(377) Minla ignotincta.
THE RED-TAILED MINLA.
Minla ignotincta Hodgs., Ind. Rev., 1838, p. 33 (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 2-45.
Vernacular names. Minla (Nepal); Megblim-ayene (Lepcha).
Description.— Male. The forehead, crown, nape and middle of the upper neck black; a very broad, long supercilium white, meeting the opposite one on the upper back; lores, ear-coverts and a bind extending nearly to the end of the supercilium black; back, rump and scapulars deep vinaceous; upper tail-coverts black; tail black, tipped and edged on the outer webs with crimson, the two middle tail-feathers with a white streak at the base of the inner webs, the outer feathers suffused with red on the inner webs ; wing-coverts and inner secondaries red, edged with white, the latter also broadly tipped with white; primaries and outer secondaries black, edged with crimson on the greater part of the outer webs; the earlier primaries margined with white near the tips, the outer secondaries tipped with white; chin yellowish white; entire lower plumage yellow, sparingly and narrowly streaked with brown.
Colours of soft parts. Iris greyish or brownish white; bill, upper mandible and tip of lower "blackish-horny; rest of lower mandible horny-grey or bluish-greenish-horny; legs and feet grey-brown to greenish-leaden, with a wax-yellow tinge on toes, more decided in males than females; soles wax-yellow (Hume),
Measurements. Length about 140 mm.; wing 62 to 65 mm.; tail about 55 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11 mm.
Female and young male differ from the adult male in having the back, rump, scapulars and upper tail-coverts vinaceous brown; the crimson on the wing is replaced by pinkish white and on the tail by pale red.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Nepal to Eastern Assam in the Miri Hills, South to Manipur, Cachar, Naga Hills, etc.
Nidification. The Red-tailed Minla breeds throughout its range between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, making a most lovely little pendent cup or deep purse of fine green moss, lined plentifully with wool, hair or vegetable down, sometimes hair and down being mixed. They are placed in small forks of bushes 4 to 10 feet from the ground in evergreen forest. The eggs are two or three in number—Hodgson says four—and in colour just like the eggs of Propasser or Siva, that is to say, deep Hedge-Sparrow's egg-blue with a few spots and specks of black or reddish. Fifteen eggs average 19.3 x 14.6 mm. The breeding season is May and June.
Habits. The Minla is found up to at least, 10,000 feet and possibly still higher in the upper forested portions of the Chambi Valley and Native Sikkim. It is said to go about in small parties, having much the habits of the Sivas, but in the Assam Hills it was very rare and I only saw it in pairs. In these hills it keeps much to the oak and rhododendron forest at about 6,000 feet.