(949) Cephalopyrus flammiceps.
THE FIRE-CAPPED TIT-WARBLER.
AEgithalus flammiceps Burton, P. Z. S., 1835, p. 153 (Himalayas). Cephalopyrus flammiceps. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 247.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead and fore crown flaming scarlet; upper plumage bright olive-yellow, greener on the upper back and purer yellow on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; wings and tail brown, the feathers edged with olive-yellow, almost white on the inner secondaries; lores yellow, more or less washed with scarlet; a short broad supercilium the same; chin and upper throat scarlet-orange; sides of head, lower throat, breast and flanks golden-yellow fading to dull, pale yellow on the abdomen and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill plumbeous or horny-grey; legs plumbeous or slaty-brown.
Measurements. Length about 100 to 110 mm.; wing 57 to 60 mm.; tail 28 to 31 mm.; tarsus about 17mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Adult female. Above dull pale olive-green with no red and below dull whitish washed with pale olive-yellow.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the male. The young male is like the female.
Male after first moult like the adult male but decidedly darker and with the scarlet confined to the forehead.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Afghanistan and Gilgit to Bhutan between 3,000 and 10,000 feet, descending to the Northern Plains in winter as far as Raipur, Nagpur and Saugor. It is also found in North Yunnan and Szechuan.
Nidification. This Tit-Warbler breeds in Kashmir, the Simla and Garhwal Hills, etc., between 5,000 and 10,000 feet in May and June. It is a common bird in the Murree Hills at 9,000 feet, making a deep cup-shaped nest of fine grasses and roots, which it places in a natural hole in a tree, generally in the trunk and most often at a great height from the ground. Marshall and Cook both found the nest at about 15 feet from the ground, but Rattray, Buchanan, Wilson and others took it as high up as 40 feet.
The eggs, which number four or five, are very remarkable, being a beautiful soft blue-green, a shade darker than the common Hedge-Sparrow's egg, without any gloss, although the surface is very fine and close. In shape they are broad ovals, the smaller end very little accentuated. Twenty-five eggs in my collection average 14.5 x 11.0 mm.: the maxima length and breadth are 16.2 x ll.5 mm., and the minima 13"9xl0'3 in each case both being found in the same egg.
Habits. In its habits this bird appears to be a true Regulus and resembles that bird in flight, song and its entirely insectivorous diet. On trees it has the same quick restless movements and it also has the same rather curious habit of constantly flying backwards and forwards between two favourite feeding-grounds.