(664) Nitidula hodgsoni.
The Pigmy Blue Flycatcher.
Nemura hodgsoni Moore, P. Z. S., 1854, p. 76 (Nepal). Nitidula hodgsoni. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 27.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Forehead, lores and sides of head black, tinged with blue in certain lights; whole upper plumage bright dark blue, brightest and more ultramarine on crown; wings and tail black edged with deep blue; whole lower plumage pale orange-yellow, almost white on the centre of the abdomen.
Colours of soft parts. Iris black or deep brown; bill horny-brown, paler and more yellow at the base and on lower mandible; all black in breeding-season; legs pale reddish brown; "pinkish plumbeous horny" (Stevens).
Measurements. Total length about 105 mm.; wing 45 to 50 mm.; tail 30 to 35 mm.; tarsus about 13 mm.; culmen about 6 mm.
Female. Whole upper plumage olive-brown, more rufous on the lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts; tail and wing-feathers brown edged with rufous-brown ; lores and cheeks fulvous-yellow mottled with brown ; whole lower plumage pale saffron-yellow, albescent on centre of abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts as in the male but bill never black.
Measurements. Wing 43 to 46 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim, Bhutan and the hills of Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra between 3,000 feet and the highest peaks of 9,000 feet or over.
Habits. The few birds seen by me in North Cachar were always in deep forest, though preferably on the edge of some glade or open forest-stream. On each occasion three or four were seen together feeding on the bushes and lower trees and taking insects off the leaves and twigs just as often as in the air. They were very silent except for a sharp, sibilant, little tsip, uttered when the companions got separated. When catching insects on the wing in the flickering shade and sunlight they looked more like brilliant butterflies than birds. They are resident birds but move vertically with the seasons and Stevens records them as descending to the foot-hills in winter in North Lakhimpur.