(668) Stoparola albicaudata.
The Nilgiri Blue Flycatcher.
Muscicapa albicaudata Jerd., Madr. J. L. S., xi; p. 16 (1840) (Nilgiris). Stoparola albicaudata. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 30.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. "Whole plumage indigo-blue, the forehead, a short supercilium, chin and edge of shoulder of wing bright blue, the blue extending to the fore crown and blending into the dull colour of the nape; concealed portions of the wing-feathers dark brown; median tail-feathers like the back, lateral tail-feathers dark brown edged with indigo-blue and white at the extreme base : abdomen paler and tail-coverts edged with white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Wing 71 to 82 mm.; tail 60 to 65 mm.; tarsus about 19 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
Female. Dull grey-brown ; the upper tail-coverts blue; whole lower parts paler grey-brown washed with green-blue; tail and wings brown, the former with white bases to all but the median pair.
Measurements. In this species, unlike the others, the female seems to be rather smaller than the male: wing only 72 to 77 mm.
Young. Above dark brown with bold fulvous spots and dark edges to each feather; below pale grey-brown with broad pale fulvous spots and dark edges, the spots and edgings most definite on throat and breast.
Distribution. The hills of Southern India from 2,000 feet upwards. Mr. J. Stewart found it common in Travancore in suitable places and I have records of its occurrence in the Wynaad, Palghat and Southern Malabar.
Nidification. Breeds in March, April and May at all elevations from 2,500 feet upwards but more frequently above 4,000 feet than below this height. The nest is cup-shaped, made of moss and moss-roots, lined with the latter. Very rarely (C. Williams) there are a few feathers in the lining. Most nests are placed in holes in banks but others are placed in holes in walls, rotten trees or under bridges and culverts. The eggs number three, sometimes two only, and are like those of the other species of Stoparola. Sixty eggs average 19.9 x 14.8 mm.; the extremes are: maxima 22.0 x 15.5 and 20.5 x 16.0 mm.; minima 18.4 x 15.0 and 18.8 x 14.0 mm.
Habits similar to those of other species of this genus. This species does not appear to visit the plains in the winter.