650. Muscicapula melanoleuca westermanni

(650) Muscicapula melanoleuca westermanni Sharpe.
Cyornis melanoleuca westermanni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 224.
Muscicapula melanoleuca westermanni, ibid. vol. viii, p. 628.
The Little Pied Flycatcher breeds from Assam, South of the Brahmapootra, throughout the hill-ranges of Burma and, probably, of the Malay Peninsula. It is also found in both Siam and Yunnan and is, possibly, a resident breeding bird in the mountains of both these countries.
Mackenzie had a nest with four eggs and the parent bird brought to him in the Chin Hills but gives no description of them nor the date on which they were obtained. The eggs were not in his col¬lection when it came to me.
Tytler took nests and eggs near Kohima, at between 6,000 and 8,000 feet, in May and June and, in epistola, informs me that both nests and eggs were exactly like those taken by myself and about which I had written to him.
I found this bird breeding both in North Cachar and the Khasia Hills, generally between 5,000 and 6,000 feet, though I took one nest at 3,800 feet. The birds were rare, and such quiet, unobstrusive little things that they were difficult to find in the dense evergreen forests they generally frequented. The only other forest I ever found them in was fairly dense Oak, the trees outgrowing very thickly but with ample undergrowth of Jasmine, brambles, bracken and Caladiums, whilst everywhere there was a green mass of moss, ferns and orchids. The ground, both in the evergreen and in the Oak woods where they nested, was very broken up, usually very steep, and always with many outcrops of rock, clothed with the same luxuriant verdure as the trees. The cock bird has a sweet, though feeble, little song but, when near the nest, the only sound I ever heard them make was a feeble croak or an equally feeble squeak, neither of which I realized at first came from a bird.
The nests were quite typical of this group of Flycatchers. My first nest, taken on the 29th April, 1895, was described in ‘The Ibis’ (1906, p. 272):—“A tiny cup of moss, moss-roots and stems of maidenhair ferns, all neatly and compactly interwoven, the moss only showing outside. The hning was of the very finest hair-like roots alone, many of those being of considerable length, yet wound round with the greatest possible neatness. It was placed on the ground on the rocky side of a steep hill and was semi-protected both above and on both sides by stones, in the hollow between which it was fitted. All around grew bracken, wild balsams, and small ferns, and the nest was quite concealed from view, but was found by a Naga through the actions of the parent birds,” both of which he snared.
All the nests I saw were identical in construction but were in differing sites. A second nest, taken at 6,000 feet, was wedged in a hollow under a rock on a steep, almost precipitous hill-side ; a third was taken from a split in the face of a rock ; a fourth from a hollow formed by two large intertwisted boughs of a Rhododendron-tree ; while a fifth was taken from a hole among the massive, con¬torted roots of a tree, and a sixth from a hole in the trunk of another tree. They never seem to be built at any height from the ground whether in tree or rock, and the highest I have. seen was not more than 4 feet up.
The breeding season is from the end of April to the beginning of June, and I have taken fresh eggs from the 29th April to the 2nd June.
The full clutch is three or four. In appearance the eggs are quite typical of the genus. If casually examined they appear to be unicoloured reddish-brown eggs but, if carefully examined through a powerful glass, the ground-colour is seen to be a warm buff, the whole surface so densely covered with minute specks of rather dark reddish-brown that the ground cannot be seen. The texture is fine and close with but little or no gloss. The shape is a broad regular oval and is very constant.
Thirty eggs average 15.1 x 11.9 mm. : maxima 16.1 x 12.2 and 15.9 x 12.3 mm. ; minima 14.1 x 11.5 and 15.0 x 11.2 mm.
Both sexes take part in incubation and specimens of both were trapped on the nest. I have no information in regard to the building of the nest.

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: 
650. Muscicapula melanoleuca westermanni
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Burmese Little Pied Flycatcher
Little Pied Flycatcher
Ficedula westermanni
Vol. 2

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