(679) Culicicapa ceylonensis ceylonensis.
THE GREY-HEADED FLYCATCHER.
Platyrhynchus ceylonensis Swains., Zool. HI., i, p. 13 (1820-1) (Ceylon). Culicicapa ceylonensis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 38.
Vernacular names. Zird-phutki (Beng.).
Description. Whole head, neck and breast ashy-grey, darker and centred with brown on the crown, paler in the centre of throat and breast; above bright yellowish green, the rump brighter and almost pure yellow; wing-coverts like the back; quills dark brown, all but the first two primaries narrowly, the secondaries broadly edged with yellow: tail brown, the rectrices edged with greenish yellow; under plumage bright yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill above black, below horny-brown, paler still at gape and base; legs yellowish brown or fleshy.
Measurements. Wing 58 to 67 mm.; tail 41 to 52 mm.; tarsus about 13 to 14 mm.; culmen about 7.5 to 8 mm. Young. Not yet described.
Distribution. Ceylon, the whole of India (except Sind, the Punjab and Rajputana), North Burma, Central Burma and Northern Siam.
Nidification. The Grey-headed Flycatcher breeds during the months of April, May and June between 3,000 and 8,000 feet over the whole of its range but generally, more especially in Southern, Western and North-Western India between 3,500 and 6,000 feet. In Assam it breeds freely at about 1,000 feet in the northern foot-hills and down to 2,500 feet in the southern hills and Manipur. It makes a charming little nest of bright green moss and lichen, shaped like half a cone or half a hemisphere, and placed against a moss-covered trunk of tree or rock, in among the living moss and lichen, from which it is practically impossible to discriminate it. The eggs number three or four and are tiny, broad, blunt, little ovals with a ground-colour varying from dead white to a pale dull yellowish or, rarely, greenish white; the markings consist of grey and yellowish-grey blotches and spots, generally disposed in a dense ring round the larger end and sparse elsewhere. One hundred eggs average 15.1 x 11.96 mm.; and the maxima and minima are 17.5 x 12.1 and 15.1 x l2.6 mm.; 13.9 x 11.8 and 14.8 x ll.4 mm.
Habits. The Grey-headed Flycatcher is a resident bird in the hill-country, ascending a little higher in the Summer and descending lower in the Winter, when it spreads to the adjacent plains. It. is a forest-bird, though preferring open to deep forest and is a lively cheerful little bird flitting backwards and forwards after insects, sometimes descending to the ground for this purpose and often hunting among the leaves and moss for spiders etc., much after the manner of a Titmouse. It has a sweet little song and is less silent than the birds of the genera Alseonax, Hemichelidon and Siphia.