1257. Chalcoparia singalensis singalensis

(1257) Chalcoparia singalensis singalensis Gmelin.
Chalcoparia singalensis singalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 368.
This curious little bird is a resident over the whole of Burma, West and South Siam, the Malay States, Sumatra and Java.
The Ruby-Cheek is a bird of forest and jungle, well-wooded open country with ample cover, throughout the broken plains at the foot of the hills and the hills themselves up to some 1,500 or even 5,000 feet.
The only naturalists to take the nests and eggs of this bird have been Oates in Pegu and Herbert in Siam, and as their descriptions do not agree in all points, though both are correct, it is necessary to quote from both.
Oates writes (Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs,’ vol. ii, p. 269) :—
“The bird appears to nidificate from the middle of May to about the end of July. On the 3rd June I found a nest with two eggs nearly hatched. It was suspended from a branch of a mango- tree about 20 feet from the ground and well surrounded by leaves. On the 25th June another nest was found from which the young had apparently just flown. It was about 8 feet from the ground. On July the 6th a nest with two nearly fresh eggs was discovered hanging in a shrub about 4 feet high, and on the 8th of the same month another quite completed but with no eggs. It was attached to the extreme tip of a bamboo about 25 feet from the ground.
“The nest is a very lovely structure, closely resembling that of Ploceus baya in shape, with the tube cut off at the level of the bottom of the nest. At a short distance off it looks like a mass of hair combings. Three nests are composed throughout of black hair¬like fibres very closely woven. With these are intermingled numerous small cocoons, pieces of bark, a few twigs here and there, and large lumps of the excreta of caterpillars. The interior is sparingly lined with fine grass. A fourth nest was made almost entirely of strips of grass, a very small quantity only of black fibre being used. Some huge pieces of bark, nearly as large as the bird itself, wore suspended by cobwebs from the lower part of the nest.
“The nest is pear-shaped, about 6 inches in height, and barely 3 inches outside diameter at the thickest part. The upper two inches are solid. The entrance is about halfway down, and measures 1.1/2 by 1. The bottom of the egg-chamber is about 1 inch below the top of the entrance, and the thickness of the walls everywhere is about one-third of an inch. The wonderful part of the neat is the verandah or portico. This springs from the upper edge of the entrance and extends to two or three inches below the bottom of the nest. Laterally it extends to rather more than the width of the nest, the sides being incorporated with the main structure all the way down. It is made of the same materials as the other portions, is about 1/4 inch thick, and very strongly woven and. elastic.”
Herbert found nests in Siam, generally built in lime-bushes, 4 to 8 feet from the ground, and “when hanging from the leaves at the end of a branch not easily recognizable as a nest. It is of quite a distinctive type and the six nests I have taken have all been exactly the same. The portico is a very prominent feature and is nearly as large as the egg-chamber. The nesting material is fibre of various degrees of coarseness, that of the interior being com¬paratively fine, whilst that of the outside presents quite a ragged appearance. Cobwebs are extensively used for keeping the numerous threads in their places.”
The eggs taken by Oates have a white or faintly pinkish-white ground, densely speckled with grey and purplish-grey, not unlike some eggs of the Cinnamon Sparrow, The eggs taken by Herbert have a more purple-tinged ground, while the markings vary from the tiniest freckles, which cover the whole surface of one egg, to bold blotches of purple-black with underlying smudges of violet grey. Two clutches are intermediate and are clouded with grey with smaller specks and blotches of purple-black. These eggs can. all be matched with the eggs of Anthreptes malacensis.
In shape the eggs are rather long pointed ovals, the texture exceptionally fragile and not very close.
Seven eggs average 16.75 x 11.85 mm. : maxima 17.7 x 12.0 mm, minima 16.0 x 12.0 and 16.8 x 11.3 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1257. Chalcoparia singalensis singalensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Malayan Ruby Cheek
Chalcoparia singalensis singalensis
Vol. 3

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