(1271) Aethopyga dabryi.
Nectarinia dabryi Verreaux, Rev. et Mag. Zool., p. 173 (1867) (Ta-tsein-lu, Szechuan). Aethopyga dabryi. Blanf. & Oates,- ii, p. 353
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Similar to Aethopyga g. gouldiae but with the whole breast flame-scarlet; the metallic tint of the crown and throat is more lilac or purple than blue.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep brown; bill dull black; legs and feet very dark brown.
Measurements. Wing 53 to 58 mm.; tail 63 to 85 mm.; tarsus about 14 mm.; culmen about 14 to 15 mm.
Female. Like that of AE. g. gouldiae but with bolder, whiter tips to the lateral tail-feathers.
Distribution. Muliyet, Karenni, South Shan States, Kauri Kachin Hills, North-West China, Szechuan to Yunnan. Lalso found it on several occasions in Cachar.
This bird should possibly be treated as a subspecies of AE. gouldiae.
Nidification. There appears to be no record of the breeding of this Sunbird but I attributed to it three nests taken in North Cachar. The females were caught on the nests and the males seen. The nests are not pear-shaped but ovals, the support, in each case a bracken-frond, being incorporated in the top of the oval. The materials consisted of fibre, moss and a few grass-stems with a dense lining of Bombax seed-down. They were built in fairly thick oak forest with an undergrowth of bush, caladiums. etc. and everywhere a luxuriant growth of orchids. The breeding-season, is May and June and all my nests were taken on the highest peaks of about 6,000 feet. The eggs are like those of AE s.. seheriae but are rather more boldly and much less profusely marked. Eight eggs average 14.3 x 10.8 mm.: maxima 15.1 x 10.6 and 14.6 x 11.1 mm.; minima 13.5 x 10.8 and 15.0 x 10.5 mm.
The specimens obtained by me in Cachar are all in the Museum at Sophia and 1 am not absolutely sure as to the correctness of my identification, but- the individuals I believed to be of this species-had far deeper coloured flame-red breasts than the ordinary AE. g. gouldiae.
Habits. Those of the genus font, as remarked by Davison, this bird when feeding is very hard to watch, as it dashes out of the gloom of the surrounding forests, feeds for a few seconds and then retires as suddenly as it came. It seems to be entirely a forest bird, not even entering open and cultivated spaces in the Winter. Wardlaw-Ramsay obtained it at 4,000 feet in Karenni but 6,000 to 9,000 feet is its more usual elevation, whilst Forrest found it frequenting pine-woods between 10,000 and 12,000 feet in Yunnan.