476. Tesia castaneocoronata castaneocoronata

(476) Tesia castaneocoronata castaneocoronata (Burton).
Tesia castaneocoronata castaneocoronata, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 465.
This handsome little Wren extends from Garhwal, Nepal and Sikkim to the extreme East of Assam. It is not, apparently, found in Manipur, the Chin Hills or anywhere further East.
There are two accounts of the supposed nests of this Wren given in Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ ; one of a nest taken by Hodgson and the other of one brought to Jerdon. Both are obviously quite incorrect and I do not quote them here.
I can find no notes since then on the breeding of this Wren other than a brief record of the fact that Inglis took a Cuckoo’s egg from a nest of Oligura (= Tesia) castaneocoronata at Tonglu, Sikkim, 10,000 feet, and Osmaston’s account (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xv, p. 511, 1904), which describes habitat as well as nidification :—“ This pretty little bird has the habits of a wren, and frequents brushwood under high forest, rarely ascending more than a few feet from the ground. It is common in the neighbourhood of Darjiling at all elevations up to 8,000 feet, according to season, and breeds in the upper portion of its range.
“It has a shrill call of 4 notes resembling that of Culicicapa ceylonensis, which it utters at intervals as it moves restlessly about in thick cover.
“The accounts of the nidification of this species given by Hodgson and Jerdon are conflicting, so that I was much gratified when
I found a nest this year after several years of fruitless search in the past.
“The nest I found on the 8th July in an oak forest near the top of a ridge, elevation 7,500 feet. It was woven into, and suspended from, a branchlet of Viburnum rufescens at a height of 3 feet from the ground. The surrounding forest was dense and the vegetation was draped with moss. No attempt had been made, apparently, at concealment, but the nest might easily have passed for one of the numerous similar lumps of moss sticking in the shrubs and the branches of the trees.
“I disturbed the bird from her nest at 5 P.M., and she returned in 20 minutes. The nest contained two fresh eggs.
“It is neatly but rather flimsily built of moss ; inside there is a layer of fine roots and, lastly, a scanty lining of feathers.
The eggs are long ovals, with little gloss, of an almost uniform dark terra cotta or dull chestnut colour, duller and less uniform than the eggs of a Prinia, and with a very faint cap of mottlings of a darker shade at the larger end.”
A second pair taken by Osmaston on 1st June, 1904, was in a nest like the first, “a globular ball of moss, lined feathers and suspended from a twig 4' from the ground in undergrowth of dense damp shady oak and chestnut forest.”
The eggs in the second nest were similar to those in the first but lighter—I should call them a chocolate-red or very deep terra cotta—and one egg has one curious hair-line of black crawling here and there over it.
The two eggs taken by Inglis are like richly-coloured eggs of the Slaty-bellied Wren.
Nests and eggs taken in Assam vary in description from those taken by Osmaston to specimens still paler than those taken by Inglis and which could not be distinguished from those of the preceding bird. One very remarkable clutch, which I should think to be quite abnormal, has the ground pale cream marked withrather streaky blotches of pinky red, fairly numerous everywhere and forming feeble rings round the larger end.
In shape the eggs are generally rather long ovals and in texture like those of the Slaty-bellied Wren, but Osmaston’s eggs are rather shorter and less compressed at the smaller end—in fact they are really not very far from being ellipses.
Eighteen eggs average 17.4 x 12.9 mm. : maxima 18.5 x 13.4 and 18.0 x 13.9 mm. ; minima 16.8 x 12.4 mm.
The breeding season in Assam is May and early June ; in the higher ranges of Sikkim June and early July.
Both sexes have been caught on the nest and, therefore, the male certainly assists in incubation, but what share he takes in the labour of nest-building is not known.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
476. Tesia castaneocoronata castaneocoronata
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Chestnut Headed Wren
Cettia castaneocoronata castaneocoronata
Vol. 1

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