1270. Aethopyga gouldlae isolata

(1270) Aethopyga gouldiae isolata Stuart Baker.
THE MANIPUR YELLOW-BACKED SUNBIRD.
Aethopyga gouldioe isolata, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. iii, p. 386.
I found this Sunbird not uncommon between 3,000 and 6,000 feet in the North Cachar Hills and at about the same heights in the Khasia Hills, It is essentially a forest-bird, and breeds sometimes in glades and by river-banks in the interior of the forest and sometimes in among bracken and shrubs on the edge of cultivation patches. The nests that I have found have nearly all been attached to the stems of bracken and all very carefully concealed, being only a foot to 3 feet from the ground. One or two have been on thin branches of brambles or small bushes, but even these were in among bracken. They choose spots in which the old fronds of the previous year have not been burnt but surround and inter¬mingle with the growing new plants, making it practically impossible to spot the nest unless the bird is watched on to it. The nest is roughly pear-shaped or oval and, at first sight, looks as if made only of pure white Bombax seed-down, but when examined closer is seen to he held together with whisps of moss, grass-stems or a long brown fibre, possibly a fungus. In most nests there is not much of this visible but occasionally the outside is almost covered by it. The lining is merely the same Cotton-tree down but put in without mixture of other materials ; at first it is very fluffy and soft but later, more especially when the young are hatched, it works into a sort of soft felt. The entrance is large and is very near the top and without any porch. The nest is always pendent and the materials are well wound round the bracken-stem, at which point only moss, grass or fibre are used, thickly mixed and strengthened with spiders’ webs. In size the nests vary greatly. The largest run up to 7 inches in length by about 2.3/4 in breadth at the widest part, while an unusually small one measured only 4.6 inches in height and 2.2 in width. The egg-chambers measure roughly about 2 to inches in diameter by about 2 inches in depth below the lower edge of the entrance.
The breeding season is May and June and the last half of April.
The full clutch of eggs numbers two or three, generally the former, while in appearance they are indistinguishable from those of the typical form already described.
I have, unfortunately, given away all my eggs but two without measuring them. These two measure 14.0 x 10.0 mm. but were, I think, rather on the small side. Measurements given by me in ‘The Asian’ newspaper nearly forty years ago were very roughly taken in decimals of an inch and are hardly worth recording.
Both birds assist in building the nest, as I have seen the male carrying materials for it and I have also seen him carrying food to the young.

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: 
1270. Aethopyga gouldlae isolata
Spp Author: 
Stuart baker.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1270
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
208
Common name: 
Manipur Yellow Backed Sunbird
M_ID: 
29229
M_SN: 
Aethopyga gouldiae isolata
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14355

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith