(678) Ochromela nigrorufa.
The Black- and- Orange Flycatcher.
Saxicola nigrorufa Jerd., Madr. Jour. L. S., x, p. 266 (1839) (Nilgiris). Ochromela nigrorufa. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 37.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Whole of the upper parts of the head and the wings black, the lesser coverts and innermost secondaries edged with orange ; remainder of plumage rich orange, paler on the abdomen, richest on the upper breast.
Colours of the soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill black; legs fleshy-plumbeous.
Measurements. Total length about 125 mm.; wing 57 to 65 mm.; tail 50 to 55 mm.; tarsus about 20 to 21 mm.; culmen about 9*5 to 10 mm.
Female. Similar to the male, but the black of the head replaced by dark olive-brown and the black of the wings with dark brown.
Measurements. Wing 55 to 59 mm.
Distribution. The hill-ranges of South India from Cape Cormorin to the Wynaad at 2,500 feet upwards. Neither Col. McMaster's record of its occurrence in the Berars or Mr. Mitford's in regard to Ceylon have ever been confirmed. It is very common in the Nilgiri, Palni and Travancore Hills.
Nidification. This strikingly coloured little Flycatcher makes a nest not unlike that of Anthipes monileger, a ball of leaves and fern-fronds with no lining, except sometimes a little grass, which it places low down in some dense bush, cluster of reeds, ferns or cane. Sometimes it is built on a bank actually on the ground and occasionally m a thick mass of twigs growing from a tree-stump. The site selected is always deep forest, generally in the valleys or ravines covered with evergreen forest, through which a stream of some kind finds its way. The eggs, almost always two only in number, are rather like those of Alseonax, Cyornis, etc., and not like the eggs of Anthipes monileger. The ground-colour is greyish or greenish white, and the markings consist of freckles and tiny specks of reddish, generally most numerous at the larger end, where they coalesce to form a cap. In shape the eggs are unusually long ovals. 20 eggs average 18.4 x 13.1 mm. and the extremes are 19.2 x 13.2, 18.9 x 13.4 and 17.8 x 13.0 mm. The breeding-season is during April and May.
Habits. In Summer this Flycatcher is found from about 3,000 feet to the tops of the Nilgiris and other hills, wherever there is sufficient tree-forest deep and shady enough to satisfy its requirements. It feeds from a branch at no great height from the ground and is said to descend to it sometimes for the purpose of capturing insects. Its note or song does not appear to have been described.