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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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279. Molpastes burmanicus (Sharpe). Burmese Red-vented Bulbul

The Burmese Red-vented Bulbul occurs from Manipur down to Rangoon. Writing from Upper Pegu, Mr. Oates says: "On the 29th July I found a nest in the extremity of a bamboo-frond forming one of a large clump near my house at Boulay. It was circular, the internal diameter about 25 and the external 4 inches; the depth inside 15, and the total height 25. Foundation of dead leaves, the bulk of the nest coarse grass and small roots, and the interior of much finer grass carefully curved to shape. Altogether the nest was a very pretty structure. Two eggs measured 09 by 062 and 065. Another nest found at the same time was placed in a small shrub about 4 feet from the ground. It was very similar in construction and size to the above and contained three eggs."

Subsequently writing from Lower Pegu, he says: "Breeds abundantly from May to September, and has no particular preference for any one month."

281. Molpastes atricapillus (Vieill.). Chinese Red-vented Bulbul

Molpastes atricapillus (Vieill.), Hume, cat. no. 462 ter.

Mr. J. Darling, Jr., found a nest of the Chinese Red-vented Bulbul in Tenasserim with three fresh eggs on the 16th March. It was built in a bush little more than a foot above the ground on a hill-side. Except that they seem to run smaller, these eggs are not distinguishable from those of the other species of this genus, and there is really nothing to add to the description already given of the eggs of M. Haemorrhous. The three eggs measured 079 by 06.

282. Molpastes bengalensis (Blyth). Bengal Red-vented Bulbul

Pycnonotus pygaeus (Hodgson), Jerdon B. Ind. ii, p. 93.
Molpastes pygmaeus (Hodgson), Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 461.

I have taken many nests of the Bengal Red-vented Bulbul in many localities, and while the birds vary, getting less typical as you go westwards, the nests are all pretty much the same, though the eastern birds go in rather more for dead leaves than the western. Sikkim birds are very typical, and I will therefore confine myself to quoting a note I made there.

Several nests taken at Darjeeling in June, at elevations of from 2000 to 4000 feet, each contained three or four, more or less incubated, eggs. The nests were mostly very compact and rather deep cups about 3 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height, very firmly woven of moss and grass-roots, but with a certain quantity of dry and dead leaves, and here and there a little cobweb worked into the outer surface. Sometimes a little fine grass was used as a lining; but generally there was no lining, only the roots that were used in finishing off the interior of the nests were rather finer than those employed elsewhere. The egg-cavity is very large for the size of the nest, the sides, though very firm and compact, being scarcely above half an inch in thickness. The nests differ very much in appearance, owing to the fact that in some all the roots used are black, in others pale brown.

Mr. Gammie says: "I took two or three nests of this species in the latter half of May at Mongpho, in Sikkim, at elevations of 3500 feet. They contained three eggs each, hard-set. The nests were in trees, at a moderate height, and rather flimsy structures; shallow caps, composed externally of fine twigs and vegetable fibre, and generally some dead leaves intermingled, especially towards their basal portions, and lined with the fine hair-like stem portion of the flowering tops of grass. One nest measured internally 2 inches in diameter by nearly 1 inch in depth; externally it was nearly 4 inches in diameter and 2 inches in height. The eggs were of the usual type."

Mr. J. R. Cripps, writing from Fureedpore, Eastern Bengal, says: "Excessively common and a permanent resident; commits great havoc in gardens amongst tomatoes and chillies, the red colour of which seems to attract them. Builds its nest in very exposed places and at all heights from two to thirty feet off the ground, in bushes and trees. One nest I saw containing two young ones, on the 28th June, was built on a small date-tree which stood on the side of a road along which people were passing all day, and within six feet of them. The nest was only five feet from the ground, but the materials of which it was made and the color of the bird assimilated so perfectly with the bark of the tree that detection was difficult. I have found the nests with eggs from the 3rd of April to the end of June; dead leaves and cobwebs were incorporated with the twigs and grasses in all nests which I have seen in Dacca. The natives keep these birds for fighting purposes; large sums are lost at times on these combats."

Writing from Nepal, Dr. Scully remarks: "It breeds in May and June in the Residency grounds, the nests being very commonly placed in small pine-trees (Pinus longifolia). Three is the usual number of eggs found, and a clutch taken on the 29th May measured in length from 085 to 093, and in breadth from 064 to 065."

I have fully described the leading types of the eggs of these Bulbuls under Molpastes haemorrhous. I shall therefore only here say that the eggs of this species in shape and colour exactly resemble those of its congener, but that as a body they are larger in size; every variety observable in the eggs of the one is, as far as I know, to be met with amongst those of the other. Taking only the eggs of typical birds from Lower Bengal and Sikkim, they vary from 088 to 105 in length and from 067 to 075 in breadth.

283. Molpastes intermedius (A. Hay). Punjab Red-vented Bulbul

All my specimens from the Salt Range belong to this species, and not to M. bengalensis, so that Mr. W. Theobald's remarks in regard to the Common Bulbul's nidification about Pind Dadan Khan and the Salt Range must refer to this species. He says: "Lay in May, June, and July; eggs, four: shape, blunt ovato-pyriform; size, 087 by 062; colour, deep pink, blotched with deep claret-red; nest, a neat cup of vegetable fibres in bushes."

From Murree, Colonel C. H. T. Marshall writes: "This Bulbul breeds in large numbers on the lower hills."

From Mussoorie, Captain Hutton remarked: "This is more properly a Dhoon species, as although it does ascend the hills, it is represented there to a great extent by M. leucogenys. It breeds in April, May, and June, constructing its nest in some thick bush. On the 12th May one nest contained three eggs of a rosy-white, thickly irrorated and blotched with purple or deep claret colour, and at the larger end confluently stained with dull purple, appearing as if beneath the shell. The nest is small and cup-shaped, composed of fine roots, dry grasses, flower-stalks chiefly of forget-me-not, and a few dead leaves occasionally interwoven; in some the outside is also smeared over here and there with cobwebs and silky seed-down; the lining is usually of very fine roots. Some nests have four eggs, which are liable to great variation both in the intensity of coloring and in the size and number of spots."

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