482. Brachypteryx major albiventris

(482) Brachypteryx major albiventris (Fairbank).
Brachypteryx major albiventris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 11.
This race replaces the preceding in the Palni Hills and Travancore. Birds from the extreme North of Travancore show signs of a rufous wash on the flanks, thus approaching the Nilgiri bird.
This Short-wing’s nidification appears to be in every respect exactly like that of the Rufous-bellied bird, just a pad of green moss with a depression in the centre, built in a hole in a tree or, less often, in a hole in a bank.
I can find very little to show at what elevations it breeds. Oates says that in Travancore it occurs at 1,000 feet, but Ferguson, Bourdillon and others all say that they have not met with it, and that it does not breed, below 3,000 feet. Probably its normal breeding range may be put at between 3,000 and 5,000 feet, whilst it is sometimes found up to 7,000 feet.
Captain Horace Terry took two nests of this bird near Kodaikanal on the 3rd and 7th June, each with two eggs, one placed “in a hole in a tree between 4 and 5 feet from the ground, a deep cup of moss ; the other, in a hole in the bank of a path running through the shola, was of green moss and a few fern-roots. Inside, 1.75 inch deep and 2.5 inches across ; outside, a shapeless mass of moss filling up the hole it was built in. The nest was very conspicuous to anyone passing by.”
Fairbank took a nest from a natural hole in a tree about 2 feet from the ground, Cardew took one from a similar position and Howard Campbell took many from natural holes in trees, all of these being found well inside shady sholas and often near water. One nest taken by Howard Campbell was not from a tree. This, which he sent to me, “was found in a hole in a bank and not in a tree, as is usually the case. It was of the ordinary type, cup¬shaped, and made entirely of green moss with a lining of roots. Externally the nest was very massive, fitting into the hole in which it was placed. As the bird drew attention to it by slipping off the nest when we were some yards away, we had not to hunt for it, but it was not at all well concealed. It contained one egg slightly incubated.”
This particular egg looks as if coloured light olive-green all over but, if looked into very carefully, is seen to be faintly flecked with reddish, rather more obviously so at the larger end. All my other eggs, of which I have a fair series taken by Howard Campbell, Captain H. Terry and others, are like those of the preceding bird and could not individually be separated from them but, as a series, are a rather richer and redder brown in tint.
In shape they are the same long ovals and they are quite similar in texture also.
Fourteen eggs average 23.9 x 16.8 mm. : maxima 25.5 x 17.0 and 23.2 x 17.5 mm. ; minima 21.0 x 16.0 mm.
The number laid is practically always two, very rarely one.
The nesting season in the Palnis seems to last from early April, Howard Campbell having taken a nest on the 4th of that month, to early June, when Terry took both his nests. The only clutch from Travancore in my series was taken by T. F. Bourdillon on the 7th March.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
482. Brachypteryx major albiventris
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Bellied Short Wings
White-bellied Blue Robin
Myiomela albiventris
Vol. 2

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