(335) Siva cyanouroptera cyanouroptera.
HODGSON'S BLUE-WINGED SIVA.
Sim cyanouroptera Hodgs., Ind. Rev.,1838, p. 88 (Nepal) : Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 209.
Vernacular names. Megblim adum (Lepcha).
Description. Forehead, crown, nape and hind neck pale blue, the sides of the crown deeper blue, the forehead and anterior part of the crown streaked with brown ; lores, round the eyes and a broad streak behind the eye white; back, scapulars, wing-coverts, rump and upper tail-coverts bright ochraceous ; the median pair of tail-feathers wholly blue with a subterminal black patch and white tip ; the next four pairs with the outer webs blue, the inner brown margined with white, with the black patch and white tip ; the outermost feather black on the outer, white on the inner web; primary-coverts black; winglet cobalt-blue, tipped white; primaries cobalt-blue on the outer webs; outer secondaries margined with pale blue and tipped white; inner secondaries blackish on the inner and bluish-grey on the outer webs, tipped white; ear-coverts, cheeks, sides of the neck, chin and throat, breast, and sides of the body delicate vinous-grey ; middle of abdomen pale yellowish buff; vent and under tail-coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill homy-grey, brownish about the nostrils and with the base of the lower mandible yellowish ; feet fleshy-brown or flesh-colour.
Measurements. Total length about 150 to 155 mm,; wing 62 to 70 mm.; tail 63 to 70 mm.; tarsus about 25 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm. Birds from the Himalayas are rather larger than those South of the Brahmaputra, having wings 65 to 70 mm. as against 62 to 64 mm. in the southern birds.
Distribution. Himalayas from Naini-Tal to E. Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur, Lushai, Chittagong Hill tracts and Chin Hills.
Nidification. The Blue-winged Siva builds a nest which is a small, neat edition of that of Leiothrix lutea; i. e. it is a small cup made of leaves, grasses, moss and roots, lined with very fine roots and fine grasses, usually of a very dark colour. The majority of nests are found low down in bushes only a few feet from the ground but others may be taken higher up in trees. Wherever it is placed, however, it is sure to be well hidden, unlike that of Leiothrix which is well exposed to view. The eggs vary from two to four, often two only, and are like those of Siva strigula; in shape they are. very regular ovals and 24 eggs measure on an average 18.4 x 14.1 mm. The breeding season is May and June.
Habits. This Siva may be found anywhere between 3,000 and 8,000 feet but is most common and breeds freely between 4,000 and 6,000 feet. They consort in flocks and feed both on the higher trees and in amongst the brushwood and seem particularly fond of the tangles of raspberry and blackberry vines so common throughout their haunts. They fly well and fairly quickly.