886. Aethopyga vigorsi.
Vigors's Yellow-backed Sun-bird.
Cinnyris vigorsii, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 98. Aethopyga vigorsii (Sykes), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 733; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 363; Wald. Ibis, 1870, p. 33; Fairbank, S. F. iv, p. 255; Hume, S. F. v, p. 122; Cat. no. 226 ; Shelley, Mon. Nect. pp. xxi, xxiii, 71, pl. 23; Gadow, Cat. B. M. ix, p. 18; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 135 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 250.
The Violet-eared Red Honey-sucker, Jerd.
Coloration.. Male. Forehead and central portion of crown metallic green; hinder part of crown and nape dull blackish; sides of the head and neck, hind neck, back, scapulars, and lesser wing-coverts deep red, the concealed black bases of the feathers showing up in places ; rump bright yellow, some of the feathers occasionally tipped crimson; upper tail-coverts metallic green; tail black suffused with violet, the middle pair of feathers and the outer margins of the others metallic green; median wing-coverts black margined with crimson ; greater coverts, primary-coverts, winglet, and quills brown; a long moustachial streak and a patch behind the ear-coverts metallic violet; chin, throat, and breast deep red finely streaked with yellow ; the red of the breast bounded by a black band which extends more or less down the middle of the abdomen ; remainder of lower plumage ashy grey; under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Female. General colour dull green ; the feathers of the forehead brown margined with green; the lower plumage suffused with ashy ; the under tail-coverts broadly margined with ashy yellow; under wing-coverts and axillaries pale yellowish.
The young resemble the adult female and the young male assumes the adult plumage at the first spring by a moult.
Iris red-brown, crimson (Fairbank) ; legs and bill dark brown or blackish.
Length nearly 6 ; tail 2.3 ; wing 2.5 ; tarsus .65; bill from gape .95 ; the female has the tail 1.7 and the wing 2.2.
Distribution. The British Museum series of this Sun-bird contains birds from Western Khandesh, Matheran, Khandala, Mahablesh-war, and the Malabar coast. This latter locality is very vague. Hume gives the range of this bird as extending from the valley of the Tapti river to some distance south of Mahableshwar along the line of ghats. Jerdon observed this species in the Bastar country south-east of Nagpore, but this locality requires confirmation.
Habits, &c. The accounts of the nidification of this bird are very incomplete. It breeds in June and in September, and the nest appears to resemble that of AE. seheriae. An egg is described as being white, very thickly freckled with yellowish brown, and measuring .63 by .48.