917. Horeites brunnifrons brunnifrons

(917) Horeites brunnifrons brunnifrons (Hodgs.).
Horeites brunnifrons brunnifrons, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 512.
This Bush-Warbler breeds in Sikkim and South Tibet at elevations of over 9,000 feet and, in Nepal, over 10,000 feet.
Macdonald sent me clutches of this bird’s eggs—they can be nothing else—with nests, from the extreme North of the Chambi Valley, which he terms Tibet, but which was probably in Sikkim.
Osmaston gives the first account of this bird’s breeding (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xiv, p. 816, 1903):— “This bird is common at from 10,000 to 11,000 feet on the Singalila Ridge. It frequents the low scrub consisting of dwarf bamboo, grazed down, berberis etc., in the more open parts of the Silver Fir and Rhodo¬dendron forest. It is a busy, noisy little bird, with a strange un¬mistakable call which it constantly repeats and which consists of ordinary chirping notes, followed by a curious grating mouse¬like sound, twice repeated, and of a ventriloquistic nature.
“I found four nests of this species containing 4, 3, 3, and 2 eggs respectively, all in the first week in June, built in low scrub, about a foot from the ground, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet.
“The nest is domed and rather oval in shape, 6 or 7 inches high and 4 inches thick, with a circular opening near the top about 1.1/2 inches in diameter. It is composed externally of moss, dry grass and dry bamboo leaves and lined rather scantily with fine grass and finally with feathers.”
In Nepal Stevens took several nests below Kalo Pokhari in May, at an elevation of about 10,000 feet, on Singalila Ridge, just beyond the Sikkim boundary. Of these he writes that during April and May “males are much in evidence. During the first weeks in April it utters a loud, sweet, if short, song. Nests composed of grass and bents, with an interior lining of feathers ; clutch usually four, on one occasion five eggs.” In epistola he says these nests were all built in low scrub-jungle close to a few huts adjacent to a small “tarn” on the Singalila Ridge ; they were all domed and placed low down in thick bushes about 1 or 2 feet from the ground.
I have also two nests from the North of the Chambi Valley, which are described as exactly like those taken by Stevens and Osmaston, except that a little dried moss was used with the outer grass and bamboo-leaves. In two cases Osmaston found nests built in grazed-down bamboo-scrub.
The breeding season is, as we have seen, from the beginning of May to the end of June, the earliest eggs recorded being on the 4th May and the latest on the 22nd June.
The full clutch is three or four, while Stevens once found a five.
In colour the eggs vary from a pale, but bright, terra-cotta pink to a very deep terra-cotta red. In the majority of eggs no distinct specks or markings are visible but nearly all have a well-defined cap of deeper colour at the larger end and, if examined with a magnifying glass, this is seen to consist of a coalesced mass of tiny freckles. In a few eggs the spots are more easily seen. In one very pale set in my collection all three eggs have small blotches and specks of a deeper terra-cotta pink at the large end, while another clutch has the three eggs freckled all over with deep terra-cotta red, in addition to the usual caps.
In shape the eggs vary between broad and rather long ovals ; the texture is fine and most eggs have a distinct gloss.
Thirty eggs average 17.9 x 13.0 mm. : maxima 19.0 x 12.8 and 18.4 x 13.5 mm. ; minima 16.4 x 12.5 and 18.0 x 12.0 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
917. Horeites brunnifrons brunnifrons
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Rufous Capped Bush Warbler
Cettia brunnifrons brunnifrons
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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