1259. Chalcostetha chalcostetha

(1259) Chalcostetha chalcostetha*.

Maklot's sunbird.

Nectarinia chalcostetha Jardine, Nat. Bis., Nect., p. 263 (1843) (E.Indian Is.; restricted to Borneo). Chalcostetha insignis. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 345.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description. - Male. Forehead, crown and nape brilliant metallic green; lesser and median wing-coverts, lower back, scapulars, rump and upper tail-coverts the same but nearly always mixed with a certain amount of lilac-purple and sometimes principally of this colour; hind-neck and upper back, lores and sides of the head and neck velvety-black; greater coverts and quills black, edged with purple; tail blackish-blue edged with metallic purple ; chin, throat and upper breast metallic copper surrounded by lilac-purple, the latter covering the lower breast, upper abdo¬men and flanks; lower abdomen, posterior flanks and under tail-coverts smoky-black ; pectoral tufts bright yellow; axillaries and under tail-coverts smoky-black.

Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill black ; legs and feet dark plumbeous to black.

Measurements. Wing 59 to 62 mm.; tail 49 to 55 mm.; tarsus 14 to 15 mm.; culmen about 17 to 19 mm.

Female. Upper plumage dull olive-green, the head browner and the feathers of the crown and nape edged with grey ; coverts and quills brown, edged with the colour of the back ; tail black, all but the central rectrices broadly tipped with white ; chin, throat, sides of the head and upper breast pale grey; lower breast, flanks and upper abdomen yellow, paling to whitish on the lower abdomen and vent ; under tail-coverts dull yellow, with broad concealed brown centres.

Young birds resemble the female.

Distribution. Tenasserim to Singapore, Sumatra, Borneo, Java, Palawan and other islands ; Siam.

Nidification. Maklot's Sunbird is resident throughout its range but there is nothing on record about its breeding. Mr. T. Houwing, however, has found it breeding in great numbers in Java, building its nest in nine cases out of ten at the end of a branch of a rubber-tree in the plantations. At other times it is placed at the end of branches of shrubs or low trees between four and twelve feet from the ground. The nest is pear-shaped and domed, with a porch over the entrance, and is made of small pieces of grass, leaves, feathers, roots and odds and ends of vegetable rubbish. The lining is of vegetable down, sometimes mixed with hair or feathers, but consisting principally of the down from the Bombax. The eggs invariably number two; in ground-colour they are pale greenish or greyish stone-colour and they are mottled all over with dull pale purplish-brown with sparse spots and blotches of deep purple, almost black in the centre. Most eggs are laid in May and June but the series sent me by Mr. Houwing were taken in every month from April to the end of September. Thirty eggs average 15.0 x 11.1 mm.: maxima 16.1 x 10.7 and 15.4 x 11.9 mm.; minima 13.9 x 11.1 and 15.0 x 10.3 mm.

Habits. This Sunbird appears to be resident both in the plains and lower hills up to about 3,000 feet and is normally a bird of evergreen-forests, though it is sometimes seen in gardens, where the profusion of flowers entice the tiny insects on which it feeds. "Where rubber plantations have, been opened out the birds resort to them in preference to any other kind of country and find the conditions in them so suitable that they have increased greatly in numbers. Mr. Houwing informs me that where a few years ago these Sunbirds were seen in odd pairs over quite a large extent of country, numerous pairs may now be seen in the course of a short walk through the rubber plantations. The note is said to be a shrill trill and the flight and general habits are much the same as those of other Sunbirds.

* Oberholser has separated the form from Pagi Is as " smaller, female with back more greyish, scarcely tinged with olive-green." I cannot separate any of the island birds from those of the Malay Peninsula and larger islands. The colour of the back of the females varies greatly and Oberholser does not give the size of his new race (Smiths. Misc. Coll. 60, p. 17, 1912).

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: 
1259. Chalcostetha chalcostetha
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Maklots Sunbird
Copper-throated Sunbird
Leptocoma calcostetha
Vol. 3

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