(1301) Dicaeum chrysorrheum intensum.
The Sikkim Yellow-vented Flower-pecker.
Dicaeum chrysorrheum intensum Stuart Baker, Bull. B. O. C, xli,, p. 108 (Native Sikkim). Dicaeum chrysorrhaeum. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 378.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole upper plumage and lesser wing-coverts olive-yellow, a little brighter on the rump ; tail black, edged narrowly with olive-yellow; greater and primary coverts black with narrow paler tips ; primaries black, very narrowly edged with whitish; secondaries black with green margins, the innermost being nearly all of this colour; lores white above, dusky below; a broad moustachial streak greenish-black; chin, cheeks and throat white; remaining lower plumage yellowish-white, boldly streaked with greenish-horn or blackish ; under tail-coverts orange; axillaries and under wing-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris orange to scarlet; upper mandible and tip of lower black, remainder of lower mandible pale plumbeous ; legs and feet dark plumbeous; claws horny-brown.
Measurements. Wing 55 to 62 mm.: tail 27 to 31 mm.; tarsus about 14 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm.
The Female generally has the under tail-coverts less deep an orange, but this character is not consistent.
Distribution. Eastern Nepal to extreme East and South Assam;. Manipur, Lushai Hills, Chittagong and Hill Tippera in Eastern Bengal.
Nidification. In Assam the Yellow-vented Flower-pecker breeds in May, June and July, making a nest similar to that of the other Flower-peckers of the genus but generally with a good deal of fibre and grass in the body of the nest and, very often, with a few scraps of green moss on the outside. In size the nests average about 4 1/2 inches long by about 3 1/2 wide, but sometimes are considerably larger than this. The birds are not so addicted to placing their nests very high up in trees and more will be found under 20 feet rather than over. They lay two or three eggs, white like all Dicaeum eggs; sixteen average 15.3 X 11.0 mm.: maxima 16.0 x 11.1 and 15.0 x 11.4 mm.; minima 14.5 x 10.5 mm.
It breeds between 2,500 and 5,000 feet, possibly considerably higher than this, but definite records are wanting.
Habits. Those of the genus. This Flower-pecker seems to keep entirely to the hills and does not wander into the plains in the coldest months. We procured it in the broken ground round about Margherita in January and February at about 700 to 1,000 feet elevation and it certainly occurs in the Naga Hills up to 8,000 feet in summer. In North Cachar we noticed that it frequented orchids when in flower, feeding on the tiny coleoptera which sometimes swarmed in their beautiful blossoms.