(786) Bhringa remifer tectirostris.
The Indian Lesser Racket-tailed Drongo.
Bhringa tectirostris Hodgs., Lid. Rev., i, p. 325 (1837) (E. Nepal). Bhringa remifer Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 324.
Vernacular names. Bhimraj (Beng. and Assam.); Nambong punnong (Lepcha); Poyadi yapo (Bhut.); Dao-raja kashiba (Cachari).
Description. Forehead, lores, chin and cheeks velvety-black; upper plumage, exposed parts of wings and tail, throat, neck and breast black glossed with blue-green, the sheen on the head and breast showing violet in certain lights; under wing-coverts and axillaries with small white tips.
Colours of soft parts. Iris blood-red; eyelids plumbeous; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length excluding Ions: tail-feathers about 275 mm.; wing 129 to 146 mm., average 136 mm.; tail up to 350 and 400 mm. with rackets generally between 70 and 80 mm. in length; tarsus about 22 mm.; culmen about 21 to 23 mm.
The Javan bird, the true B. r. remifer, is smaller, wing 128 to 137 mm. with much shorter outer tail-feathers, these seldom exceeding 280 mm. The rackets are smaller and shorter, measuring about 50 mm.
Young are greyer on the abdomen and have larger white tips to the axillaries and under wing-coverts.
Distribution. Northern India from Eastern Nepal to East Assam both North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur, Lushai, Chittagong Hill-Tracts, the whole of Burma to Tavoy (Hopwood); the Chin, Kachin and Shan States, Yunnan, and Northern Siam.
Nidification. The Small Racket-tailed Drongo breeds during April, May and June between the foot-hills and 6,000 feet, most often between 1,500 and 2,500 feet, but it is common in the Dibrugarh District of Assam in the foot-hills and broken plains adjacent thereto. The nest is quite typical of the family and calls for no remark. The eggs, either three or four in number, are very broad in shape with the small end but little compressed, and in colour are like richly tinted eggs of Dicrurus m. hopwoodi, but more blotched than spotted. One hundred eggs average 25.5 x 18.6 mm.: maxima 27.3 x 19.0 mm. and 25.6 x 19.7 mm.; minima 23.2 x 18.7 mm. and 24.2 x 17.9 mm.
Habits. This is a bird of forests, though it is very partial to cultivation-clearings in the centre of heavy woods and also to openings on river-banks and swampy glades. It keeps much to the tops of trees whence it sallies forth after beetles, butterflies and other insects. Its normal flight is slow and dipping, the long tail-feathers undulating through the air as it flies; it is, however, also capable of great speed and activity, especially in pursuit of termites on the wing. It has many and most varied notes, very full and melodious, and it is an excellent mimic, though not so good as the next species.