579. Stoparola melanops.
The Verditer Flycatcher.
Muscicapa melanops, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 171 ; Gould, Cent. pl. 6. Stoparola melanops (Vig.), Blyth, Cat. p. 174; Hume, N. & F. p. 208; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 438; Hume, Cat. no. 301 ; Oates, B. B. i, p. 285; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 164 ; Oates in Humes N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 9. Hypothymis melanops (Vig.), Horsf. M. Cat. i, p. 292. Eumyias melanops (Vig.), Jerd. B. I. i, p. 463; Hume & Henders. Bah. to Yark. p. 186; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 622.
Nil kat-katia, Beng.; Sibyell-pho, Lepch.
Coloration. Male. Lores, feathers in front of the eye and the feathers at the base of the upper mandible black; the whole plumage verditer-blue, brightest on the forehead, chin, throat, breast, and upper tail-coverts ; under tail-coverts broadly fringed with white ; tail blue, the shafts black and the inner webs edged with brown; primaries and secondaries blue on the outer and black on the inner webs ; tertiaries wholly blue ; upper wing-coverts blue.
Female. The general colour is much duller, but otherwise resembles the male; the chin and throat are mottled with white, the lores are brown, and the under tail-coverts are more broadly fringed with white.
The young are greenish grey, the sides of the head and the whole lower plumage being spotted with fulvous. Occasionally white spots are present on the head and back, and one adult has a white nape-patch.
The Stoparola spilonota of Gray (Hand-list, no. 4898), the type of which is still in the British Museum, resembles the present species, but each feather of the rump, upper tail-coverts, and abdomen has a triangular streak of brown. No other specimen resembling it has yet been found, and it is probably an accidental variety. It came from Nepal.
Bill and legs black; iris brown; mouth flesh-colour; claws black.
Length about 6 ; tail 2.8; wing 3.2; tarsus .65 ; bill from gape .7.
Distribution. The whole Empire with the exception of Sind, Ceylon, the Andamans and Nicobars, and that portion of the peninsula of India south of the Nilgiris. This species breeds throughout, the Himalayas up to about 9000 feet, and visits the plains during the winter. It probably breeds in some portions of the plains, and in some of the hill-ranges of the peninsula and Burma, for I have examined specimens killed at Ahmednagar in July, Shillong in the same month, and Momein, to the east of Bhamo, in June. Hume found it breeding in Manipur, and Godwin-Austen on the Khasi hills. This Flycatcher extends into China, Cochin China, and the Malay peninsula.
Habits, &c. Breeds from April to July, constructing a nest of moss inside a hole in a tree, wall, or bank, and laying four eggs which are pinky white, sometimes unmarked, at others speckled with reddish. The eggs measure about .78 by .57.