(699) Chelidorhynx hypoxanthum.
The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.
Rhipidura hypoxantha Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 933 (1843) (Darjiling). Chelidorhynx hypoxanthum. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 51.
Vernacular names. Sitte kloom (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. Lores and a line round and through the eye black ; forehead and broad supercilium and whole lower plumage bright yellow; ear-coverts blackish with pale shafts ; upper plumage and wing-coverts dark olive-brown, the greater coverts tipped pale yellow; tail brown, all but the central pair broadly tipped white and all with conspicuous white shafts; wing-quills brown edged with olive.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black above, yellowish fleshy to horny-brown on the lower mandible and more yellow at the gape ; legs and feet pale horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 120 mm.; wing 54 to 57 mm.; tail 56 to 63 mm.; tarsus about 15 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm.
Female differs from the male only in having the lores and parts round the eye brown mixed with olive-green.
Distribution. Himalayas, from the Simla States to Eastern Assam, the hills of North and Central Burma to Tenasserim.
Nidification. The breeding area of this beautiful little Flycatcher is rather remarkable. Thompson found it breeding in the Kumaon Bhaber at an elevation of about 1,000 feet; in North Cachar I obtained it at about 5,000 feet, whilst Messrs. Osmaston and Whymper took nests between 9,000 and 14,000 feet in the Tons Valley and the Nila Valley in Garhwal. The nest is a beautiful little deep straight-sided cup made of fine moss well welded together, sometimes mixed with hair, lichen and wool and often decorated outside with lichen. The lining is of moss fruits with the stems attached, hair, or the very finest moss-roots and it is generally placed on a small vertical branch of a tree not very high from the ground. All the eggs recorded have been taken in June. They are like tiny eggs of Stoparola or Niltava but with a finer softer texture; pale creamy-white to a fairly warm cream with rings at the larger end of tiny indefinite freckles of a darker reddish. In shape they are broad blunt ovals. Twenty eggs average 14.0 x 11.1 mm.: maxima 14.7 x ll.6 and 14.6 x 11.7 mm.; minima 13.2 x 10.7 and 14.1 x 10.6 mm. The breeding-season is from the end of May to "early July.
Habits. The Yellow-bellied Flycatcher is found between 5,000 and 15,000 feet in the summer, rarely at lower elevation, whilst in winter it occurs throughout the foot-hills and plains adjacent to them. It is an extraordinarily vivacious, cheerful little bird, constantly on the move, sallying into the air in the manner of all Ely catchers, bustling about the branches high up in tall trees, quivering its wings and flirting its widely spread tail. It haunts bushes and lofty trees alike and, though as a rule it is found in deep forest and generally near running streams, 1 have seen it in reed-beds hunting the reed-stalks for insects and twice I have noticed it in bamboo-jungle. It has a very sweet but very feeble, little song.