491. Hodgsonius phoenieuroides phoenieuroides

(491) Hodgsonius phoenieuroides phoenieuroides (Hodgs.).
Hodgsonius phoenicuroides phoenicuroides, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 21.
This handsome Short-wing is found between 6,000 and 12,000 feet elevation from Kashmir to Eastern Assam, whence it extends to Yunnan. Stresemann also says that this is the breeding form in Szetschwan, where one would have rather expected the Chinese race.
They appear to be birds of forest regions but of the more open rather than of the deeper forests, whilst at Gaggangir, in the Suru Valley, Osmaston found them breeding in comparatively open country in rose-bushes on the banks of streams at 8,000 feet, which, he says, is unusually low for this species to nest.
The first account of its nesting is that of Osmaston (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xi, p. 67, 1897), who writes :—“ It is very common in the Tons Valley at elevations from 10,000 to 11,000 feet, but is rarely seen owing to its shy and retiring habits. I found twelve nests between June 5th and 11th, all of which, contained two or three eggs, mostly fresh, and three seems to be the normal complement. They were placed in low bushes from one to three feet from the ground in open scrub forest. They were deeply cup-shaped, composed of brown grass without and lined with finer grasses.”
The previous year (1896) Davidson and Bell had taken a series of their nests in. Kashmir at Sonamurg, apparently at and above about 8,000 feet. Here they found it “not uncommon over a limited area along the edge of the forest on the right bank of the river. We never saw it more than a hundred yards from the verge of the forest, and it did not seem ever to enter the high forest, keeping among the bushes along its borders. Both sexes, however, were partial to thick cover and, except in the neighbourhood of the nest, were very shy. When, however, the nest was approached anywhere within a hundred yards or so the female appeared, sometimes accompanied by the male, and both kept in the vicinity of the searcher ; and when the nest itself was discovered there could be no doubt as to the owner, as the female invariably appeared and kept moving about in the bushes within half a dozen yards, uttering a loud chattering cry.
“We found nine or ten nests, all similar, and placed in low bushes, generally about one or one and a half feet from the ground and not in the least concealed. They were thick deep cups, made of rough grass ; one measured six inches in diameter outside and two and three-quarter inches inside, while the depth inside was four and a half inches. Internally they were lined with a few dead leaves, some fine grass, grass-roots, and a few feathers, and were most untidy structures. In all cases in which a full clutch of eggs had been laid the number was three” (Ibis, 1898, p. 12).
On the North-West Frontier Whitehead obtained a nest at Bulta-Kundi at 8,800 feet, similar in all respects to the above except that it was lined with hair. It contained four eggs. In Kalhar and the Nila Valley, in the Garhwal Hills, Whymper took many nests at 11,000 and 12,000 feet. These nests he describes as very deep untidy nests lined with feathers, sometimes fairly thickly but generally rather scanty .
The breeding season seems to be June and early July, though Buchanan took one nest on the 20th of the latter month containing three fresh eggs.
The normal full clutch of eggs is three but Whymper took four on several occasions in the Garhwal Hills and, as recorded above, Whitehead found four in a nest at Bulta Kundi. The eggs are exceptionally beautiful, a very deep spotless blue with a shade of green almost as dark as the eggs of the White-throated Laughing. Thrushes, though with no gloss. They vary very little in depth of colour and the palest egg is still a very dark blue. The texture is very fine, close and fairly stout, with a soft sheen which in a few eggs might almost be called a gloss. In shape they are fairly regular ovals but, in some instances, are decidedly long and pointed.
Sixty eggs average 22.7 x 16.1 mm. : maxima 24.5 x 16.3 and 22.5 x 17.0 mm. ; minima 20.0 x 15.3 mm.
The Common Cuckoo often places its egg in the nest of this Chat, and in these cases the egg of the Cuckoo is generally blue also, though much paler than the eggs of the fosterer.
So far as is known the female alone carries out the duties of incubation, but it is quite possible that the male incubates during the nights and very early mornings.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
491. Hodgsonius phoenieuroides phoenieuroides
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Nepal Long Tailed Short Wing
Luscinia phoenicuroides phoenicuroides
Vol. 2

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