1285. Leptocoma flammaxillaris andamanica

(1285) Leptocoma flammaxillaris andamanica (Hume).
THE ANDAMAN MAROON-BREASTED SUNBIRD.
Leptocoma flammaxillaris andamanica, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 404.
This little Sunbird is found in the Andamans only, frequenting and breeding both in the thick forest and scrub and also in bushes etc. in gardens and the open country round Port Blair.
Captain Wimberley was the first person to take the nest and eggs of this bird at Aberdeen. The nest taken by him, one described by Osmaston (Journ. Bomb. Nat, Hist. Soc. vol. xii, p. 559, 1890) and many taken later by him and by Wickham and Anderson were all very much alike, but the situations in which they were placed varied greatly. Most nests were attached to slender twigs of small trees or high bushes in thin forest, scrub, or actually in the gardens of the station. The height at which they are suspended above the ground may be anything from 2 to 10 feet, but is most often between 3 and 5. Several nests taken by Wickham and Osmaston were attached to roots under overhanging banks in forest, very similar positions to those chosen by Aethopyga seherioe. One was attached to a tuft of coarse grass hanging down under one of these banks and another to a mass of creepers. Osmaston writes of one nest taken with two fresh eggs at Gopla Kabung on the 30th May;—“It was suspended over the surface of a stream, about 3 feet above the water, which was 8 or 9 feet deep, so that I had to swim out and tread water while taking the nest,”
The nests are like those of Leptocoma asiatica, but smaller and neater, while they are very seldom of the very long purse shape generally adopted by the preceding bird. The nest taken at Gopla Kabung measured about 4 inches by 3, and this seems to be just about an average-sized nest ; some are a little bigger and some a little longer in proportion to the breadth while, occasionally, one may be almost round. Many have odds and ends hanging about and below the nest, sometimes in quite a tail, which add considerably to the rough outside length of the nest, while all have a small, very loosely made portico over the entrance.
The body of the nest is generally composed chiefly of fine grasses but, mixed with those, is an assortment of all kinds of other things, such as fibres of many kinds, roots, bits of leaves, bark, caterpillar excretae, spiders’ egg-bags, bits of moss and lichen, flowering heads of grass etc., etc. There are always also many cobwebs used both in the body of the nest and together with the materials which attach it to its support. They seem invariably to be pendent, and there is no record of their being built in among cobwebs or in upright forks or twigs of bushes.
The portico, which is very roughly constructed, consists, in four out of five nests, almost entirely of the flowering ends of grasses, mixed with just a few Hakes of bark or some similar material. The lining varies greatly ; often it is of fine grass but, at other times, cotton-down, flowering grass ends, soft fibrous bark, or a few soft feathers are also used.
The breeding season lasts from early March to the middle of June and I have eggs taken from the 1st of the former and on the 10th of the latter month. Occasionally they may also breed in other months, as Osmaston obtained one nest with two eggs on the 28th October, A full clutch consists of two eggs only. Wickham obtained one clutch of three out of eight nests found, while Osmaston, in a much greater number, found none.
The eggs vary greatly. The ground ranges from a very pale greyish-white, yellowish-white or creamy-white to a pale hut distinct brown. The markings consist of cloudings of brown of many shades, differing much in different eggs. In most they are mottled over the whole surface of the eggs, mixed sometimes with paler grey secondary clouds ; more rarely they are confined to the larger end. Above these clouds many eggs are boldly spotted with deep purple-black, the spots often paler and redder at the edges and looking as if the spots had run. In a few eggs the spots are very bold and the cloudings absent or nearly so.
Among abnormally coloured eggs in the wonderful series taken by Osmaston there is one pair which is pure white, faintly freckled with grey at the extremity of the larger end. Another pair is very densely marked with reddish-brown, while yet a third is white, lightly mottled hero and there with grey-sienna.
In shape the eggs vary from stout broad ovals to long narrow ovals, often much pointed at the smaller end. As a whole, however, the long ovals greatly predominate. The texture !a fine and close but glossless, and the shell very fragile.
Forty-six eggs average 16.0 x 11.5 mm. : maxima 18.0 x 11.8 and 11.2 x 12.0 mm. ; minima 15.0 x 11.7 and 17.9 x 10.7 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1285. Leptocoma flammaxillaris andamanica
Spp Author: 
Hume
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1285
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
223
Common name: 
Andaman Sunbird
M_ID: 
29157
M_SN: 
Cinnyris jugularis andamanicus
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14374

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