1297. Dicaeum cruentatum cruentatum

(1297) Dicaeum cruentatum cruentatum (Linn.).
THE INDIAN SCARLET-BACKED FLOWER-PECKER.
Dicoeum cruentatum cruentatum, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2ud ed, vol, iii, p. 421.
This little Flower-pecker occurs from Eastern Nepal to Eastern Assam, Eastern Bengal to Dacca, Chittagong and Tippera ; Manipur, Looshai and Northern Chin Hills. Its distribution East and South is not yet definitely known but it probably meets the next race, ignitum, in Central Arakan and the Lower Chindwin.
It frequents forest, where this is open and not too dense, cultivation, orchards and open country, provided this is well wooded, at all elevations from the plains up to some 4,500 feet. The position selected for the nest varies greatly. I have taken them attached to the bunches of parasitic plants growing 50 feet or more up in great forest-trees, so high up that even with glasses it is impossible to detect the nest in among the bunches of leaves. Only actual inspection after climbing up to the spots, shown by the birds when carrying materials, can divulge the site of the nest. Once I have taken the nest from a bush not 5 feet high ; usually, however, it will be taken from between 20 and 30 feet, built at the end of some small outer branch from which it hangs well hidden by surrounding leaves. The only nest recorded in Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ is one taken by Cripps in Dibrugarh which was fastened to a twig of a Guava-tree about 5 feet from the ground. Curiously enough I have taken two from the same kind of tree growing just outside Cachari villages, but these were between 10 and 20 fect up in the trees.
The nests of all Flower-peckers are much alike and the description of the nest of this bird suffices for all. They seem to be invariably made of the beautifully soft seed-down of the Simul-tree (Bombax malabarica), very little compressed or felted but kept in shape and position by a few shreds of grass, fungoid mycelae or by very fine hair-like roots. The nest is egg-shaped and the materials, other than the down, are used to work round the twig from which the nest is pendent, and from this they are brought down and round the nest itself, a few of the longer strands coming under the nest and up again on the far side. Round the rim of the entrance, which is rather large and at the upper side of the nest, a few grasses are twisted, making it firm enough to -withstand the constant passing in and out of the parent bird. Here too, as on the outside of the nest, cobwebs and silk are sometimes used to strengthen its structure. The lining is of the same cotton-seed down and quite soft when first put in, but soon becoming more or less felted when the eggs are laid and the birds begin to sit.
The little oval nest measures roughly about 3.1/2 inches long by 2.1/2 broad, the opening into it being at least on inch in diameter and, occasionally, having a white downy porch above it projecting about 1/2 inch from the neat. Some nests are smaller, not more than 3 by 2 inches, and a few are a trifle larger, I have seen one in which rather an excessive amount of cotton-down had been used measuring about 4.1/2 by 3.1/2 inches.
The breeding season is principally May and June, but I have taken eggs from the 4th April to the 28th August. In Dibrugarh, where Cripps took his nest in May, Coltart and I also took many neats from April to the end of June.
The eggs number two or three in a full clutch, and once Coltart found four in a neat.
When first laid they are a very pale grey, looking practically white unless contrasted with a really white egg. The grey, however, soon fades, and it is then very difficult to distinguish the eggs of the Flower-peckers from those of the various Munias.
The shell, for so tiny an egg, is stout, but there is no gloss, though the surface is fine and close.
Forty eggs average 14.0 x 10.3 mm. ; maxima 15.3 x 11.1 mm. ; minima 13.1 x 10.2 and 18.3 x 10.0 mm.
I have seen both little birds, cock and hen, taking materials to the nest and, though I have never been able to see whether both place them in position, I think they do.
Both incubate, and we have trapped both sexes on the nest. Incubation probably takes only ten days, certainly not more than eleven.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1297. Dicaeum cruentatum cruentatum
Spp Author: 
Linn.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1297
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
237
Common name: 
Indian Scarlet Backed Flower Pecker
M_ID: 
28816
M_SN: 
Dicaeum cruentatum cruentatum
Volume: 
Vol. 3
Term name: 
id: 
14392

Add new comment

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith