480. Cinclus pallasii marila

(480) Cinclus pallasii marila Swinhoe.
Cinclus pallasii marila, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 5.
The distribution of this Dipper has not yet been thoroughly worked out and we have great variations in the size of birds breeding in the same area. Swinhoe described the bird from Formosa, and it seems to work from these islands through China and, doubtless, the Indo-Chinese countries, into Assam South of the Brahmapootra River.
In the Khasia and Cachar Hills the regular breeding season is December and January, but it was a very long time before I found this out. In North Cachar I took two nests, one on the 25th April, 1893, and one on the 14th May, 1894, both at an elevation of about 3,500 feet. The bird was not rare, though one heard its shrill call more often than one saw the dark form scudding up and down the narrow hill-streams. However closely I watched, I could find no nests other than the above two. Then in the Khasia Hills one was again taken still later on the 6th July, 1907, but this time I had a Khasia with me who expressed surprise at finding the nest and, when I asked why, explained to me that the Dipper always bred in December and January.
After I had learned this we were more successful and I either found or had found for me, and marked down, several nests, all in the two months mentioned.
So far as I know it keeps very much to the smaller streams, waterfalls and cascades in forest, where it is even harder to watch on to its nest than on more open streams. It flies very close to the water, often dives and reappears where one least expects it, and has a special aptitude for disappearing when one is beginning to think it has been shadowed to its nest.
The nest is quite typical of the whole genus—a ball of grass, weeds, dead leaves and moss, either green or dried, lined with dead leaves over which is generally a further lining of grass. Some nests are placed on obstacles in mid-stream, in among, or on, the rubbish collected by successive floods. Here it would be impossible to recognize them as nests but for the flight of the parent bird from them when disturbed, for they are exactly like the rubbish all round them and sometimes, indeed, over them. Other nests are wedged in between boulders, or into crevices in a rock-face. One was built in a hollow from which a stone had fallen, but even this was incon-spicuous, the moss of which it was made blending with that which grew all round it.
In measurements the nests may be anything from 8 to 14 inches across and anything from 6 to 9 inches high, depending on the amount of loose leaves and rubbish used on the outside. In shape they are like large Rugby footballs lying on their sides, slightly deflated. The egg-chamber is small in comparison with the size and bulk of the nest, being about 4 inches or less either way ; it is very compact and keeps dry and snug even when the outside of the nest is kept constantly wet with spray.
The eggs number four or five and do not differ from those of other Dippers.
Thirty eggs average 26.7 x 18.9 mm. : maxima 29.6 x 19.2 and 27.0 x 20.0 mm. ; minima 24.3 x 18.3 and 26.0 x 17.7 mm.

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: 
480. Cinclus pallasii marila
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Formosan Brown Dipper
Cinclus pallasii pallasii
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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