789. Dissemurus paradiseus grandis

(789) Dissemurus paradiseus grandis (Gould).
THE ASSAM LARGE RACKET-TAILED DRONGO.
Dissemurus paradiseus grandis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 378.
I can add little or nothing to the distribution of this race as given in the ‘Fauna’ :—“The Himalayas from Mussoorie to Eastern Assam ; South to Sambalpur, Raipur and the Northern reaches of the Godavari River ; North Chin and Kachin Hills ; Northern Shan States and Yunnan.” I have seen one specimen from Mount Victoria, in the lower Chin Hills, which is a typical grandis, whereas all others from the adjacent plains are equally typically rangoonensis. The altitude at which it was taken, over 5,000 feet, may have some¬thing to do with this.
Although so common a bird over much of the area it occupies, there is so little on record about this race, and that little being all in agreement with my own notes, that it may be better to give my own experiences in full and disregard the rest, beyond saying that Jerdon had nests brought to him in Darjiling and Inglis found it breeding freely in Cachar.
In Assam I took many nests in the hill ranges in the South and also in Lakhimpur and other places North of the Brahmapootra, where Coltart also took numerous nests. On the whole, in Assam it was more of a forest bird than of the open country. Often when passing through dense evergreen forests, in which the winding footpath was the only open space for many miles, we would hear this Drongo’s melodious whistles and get glimpses of its beautiful undulating flight from the top of one tree to another. At the same time they were common enough in the open country everywhere so long as it was well wooded, while even round villages and towns a pair or two might nearly always be seen. In Tea Gardens they are very numerous, frequenting and breeding on the higher trees at the edge of the actual Tea cultivation. In these gardens the burning of any new clearance would invariably attract, among all kinds of birds, several pairs of these Drongos, who feed on the escaping insects in perfect amity with the rest. So, too, a flight of termites would have similar results but, as a rule, they are very intolerant of other birds, and in the breeding season wage an endless war against any intruders into their special domain.
The nest and its site is just like those already described of the preceding races. I have found some nests made almost entirely of long tendrils, and others in the materials of which may be found scraps of leaves, fine twigs, rachides, often rhizomorph of fungi, and occasionally thin grey streamers of a fungoid substance which I could never identify. The nests are often very untidy, generally more or less like a transparent net, yet they stand quite a lot of handling and also knocking about by wind and weather. I think about 25 feet from the ground is the favourite building height, but I have taken nests 5 feet from the ground and others over 50.
They breed from the plains up to 5,000 feet, but undoubtedly below 2,500 far more more often than above this height. I never noticed that they had any special predilection for any particular kind of tree, but have been told that in the Bengal districts they patronize Mango-trees more than others.
They breed from the last week in April to the first week in June and I have taken eggs from the 3rd April to the 27th June, both exceptionally early and unusually late.
The eggs, which generally number three, rarely four, are like others of the species but, as a series, are more of the deep terra-cotta pink type than the livid pink type, whilst the pale, almost white, ground types seems to be more speckled or freckled than blotched or spotted. The livid pink type is quite exceptional in this race.
I have one abnormal clutch which is pure white.
In shape and textures they are typical of the species.
Fifty eggs average 30.4 x 21.6 mm. : maxima 33.3 x 22.6 and 24.5 x 22.5 mm. ; minima 26.0 x 20.8 and 26.1 x 20.2 mm.
Both birds take a hand in nest-construction and both sexes assist in incubation

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
789. Dissemurus paradiseus grandis
Spp Author: 
Gould
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
789
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
346
Common name: 
Assam Large Racket Tailed Drongo
M_ID: 
19658
M_SN: 
Dicrurus paradiseus grandis
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13926

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith