THE TAILED WEEN.
Speloeornis caudatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 456.
So far as is known at present the Tailed Wren is confined to Sikkim between elevations of 8,000 feet and over, its lowest record being 7,400 feet on Jore Pokhari by Inglia. Mandelli, apparently, found it common above Darjiling, and Masson sent me a supposed nest and eggs from the Singile La Ridge.
A note in Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ on the breeding of this bird and my own information from Masson disagree so much that I give the two in full:—
“The Tailed Wren, according to Mr. Hodgson’s notes, lays in April and May, building a deep cup-shaped nest about the roots of trees or in a hole of fallen timber ; the nest is a dense mass of moss and moss-roots lined with the latter. One measured 3.5 inches in diameter and 3 in height, internally the cavity was 1.6 inch in diameter and about 1 inch deep. They lay four or five spotless whitish eggs, which are figured as broad ovals, rather pointed towards one end and measuring 0.75 x 0.54 inch.”
Masson’s nest is as follows :—“ The nest is not in the least like that described by Hume but is similar to that of Urocichla (= Speloeornis) longicaudatus. The outer part is made of dead leaves, fine twigs, bracken and grasses much matted together and forming a fairly compact egg-shaped structure, with the entrance at the uppermost smaller end.” The lining is of the typical papier mache character of that of the Long-tailed Wren but, before being sent me, had got much broken, and it is possible that it was never quite so well welded. Another difference was its colour. The lining of the nest of the Long-tailed Wren varies from almost white to a pale dirty yellow, whilst the lining in the nest sent me from Sikkim was an earthy brown and looked as if it had been made from a brown fibre. When crumbled in the fingers it looked like crumbled tan.
Three other nests taken by Masson were all similar and all four were found in heavy wet evergreen forest over 8,000 feet.
Two nests contained four eggs each and two contained three each. In colour, shape and texture the eggs exactly resemble those of Speloeornis longicaudatus.
Fourteen eggs average 18.1 x 14.1 mm. : maxima 19.0 x14.2 and 18.6 x 14.5 mm. ; minima 17.3 x 14.2 and 17.9 x 13.8 mm.
They were taken on the 17th April, 23rd May, 14th and 28th June,
No birds were sent me with the eggs and only one nest.
(470) Spelaeornis caudatus (Blyth).
470. Spelseornis caudatus
THE TAILED WEEN.