(1303) Dicaeum ignipectum ignipectum.
The Fire-breasted Flower-pecker.
Myzanthe ignipectus (Hodgs,), Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, p. 983 (1843) (Nepal). Dicaeum ignipectus. Blanf. & Oatee, ii, p. 378
Vernacular names. Sangti-pro-pho (Lepcha).
Description. - Male. Whole upper plumage, wing-coverts and edges of quills deep metallic green-blue, the green generally dominant; tail black, suffused with blue and edged greenish ; quills black: lower plumage rich buff, washed with greenish on the flanks; a patch of crimson on the breast and below this a patch of black, sometimes prolonged down the centre of the abdomen; under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black, paler and plumbeous at the base in the female ; legs and feet dark brown to almost black.
Measurements. Wing 47 to 51 mm.; tail 24 to 27 mm.; tarsus about 12 mm.; culmen 7 to 8 mm.
Female. Above olive grass-green, the crown with concealed dark centres and the lower back and rump more yellow; sides of the head and neck ashy-green; lower plumage buff, paler on the throat and washed with ashy-green on the flanks and sides of the breast; wing-coverts and innermost secondaries like the back, quills black edged with green; axillaries and under wing-coverts white.
Distribution. Himalayas from the Sutlej Valley to Eastern Assam, Manipur and South Assam; the mountains of Burma to Tenasserim, Siam, Annam, Yunnan to Foochow and Fohkien. Over all this range I can see no character by which geographical races can be made, but more material would probably show tbe North-West Himalayan bird to be paler below, a less rich buff in both males and females.
Nidification. The Fire-breasted Flower-pecker breeds all along the Himalayas from about 5,000 feet up to 12,000 during the months March to early June. The nest is like that of the other birds of this genus, but I have seen a little green moss used internally on the nests. Whymper describes them well as " a network of fibre densely lined with cotton-down which shows through everywhere.'' A very favourite site seems to be a rocky ravine running through dense forest - and the nests are usually built on trees between ten and twenty feet from the ground. Two or three white eggs are laid; fourteen of these average 14.8 x 10.3 mm.: maxima 16.6x 10.0 and 14.1 x 10.9 mm.; minima 13.7 X 10.4 and 16.6 x 10.0 mm.
Habits. These differ in no way from those of other Flower-peckers except that it ascends to higher elevations than any other Dicaeum. Forrest found it up to 13,000 feet on the Lichiang Range in Yunnan ; it occurs in Sikkim up to 12,000 feet and nearly up to this height in the Garhwal ranges.