(725) Hemipus picatus capitalis.
The Brown-backed Pied Shrike.
Muscicapa capitalis McClelland, P. Z. S., 1839, p. 157 (Assam); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 472.
Vernacular names. Viyum-pho (Lepcha).
Description.— Adult male. Similar to H. p. picatus, but with the back, rump and scapulars brown instead of black.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding bird.
Measurements. Wing 60 to 67 mm.; tail 52 to 60 mm,; tarsus 13 to 14 mm.; culmen about 11 mm.
Female, Young and Nestling not distinguishable from H. p. picatus.
Distribution. Himalayas, Kumaon to East Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur and Northern Chin Hills, North Kachin Hills, North and South Shan States, Yunnan, Annam, Cochin China and Yuen Chang in China.
Although the very great majority of H. p. picatus and H. p. capitalis are confined to the localities noted against their respective distributions, there are curious occurrences of each in the other's, habitat. Thus there are perfectly typical specimens of picatus from Darjeeling and Mount Victoria in the Chin Hills and an equally typical specimen of capitalis from Malabar. These may be wanderers from their own areas but are more likely to be aberrant specimens.
Nidification. Breeds in the Himalayas between 3,000 and 7,000 feet in forest, making a nest exactly like that of the Black-backed Pied Shrike. The eggs two or three in number, generally the latter, are of two types, one pale greenish white marked with blackish like the eggs of the last bird, the second pinkish white marked in the same manner but with primary markings of brick-red and with secondary blotches of lavender and neutral tint. Occasionally the eggs are but sparsely marked or the normal blotches are reduced to fine specks. They measure about 16.3 x 13.0 mm.: maxima 17.2 X13.3 and 15.9 x 13.7 mm.;
minima 15.0 x 13.0 and 16.0 x 12.4 mm. The breeding-season is from April to June.
Habits. Those of the last bird, but this race keeps more exclusively to fairly heavy forest during the breeding-season. In winter "it is found in the foot-hills of Assam as well as in the plains in their immediate vicinity.