912. Dicaeum cruentatum.
The Scarlet-backed Flower-pecker.
Certhia cruentata, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 187 (1766). Certhia coccinea, Scop. Del, Fl. et.Faun. Insub. ii, p. 91 (1786). Dicaeum cruentatum (L.), Blyth, Cat. p. 226; Hume, N. & F. p. 155; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 192; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 663; Oates, S. F. vii, p. 46; Hume, Cat. no. 236; Oates, B. B. i, p. 332; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. x, p. 15 ; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 83; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 270. Dicaeum coccineum (Scop.), Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 747; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 373.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, crown, nape, back, rump, and upper tail-coverts rich crimson; lores, sides of the head and neck, tail, wings, and wing-coverts black; lower plumage pale buff, the sides of the breast black, and the sides of the body ashy brown; under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Female. Head, nape, and back olive-green, the centres of the feathers of the crown darker, and the nape with a golden yellow tinge; rump and upper tail-coverts red ; tail black; the whole lower plumage ashy buff, darker on the sides of the neck and body; upper wing-coverts dark brown, edged with olive-green ; tertiaries the same ; primaries and secondaries brown, edged exteriorly with greenish white.
The young resemble the female.
Legs and feet black; bill and mouth black; iris dark brown; eyelids plumbeous ; in the female the mouth is flesh-coloured.
Length 3.5; tail 1.05; wing 1.9; tarsus -5; bill from gape .45.
Distribution. The western and northern limits of this species have not been determined with any great accuracy. It appears to be common at Calcutta, and it has been obtained in the Khasi hills, the Bhutan Doars, and the valley of Assam up to Dibrugarh. South and east of these localities it has been found in Sylhet, Cachar, and Manipur. It is common throughout the greater portion of Burma, and extends down to the southernmost point of Tenasserim.
It is diffused through Southern China, Siam, and the Malay peninsula down to Sumatra.
Habits, &c. Breeds from March to May and probably later, constructing a small egg-shaped nest of vegetable down and grass, which is attached to the tip of a branch at a considerable height from the ground as a rule. The eggs, two or three in number, are glossless white, and measure .56 by .4.