(317) Leioptila annectens annectens.
Leioptila annectens Blyth, J. A. S. B., xvi, p. 450 (1847) (Darjeeling), Lioptila annectens. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 199.
Vernacular names. Rubnun-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Upper part of head and hind neck black, the latter streaked with white; sides of the back black; scapulars pale rufous; middle of back, rump and upper tail-coverts chestnut, the latter with a few black streaks ; lesser and median wing-coverts black edged with ashy; greater coverts black tipped with chestnut ; primaries black, edged on the outer webs of all but the last two or three with bluish-white, secondaries the same but with broader edges and the innermost tipped with white and with some chestnut on the outer web; tail black, edged with still deeper black on the basal half and tipped with white, the white increasing in extent outwardly; lower plumage white, except the vent, flanks and under tail-coverts which are chestnut.
Colours of soft parts. Iris grey-brown in the young to choco¬late-brown and deep crimson in the adult; bill black, the extreme base of the lower mandible yellow; legs and feet wax- or chrome-yellow, claws brownish.
Measurements. Total length about 190 mm.; wing 75 to80 mm.; tail about 85 to 87 mm. ; tarsus about 24 mm. ; culmen about 15 to 16 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim, Assam North and South of the Brahma¬putra, Manipur and Chin Hills.
Nidification. This graceful Sibia breeds from 4,000 feet to the top of the highest hills South of the Brahmaputra, placing its nest on the small outer branches of trees, sometimes at great heights, sometimes in quite small saplings not 20 feet from the ground. In shape it is a deep cup of moss, mixed with a few leaves and roots with an inner lining of grass and reed-stems and a true lining of fine roots and fern-rachides. It is placed without any attempt at concealment and even if not spotted at once the excited actions of the birds soon draw one's attention to it. The eggs, which number either two or three, are pale blue with blots, blotches and specks of pale reddish-brown and a few hair-lines of the same or darker. Twenty-five eggs average 22.0 X 15.5 mm. The breeding season is May and June.
Habits. Blyth's Sibia is a bird of the evergreen forests above 4,000 feet, descending but little lower even in the cold season. It climbs, creeps and flutters amongst the higher branches of the trees in hunting for food and is generally found in small parties of five or six individuals. Their note is a clear, single whistle but they are quite unobtrusive birds, though not very shy.