(653) Cyornis pallipes pallipes.
The White-bellied Blue Flycatcher.
Muscicapa pallipes Jerdon, Madr. Journ. L. S., xi, p. 15 (1840) (Coonoor Ghat). Cyornis pallidipes. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 22.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead and supercilium ultramarine-blue ; lores black fading to bluish black on ear-coverts and sides of head; whole upper plumage and exposed parts of wings and tail indigo-blue; concealed portions of wing dark brown, the first few primaries edged paler and not blue; chin blackish, throat and breast indigo-blue, changing to blue-grey on the lower breast and flanks and to white on the abdomen, under tail-coverts, axillaries and under wing-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel; bill black; legs and feet fleshy-white, pale horny-white or fleshy tinged with purple.
Measurements. Total length about 150 to 160 mm.; wing 73 to 79 mm.; tail 56 to 60 mm.; tarsus about 18 mm.: culmen 13.0 to 13.5 mm.
Female. Lores, forehead and point of chin white; a very indistinct supercilium and feathers under the eye pale grey; upper plumage rufescent olive-brown, more grey on the head; upper tail-coverts and exposed parts of tail chestnut; wings dark brown, all the feathers edged with fulvous-rufous; throat and breast orange-chestnut; remainder of lower plumage white tinged with grey on the flanks and next the breast. Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the male. The Nestling is dark brown above, the feathers boldly spotted with fulvous and narrowly margined with black; below white, chestnut on the breast, squamated with dark brown and with large fulvous spots.
Distribution. South-West India on the "Western Ghats from Belgaum to the extreme South of Travancore.
Nidification. First taken by Messrs. J. Davidson and T. E. Bell in Kanara, S. Bombay, the nests have since been taken in great numbers by Mr. J. Stewart in Travancore. He describes them as roughly made of moss and placed either on a ledge of rock or in a hole of a tree-stump a few feet from the ground. They are always built in damp forest at elevations between 1,000 and 4,000 feet, most often under 2,000 feet. The usual breeding-season is March to April, but Mr. Stewart has taken nests from February to September.
The number of eggs laid is nearly always three, and in appearance they are not unlike boldly marked eggs of the Common Spotted Flycatcher. The ground-colour is a pale yellow or reddish stone, sometimes distinctly green, and the markings consist of small blotches of rather bright reddish, numerous everywhere and generally forming a ring or cap at the larger end. They are nowhere so numerous as to make the eggs appear unicoloured as in the eggs of Cyornis rubeculoides, etc.
Forty eggs average 20.2 x 15.5 mm.: maxima 22.0x16.0 and 20.9 x 16.5 mm.; minima 19.4 X 15.0 and 20.1 x 14.6 mm.
Habits. This Flycatcher keeps almost entirely to dense forest from the foot-hills up to some 6,000 feet. Its song is said to be sweet but melancholy and it sings very early in the morning and late in the evening. Mr. Stewart notes that this bird and Myiophoneus horsfieldii may be heard singing, on the same stream, before other birds have started and again after all the others have ceased.