897. Arachnechthra pectoralis.
The Malay Yellow-breasted Sun-bird.
Nectarinia pectoralis, Horsf. Tr. Linn. Soe. xiii, p. 167 (1822); Blyth, Cat. p. 225. Cyrtostomus pectoralis (Horsf.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 739; Hume, N. & E. p. 155. Arachnechthra pectoralis (Horsf.), Wald. Ibis, 1870, p. 25; Ball, S. F. i, p. 64; Hume, S. F. ii, p. 196; Oates in Humes N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 259. Cinnyris pectoralis (Horsf.), Shelley, Mon. Nect. pp. xxvii, xxxvi, 87, 165, pl. 53; Gadow, Cat. B. M. ix, p. 88 ; Hume, Cat. no. 234 bis.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, anterior part of crown, and cheeks violet-blue; lores black; upper plumage, sides of head and neck olive-yellow; wings brown, each feather margined with olive-yellow; tail blackish, the lateral feathers broadly tipped with whitish; chin and throat metallic violet, bordered by a band of metallic blue, which gets broader on the upper breast and is narrowly margined with maroon; lower plumage bright yellow; pectoral tufts deep yellow tinged with red; under wing-coverts very pale yellow.
Female. Upper plumage olive-yellow, as also the sides of the head and neck; entire lower plumage deep yellow ; wings brown, each feather edged with olive-yellow; tail blackish, the lateral feathers broadly tipped with white.
Legs, feet, and bill black ; iris brown (Hume).
Length about 4.5; tail 1.4; wing 2.1; tarsus .55; bill from gape .7 to .9.
There are two distinct races of this bird in the Nicobar Islands.
Those found in Car Nicobar, Bompoka, Trinkut, Camorta, and Kat-chal have the culmen short as in birds from the Malay peninsula and islands; those found in Condul have the bill extremely long, the culmen measuring about .85. These two races differ, however, in no other respect and I do not propose to separate them.
Distribution. The Nicobar Islands as above, extending to the Malay peninsula and all the adjacent islands.
Habits, &c. Very partial to the flowers of the cocoanut-palm. Breeds in the Nicobars in January and February, constructing a nest similar to that of A. asiatica, but larger and coarser. An egg measured .61 by .45 and was greyish brown speckled with darker brown, some of the spots being surrounded by a purplish tinge.