(539) Cyanosylvia cyanecula abbotti.
The Eastern White-spotted Blue-throat.
Cyanecula abbotti Richmond, Proc. U.S. N. Mus., xviii, p. 484 (1895) (Nubra Valley, Ladak). Cyanecula wolfi. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 100.
Vernacular names. The same, where found, as for the White-spotted birds.
Description. Differs from C s. suecica and its geographical races in having a white spot instead of a red on the centre of the throat; occasionally the throat is wholly blue.
Frequently there is a little red showing on the centre of the white spot and sometimes there is a small spot entirely red.
Colours of soft parts as in the other forms of Cyanosylvia.
Measurements. Wing 71 to 74 mm.; tail 53 to 55 mm.; tarsus about 28 mm.; culmen 14 to 15 mm. (from edge of forehead 16.7 to 17.5 mm., Hartert).
Distribution. Pamirs, East Turkestan, Kashmir, Ladak and Western Tibet. I have received eggs of a Cyanosylvia from Tibet taken near Gyantse, but the skins sent were too bad to enable the race to be determined.
In Winter it is found South in Kashmir and Garhwal and occasionally in the plains of the North-West, Behar and even in Assam.
Nidification. Ludlow found two nests at Bhot Karba on 24th June, 1919, the first of which contained four hard-set eggs and the second four young. The nests are described as cup-shaped, made of dry grass and placed on the ground among long grass and low bushes. The eggs were " sage-green suffused with reddish brown " and they "measured 19.75-20.25x 14.75-15.0 mm."
Habits. This bird is far less of a wanderer than the Bed-spotted Blue-throat and though it has not nearly so far to travel is never found far out in the plains as that bird is. It breeds between 12,000 and 14,000 feet in Northern Kashmir and North-East Ladak, probably a good deal higher also and possibly down as low as 10,000 feet. In winter it comes down as low as 6,000 feet, but often stays throughout the winter at heights much above this. It is not rare in Assam at about 3,000 feet and is found thence all along the outer, lower ranges of the Himalayas between 2,000 .and 9,000 feet from September to April. It has been obtained in the plains of Oachar, Assam and Behar but such occurrences are very rare.
In actions, food, voice, etc., it differs in no way from its White-spotted cousin and it is the same quiet skulker as that bird. It does not, however, seem to be so much addicted to swampy wet ground, though it is most common in the vicinity of rivers and lakes, such as the Shick, Tsomorari, etc.