(660) Cyornis tickelliae tickelliae.
Tickell's Blue Flycatcher.
Cyornis tickelliae Blyth, J.A.S.B., xii, p. 941 (1843) (Central India). Cyornis tickellii. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 25.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Lores, feathers round the eye and a narrow line next the bill black; forehead, supercilium and lesser wing-coverts glistening azure-blue; whole upper surface blue, less deep than in C. rubeculoides; point of chin black ; sides of bead and neck deep blue-black; throat and breast bright ferruginous fading into white on the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts ; axillaries and under wing-coverts white or very pale buff.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill black or dark horny-brown, paler at the base; legs and feet bluish brown, dusky bluish, or bluish grey.
Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 72 to 77 mm.; tail 54 to 59 mm.; tarsus 18 to 19 mm. ; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Female. Similar to the male but duller and paler; the supercilium very pale ; lores and round the eye grey and white ; whole chin very pale rufous and breast paler than in the male.
Colours of soft parts as in the male.
Measurements. Wing 69 to 72 mm.
Young. Above brown with bold fulvous spots, below dull fulvous-white, the breast rusty with dark brown margins to the feathers.
Distribution. Practically the whole of India, except Sind and the extreme N.W. Province; Assam, Manipur, North and Central Burma as far South as Karenni where it meets the next race; Yunnan, Shan States, Northern Siam and Annam.
Nidification. Tickell's Blue Flycatcher breeds from all levels up to about 5,000 feet but invariably in hilly or broken country. The nest is always placed in a hole of some kind, in a tree, bank or wall, possibly in most cases in hollows in trees and is built of grass, roots, dried moss and leaves and lined with roots ; rather untidy and rather large for the bird. The eggs number three to five and are not distinguishable from those of Cyornis rubeculoides, but perhaps average a rather brighter brown. Eighty eggs average 18.4 x 14.2 mm.: maxima 19.6 X 14.3 and 18.5 x 15.3 mm.; minima 16.8 x 13.6 and 18.3 x 13.4 mm.
The breeding-season is April, May and June, but General Betham found them breeding at Poona as late as August and, on the other hand, in Monghyr, Behar and Burma they breed as early as February and March.
Habits. This is a Flycatcher of small woods and sholas and of well-wooded cultivated country. It is an active lively little bird with a sweet but rather metallic little song which it utters far more freely than most of its relations. It is not shy and does not mind being watched.