643. Muscicapula hyperythra hyperythra

(643) Muscicapula hyperythra hyperythra Blyth.
Cyornis hyperythra hyperythra, Fauna B. I. Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 217. Muscicapula hyperythra hyperythra, ibid. vol. viii, p. 628.
This little Flycatcher is found from Garhwal, Nepal and Sikkim to Eastern Assam and the Chin Hills.
It occurs during Summer between 4,000 and 8,000 feet and may breed at still lower elevations in the hills of Eastern Assam. Coltart and I both saw the bird during May, June and July in the foot-hills about Margherita between 1,000 and 1,500 feet and, though we never found the nest, it must have been breeding near by. In the hills above, at 4,000 feet, it was extremely common, and the Nagas brought Coltart many nests and eggs, invariably with the birds, which they snared on the nests.
In the Khasia and Cachar Hills it was a rare bird and I took few nests, in the former all above 4,000 feet, but in the latter I found one at Laisung a little over 3,000 feet.
The nests are all built in very dense forest and all those taken by myself were in very wet green places, where there was luxuriant undergrowth and all the trees were covered with moss and parasites. Below, the ground was broken up with boulders and outcrops of rock and most of our nests were placed in hollows between boulders, holes or crevices in rock-faces, or else well hidden between large jutting-out roots of trees. The favourite site was a hole in a mossy bank under a boulder or in a rock covered with moss. Once I had a nest taken from a hole in an old stump standing in a ravine in deep forest.
The nest is a tiny cup of living green moss lined with very fine black moss-roots or with black maidenhair-fern rachis. Neither I nor Coltart ever saw any other material used. Inside the nests may have averaged about 2 inches in diameter by 1 or less in depth but, outwardly, they conformed to the shape of the holes in which they were built. The Nagas described the situations in which they had taken the nests which they brought in to us as similar to the above. As their villages were situated between 4,000 and 7,000 feet, the nests were certainly taken at the same heights.
The breeding season is an early one and we had nests and eggs brought to us by Nagas in the middle and end of April and from thence onwards to the end of June. Most eggs, however, are laid between the 18th April and 15th May.
The normal full clutch of eggs is four, though occasionally three only may be laid, whilst I found one set of five in the Khasia Hills.
They are quite typical Muscicapula eggs but, on the whole, very richly coloured. The ground varies from a pale yellowish grey or stone-colour to a fairly deep pinkish-red. In the pale yellowish eggs the markings consist of faint stipplings of pale pinkish or brownish-red, scattered over the whole surface. In the eggs with a reddish ground the markings vary from frecklings of rather deep red-brown, so numerous that the eggs appear unicoloured, to well-defined blotches and mottlings of reddish-brown. One clutch of three is different to either of these types and looks as if it was entirely coloured olive-brown.
In shape the eggs are broad ovals, the texture fine and close and the surface varying from glossless to highly glossed, the darker the egg the higher the gloss.
Forty eggs average 17.5 x 13.8 mm. : maxima 18.9 x 14.0 mm. ; minima 16.3 x 13.9 and 17.1 x 13.4 mm. The eggs give one the impression of being very big in proportion to the size of the bird.
The Nagas snared both males and females on the nest, and I once put a male off the nest when I almost kicked it in passing, so that evidently both take a share in incubation.

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: 
643. Muscicapula hyperythra hyperythra
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Indian Rufous Brested Blue Flycatcher
Ficedula hyperythra hyperythra
Vol. 2

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