564. Kittacincla malabarica albiventris

(564) Kittacincla malabarica albiventris Blyth.
THE ANDAMAN SHAMA.
Kittacincla macroura albiventris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 119.
Kittacincla malabarica albiventris, ibid. vol. vii, p. 113.
This Shama is confined to the Andamans, where it is a very common bird.
Writing in the ‘Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society’ (vol. xxxv, p. 891, 1932), Osmaston gives the following interesting ; description of its breeding habits :—
“This bird is common in all the densely forested portions of the larger and smaller islands of this group. They specially frequent ravines near water. They have some fine loud, clear notes, as well as some harsh ones. They are very noisy in March and April, and almost at any time of the year they will answer anyone who whistles a few clear notes within earshot. Suspecting that the birds occupied clefts or holes in trees for nesting purposes, I had a number of boxes made—8" cubes—with a hole 3" in diameter on one side, and fixed them against the trunks of trees in dense forest wherever I heard a male Shama calling. This was done early .in March.
“I visited the boxes periodically after this, but none were occupied until May 27th, when two contained nests ready for eggs. In the next month, i. e., up to June 15th, 9 of the 12 boxes I had put up had nests with eggs, mostly 3, but one 4 and two with 2 eggs only.
“The nests filled the bottoms of the boxes. They were invariably made of dry bamboo-leaves, lined with black hair-like rhizomorph.
“Subsequently three nests of similar structure were found, one in a cleft in a buttressed tree, 9' from the ground, and two others in holes in old rotten stumps, 5' up. I reared several of the young birds from the nest and kept them loose in my garden on Chatham Island. They were very fond of small centipedes. The cocks were exceedingly pugnacious. I utilized this trait in order to catch them when required. It was only necessary to show them a small mirror, when they would instantly throw themselves against the glass and could easily be caught in the hand.”
Osmaston later found that they would make use of empty Cocoa-nut husks for breeding purposes, when placed in positions on trees at heights suitable for the purpose.
Wickham and Anderson also took the nests and eggs of this Shama in the Andamans, mostly from natural holes in trees in dense forest and, sometimes, apparently, from the old nesting- boxes and husks left behind by Osmaston.
The breeding season seems to be from late April to the end of June and Osmaston took eggs, now in my collection, from the 15th May to the 27th June.
The number of eggs laid is practically invariably three, very rarely two only, whilst Osmaston once only took a four.
In colour and shape they agree with the eggs of the other races of Shama but they have a wider range of variation. The majority of eggs are of the ordinary dull heavily blotched character but, among Osmaston’s eggs, there are clutches with a pale blue-grey ground, very thickly blotched all over with pale pinky brown, a quite unusual type for a Shama’s eggs. At the other extreme there are several clutches with a pale yellow-brown ground-colour almost obhterated with rich red-brown to lighter red-brown blotches. On the whole, also, the eggs of this race are very much more glossed on the surface than those of any other, one clutch of the brown type being very highly glossed.
Fifty eggs average 21.9 x 16.8 mm. : maxima 25.0 x 18.0 mm. ; minima 19.2 x 15.9 and 21.2 x 14.6 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
564. Kittacincla malabarica albiventris
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
564
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
106
Common name: 
Andaman Shama
M_ID: 
27647
M_CN: 
Andaman Shama
M_SN: 
Copsychus albiventris
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13738

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