921. Piprisoma squalidum.
The Thick-billed Flower-pecker.
Pipra squalida, Burton, P. Z. S. 1836, p. 113. Fringilla agilis.. Tickell, J. A. S. B. ii, p. 578 (1833). Parisoma vireoides, Jerd. Madr. Journ, L. S, xi, p. 8 (1840). Piprisoma agile (Tick), Blyth, Cat. p. 228; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 376 ; Beavan, Ibis, 1867, p. 430, pl. x; Hume, N. & E. p. 158 ; id. S. E. i,p. 434 ; id. Cat. no. 240 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 579 ; G. F. L. Marsh. Birds'-nesting Ind. p. 69, pl.; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 260; Oates, B. B. i, p. 338 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 139. Prionochilus squalidus (Burt.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 73. Piprisoma squalidum, Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 277.
Chitlu jitta, Tel.
Coloration. Upper plumage ashy green, purer green on the rump and upper tail-coverts; wings and tail brown edged with olive-green; the latter tipped with white, broadly on the outermost feathers, more narrowly on the others, the middle feathers being almost without any white; lores, cheeks, chin, and throat white; sides of the head and neck ashy brown; a narrow brown streak down each side of the throat; lower plumage pale ashy yellow streaked with greenish brown.
Iris light brick-red; bill pale plumbeous horny; legs dusky plumbeous (Cleveland).
Length about 4; tail 1.3; wing 2.4; tarsus .5; bill from gape .45.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas at low elevations from the Sutlej valley to Sikhim, and throughout the peninsula down to Ceylon. The western limits of this species are difficult to define owing to want of specimens and records of occurrence. It is said to be very common at Baroda and then there is a great gap up to Etawan and another up to Dehra. I have seen specimens from all three places but from no other locality west of them.
To the east it can be traced to Midnapore and Dinapore, but it is probable that it does not pass the longitude of Calcutta. Hume, commenting on a collection of birds made by Inglis in Cachar, states that it occurs in that district, but the Cachar specimens in the Hume Collection that I have examined, as noted below are referable to P. modestum. I formerly erroneously recorded P. squalidum (P. agile) from Pegu and Tenasserim.
Habits, &c. Constructs a small purse-like bag suspended from a horizontal twig on a tree, from February to May. The materials are fibres and the down of flower-buds felted together into a pliable fabric which will bear crushing in the hand and then recover its shape. The eggs, two or three in number, are white or pinkish, marked in various ways with brownish pink or claret-colour. They measure .63 by .45 *.