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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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Page 24

Order PASSERES     Family LANIIDAE   Subfamily LANIINAE (continued...) & ARTAMINAE 

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486. Tephrodornis pelvicus (Hodgson). Nepal Wood-Shrike

Tephrodornis pelvica (Hodgson), Jerdon B. Ind. i, p. 409; Hume. cat. no. 263.

The Nepal Wood-Shrike is a permanent resident throughout Burma, Assam, Cachar, and the sub-Himalayan Terais and Ranges to which the typical Indo-Burmese fauna extends. Still we have no information as to its nidification, and the only egg of the species that I possess was extracted from the oviduct of a female shot by Mr. Davison on the 26th of March, 1874, near Tavoy in Tenasserim. The egg is rather a handsome one - very Shrike-like in its character, but rather small for the size of the bird. In shape it is a broad oval, very slightly compressed towards one end. The shell is fine and compact, but has no gloss. The ground is white, with the faintest possible greenish tinge only noticeable when the egg is placed alongside a pure white one, such as a Bee-eater's for instance. The markings are bold, but except at the large end not very dense - spots and blotches of a light clear brown, and (chiefly at the large end) somewhat pale inky grey. Where the two colors overlap each other, there the result of the mixture is a dark dusky brown, so that the markings appear to be of three colors. Fully half the markings are gathered into a broad conspicuous but very broken and irregular zone about the broad end. The egg measured only 086 by 069.

Subsequently to writing the above Mr. Mandelli sent me a nest of this species found at Ging near Darjeeling on the 27th April. It contained four fresh eggs, and was placed on branches of a very large tree about 22 feet from the ground. The tree was situated at an elevation of about 3000 feet. The nest is a large massive cup, 5 inches in exterior diameter and rather more than 3 in height. It is composed of tendrils of creepers and stems of herbaceous plants, to many of which the bright yellow amaranth flowers remain attached; and all over the sides and bottom masses of flower-stems of grass with the white silky down attached are thickly plastered, which, intermingled as this white down is with the glistening yellow flowers, produces a very ornamental effect, and looks as it the bird had really had an eye to decoration.

Inside the nest is entirely lined with very fine grass-stems. The nest is everywhere about an inch thick, and the cavity about 3 inches in diameter by nearly 2 deep.

Eggs said to belong to this species kindly sent me by Mr. Mandelli, whose men obtained them on the 27th April, are very Shrike-like in their appearance. In shape they vary from broad to ordinary ovals, generally somewhat compressed towards the small end. The shell is white but almost glossless. The ground-colour is a dead white, and they are profusely speckled and spotted with yellowish brown, paler in some eggs, darker in others. In all the eggs the markings are by far the most numerous towards the large end. Two eggs measure 095 and 091 in length by 074 and 072 in breadth respectively.

487. Tephrodornis sylvicola, Jerdon. Malabar Wood-Shrike

Tephrodornis sylvicola, (Jerdon), Jerd. B. Ind. i, p. 409; Hume, cat. no. 204.

Major M. Forbes Coussmaker has furnished me with the following note on the nidification of the Malabar Wood-Shrike: "I took the nest of this bird on April 13th, 1875. It was composed of fine roots and fibres, neatly woven into a shallow cup-like nest, secured to the fork of a horizontal bough and fixed in its place with cobweb, and covered externally with lichen corresponding to that on the bough. It measured 42 inches in diameter externally, and 24 internally and 7 deep. Both parent birds were shot. The eggs two in number, rather round, colored white with faint inky and brown spots."

One of these eggs is a very regular oval, the shell fine but glossless, the ground-colour white, with a faint greenish tinge; round the large end is a pretty conspicuous zone of black or blackish-brown and pale inky purple spots and small blotches, and similar spots and blotches of the same colour are somewhat sparsely scattered over the rest of the surface of the egg. The egg measured 098 by 073.

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