(645) Cyornis tricolor tricolor.
The Slaty-blue Flycatcher.
Digenea tricolor Hodg., P. Z. S., 1845, p. 26 (Nepal). Cyornis leucomelanurus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 16 (part.).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Upper plumage, edges of wing-coverts and inner secondaries dark dull slaty-blue, the forehead and sides of the crown a paler brighter grey-blue; lores and sides of the head black; upper rail-coverts and tail black, the bases of the rectrices white on a quarter to half their length; wing-quills brown edged with rufous; lower plumage greyish white, often tinged with fulvous, especially on the flanks and breast.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black ; feet and legs pale horny-brown to dark brown.
Measurements. Total length about 115 to 120 mm.; wing 57 to 72 mm.; tail 48 to 50 mm.; tarsus about 19 to 20 mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Female. Whole upper parts olive-brown, tinged with rufous on the rump; upper tail-coverts and tail ferruginous; a fulvous ring round the eye; lores and sides of the head mixed fulvous and brown; lower plumage fulvous-white, more fulvous on the breast and Hanks and often pure white the chin and belly. Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the male. Young birds are brown above, the feathers with bright fulvous centres and black margins ; below the plumage is dull ferruginous, the breast squamated with dark brown. The adult plumage is attained by degrees, and many young males breed in a halfway plumage between that of male and female.
Distribution. Himalayas from Kashmir to the extreme East of Assam North of the Brahmaputra and also in the Khasia Hills (South of that river. Birds from the Khasia Hills are rather darker below, on an average, than are those from the North, but they overlap and vary too greatly inter se to permit their being definitely described as another race.
Nidification. The Slaty-blue Flycatcher breeds between 4,000 and 10,000 feet throughout its range, occasionally higher, as a nest sent me from the Chumbi Valley, Tibet, was taken at over 10,000 feet. The nest is made of moss, with an inner lining of roots or finer moss, over which there is placed a thick pad of fur, hair or wool. It is placed in any convenient hollow in hank, wall or tree but most often in the latter and is sometimes very conspicuous. The eggs number three or four and in colour appear superficially to be a pale pink or yellowish pink but really are very pale pink finely freckled with pale reddish, sometimes all over, sometimes principally in a ring or cap at the larger end.
One hundred eggs average 15.8 x 12.1 mm.: maxima 17.1 X 12.0 and 15.5 x 12.5 mm.; minima 14.9 x 12.0 and 15.3 x 11.8 mm.
Habits. This little Flycatcher is resident between 8,000 feet and 12,000 feet in the Himalayas, having been obtained by the Everest Expedition at Kama at the latter elevation. In the Khasia Hills it is obtained occasionally in Summer as low as 4,000 feet. It is found throughout the plains adjacent to the hills in Winter, and at that time of the year is given to frequenting heavy reed-beds and elephant-grass land as well as forest. They are very sociable little birds, a couple of pairs often hunting in company. The song is sweet, though feeble.