(642) Cyornis hodgsonii.
The Rusty-breasted Blue Flycatcher.
Siphia hodgsonii Verr., Nouv. Arch. Mus , vi, p. 34 (1870 (Moupin). Cyornis hodgsoni. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 14.
Vernacular names. Paon-pali (Tibet).
Description.— Adult male. Whole upper plumage and wing-coverts slaty-blue, the upper tail-coverts almost black; lores and cheeks velvety-black; tail black, the lateral feathers narrowly edged with blue and the base of all but the central pair white; chin to breast and flanks bright orange-chestnut, posterior flanks, vent and under tail-coverts pale ferruginous olive; wing-quills brown edged with olive-rufous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep brown; bill all black in the breeding-season, the base horny-brown in the non-breeding season ; legs and feet dark reddish brown.
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 69 to 74 mm.; tail 50 to 53 mm.; tarsus about 17 mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Female. Upper plumage olive-brown tinged with fulvous on the upper tail-coverts ; lores and a pale ring round the eye whitish ; lower plumage ashy-brown fading to almost white on the vent and abdomen.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the male, but the bill is never wholly black.
Young birds are dark brown above, spotted and streaked with fulvous and with broad fulvous tips to the wing-coverts. The under plumage is much deeper and richer fulvous than the female, and the breast and flanks are squamated with deep brown.
Distribution. Sikkim, Bhutan, the Hills North and South of the Brahmaputra in Assam, Lushai, and Manipur, Chin Hills, the Salween, Karen Hills and Muleyit in Tenasserim, Yunnan and Kansu in "Western China.
Nidification. This Flycatcher is probably resident and breeds throughout its area above 4,000 feet. It lays from the middle of April to the end of June, making a beautiful nest of living green moss lined with fine moss- and maiden-hair roots, which it places in some natural hollow in a rocky bank or, very rarely, in a hole in a stump of a tree. In the Khasia Hills it breeds above 5,000 feet and Col. Tytler found it breeding in the Naga Hills at about 6,000 feet.
The eggs vary a good deal in colour. The ground is very pale yellowish or greenish stone, sometimes tinged with reddish. The marks consist of fine reddish stippling, sometimes numerous everywhere, but generally confined to the larger end, where they coalesce to form a ring or cap. Forty eggs average 17.8 x 13.4 mm. and the extremes are 19.2x 14.0, 19.0x 14.1, and 16.2 X 13.0 mm.
Habits. The Rusty-breasted Blue Flycatcher is a forest-bird, but is found both in pine-forest and in dense humid forests of oak, rhododendrons, etc. It is a quiet little bird but has a very sweet little song in the breeding-season, which it utters perched high up on a tree-top. It catches its insect-prey almost entirely on the wing but does occasionally descend to the ground for this purpose. Like so many other birds which live principally in lofty trees, they in great part desert these during the breeding-season and resort to the scrub and lower growths.