1609. Collocalia fuciphaga brevirostris

(1609) Collocalia fuciphaga brevirostris McClell.
THE HIMALAYAN PLAIN-RUMPED SWIFTLET.
Collocalia fuciphaga brevirostris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 348.
The distribution of this Swiftlet extends all through the Himalayas from Naini Tal and Dalhousie to Eastern and Southern Assam. Forrest obtained it in the Mekong-Salwin divide and Livesey found it very common in parts of the Shan States. It is entirely a mountain bird, but descends to 2,000 feet, while, on the other hand, it has been recorded at 12,000 feet in Sikkim by Blanford and Stevens.
This little Swift bred in several places in North Cachar, but in such appalling cliff-faces that I never got at more than two. Of these one was a small cave in a very steep cliff-face and within some 30 yards or so of the nest of a Cinereous Vulture, The caves— there were two of them—were but little more than crevices in the face of the rock a few feet wide and extending back about 10 or 15 feet. The nests were all near the apex of the crevice where the walls met above and where we found about a dozen nests. Three nests had each two eggs and the rest had young on the 18th April, Another colony was found breeding in a cave formed by the enormous buttresses of a Cotton-tree which had fallen over a cliff ; in this there were about twenty pairs breeding on the 5th April, one nest having two eggs. Both these places had evidently been used for many years ; fragments of nests on the ground and portions of others still sticking to the walls showed this, while the ground was thick with droppings, especially in the caves in the rock. The nests were small half-saucers, attached to the rock or tree buttresses made of inspissated saliva and feathers, measuring about 1.3/4 inch, each way and not more than 1/2 to 3/4 inch deep. The birds seem to have selected nearly all black feathers, mixed with which were a few tiny bits of grass. Round the edges and next to the wall there is a rim of almost pure saliva, but elsewhere the saliva hardly shows at all.
In the Shan Hills Livesey found these birds breeding in great numbers in deep fissures in the ground, generally in the dip between the hill-tops at about 4,000 feet. These crevices were said by the Shans to be almost bottomless, and the Swiftlets could be seen flying in and out of their depths in a constant stream. Two eggs .given to me are exactly like those found by myself in North Cachar and were taken on the 23rd of April.
Eight eggs average 21.8 x 14.6 mm. : maxima 22.2 x 14.3 and 21.4 x 15.2 mm. ; minima 21.4 x 15.2 and 22.2 x 14.0 mm.
According to Livesey the caves or crevices haunted by these Swiftlets in the Shan States are also occupied by vast numbers of bats and a few owls which prey on the latter.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1609. Collocalia fuciphaga brevirostris
Spp Author: 
Mcclell.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1609
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
470
Common name: 
Himalayan Plain Rumped Swiftlet
M_ID: 
7533
M_CN: 
Himalayan Swiftlet
M_SN: 
Aerodramus brevirostris
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14765

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