1274. Aethopyga nipalensis nipalensis

(1274) Aethopyga nipalensis nipalensis Hodgs.
THE NEPAL YELLOW-BACKED SUNBIRD.
Aethopyga nipalensis nipalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed, vol. iii, p. 391.
This Sunbird is found in Eastern Nepal and then Eastwards throughout the Himalayas and hills South of Assam to the Kauri- Kachin Hills and Shan States.
Jerdon’s account of this bird’s nest and eggs is undoubtedly wrong, for no Sunbird ever laid eggs of a dusky-greenish tinge.
Hodgson’s account is more possible and may really refer to this bird. According to him this Sunbird “builds a comparatively large oval hanging nest (composed of moss and wool, and lined throughout with silky down), which is attached to some leafy twig at an elevation of from 3 to 5 feet from the ground. These birds, it is said, frequent groves and open forest, in which also their nests are always found. The nest is egg-shaped, 7.75 inches in length by 4 in breadth, and a little above the middle is an oval aperture about 1.62 by 1 inch. There is no portico or projection above this. They lay two or three eggs, which are figured as moderately broad ovals 0.68 by 0.43 inch (=17.3 x 11.4 mm.). The eggs are represented as nearly white, with a certain amount of reddish mottling towards the large end. They have only one brood in the year, and both birds participate in rearing the young, which are ready to fly in July.”
In 1902 Osmaston obtained a nest of this Sunbird which he describes (Journ, Bomb, Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xiv, p. 816, 1903) as follows :—“A nest found by me on the 14th May, 1902, at Rungiram, elevation 6,200 feet, near Darjeeling. The nest is oval in shape, measuring externally 5.1/2" by 2.1/2". It was suspended from the ends of a small Cryptomeria branchlet, overhanging a steep bank at a height of about 3 feet from the ground, and is composed, of bright green moss with a little white vegetable down woven in, and is lined with the latter material.
“The aperture, which is 1 inch in diameter, is near the top. There is no 'projecting’ roof over the entrance.
“The eggs, three in number, are white, sparingly spotted and mottled with very dark brown.
"The average of the three eggs is .58" x 41" ” (=15.7 x 10.9 mm.).
Later Osmaston took several nests of this bird agreeing well with the description given by him for the first nest, these being found either in scrub-jungle or on the outskirts of jungle attached to low shrubs, 2 to 4 feet from the ground, and at elevations between 6,500 and 7,500 feet. The eggs in four other clutches taken by Osmaston are all pure white.
A nest, with young, found by myself, and another brought to me with three eggs and both parents, are bigger than those described by Osmaston, though similar in shape and material, except that with the moss were mixed roots, fibre and chips of leaves. The eggs, however, are not I believe those of a Sunbird, though the nest brought with the birds is correct. They may be the eggs of a Chalcites. They are white, mottled at the larger end with reddish-brown, very sparse everywhere except in broad rings. They measure up to 16.9 x 12.7 mm. and, though the bulk is no greater than in the eggs taken by Hodgson, they seem much too big to be those of the Sunbird.
Osmaston found two eggs only in every nest but the first, in which he found three. They are rather long, pointed ovals, close but dull texture and very fragile.
Eleven eggs, omitting mine, average 15.3 x 10.8 mm. : maxima 16.0 x 11.0 and 15.5 x 11.3 mm. ; minima 14.8 x 10.4 and 15.1 x 10.3 mm.

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: 
1274. Aethopyga nipalensis nipalensis
Spp Author: 
Hodgs.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1274
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
212
Common name: 
Nepal Yellow Backed Sunbird
M_ID: 
29234
M_SN: 
Aethopyga nipalensis nipalensis
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14362

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