(780) Chaptia aenea aenea.
The Northern Bronzed Drongo.
Dicrurus aliens Vieill., Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat., ix, p. 586 (1817) (Bengal, restricted to Dacca). Chaptia aenea. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 318.
Vernacular names. Chota Buchanga (Beng.) ; Chaptia (Nep.).
Description. Whole plumage black glossed with bronze, showing green or lilac reflections in certain lights; lower abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts browner and without gloss ; under wing-coverts and axillaries tipped with white in all but the oldest birds ; rump often grey and without gloss.
Colours of soft parts. Iris reddish brown to crimson-lake ; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 240 mm.; wing 115 to 132 mm. ; tail 105 to 130 mm. ; tarsus about 14 mm. ; culmen 21 mm.
Young birds have the axillaries and under wing-coverts heavily spotted with white.
Distribution. The Himalayas, from Mussoorie in the West to Eastern Assam and North-East Bengal, Manipur, Chin and Kachin Hills, Yunnan to Hainan. A single specimen in the British Museum from Saigon has as a wing of 132 mm. and may possibly be of this same race.
Nidification. This Bronzed Drongo breeds in April, May and early June, building a nest quite typical of the family but, as one would expect, much smaller than that of Dicrurus. It is built in similar positions in slender branches on the outside or at the top of trees standing either in forest or well-wooded country at any height between ten and forty feet from the ground. The eggs number two to four, the most common type being one with a rather deep salmon-pink ground, faintly marked in a ring or cap with deeper reddish pink. A few eggs are more boldly blotched and spotted with reddish brown, like small replicas of those of Dicrurus macrocercus, One hundred eggs average 21.1 x 16.1 mm.: maxima 24.1 X 16.0 and 22.2 x 17.2 mm.; minima 19.9 X 15.9 mm. and 20.0 x 15.0 mm.
Habits. This Northern Bronzed Drongo is found from the plains up to at least 7,000 feet, and seems to be resident throughout the year except in the highest parts. It is essentially a forest Drongo, though also found to some extent where there are many orchards and well-wooded tracts. It keeps much to the higher trees when hawking for insects and is singularly graceful and quick in its movements. Although like the rest of the family it has many discordant cries, it has a sweet song and many pleasant call-notes as well. It is as plucky in defence of territory, nests or young as are all the other genera of this family.