about 3 feet from the ground. The entrance was on one side in both cases.

The eggs of this species obtained by Mr. Gammie belong to the same type as those of Brachypteryx rufiventris and B. albiventris. In shape they are moderately elongated, rather regular ovals, somewhat obtuse at both ends. The shell is fine and compact, and very smooth to the touch, but they have not much gloss. The ground is a pale olive stone-colour, and they are very minutely freckled and mottled, most densely at the large end, with pale, very slightly reddish brown; the freckling is excessively minute and fine.

Two eggs measured 08 and 082 in length by 06 in breadth.

200. Elaphrornis palliseri (Blyth). The Ceylon Short-wing

Brachypteryx palliseri, (Blyth), Hume, cat. no. 338 bis.

Colonel Legge, writing in his 'Birds of Ceylon,' says: "Mr. Bligh found a nest at Nuwara Eliya in April 1870; it was placed in a thick cluster of branches on the top of a somewhat densely-foliaged small bush, which stood in a rather open space near the foot of a large tree; it was in shape a deep cup, composed of greenish moss, lined with fibrous roots and the hair-like appendages of the green moss which festoons the trees in such abundance at that elevation. It contained three young ones, plumaged exactly like their parents, who kept churring in the thick bushes close by, but would not show themselves much."

201. Tesia cyaniventris, Hodgs. The Slaty-bellied Short-wing

Tesia cyaniventer, (Hodgs.), Jerd, B. Ind. i, p. 487; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 328.

According to Mr. Hodgson's notes, the Slaty-bellied Short-wing breeds much like the next species. It constructs a huge globular nest of green moss and black moss-roots, which it fixes in any dense dry shrub or clump of shoots, many of which it incorporates in the walls of the nest. The nest measures externally about 7 inches in height and 5 inches in width; it has a circular aperture on one side, a little above the middle, about 2 inches in diameter, and it is placed at a height of one or two feet from the ground. Three or four eggs are laid; these are figured as rather broad ovals, somewhat pointed towards one end, with a whitish ground, profusely speckled and spotted, especially towards the large end, where the markings are nearly confluent, with bright red, and measuring 072 by 054 inch.

202. Oligura castaneicoronata (Burt.). The Chestnut-headed Short-wing

Tesia castaneo-coronata (Burt.), Jerdon. E. Ind. i, p. 487; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 327.

According to Mr. Hodgson's notes and figures, the Chestnut-headed Short-wing builds a large globular nest, more or less egg-shaped, some 6 inches high and 4 in breadth, composed of moss-roots and fibres, and lined with feathers, and with a circular aperture in the middle of one side about 15 inch in diameter. The nest is placed in some clump of shoots or thick bush (the twigs of which are more or less incorporated in the sides of the nest) at a height of 1 or 2 feet from the ground. The birds lay in April and May three or four eggs, which are figured as moderately broad ovals, somewhat pointed at one end, reddish (apparently something like a Prinia's, though this seems incredible), and measuring 066 by 048 inch.

Dr. Jerdon says: "A nest made chiefly of moss, with four small white eggs, was brought me as the nest of this bird. It was of the ordinary shape, rather loosely put together, and the walls of great thickness. It was taken from the ground on a steep bank near the stump of a tree."

The three eggs in my museum supposed to belong to this species pertained to this nest, and are excessively tiny, somewhat oval eggs of a pure, dull, glossless unspotted white, very unlike our English Wren's egg and certainly not one half the size. Dr. Jerdon was not quite certain to which species of Tesia these eggs belonged, and I therefore only record this "quantum valeat". They measure 055 and 06 inch in length by 04, 042, and 045 inch in breadth. I am inclined to believe that both nest and eggs belonged to Pnoepyga pusilla, (Hodgs.)

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