1281. Leptocoma brasiliana

(1281) Leptocoma brasiliana.

Van Hasselt's Sunbird.

Certhia brasiliana Gmelin, Syst. Nat. i, p. 474 (1788) (Brazil, in errors; Java, Oberholser). Arachnechthra hasselti. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 360.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. - Male. Forehead to nape metallic golden-green ; lores, cheeks, ear-coverts, sides and back of the neck, the upper hack, inner secondaries and all the wing-coverts, except next to the scapulars, velvety-black; lower back, scapulars and adjoining wing-coverts, rump and upper tail-coverts metallic purple-blue, in a few specimens more green ; tail deep blue, edged with metallic purple-blue; primaries and outer secondaries dark brown ; chin, throat and fore-neck metallic amethyst; breast and upper abdomen deep maroon; vent, posterior abdomen and flanks and under tail-coverts dull black ; under wing-coverts and axillaries black.

Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill dark brown, the gape and mouth cinnamon-red; legs and feet black.

Measurements. Wing 45 to 50 mm,; tad 28 to 29 mm.; tarsus 12 to 13 mm.; culmen 13 to 15 mm.

Female. Upper plumage olive-green, the feathers of the crown with almost concealed dark centres ; tail almost black, wings dark brown, the edges of the feathers of both greenish-rufous; lateral tail-feathers with narrow whitish tips; lower plumage dull yellow, the flanks and breast darker and suffused with grey-green axillaries and under wing-coverts yellowish-white.

Distribution. Assam, Tippera, Chittagong, Manipur, Lushai and the whole of Burma, South through the Malay States to Java Sumatra and Borneo. It is very rare in Assam but straggles into Cachar and Sylhet on the South and to Lakhimpur on the North of the Brahmaputra.

Nidification. All that is recorded is a note in Hume's ' Nests and Eggs' without name, date or locality which describes the nest as a "lovely little felted purse," made entirely of the glistening red-brown scales taken from the basal portions of the stems of ferns, densely felted together, coated thinly with fine black moss, roots and white silk from cocoons and finally decorated with scraps of moss and lichen. The eggs are cafe au-lait colour, mottled in a zone at the larger end with dusky-grey. They measure 14.7 x 10.4 and 14.5 x 10.2 mm.

Nests taken by Houwing in Sumatra are described as similar to those of Leptocoma asiatica, but the eggs are pale violet-grey and the markings consist of tiny specks and lines of purple-black with others underlying of grey and neutral tint. They were taken in June and July.

Habits. Davison records it as extremely common in South Tenasserim, frequenting not only gardens and coconut groves but also thin forest and the Mangrove swamps. He describes it as a typical Honeysucker, feeding almost exclusively on nectar and uttering a feeble "chip, chip" as it fries from one flower to another.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.3 1926.
Title in Book: 
1281. Leptocoma brasiliana
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Van Hasselts Sunbird
Van Hasselt's Sunbird
Leptocoma brasiliana
Vol. 3

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