77. Aegithaliseus concinnus iredalei

(77) Aegithaliseus concinnus iredalei Stuart Baker.
The Simla Red-headed Tit. Aegithaliscus concinnus iredalei, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 93.
The Simla Red-headed Tit breeds from Chitral to the Garhwal Hills and, probably, West Nepal, being found during the breeding season between 6,000 and 10,000 feet. Both Hutton and Mackinnon found its nest near Mussoorie at about 5,000 feet but this is unusually low, 6,000 to 7,000 feet being their favourite elevations.
They are very early breeders, commencing early in March when eggs were taken by Hume, by Dodsworth and Jones about Simla, by Osmaston at Chakrata, by Whymper at Naini Tal and by Ward in Kashmir. They lay all through April and some birds well on into May.
The site selected varies greatly. Hume says : “The nest is, I think, most commonly placed in low stunted hill oak bushes, either suspended between several twigs, or wedged into a fork. I have found the nest in a Deodar tree, laid on a horizontal bough. I have seen them in tufts of grass and other unusual situations.” Hutton took one in overhanging coarse grass on the side of a bank and yet another in “ivy twining round a tree and at least 14 ft. up.”
Round Simla Dodsworth and Jones found most nests placed in Deodars in masses of foliage pendent from boughs placed quite low down, generally between 3 and 6 feet from the ground. Sometimes, however, the nest is placed at great heights and Rattray mentions one which was built in a tall tree no less than 40 feet up.
The nest is a very beautiful structure very like that of the British Long-tailed Tit and, like that bird’s, often so perfectly camouflaged to suit its surroundings that it is very hard to find. It is a small nest, a roughly round or egg-shaped ball, anything from 4 to 6 inches in its longest axis and perhaps between 3.1/4 to 5.1/2 in the shorter. The main material is green moss but this is mixed with lichen, fine roots, scraps of bark, down and a few small feathers all bound together with cobwebs. The lining consists of a dense mass of feathers, generally small and soft but not always so. Sometimes with the feathers may be mixed a little wool, fur or vegetable down. When the nest is built on a tree or stump covered with lichen, this material is used to coat the nest, which then looks more like a natural excrescence than a bird’s nest.
The eggs number three to six, Hume says six to eight, but I have not seen more than six and many of my correspondents have found three eggs hard set. Dodsworth, who took many nests, in a letter to me writes : “I cannot think how Hume managed to find nests of six to eight eggs. I find even four rare and so many nests contain 3 young or 3 hard-set eggs.”
The ground-colour varies from pure white to pale lilac-white or pinkish-white, whilst the markings consist of the tiniest freckles of pinkish-red disposed in a dense ring round the larger end and sparse or absent elsewhere. In some eggs the ring is very faint and ill defined and in others it is a narrow unicoloured zone of quite dark reddish-brown. Dodsworth obtained one clutch of pure white eggs and in the same month and place, Simla in April, a second set freely freckled all over with lilac-pink.
One hundred eggs average 13.9 x 10.6 mm. : maxima 15.2 x 10.7 mm. and 14.2 x 11.4 mm. ; minima 12.6 x 9.9 and 13.0 x 9.8 mm.
In shape they are broad blunt ovals with a very fine texture but no gloss.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
77. Aegithaliseus concinnus iredalei
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Simla Red-headed Tit
Aegithalos concinnus iredalei
Vol. 1

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