89. Conostoma semodum

(89) Conostoma Aemodium Hodgs.
THE GREAT PARROT-BILL.
Conostoma oemodium, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 104.
This, the largest of all our Indian Parrot-Bills, is confined to the higher hills of Sikkim, North Assam, South Tibet and Kansu.
In Sikkim it has been found breeding, twice only, between 8,000 and 10,000 feet. Mandelli obtained one nest in Native Sikkim at 10,000 feet. This nest and one egg, out of three originally in the nest, were first described by Hume and then the former redescribed by Mandelli (Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs,’ vol. i, p. 43). As the latter describes the nest as he saw it when fresh I quote his description in preference to that of Hume. It was found, he says, “in May in Native Sikkim, in a cluster of Ringal (hill- bamboo) at an elevation of nearly 10,000 feet. It is a large, rather broad and shallow cup, the great bulk of the nest composed of extremely fine hair-like grass-stems, obviously used when green, and coated thinly exteriorly with coarse blades of grass, giving the outside a ragged and untidy appearance. The greatest external diameter is 5.5 inches, the height 3.2, but the cavity is 4.5 in diameter and 2.2 in depth, so that, though owing to the fine material used throughout, except in the outer coating the nest is extremely fine and compact, it is not at all a massive looking one.”
The single egg saved out of the three is “a regular, moderately elongated oval, slightly compressed towards the smaller end. The shell is fine and thin and has only a faint gloss. The ground-colour is a dull white, and it is sparsely blotched, streaked, and smudged with pale yellowish-brown, besides which, about the larger end, there are a number of small inky purple spots and clouds, looking as if they were beneath the surface of the shell.”
The only other known nest and egg was taken by St. J. Hickley at about 8,000 feet (or more) in Native Sikkim in Ringal jungle. These were sent to me and are very like those described by Hume. The nest is a deep cup of grass and reed-bark, lined with very fine grasses. It is typical of the nests of this family in being yellowish in colour, very compact and well built, though it has not got the finish or neatness of some of them. From the marks on the nest it looked as if it had been built in fine reeds or on grass- stems but the marks might equaly well have been made by bamboo twigs. There were two eggs but one was broken. The other has a white ground with a few specks and tiny blotches of reddish, sparse elsewhere but fairly numerous at the extreme larger end.
It measures 27.8 x 20.4 mm., whilst that sent to Hume is 28.1 x 20.8 mm. Hickley’s egg was taken on the 27th June.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
89. Conostoma semodum
Spp Author: 
Hodgs
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
89
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
78
Common name: 
Great Parrot Bill
M_ID: 
25279
M_CN: 
Great Parrotbill
M_SN: 
Conostoma aemodium
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
13302

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