812. Elaphrornis palliseri

(812) Elaphrornis palliseri (Blyth).
THE CEYLON ANT-WARBLER.
Elaphrornis palliseri, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 408.
This curious Warbler is confined to Ceylon.
The first person to take the nests and eggs of this bird was Mr. W. Jenkins but, as he never succeeded in shooting the bird off the nest, I put the eggs he sent me on one side until they could be determined satisfactorily. In 1911 Aldworth was able to collect birds, nests and eggs, proving Jenkins’s find to have been quite correctly identified.
Aldworth remarks (Bull. B. O. C. vol. xxxiii, p. 91, 1914) about the eggs taken by him as follows :— "I found the nest of this bird on the 10th April, 1911, while it was being built in a small shrub of the Laurel family, at about 3 feet from the ground. The situation was an open patch in dense jungle on the banks of a mountain stream running from the Horton Plains to the Bogan-wantalawa Valley. The nest was completed about the 23rd, and the eggs were taken on the 28th. Though I visited the nest on several occasions, I failed to see any sign of the bird until she commenced to sit. The nest was composed of moss, twigs and coarse grass-stalks, lined with skeleton leaves and grass-fibre, deeply cupped and rather compact. The shy and skulking habits of this bird would seem to point to it being a Warbler and not a Thrush as, though fairly common in the jungles round the Horton Plains, it was seldom seen.”
Jenkins also found it very shy and a determined skulker, and failed to catch it leaving the nest in time for a shot.
Phillips, writing from Matugama, records it as being less shy. He writes, in epistola :—“The Ceylon Warbler is very common in the jungles around here, above about the 3,300 feet contour mark. It usually goes about in the low undergrowth, in pairs or small family parties, seeking for insects of various descriptions. Its behaviour reminds me greatly of the common Wren in English woods. It is easily approached and has a sharp distinctive note which it utters when alarmed.
“I have found three nests but none of them have contained eggs. They have all been placed some three or four feet from the ground in low undergrowth, beside a path through the jungle. In two cases they were relatively large collections of green moss with odd bits of dead roots and leaves, loosely put together, with a very deep neatly lined cup, in the centre, made of very fine grass-stems. The last nest examined was found on September 13th, and it contained two half-fledged young.”
The two eggs found by Aldworth might be matched with some Bulbuls’ eggs but are certainly also rather of the type of Tribura eggs. The ground is a pale pink, rather dull in tint, and this is covered all over with fine purple-brown specks, still deeper, and often coalescing, at the larger end. There are also numerous underlying freckles of grey. The whole egg gives the impression of pale dull vinous-purple. In shape they are ordinary blunt ovals ; the texture is fine and close but glossless. They measure 22.0 x 16.1 and 22.0 x 16.0 mm.
Eggs taken by Jenkins are exactly similar, but one pair is rather more brick-red. They were laid in August and measured 21.1 x 16.0, 21.1 x 16.3 and 22.2 x 16.4 mm.

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: 
812. Elaphrornis palliseri
Spp Author: 
Blyth
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
812
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
368
Common name: 
Pallisers Ant Warbler
M_ID: 
23401
M_CN: 
Sri Lanka Bush Warbler
M_SN: 
Elaphrornis palliseri
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13946

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