(657) Cyornis rubeculoides rubeculoides.
The Blue-throated Flycatcher.
Phaenicura rubeculoides Vigors, P.Z.S., 1831, p. 35 (Himalayas, Darjeeling). Cyornis rubeculoides. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 23.
Vernacular names. Ghatki (Beng.); Manzil pho (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. Forehead and a streak over the eye glistening azure-blue ; lores, feathers at the base of the bill, in front of and behind the eye black ; lesser wing-coverts bright blue ; whole upper plumage and exposed portions of wings and tail dark blue; inner webs of lateral tail-feathers and concealed portions of wing-feathers brown; chin, throat, sides of neck and breast deep blue; breast bright ferruginous, paler on flanks and lower breast and pure white on abdomen and under tail-coverts; axillaries and under wing-coverts fulvous-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel; bill black, flesh-coloured at the gape; legs and feet pale fleshy to pale fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 145 mm.; wing 65 to 75 mm., two birds from Siam and China have wings of 78 mm.; tail 53 to 60 mm.; tarsus about 20 mm.; culmen about 11.5 to 12.5 mm.
Female. Lores and a ring round the eye pale fulvous; upper plumage olive-brown tinged with rufous on the forehead and rump and more ashy on the posterior crown and nape ; wing and tail feathers brown edged with ferruginous ; chin and throat fulvous-ferruginous ; breast bright ferruginous, abdomen and vent white ; sides of breast and flanks washed with olive-brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel-brown; bill black, horny at the base; legs and feet pale horny-brown.
Measurements. Wing 69 to 74 mm.; tail 49 to 52 mm.; tarsus about 19 mm.; culmen about 11 to 12 mm.
Young. Above brown streaked and spotted with fulvous and the wing-coverts broadly tipped with fulvous; throat and breast fulvous squamated with brown. The young male moults direct from the spotted into the blue plumage.
Distribution. In Summer the Blue-throated Flycatcher is found throughout the Himalayas from Kashmir to Burma; the hills of Burma South to Tenasserim. East it is found in Yunnan, Assam, Siam and Cochin China. In Winter it occurs throughout Eastern and North-Eastern India, Burma, etc.
Nidification. This Flycatcher breeds throughout the hill-portions of its habitat between 2,000 and 7,000 feet, but principally between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, in the months of April, May and June. It makes a cup-shaped nest of moss and moss-roots, often with a few leaves or scraps of grass in the base, lined with fine roots. It is placed in any convenient hollow in bank, rock or tree but preferably in natural holes in old stumps which are well concealed by moss or creepers. The eggs vary from three to five. In ground-colour they are a pale clay, sometimes with a pink or greenish tinge but they are so covered with microscopic specks of reddish brown that they appear to be unicoloured clay-brown or olive-brown eggs. Forty eggs average 18.3 x 14.0 mm.: maxima 19.4 x 15.1 mm.; minima 17.5 x 14.3 and 18.4 x 13.6 mm.
Habits. Like most other Flycatchers of the genus Cyornis this species is a bird of the forest throughout the breeding-season, but when migrating may be found in almost any kind of well-wooded country, cultivated or wild, and is very frequently found in open bamboo-jungle. Many individuals are undoubtedly resident all the year round between 2,000 and 5,000 feet, but others wander a great distance into the plains. They are cheerful lively little birds and will be found principally haunting the lower growths of bush and scrub, seldom mounting big trees to any height. They have a very sweet little song but are silent birds seldom uttering any note but a soft, deep chur-r-r-r.