906. Neornis flavolivaceus flavolivaceus

(906) Neornis flavolivaceus flavolivaceus Blyth.
Neornis flavolivaceus flavolivaceus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 502.
This Aberrant Warbler is found from the Sutlej Valley to Nepal, and thence through the Outer Himalayas to Eastern Assam, North of the Brahmapootra.
Theobald found it breeding near Darjiling but does not give the elevation, while Gammie also found it breeding in Sikkim “from May to June at elevations from 3,500 up to 6,000 feet.” In Kuman, however, Whymper obtained two nests at 10,000 feet.
Theobald gives a meagre description of the nest and merely says that it "lays in the second week in July. Eggs three in number, blunt ovals, pyriform. Colour deep dull claret-red, with a darker band at broad end. Nest a deep cup, outside of bamboo leaves, inside fine vegetable fibre, lined with feathers.” The nest was probably brought to him with the top pulled off.
Gammie gives a fuller account of its nidification:—“It sticks closely to grass and low scrub and never by any chance perches on a tree, breeding from May to July at elevations from 3,500 to 6,000 feet. All the nests I have seen were of a globular shape, with an entrance near the top. Both in shape and position the nest much resembles that of Suya atrogularis, and is, I have no doubt, the one brought to Jerdon as belonging to that bird. It is placed in grassy bushes, in open country, within a foot or so of the ground, and is made of bamboo leaves, and, for the size of the bird, coarse grass-stems, with an inner layer of fine grass-panicles, from which the seeds have dropped, and lined with feathers. Externally it measures about 6 inches in depth by 4 in width. The egg-cavity, from lower edge of entrance, is 2.1/2 inches deep by 1.3/4 wide. The entrance is 2 inches across. The usual number of eggs is three.”
Whymper and Osmaston describe the nest as domed, made of grass and placed almost on the ground in thick tufts of grass. One nest taken by Whymper was lined with leaves and feathers.
As noted, Gammie says that the breeding season lasts from May to July and Osmaston found his nests in June. Whymper, however, obtained his two nests with fresh eggs on the 26th August.
The number of eggs laid is two or three.
I certainly do not think Gammie’s description of the eggs as “deep chocolate-purple” is at all applicable, though it exactly describes many eggs of the Homochlamys group.
Osmaston and Whymper took a small series which vary in colour from pale pink to deep terra-cotta red. Both sets taken by Osmaston were of the pale type ; one of those taken by Whymper was of the darkest shade and another clutch dark terra-cotta, whilst a third was pale terra-cotta pink.
The eggs have a fair, but not strong, gloss, in shape being ordinary ovals, the texture fine and close.
Eleven eggs, all I have seen, average 17.2 x 12.6 mm. : maxima 18.5 x 13.1 mm. ; minima 16.1 x 12.3 and 17.0 x 12.0 mm.

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: 
906. Neornis flavolivaceus flavolivaceus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Aberrant Warbler
Horornis flavolivaceus flavolivaceus
Vol. 2

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