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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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271. Hypsipetes ganeesa, (Sykes). Southern-Indian Black Bulbul

Hypsipetes neilgherriensis, (Jerdon) Jerdon B. Ind. ii, p. 78; Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 445.
Hypsipetes ganeesa, (Sykes), Jerdon t.c. p. 78.

Mr. Davison tells me that "this species breeds from April to about the middle of June. The nest is generally placed from 12 to 20 feet from the ground, in some dense clump of leaves; favorite sites are the bunches of parasitic plants with which nearly every acacia, and in fact nearly every other tree about Ootacamund, is covered. The nest is composed exteriorly of moss, dry leaves, and roots, lined with roots and fibres: the normal number of eggs is two; they are white with claret-colored and purplish spots."

A nest of this species taken at Coonoor on the 14th March, 1869, by Mr. Carter, to whom I owe this and many other nests from the Nilgiris, reminds one much of those of the Red-cheeked Bulbuls. A wisp of dry grass and dead leaves, with the dead leaves greatly predominating exteriorly, twisted into a shallow cup, some 4 inches in diameter externally, and with a shallow depression tolerably neatly lined with finer grass-stems measuring some 3 inches across and perhaps an inch in depth. The bottom of the nest is almost exclusively composed of dead leaves; while even in the sides, externally, little but these are visible, only a few grass-stems crossing in and out, here and there, sufficiently to keep the leaves in their places.

Mr. Wait remarks, writing from Coonoor: "Our Black Bulbul breeds from March to June. It builds a cup-shaped nest neatly and firmly made. Outside, the nest is chiefly composed, as a rule, of green moss, grass-stalks, and fibres, while inside it is lined with fine stalks and hair. The cavity is from 25 to 3 inches in diameter and about half that depth. Two is certainly the normal number of eggs; indeed, I have never found more."

Mr. Rhodes W. Morgan, writing from South India, says in 'The Ibis': "It breeds in lofty trees in the Nilgiris, building a shallow cup-shaped nest, from 20 to 60 feet from the ground. The nest is constructed of the dried stems of the wild forget-me-not, and lined with a moss much resembling black horsehair. The eggs, which are two in number, are pretty thickly spotted with pale lilac and claret on a light pink ground-colour. I found these birds migrating in vast flights, numbering several thousands, in the Bolumputty valley in July. They were flying westwards towards Malabar."

Mr. Darling, Junior, writes: "I have taken the eggs of this Black Bulbul every year from 1863 to 1870 during March, April, May, and part of June, all over the Nilgiris. The nests were all made of moss, dry leaves, and roots, lined with roots and fibres. I have only once found three eggs (the normal number being two): in this case the eggs are very much smaller than usual, and more blotched with the reddish spots. I have found them at all heights from the ground up to 30 feet, and mostly in rhododendron trees. I found two nests in S. Wynaad, at an elevation of about 4000 feet, both with young, in June 1873."

Mr. C. J. W. Taylor informs us that he procured the nest of this bird with three fresh eggs at Manzeerabad in Mysore on the 7th April. Colonel Legge tells us that this Bulbul breeds in Ceylon from January till March.

That the Nilgiris bird should lay usually only two eggs, and this seems a well ascertained fact, while our very closely allied Himalayan form lays, as I can personally certify, regularly four, is certainly very strange.

The eggs of this species, sent me from the Nilgiris by Messrs. Carter and Davison, very closely resemble those of H. psaroides from the Himalayas. The eggs are of course of the Bulbul type, but in form are typically much more elongated and conical than the true Bulbuls. The ground-colour varies from white to a delicate pink. The markings consist of different shades of deep red and pale washed-out purple. In some the markings are bold, large, and blotchy, in others minute and speckly; and in both forms there is a tendency to confluence towards the large end, where there is commonly a more or less perfect, but irregular, zone. The eggs though smooth and satiny have commonly little or no gloss, and, considering their size, are very delicate and fragile.

In length they vary from 10 to 117, and in breadth from 07 to 08.

275. Hemixus macclellandi (Horsf.). Rufous-bellied Bulbul

Hypsipetes mclellandi, (Horsf.), Jerdon B. Ind. ii, p. 79.
Hypsipetes m'clellandii, (Horsf.), Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 447.

The Rufous-bellied Bulbul, according to Mr. Hodgson's notes, breeds in the central region of Nepal, and low down nearly to the Terai, from April to June. Its nest is a shallow saucer suspended between a slender horizontal fork, to the twigs of which it is firmly bound like an Oriole's with vegetable fibres and roots. It is composed of roots and dry leaves bound together with fibres, and lined with fine grass or moss-roots. The bird is said to lay four eggs, but these are neither figured nor described.

Dr. Scully writes from Nepal: "This Bulbul is common throughout the year on the hills round the valley of Nepal, but never tenants the central woods. It is generally found in bushes and bush trees, not in high tree-forest; and is commonly seen in pairs. The breeding-season appears to be May and June. A nest was taken on the 6th June, which contained two fresh eggs. The nest was somewhat oval in shape, measuring 335 inches in length and 25 across; the egg-cavity was about 1 inch deep in the centre, and the bottom of the nest 125 thick. It was attached to a slender fork of a tree, and was composed externally of ferns, dry leaves, roots, grass, and a little moss, bound together with fine black hair-like fibres, which were wound round the prongs of the fork so as to suspend the nest like an Oriole's. There was a regular lining, distinct from the body of the nest, composed of fine long yellowish grass-stems, and a little cobweb was spread here and there over the branches of the fork and the outside of the nest. The eggs are long ovals, smaller at one end, and fairly glossy; they measure 10 by 07, and 097 by 07. The ground-colour is pure pinkish white, abundantly speckled and finely spotted with reddish purple; the spots closely crowded together at the large end, but not confluent, forming in one egg a broadish zone, and in the other a cap; in the latter egg there are a few faint underlying stains of purplish inky at the large end."

Two eggs sent me by Mr. Mandelli from Darjeeling, said to belong to this species, are elongated ovals, much pointed towards the small end. The shell is fine and fairly glossy; the ground-colour a dull salmon-pink, and they are profusely and minutely freckled, speckled, and streaked (so densely at the large end that the markings there are almost confluent) with dull reddish purple.

The eggs measure 106 and 111 by 067.

277. Alcurus striatus (Blyth). Striated Green Bulbul

Alcurus striatus (Blyth), Jerdon B. Ind. ii, p. 81.

Mr. Mandelli sent me a nest of this species which was found, he said, on the 8th May about 4 feet from the ground amongst the foliage of a kind of prickly bamboo growing out of the crevices of a patch of large stones near Lebong (elevation 5000 feet), and contained two eggs nearly ready to hatch. The nest is a shallow cup, about 375 inches in diameter and 15 in height externally, composed entirely of fine brown fibrous roots, a little bound together outside with wool and the silk of cocoons and with two or three little bits of moss stuck about it, and sparingly lined with hair-like grass. It is altogether a light brown nest, no dark material being used in it at all. The cavity is 275 inches in diameter and about 1 deep.

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