(1285) Leptocoma flammaxillaris andamanica.
The Andaman Sunbird.
Arachnechthra andamanica Hume, Str. Featb., i, p. 404 (1873) (Andamans) j Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 363.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Differs from the preceding bird in having little or no red or black on the breast; the pectoral tufts are yellow and the abdomen and flanks are much paler and duller yellow; some birds have a small but distinct pale yellow supercilium.
In the non-breeding season the male assumes the plumage of the female, but is brighter yellow below and retains a metallic streak down the breast and abdomen.
Colours of soft parts as in the Burmese race.
Measurements. Wing 52 to 58 mm.; tail 32 to 38 mm.: tarsus 14 to 15 mm.; culmen 18 to 19 mm.
Female. Differs from the preceding bird only in having a longer bill.
Distribution. Andamans only,
Nidification. Osmaston, Wickham and Anderson found many-nests of this, Sunbird round about Port Blair. The first-named describes the nests as follows: - "The nests are oval in shape, the entrance hole being situated near the top and overhung by a. portico of fine grasses. The nest is composed of a variety of materials, chiefly fine grasses, bits of dead leaves and vegetable fibres. It is lined with down or fine grass-stems. It hangs suspended from some twig or grass-stem, usually under an overhanging bank, often close to the ground, less frequently at some considerable height up in a shrub or tree." It breeds from February to May and sometimes in June and again in August, and probably have two or more broods in the year. The eggs are invariably two only in number and are very similar to those of the preceding race, but in this the great majority have a pale bluish, ground-colour and are more sparingly yet more boldly and more handsomely marked than the eggs of that bird. Eighteen eggs in my collection average 16.7 X 11.7 mm., whilst 26 measured by Osmaston average 16.5 x 11.4 mm.: maxima 17.9 x 10.7 and 15.3 x 12.0 mm.; minima 15.3 x 12.0 and 17.9 x 10.7 mm.
Habits. An exceedingly common little bird throughout the Andamans, frequenting both forest, scrub-jungle and, wherever there are such, gardens and cultivated lands as, for instance, round. Port Blair where it breeds in great numbers. It is said to be a. bold, confiding Sunbird with the usual flight, voice and diet of the genus.