(1294) Arachnothera magna aurata.
The Pegu Streaked Spider-Hunter.
Arachnothera aurata Blyth, J. A. S. B., xxiv, p. 478 (1855) (Pegu); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 370.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Similar to the Indian Streaked Spider-Hunter but the streaks on both upper and lower plumage are much less developed, almost obsolete on the lower back and rump.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding bird.
Measurements, About the same size as the preceding bird.
Distribution. Pegu, Tounghpo, Thayetmyo, Salwin. This appears to be an East Central Burmese form ranging from about, the latitude of Myingyan to Moulmein..
Nidification. Mackenzie, who is the only collector who has taken the nest of this Sunbird, describes it as follows : "The nest was on the under side of a leaf of a thorny climber (Smilax macrophylla, I believe). It was hung from the leaf by about 100 little threads of silk, each worked into the material of the ne3t, pushed through the leaf and knotted on the upper side. The threads ran all round the back and sides of the nest, but were especially numerous at the two ends of the rough semi-circle thus formed. The front was open, and the nest was so built that when the leaf was hanging naturally, there was a space of about If inches between the edge of the nest and the leaf in front. When I found it, it had been raining heavily but the inside was quite dry.
" The nest itself was a cup made of vegetable fibre, ornamented scantily on the outside with skeleton leaves and bits of bamboo leaf. Round the lip of the nest were several pieces of white, curly bark from bamboo spathes.
" The nest was 2 3/4 inches across at the tip, rather less from back to front. Externally it was 2| inches deep at the front and back and 3 1/4 at the sides.
" It was very compactly put together and lined with vegetable down, somewhat scantily, mixed with fine fibres."
The nest, which was at about six feet from the ground, was found on the 28th July, 1918, and in the following year Mackenzie took two more nests in July and one in August.
The eggs, two each in three nests and one in the fourth, are all of the brown type most common in the eggs of A. m. magna, but doubtless a large series might show a range of variation similar to that of that bird. They vary in size from 20.0 x 14.5 to 22.1 x 15.5 mm., and the seven eggs average 21.4 x 15.2 mm.
Habits. Exactly the same as those of the preceding bird but more exclusively a frequenter of evergreen-forest. Mackenzie refers to a habit which seems to be one noticeable in all the Spider-Hunters. Writing from Prome, he remarks : " The birds are by no means rare in this immediate locality and distinctly conspicuous from their habit of sitting on a branch, twisting their heads and stretching their necks, their figures appearing dumpy and unbalanced, owing to their long bills and short tails." It is found both in the plains country and up to at least 3,000 feet in the hills.