882. Aethopyga seheriae.
The Himalayan Yellow-backed Sun-bird.
Nectarinia seheriae, Tickell, J. A. S. B. ii, p. 577 (1833). Cinnyris miles, Hodgs. Ind. Rev. ii, p. 273 (1837). Certhia goalpariensis, Royle, Ill. Him. Bot. p. lxxvii, pl. 7 (1839). Nectarima goalpariensis (Boyle), Blyth, Cat. p. 223. Aethopyga miles (Hodgs.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 732; Jerd, B. I. j, p. 362 ; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 396 ; Hume, S. F. v, p. 122. Aethopyga goalpariensis (Lath,), Hume, N. & F. p. 146. Aethopyga seheriae (Tick.), Shelley, Mon. Nect. pp. xxi, xxiii, 67, pl. 22; Hume, Cat. no. 225 ; Gadow, Cat. B. M. ix, p. 18; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 80 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 249.
The Himalayan Red Honey-sucker, Jerd.
Coloration. Forehead and greater part of the crown metallic green; hinder part of crown and nape brownish green; back, scapulars, lesser and median wing-coverts, sides of head and neck, chin, throat, and breast crimson ; rump bright yellow ; upper tail-coverts and middle pair of tail-feathers metallic green ; the other tail-feathers brown, suffused with violet and edged with metallic green; greater coverts of wing and quills dark brown, margined with olive-yellow; a long narrow moustachial streak metallic violet; abdomen, flanks, and under tail-coverts slaty greenish yellow; under wing-coverts and axillaries pale yellowish white.
Female. General colour green, the centres of the feathers of the crown dark ashy, the back, upper tail-coverts, and the margins of the wing-feathers suffused with yellow and with a russet tinge ; under wing-coverts, axillaries, and sides of the body clear pale yellow; chin, throat, and sides of head suffused with ashy; middle tail-feathers greenish, the laterals blackish tipped broadly with white.
Legs and feet dark brown; upper mandible dark brown; lower mandible dark horny brownish yellow; iris dark brown (Hume).
Male: length about 6; tail 2.7; wing 2.2; tarsus .55; bill from gape .8. Female : length about 5; tail 1.8 ; wing 2. In the male the middle tail-feathers project one inch beyond the tips of the next pair; in the female the middle tail-feathers are .75 longer than the outermost feathers.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Garhwal to Dibrugarh in Assam up to 7000 feet in summer ; Cachar; Sylhet; the Khasi hills; Manipur. This species is also found in the plains, having been recorded from Seheria in Borabhoom by Tickell and an Aethopyga was seen in Singbhoom by Ball. It is commonly found along the base of the Himalayas at all seasons, and it is probably resident in all parts of its range, except the higher portions of the Himalayas.
Habits, &c. Breeds from April to August, constructing a pear-shaped nest suspended from the end of a twig not far from the ground. The materials of which the nest is made are grass and rootlets externally and flue stems of flowering grasses internally. The eggs, two or three in number, are white speckled with greyish purple, and measure about .59 by .46.