679(a). Culicicapa ceylonensis pallidior

(679 a.) Culicicapa ceylonensis pallidior (Ticehurst).
THE SIMLA GREY-HEADED FLYCATCHER.
Culicicapa ceylonensis ceylonensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 254 (part.).
Culicapa ceylonensis pallidior Ticehurst, Bull. B. O. C. vol. lxvii, p. 108, 1927 : Simla.
Ticehurst’s race of this Flycatcher is found from Afghanistan and Baluchistan, through the whole of Kashmir and the Southern Himalayas, to the Simla States and Garhwal, breeding between 4,000 and 7,500 feet.
Dodsworth and Jones took many nests of this little bird in the Simla States, the former sending me a fine series of the eggs. His various remarks, in epistola, may be summarized as follows :— “This little Flycatcher is very common in the Simla States, as well as round about Simla Town itself, breeding between 5,500 and 8,000 feet. It haunts oak and deodar forest but is found wherever the country is thickly wooded, preferring spinneys and ravines in forest where there are trees and rocks covered with thick long moss, amongst which it places its lovely little purse-nest, built entirely of the same green moss and lined with finest roots. The nests are placed up against the tree or rock and are not pendent in any way from the growing moss, though this conceals them effectually from view. They build at any height between 5' and 15' but, occasionally, when they place their nests on trees, at much greater heights. They lay three or four eggs, but nearly always the latter number, in the months of April, May and June.”
Betham found them breeding about Dalhousie in June and writes :—“They are very plentiful, affecting rocky woods and building a beautiful little pocket-nest of moss, and lichen, lined with hair and fine roots, which it places against some tree-trunk covered with the same green moss and lichen. They are built at any height from 3 to 20 feet or more up and are very difficult to find unless the birds are noticed when building.”
Gammie records that in Sikkim he “found this species breeding in open forest in May and June at about 5,000 feet above the sea. One nest found on the 10th June contained four fresh eggs and was placed in a longitudinal scar on the underside of a large leaning tree (not moss-covered) about four feet from the ground. It was neatly made of moss bound together with cobwebs and attached to the rough sealy bark of the tree by the same materials. The outer moss was intermingled with a few lichens of the same colour as those growing naturally on the tree, and the cavity was most beautifully lined with the red fruiting stalks of a small moss. I did not know before that moss fruit-stalks were ; of any further use (independent of their species) than being pretty to look at, but here we have a charming use both for them and the much-despised cobwebs.”
The breeding season is late April, May and June ; sometimes however, they must breed much earlier, as Colonel G. F. Marshall says of their breeding round Naini Tai:— "I think they must have two broods in the year ; I have as a rule reached the hills in the middle of May and, until this year, I never got eggs or saw any signs of building until the first week in July, though I watched the birds carefully. This year I came up in the middle of April and found several nests with eggs before the first week in May, and again they are building in the first week in June. All the nests that I have seen were, without exception, against the moss-covered trunks of large hill-oaks about 30 feet from the ground and unsheltered by foliage.”
A full clutch of eggs numbers three or four only and I have no record of any greater number. In shape, colour etc. they cannot be distinguished from those of the preceding bird.
Forty eggs average 15.0 x 12.0 mm. : maxima 16.4 x 11.8 and 15.5 x 12.4 mm. ; minima 14.1 x 11.7 and 14.2 x 11.2 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: 
679(a). Culicicapa ceylonensis pallidior
Spp Author: 
Ticehurst
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
224
Common name: 
Simla Grey Headed Flycatcher
M_ID: 
21002
M_CN: 
Grey-headed Canary-flycatcher
M_SN: 
Culicicapa ceylonensis
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13830

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