Cinnyris asiatica, Lath.
234. :- Arachnechthra asiatica, Lath. :- Jerdon's Birds of India, Vol. I, p. 370 ; Butler, Deccan; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 390 ; Guzerat, Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 462 ; Murray's Vertebrate Zoology of Sind, p. 119; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 64.
THE PURPLE HONEY SUCKER,
Length, 4.5; wing, 2.3; tail, 1.5; tarsus, 0.6; bill at front, 0.75.
Bill and legs black; irides red-brown. In summer, breeding plumage this species has the whole head, neck, throat, breast, and back glossy green-purple; the abdomen purplish-black; wings and tail dull black, the latter faintly white-tipped; a tuft of crimson and yellow feathers at the axillae of the wings.
After breeding, the fine purple garb is doffed, all except a long stripe from the chin to the vent.
The young bird has the upper parts dull olive-green ; beneath bright yellow; shoulders and central stripe beneath brilliant glossy-violet; wings and tail dusky or black.
The female is greenish brown-grey above, greenish-yellow beneath, deepest on the throat and breast, and lighter on the vent and under tail-coverts ; quills dusky ; tail black!
The Purple Honey Sucker is very common throughout the region and is a permanent resident.
It breeds from March to September, but most nests are found in April and May; the nest is pendant, and resembles a florence-flask in shape; it is attached to a twig, and all sorts of material are made use of in its construction, fine grass, lichens, cobwebs, pieces of straw, dead flowers, and leaves, &c. The entrance is high up on one side, and has a projection or canopy over it to keep out the rain.
The eggs, two or three in number, are dingy little ovals, of a whitish ground color, thickly speckled with brown and greyish-brown. They measure 0.64 in length by about 0.46 in breadth.