(521) Enicurus leschenaulti indicus.
Leschenault's Indian Forktail.
Enicurus leschenaulti indicus Hart., Yog. Pal., i, p. 7G0 (1909) (Assam, Margherita). Henicurus leschenaulti. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 86.
Vernacular names. Inruidiba gadiba (Kacha Naga).
Description. Forehead and anterior crown white; rest of head, back and breast black; lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts white; tail black with broad white bases, two outer tail-feathers white ; wing-coverts black, the greater tipped with white forming a broad wing-bar; quills black, the inner secondaries with white bases and tips; below from breast to under tail-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black ; legs and feet fleshy white, rarely a livid white.
Measurements. Total length about 280 mm. ; wing 98 to 114 mm.; tail 138 to 150 mm.5 tarsus about 30 to 32 mm.; culmen about 21 to 23 mm.
The Young have no white forehead, and the head and back varies from brown to chocolate-brown and the underparts from chin to abdomen are brown with central pale streaks. The younger the bird the more prominent the streaks.
Nestling. The underparts are greyer and more mottled than streaked.
Distribution. Sikkim to Eastern Assam, Burma South to Tenasserim and East to the Kachin Hills. There is also one specimen of typical indicus from North-West China, and it is possible that this bird and Enicurus Z. sinensis should rank as species rather than subspecies.
The type-form from Java differs in having the white feathers of the crown elongated and covering nearly the whole crown. E. Z. borneensis is a very closely allied race.
Nidification. This Forktail seems to breed in heavier forest and on smaller streams than do any of the preceding birds of this genus. It is very common in Eastern Assam and here nearly all the nests are built among rocks, roots of trees, etc., on the tiniest of streams, entirely covered overhead by the meeting boughs of trees. They commence to build the first week in May or last week in April and few eggs are laid after May. The nest is like that of the Spotted Forktails but bulkier and heavier with more leaves and roots in its composition and it is lined sometimes with skeleton leaves, sometimes with roots, and sometimes with the two combined.
The eggs, three or four in number, are more richly coloured than those of any other Forktail. The ground is generally a warm cream or reddish clay and they are freely and boldly speckled all over with reddish brown. Forty eggs average 24.6 x 19.7 mm.: maxima 26.1 x 17.4 and 25.7 x 18.9 mm.; minima 23.6 x 17.5 and 24.5 x 17.0 mm.
They breed at all levels from a few hundred feet up to about 2,000 feet.
Habits. Leschenault's Forktail is a bird of the lower levels and in winter extends well out into plains country wherever there are streams and waterways running at a fair pace through heavy forest. It seems to be a more shy bird than most Forktails and when put up it generally dives at once into the forest and does not settle again and again just in front of one as do the Spotted Forktails : Dr. Coltart and I both found it far more frequently on narrow forest-paths than on the streams. The feathers of the crown are semi-erectile, a feature I have noticed in no other Forktail,