(1279) Leptocoma asiatica intermedia.
The Burmese Purple Sunbird.
Arachnechthra intermedia, Hume, Ibis, 1870, p. 436 (Tippera, Eastern Bengal). Arachnechthra asiatica. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 359 (part).
Vernacular names. Thun-thuni (Beng.); Shaker khora (Hind.) ; Man-pyi-sot (Burmese, Kyoukse District).
Description. Similar to the Indian Purple Sunbird but generally more richly coloured, the prevailing metallic tint being violet rather than green ; the pectoral tufts are larger and more mixed with scarlet.
Colours of soft parts as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 56 to 58 mm.; culmen 17 to 20 mm.
Female. Similar to that of the preceding bird but generally more yellow below.
Distribution. Extreme Eastern Bengal, Assam, Burma, South -to Tenasserim, East to the Karen Hills and thence into the Indo-Chinese countries.
Nidification. The Purple Sunbird's breeding in Burma has never been recorded but Hopwood took nests in the Lower Chindwin in April and Macdonald in Myingyan in the same month, whilst I found it breeding in small numbers in Cachar and Sylhet as well as in Tippera and Chittagong, districts of Eastern Bengal. All the nests with eggs seen by me were in April and May but it almost certainly breeds in March and June also, as I once saw young able to fly in the second week of April and was told of a nest containing eggs on the 18th June in Silchar. The nest is much the same as that of L. a. asiatica, a very pretty but untidy pear-shaped affair, made of all sorts of rubbish and decorated with a variety of cocoons, spiders' egg-bags, excretae of caterpillars, etc. The entrance, which is half-way up, sometimes has a porch and sometimes none. The nest is generally placed in a low bush, or in a trellis over an arch or verandah which is more or less covered by a creeper and all those of which I have notes have been built in gardens. The eggs number two or three and range through the same variations as those of the preceding bird. Fifteen eggs average 16.0 x 11.3 mm.: maxima 16.7x11.1 and 16.6 x 11.8 mm.; minima 15.3 X 10.8 mm.
Habits. The Burmese race of the Purple Sunbird seems nowhere to be the extremely common bird the Indian race is. Over Assam and the extreme Eastern districts of Bengal it occurs as a very rare frequenter of gardens and compounds, perhaps two or three pairs only being found in a comparatively big station. In parts of Burma it is a little more numerous but nowhere common even there. In all other respects the habits of the two birds are identical.