(655) Cyornis unicolor unicolor.
The Pale Blue Flycatcher.
Cyornis unicolor Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 1007 (1843) (Darjeeling); Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 22.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, front and sides of the crown, a narrow ring round the eye and lesser wing-coverts ultramarine-blue; whole upper plumage, exposed portions of wings and tail light blue, deeper on the upper tail-coverts and edges of the tail-feathers ; lores black; lower plumage very pale dull blue, becoming greyish albescent on abdomen, flanks and under tail-coverts, the latter broadly edged with white; axillaries and under wing-coverts fulvous-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel; bill black; legs and feet dark purplish fleshy or fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 165 to 170 mm.; wing 78 to 85 mm.; tail 68 to 75 mm.: tarsus about 17 to 18 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm.
Female. The whole upper plumage fulvous olive-brown ; tail-feathers ferruginous and wing-quills brown edged with ferruginous ; lores and a ring round the eye pale fulvescent; whole lower plumage pale earthy-brown, often tinged with ochraceous on the sides of the head, chin and throat.
Colours of soft parts. Bill horny-brown, darker on culmen and tip; legs horny-brown.
Measurements as in the male.
Nestling. Above dark brown with bold black edges to each feather and large bright fulvous spots ; below fulvous-white with darker fulvous mottlings and black squamations.
Distribution. Himalayas from Sikkim to Eastern Assam, Chin Hills.
Nidification. Two nests and eggs brought to Dr. H. N. Coltart and myself by Trans-Dikhu Nagas were taken in the first week of April and second week of June respectively, from the higher ranges of hills, probably well above 5,000 feet, behind Margherita. The nests were bulky affairs of moss mixed with moss and fern-roots and lined with the latter and had, according to the Nagas, been wedged into holes, one in a tree-stump near water and one in a bank between stones. Six: eggs vary from 21.5 x l7.8 to 23.1 X 17.1 mm. in length, whilst in breadth they vary between 23.0 x 16.8 and 21.5 x 17.3 mm. In appearance they are like large eggs of Cyornis pallipes, though in one clutch the markings are rather pale and small.
Habits. This was a very common Flycatcher in the South Assam Hills, in summer being found from 3,000 feet upwards and in winter wandering down below 1000 ft. It has a magni¬ficent song, richer than that of any other Cyornis; it sings early and late from March onwards. It keeps entirely to wet humid forest where the ground is much broken on the steeper hill-sides and where there is an ample growth of underwood always more or less green. We found it hawking insects both from high up in big trees and from low down in bushes and we noticed that it used regular perches for this purpose much less than most of the family. It is by no means shy but has a wild rapid flight.