(1156) Hirundo javanica domicola.
The Nilgiri House-Swallow.
Hirundo domicola Jerdon, Mad. J. L. S., xiii, pt. i, p. 173 (1844) (Nilgiri Hills). Hirundo javanica. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 279 (part).
Vernacular names. The same in Tam, and Cing. as for the Common Swallow.
Description. Similar to the preceding bird but with a distinct green-blue instead of a purple-blue gloss and with a much smaller bill.
Colours of soft parts as in H.j. javanica.
Measurements. Wing 98 to 103 mm.; bill, culmen about 8 mm., with a breadth at the forehead of about 6 mm.
Distribution. Hills of Southern India from the Nilgiris to Travancore and Ceylon.
Nidification. The Nilgiri House-Swallow breeds from February to May in the hills of South India and from April to June in Ceylon and again in September (Wait). It makes its nest either in buildings, deserted or occupied, on cliffs, or in caves and railway tunnels. The nests are like those of the Common Swallow but much deeper in comparison and the birds are said to use the same nest year after year, merely refurnishing it with a new lining. They rear two broods normally, one immediately after the first has flown, whilst sometimes, in Ceylon especially, they rear a third family in September. The eggs number three or four and are like those of the preceding bird. Fifty eggs average 17.4 x 12.5 mm.: maxima 19.5 x 13.6 and 19.0 x 14.2 mm. (Hume) ; minima 15.7 X 12.0 mm.
Habits. This little Swallow is essentially a bird of the higher hills, not being found below about 2,000 feet and ascending to the tops of the highest ranges, about 9,000 feet. It is the most familiar and best-known Swallow in Southern India and is quite regardless and fearless of mankind. Its night is easy and grace¬ful, if not very swift, and it utters constantly a soft little chirp as it hawks about for insects. It is resident wherever found, not even changing to higher or lower elevations with the seasons. Owners of nests are said to often use them as roosting places after all the last young have left for good; usually they roost in caves and hollows of cliffs, less often under the eaves of houses.