257. Mesia argentauris.
The Silver-eared Mesia.
Mesia argentauris, Hodgs. Ind. Rev. 1838, p. 88; Hume, N. & E. p. 392; id. Cat. no. 615; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 318; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 642 ; Oates, B. B. i,p. 143; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 247 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 160. Leiothrix argentauris (Hodgs.), Blyth, Cat. p. 99 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 365; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 251; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 109 ; xlv, pt. ii, p. 81 ; Bl. Birds Burm. p. 109; Wardlaw Ramsay, Ibis, 1877, p. 464; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 630; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 370.
The Silver-eared Hill-Tit, Jerd.; Dang-rapchil-pho, Lepch.
Coloration. Male. Forehead golden yellow ; crown, nape, lores, cheeks, produced as a stripe under the ear-coverts, black; ear-coverts silvery white ; upper back and sides of the neck fulvous yellow; lower back, scapulars, tertiaries, and wing-coverts slaty, some of the outermost of the latter edged with green; rump slaty green; upper tail-coverts crimson ; tail blackish brown, the three outer pairs of feathers edged with yellowish ; wings brown, the first two primaries edged with yellow, the other quills with crimson at the base and yellow elsewhere ; chin and throat deep orange-yellow ; lower plumage olive-yellow, brighter on the breast and abdomen, the former of which is obsoletely streaked darker ; under tail-coverts crimson.
Female. Differs in having both the upper and the lower tail-coverts orange-buff.
The young have the crown yellowish at first.
Bill ochre-yellow, slightly greenish at the base; iris dark or reddish brown; feet yellow-fleshy ; claws buff-horny (Scully).
Length about 7 ; tail 2.8 ; wing 3 ; tarsus 1; bill from gape .75.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Garhwal to the Daphla hills in Assam ; the Khasi and Naga hills ; Manipur ; the Kakhyen hills east of Bhamo ; the Karen hills east of Toungngoo; Karennee; the slopes of Muleyit mountain in Tenasserim. The range of this bird extends to the mountains of Perak.
Habits, &c. This species is found from 3000 to about 7000 feet of elevation. It breeds from March to June, constructing a cup-shaped nest of moss or of grass, with creeper-stems intermingled, in shrubs and small trees. The eggs resemble those of Liothrix lutea very closely, and measure .86 by .62.