653. Muscicapula pallipes pallipes

(653) Muscicapula pallipes pallipes (Jerdon).
Cyornis pallipes pallipes, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 228.
Muscicapula pallipes pallipes, ibid. vol. viii, p. 628.
This Flycatcher is restricted to the South-West of India, from Belgaum to the extreme South of Travancore, breeding in the hills from the level of the plains up to 4,000 feet but, principally, between 1,000 and 2,000 feet.
I have a clutch of three eggs taken by Davidson in 1889, fully scribed in his own handwriting as those of this Flycatcher but, probably, not identified until much later, as even in 1893 he was uncertain of the bird’s breeding habits. Later, he and T. R. Bell took many nests. The first properly authenticated nest was that taken by A. S. Cardew in June 1894. Of this he writes :—“In the same month I found the nest of another bird, Cyornis pallidipes. The nest was found at an elevation of 4,000 feet above the sea. It was placed in a hole in a bank under the protection of a large rock, and by the side of the old ghat-road or riding-path to Coonoor, on which scores of people pass up and down daily. It was composed of roots on the outside, with a few dried leaves, and lined with pine-fibres and contained three young a few days old.” Davidson’s first nest was taken in mixed deciduous and evergreen forests, fairly open and with little undergrowth.
Stewart, who took many nests of this Flycatcher, writes to me as follows :—“This Flycatcher keeps to damp forest, where the nest is usually found near water. The nest is generally placed on a ledge of a rock, or in a hole in a tree-stump, a few feet from the ground, and is built roughly and untidily of moss. Nearly all those I took myself were at elevations between 1,000 and 2,000 feet, where the bird is fairly common, but I have heard it in suitable forest up to 4,000 feet. Cyornis pallipes breeds chiefly during the rains, but I have found nests as early as February and as late as September.”
Davidson describes a nest taken by him as “a cup of green moss, lined with lichen, fine shreds of grass and a few fine roots. Outwardly it was roughly and untidily built, but the cup itself was neat and well finished. It was placed inside a rather large hollow in an old dead stump, a couple of feet from the ground, and well hidden by moss and creepers.”
The eggs almost invariably number four in a full clutch and are more like small eggs of Copsychus and Kittacincla than those of other Flycatchers. The ground varies from pale dull sea-green to a warm yellowish-stone. Most eggs are richly and profusely blotched all over with dark brown, or chocolate-brown, the blotches more numerous at the larger end, where they sometimes form zones or caps. In some they are very thick all over the surface but never so much so as to make the eggs look unicoloured. Most eggs have secondary blotches of grey or pale brown but these are very inconspicuous. In shape they are short, blunt ovals, occasionally a little compressed at the smaller end. The texture is rather coarse and the surface has a slight gloss, not always present.
Forty-five eggs average 20.2 x 15.5 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 16.0 and 20.9 x 16.5 mm. ; minima 19.4 x 15.0 and 20.1 x 14.6 mm.
They appear to be very shy birds at the nest and very difficult to watch on to them. There is no information at present as to incubation and which sex constructs the nest.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
653. Muscicapula pallipes pallipes
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Indian White Footed Bute Flycatchre
White-bellied Blue Flycatcher
Cyornis pallipes
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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