1592. Micropus acutieaudus

(1592) Micropus acuticaudus (Blyth).
THE KHASIA HILLS SWIFT.
Micropus acuticaudus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 327.
So far this Swift has only been found in Nepal., once by Blyth, and in the Khasia Hills. In the latter it is a breeding visitor only. Where the real habitat of this bird is has not yet been discovered, but may possibly be in the practically unknown hills from Bhutan East to the Abor country in North Lakhimpur.
In the Khasia Hills the birds generally appear in their breeding haunts in the last week of February or the first week of March, remaining until the young are ready to fly at the end of June or early July, By the end of July nearly every bird has gone, though no one knows where. Even in the Khasia Hills their breeding area is very confined, being restricted to the deep rocky cliffs and gorges about Cherrapoongi and facing the Sylhet plains. Here the cliffs rise very abruptly from the foot-hills, towering sheer up for some 4,000 feet, catching and breaking every cloud and enjoying the reputation of having the heaviest rainfall m the world, an average of something over 500 inches a year. In these cliffs the birds select some perpendicular sheet of rock, broken into crevices and cracks, in which they build their nests in colonies of a dozen or twenty pairs. Several nests may be built in the same crevice or there may be only one or two. The nests are like those of the European Swift and are composed of all kinds of wind-swept rubbish, such as straw, feathers, small leaves and twigs, seed-down etc., all matted and stuck together with saliva and then lined with the same. The nests are used year after year and become very filthy and verminous, the vermin, some of great size, crawling all over young and old birds alike. In shape the nests vary greatly to fit the position in which they are built. Most of them, Testing on ledges, are shallow saucers, anything from 4 to 7 inches in diameter by 2 or 3 deep. When, as often happens, two or more touch one another, one wall between the two nests suffices and the diameter is very small, but single nests are often large and straggling. Nests placed in small deep hollows conform to the latter in shape and may be deep cups or inverted cones up to 6 inches in depth.
The breeding season is very regular and commences in the last week in March and finishes a month later. If eggs are taken, however, the birds lay again in their old nests and stay on until the second brood can fly, which may be late in August, a fact which would lead one to believe that they cannot migrate far. More¬over, flocks of Swifts appear at intervals for brief periods which may be of this species, a fact not ascertainable unless specimens are shot, for Swifts on the wing, very high overhead, are not easy to identify.
They lay two to four eggs, the latter number being not uncommon, though three is the usual full clutch.
The eggs are, of course, pure white with a rather coarse grain and unglossed surface, while in shape they are long, generally blunt ovals, like all other Swifts’ eggs.
Fifty eggs average 26.0 x 16.3 mm. : maxima 27.1 x 16.2 and 26.4 x 17.0 mm. ; minima 24.3 x 16.8 and 25.0 x 14.9 mm.
I think both sexes incubate, as my men caught both in nooses set at the nest. This, however, is not conclusive evidence with this species as both birds often sit together and the cocks may have been noosed although not actually sitting. Both sexes certainly assist in collecting material for the nest and in feeding 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: 
1592. Micropus acutieaudus
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1592
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
452
Common name: 
Khasia Hills Swift
M_ID: 
7758
M_CN: 
Dark-rumped Swift
M_SN: 
Apus acuticauda
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14743

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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