(636) Siphia strophiata strophiata.
The Orange-gorgeted Flycatcher.
Siphia strophiata Hodgs., Ind. Review, i, p. 651 (1837) (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, ii p. 8.
Vernacular names. Siphia (Nepal); Phatt-tagrak-pho (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. "Upper plumage olive-brown, tinged with fulvous on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail black, all but the central rectrices with white bases; a narrow line across the forehead black; forehead to eye white; feathers above eye, ear-coverts and cheeks deep slaty changing to black on chin and throat; lesser wing-coverts slate-grey; other coverts and quills brown, edged with fulvous; breast and flanks slaty-grey changing to white on abdomen and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black in the breeding-season, paler below and on base of lower mandible at other times; legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 160 mm.; wing 68 to 80 mm.; tail 52 to 59 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
Female. Similar to the male, but without the black and with very little white on the forehead; the rufous gular patch small and pale and the dark parts of the chin, throat, etc., replaced with ashy.
Young. Above brown, streaked and mottled with fulvous; below fulvous, squamated with black edges to the feathers; tail as in the adult.
Distribution. Breeding throughout tbe Himalayas from Kashmir to Eastern Assam, North Borneo and Western China. Winter-South to Tenasserim and extreme Eastern Bengal.
Nidification. The Orange-gorgeted Ely catcher breeds between 8,000 and 12,000 feet in the end of April, May, and occasionally in early June. The nest, first described by Mr. B. B. Osmaston from the Tons River in Tehri, Garhwal, is a cup-shaped affair of moss and maiden-hair rachides, lined with the latter chiefly but also with a few feathers and some yellow papery substance resembling birch bark." It is apparently invariably placed in a small natural hollow in a tree five to ten feet from the ground. The eggs, three in number, are unlike those of any other Indian Flycatchers, being pure white, rather glossy long ovals, measuring about 19*3 x 13-4 mm. I saw these little Flycatchers in May" and June at about 6,000 feet both in N. Cachar and in the Khasia Hills, and they may possibly have bred there.
Habits. In Summer, when breeding, a very shy little bird; in Winter it is one of the boldest and is found in gardens and compounds as well as in clearings of forests. It has a sweet little song, which is seldom sung, and also a very low, rather croaky, little churr, uttered both when sitting and flying. It likes to take its perch on some low stump or garden-fence in the open, whence it sallies after insects, generally seizing them in the air but sometimes taking them on the ground. When not busy feeding it constantly flits and expands its tail, the white and black showing up very conspicuously as it does so. It is curiously constant to its perch, often occupying the same day after day for months together, and returning to it again the following season.