601. Hypothymis azurea.
The Indian Black-naped Flycatcher.
Muscicapa azurea, Bodd. Tabl. Pl. Enl. p. 41 (1783). Myiagra caerulea ( Vieill.), Blyth, Cat. p. 204. Myiagra azurea (Bodd.), Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 138; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 450 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 198. Hypothymis azurea (Bodd.), Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 655 ; Hume, Cat. no. 290 ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 274 ; Oates, B. B. i, p. 265 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 159 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 27. Hypothymis ceylonensis, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 277 (1879); Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 408, pl. xviii.
The Black-naped Blue Flycatcher, Jerd. ; Kala kat-katia, Beng.
Coloration. Male. A patch on the nape, forehead, angle of the chin, and a crescentic bar across the fore neck black; abdomen, vent, and under tail-coverts white, or faint bluish white ; remainder of lower plumage azure-blue; wings and coverts dark brown edged with blue; tail brown, suffused with blue on the median pair of feathers and the outer webs of the others ; under wing-coverts and axillaries white.
Female. Head above azure-blue ; sides of the head, chin, and throat duller blue, the ear-coverts almost brown ; breast ashy blue; abdomen, flanks, and under tail-coverts white tinged with grey; wings, back, rump, and upper tail-coverts brown; tail darker brown, the outer edges washed with blue.
I have not been able to examine a nestling of this species.
Iris dark brown ; eyelids plumbeous, the edges blue; bill dark blue, the edges and tip black; mouth yellow; legs plumbeous; claws horn-colour.
Length about 6.5 ; tail 3 ; wing 2.8 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape .75.
H. ceylonensis, from Ceylon, is said to differ in the male wanting the black bar across the throat, but I am of opinion that this alleged difference does not really hold good. Ceylonese specimens of this Flycatcher are not common in collections, but the British Museum contains six males. Of these, five have no black throat-bar, but they also have no nape-patch, which shows them to be young. The sixth bird has a small nape-patch and traces of a throat-bar. This last specimen, therefore, clearly shows that the Ceylon bird does sometimes at least exhibit a throat-patch, and this being the case there is no character by which the two supposed races can be separated.
Distribution. The whole Empire east of a line drawn approximately from Mussoorie. in the Himalayas to Khandala on the Western Ghats. This species does not ascend the Himalayas above 3000 feet or thereabouts. It occurs in Ceylon and the Nicobar Islands, but is absent from the Andamans, where it is replaced by the next species.
Habits, &c. Breeds generally from May to August, constructing a beautiful cup of fine grass coated exteriorly with cobwebs and cocoons in the fork of a branch not far from the ground. The eggs, three to five in number, are white or pinkish marked with reddish, and occasionally some purple spots and specks, and measure about .69 by .53.