366. Aegithina nigrolutea

(366) Aegithina nigrolutea (Marshall).
AEgithina nigrolutea, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 344.
The range of this bird—it probably breeds wherever found— is rather curious, overlapping that of both the Common Iora and the Central Indian race, yet never intergrading with either. Under these circumstances it cannot be reduced to the status of a subspecies of Aegithina tiphia. I have defined its range fully in the ‘Fauna’ and quote it here :—“The North-West of India. It is found in Cutch ; in Rajputana where it overlaps the range of Ae. t. humei for some distance ; in Southern and South-Western Punjab ; North-West Provinces ; it occurs occasionally in the North of the Central Provinces and again North of the Ganges as far as Behar and the Santhal Parganas, much overlapping the range of Ae. t. tiphia.”
There is an excellent account of the breeding of this bird in Cutch by Lieutenant C. D. Lester. He writes (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. x, p. 695, 1897) :—“ This bird is fairly plentiful all the year round, but is less conspicuous from September to May, owing to the fact that the male does not don his courting dress until the latter month. When making love to his mate or wrangling about the site of the nest, he often breaks into a sort of chattering note resembling that of the Blue Titmouse at home.
“The nests are usually placed in a Mimosa of sorts. I believe the Mimosa is that known in Hindustani as Kheir. The nest is a shallow cup, rather broad for its depth, very neatly made of fibre with a few hairs inside and cobwebs outside. It somewhat resembles a Minivet’s nest but is broader and less ornate, and equally hard to find. Occasionally, but rarely, the nest is built in a forked twig of the ‘Pipal’ (Fieus religiosa). I have only obtained one nest thus placed and that, I feel sure, was that of a pair whose nest I had previously taken in a Mimosa close by. The birds frequent low thorn jungle, rather open than otherwise, but may be seen about the Bhuj Cantonments.”
Barnes says that it is very common at Deesa, whilst in Khandeish this and the Common Iora are equally abundant, breeding together and at the same time. Nest and eggs, without the parent birds, are indistinguishable from one another. In Deesa he took nests with eggs in June and July, whilst Davidson took nests in Dhulia, Khandeish, in the latter month.
In Mhow Kemp found them breeding during May, June and July, sending me nests taken in these months, whilst in Baroda General Betham took nests in August. Here he found them frequently breeding in road-side trees, often easily accessible and quite visible.
The number of eggs laid is generally two or three, but Kemp twice took single eggs which were considerably incubated. They are exactly like the eggs of the Common Iora, but I have never seen any of the pink type. On the other hand I have a pair of eggs of the very pale grey type with a number of indefinite wavy lines of reddish as well.
Twenty eggs average 17.1 x13.1 mm. : maxima 18.0 x 13.3 and 17.3 x 13.5 mm. ; minima 17.0 x 12.8 and 17.2 x 12.6 mm.

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: 
366. Aegithina nigrolutea
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Golden Backed Iora
Marshall's Iora
Aegithina nigrolutea
Vol. 1

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