639. Siphia parva albicilla

(639) Siphia parva albicilla (Pall.).
Siphia parva albicilla, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 211.
The Eastern Red-breasted Flycatcher breeds in Eastern Siberia, West of the Yenesei, Transbaikalia and Ussuri and probably in Eastern Turkestan South to Tibet.
Three supposed nests of this little bird have been found within our limits, two by Ward in Kashmir at elevations of 10,000 feet and one in Tibet, at about 12,000 to 13,000 feet, by Macdonald’s collectors. This last nest, which contained five eggs, was taken by some men who had been sent to the Rhamtso Lake to try to get eggs of the Brown-headed Gull and the Tibetan Tern. On their return to Gyantse, among other eggs, nests and skins, they produced this nest, with the five eggs and one parent bird. The skin, very fragmentary and extremely malodorous, was undoubtedly that of a Red-breasted Flycatcher, and seemed to me referable to this race. The nest was made chiefly of dry moss with a little grass and was well lined with fur, which appeared to be that of a Lagomys. It had evidently, when complete, been a rather deep little cup, well shaped outwardly but fitting into the hollow on its inner side. It was said to have been built in a small hollow in a Willow-stump beside a small stream. It was taken on the 29th May.
In 1908 Col. Ward obtained a nest in Ladak at 12,000 feet through Crump, together with both the parent birds. These were sent to me, and I had no doubt that they were albicilla and not parva. The nest was not sent but was said to have been a cup of moss and grass lined with soft hair or fur. It was built against a boulder, half hidden in a hollow, in one of the high boundary walls. Taken on the 30th May. In 1930, when I secured Col. Ward’s collection of eggs, I found among them a third clutch of three taken at “Daehgaon, Kashmir. Nest in hole in Gad-tree, 10,000 feet, 16.6.”
The eggs are indistinguishable from those of Siphia p. hyperythra, which are well known. In two clutches the ground is a very pale grey-green, and in the third an equally pale dull creamy. They are freckled at the larger end with pale reddish, which forms broad zones at the larger extremity ; outside this zone the freckles are scanty, disappearing altogether on the smaller half.
In shape the eggs are broad ovals, in one clutch decidedly pointed at the smaller end. The texture is very fine and fragile, with a faint gloss.
A double-yolked egg measures 18.4 x 13.2 mm. The remaining eleven average 16.2 x 12.3 mm. : maxima 16.9 x 12.8 mm. ; minima 15.6 x 12.3 and 16.0 x 12.1 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
639. Siphia parva albicilla
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Eastern Red Breasted Flycatcher
Taiga Flycatcher
Ficedula albicilla
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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