378. Hypocollius ampelinus Bonap

(378) Hypocolius ampelinus Bonap.
THE GREY HYPOCOLIUS.
Hypocolius ampelinus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 357.
This Persian bird does not breed any where within our limits and has only occurred as a rare straggler into Sind, Khelat and on the Mekran coast, whilst quite recently it has been recorded from the Kolaba district, on the West coast of India, by Mr. Salim A. Ali (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxxiv, p. 1061, 1931).
Cumming gives the following description of its breeding at Fao (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xii, p. 760, 1899):—“ These birds arrive in Bushire in March, occasionally they are to be seen at the end of the same month at Fao, but usually in April.
“They breed in June and July ; nests have rarely been taken towards the end of May. The male assists the female in building the nest and sitting on the eggs.”
“The nest is completed in three to four days ; one egg is laid daily until the full number is completed, i. e., four or five, and about fourteen days are taken in incubating.
“Nest placed in centre of small date bush about 3 feet from the ground near the bund at back of date gardens.”
Again, in the same journal (vol. xxviii, p. 270, 1922), we find this additional information :—“ Concerning their habits in the breeding season, Cheesman, who found a colony at Sera on the Tigris, in scrub jungle, says the pairs often pack into a flock ; on settling, their call, actions and appearances were similar to those of a Babbler and pairs often indulge in love flights, flying round 100 to 150 feet in the air. They were building in the scrub on May 1st and he found a nest in a low bush two feet from the ground in open scrub ; the nest, which was being built of coarse grass-stems, was in the centre of the bush, not at all hidden, and the birds were not shy.”
Cumming found all his nests on Date-palms, many of them on young and stunted palms two to five feet up, but others as much as ten feet from the ground.
The nests and sites Cumming describes (Ibis, 1886) as follows “The nests are generally placed on the leaves of the date palms, at no very great height. The highest I have seen was built about 10 feet from the ground, but from three to five feet is the general height.
“They are substantial and cup-shaped, having a diameter of about 3.1/2 inches by 2.1/2 inches in depth, lined with fine grass, the soft fluff from the willow when in seed, wool and sometimes hair.”
At Qarradak, also, Sir Percy Cox found them breeding on Date- palms in June.
The eggs are as unique as the birds but the former may be said to resemble most nearly the eggs of Lanius lahtora, with the colour nearly all washed out. The ground is white and the markings consist of very faint grey blotches, rather large in size, scattered fairly thickly at the big end and decreasing in number towards the small end. One clutch given to me by Sir Percy Cox has the markings rather better defined and with a tinge of brown in them. The surface is fine, glossy and close in texture.
Thirteen eggs average 26.2 x 19.2 mm. : maxima 27.3 x 20.8 mm. ; minima 24.5 x 19.0 and 26.3 x 18.1 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
378. Hypocollius ampelinus Bonap
Spp Author: 
Bonap.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
378
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
331
Common name: 
Grey Hypocolius
M_ID: 
20976
M_CN: 
Grey Hypocolius
M_SN: 
Hypocolius ampelinus
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
13566

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