(635) Hemichelidon cinereiceps.
The Ferruginous Flycatcher.
Hemichelidon cinereiceps Hodgs., P. Z. S., 1845, p. 32 (Nepal). Hemichelidon ferruginea. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 6.
Vernacular names. Dang-chim-pa-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Forehead and crown dark ashy-brown, paler on the hind neck and shading into reddish brown on the back, scapulars and lesser wing-coverts and, again, into chestnut on the rump and upper tail-coverts ; tail reddish brown, darker at the tips and with the terminal halves of the outer webs brownish; median and greater coverts brown, edged and tipped with chestnut; quills and primary-coverts very dark brown, the secondaries broadly edged with chestnut; a white or fulvous-white ring round the eye; lores and ear-coverts mixed fulvous and brown; a large patch of white on throat and fore-neck often extending in a line to the chin; breast rufous with brown centres to the feathers; flanks and under tail-coverts chestnut, paling to white on the centre of the abdomen and vent.
Colours of soft parts. Iris blue-brown to almost black; bill black, the commissure and base of the lower mandible yellowish; legs fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 145 to 150 mm.; wing 68 to 75 mm.; tail 43 to 50 mm.; culmen 8 to 9 mm.; tarsus 12 to 13 mm.
Young bird. Feathers of the head boldly centred with buffy white to fulvous, the upper plumage chestnut streaked with blackish; wing-coverts broadly edged with chestnut and whole lower parts dull pale chestnut.
Distribution. Himalayas, Garhwal to Eastern Assam, Manipur, and higher hills of Northern Burma and Western China. In Winter extending to all Burma, Malay Peninsula, South China, Formosa, Hainan and the Indo-Chinese countries to Borneo, Palawan, etc.
Nidification. The Ferruginous Flycatcher breeds throughout its area above 4,000 feet, more often above 6,000 and up to 8,000 or 9,000 feet, but there is very little on record about it.
Nests found by Mr. B. B. Osmaston near Darjeeling were cups made of moss lined with a mixture of white lichen and black rhizomorph. Two were placed 40 or 50 feet up in lofty oak-trees on projections made by broken branches, but the third was on a small tree and about 10 feet from the ground.
The eggs taken by Mr. Osmaston and the few others I have seen are pale sea-green in ground-colour, practically the whole surface covered with very fine pinkish-red frecklings, denser and forming a cap or zone at the larger end. They measure about 18.3 x 14.3 mm.
The breeding-season is May or June.
Habits. This Flycatcher appears sometimes to be a permanent resident between 4.000 and 6,000 feet, being found summer and winter haunting very restricted areas, generally in open oak-forest. Other birds, probably Summer residents of higher altitudes, scatter far and wide during the Winter to very great distances. They seem to be rare over most of the Himalayas so far as is known at present and are shy retiring little birds, very silent and quiet in all their Habits. Mr. Osmaston, however, says they are very common near Darjeeling.