(1284) Leptocoma flammaxillaris flammaxillaris.
The Burmese Yellow-breasted Sunbird.
Nectarinia flammaxillaris Blyth. J. A. S. B., xiv, p. 557 (1845) (Tenasserim). Arachnechthra flammaxillaris, Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 362.
Vernacular names. Nok-kin-plea-lek (Siam).
Description. - Male. Upper plumage and edges to all wing-feathers olive-green, the upper tail-coverts a little more yellowish; wing-feathers brown ; tail blackish, the central feathers narrowly, the others more boldly tipped with white; chin, throat and upper breast metallic purple, bordered all round with dark steel-blue; a band of orange-maroon on the lower breast followed by a broken band of black ; pectoral tufts flame-red ; remainder of lower parts bright yellow; under wing-coverts yellowish-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris light brown to deep hazel; bill black, mouth salmon-colour; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 51 to 55 mm.; tail 32 to 34 mm.; tarsus 14 to 15 mm.; culmen 15 to 17 mm.
Female. Like the male above but with the lower parts wholly a duller, paler yellow.
Distribution. Burma from Arakan on the West, Pegu and Tenasserim; East to Siam, Cochin China and the Malay Peninsula.
Nidification. This Sunbird was found breeding by Oates in Pegu in March and again in July and August whilst Darling took a nest in Tenasserim in February. In Siam Herbert says that he has obtained nests in every month of the year and that nesting is in full swing by early February and continues up to the end of August. The nest is attached to one of the outer branches of a tree or bush at any height between two and twenty feet from the ground. Herbert remarks : " In general appearance it resembles a collection of vegetable debris caught up on the branch in a wind; in fact the nest is a very clever representation of this. The first part of the structure is pear-shaped, strongly woven from fibre with the ends left hanging down below; this is elaborately decorated with a loosely woven covering of all kinds of vegetable refuse which are connected with cobwebs and hang down some six inches below the bottom of the actual nest. The whole surface is often extensively overlaid with the woody refuse with which the wood-boring caterpillars cover the entrances to their holes. A little portico extends over the entrance to the nest and as this generally faces towards the sheltered part of the tree, the interior is very well protected from the weather."
The eggs number two only and the most common type has the ground a pale buffy-grey profusely marked all over with yellowish-brown or pale brown, in most eggs also there are a few spots of dark brown showing up boldly among the more ill-denned freckles. A few eggs have the ground bluish-grey and the markings more sparse and also bolder. Thirty-eight eggs average 15.4 x 31.1 mm.: maxima 16.2 x 11.8 and 16.1 X 12.0 mm.; minima 14.4 x 10.9 and 16.0 x 10.5 mm.
Habits. This is a very cheerful, lively little bird as energetic and as restless as the rest of the genus and like them haunting flowering shrubs in gardens and open forest. Herbert says that in Siam they are particularly numerous in the fruit-gardens round Bangkok, several pairs often feeding together. The note is the usual trill but both this and the song seem to be feebler than it is in the L. asiatica group. Although not recorded, there is no doubt that this Sunbird assumes a plumage similar to that of the female at the termination of the breeding-season, probably differing in having the underparts a brighter yellow with a mesial metallic stripe.