594. Niltava sundara.
The Rufous-bellied Niltava.
Niltava sundara, Hodgs. Ind. Rev. i, p. 650 (1837); Blyth, Cat. p. 174; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 288; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 473; Hume, N. & E. p. 2l3; Blyth, Birds Burm. p. 102; Hume, Cat. no. 314 ; Sharpe, Cut. B. M. iv, p. 463 ; Oates, B. B. i, p. 295; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 20.
The Rufous-bellied Fairy Blue-Chat, Jerd.; Niltau, Nep.; Margong, Lepch.
Coloration. Male. Forehead, lores, sides of the head, chin, and throat deep black; crown of the head, nape, rump, upper tail-coverts, a spot on either side of the neck, and the lesser wing-coverts glistening blue; the remaining coverts and quills dark brown, edged with purplish blue; back and scapulars purplish black; tail black, the outer webs edged with bright blue; the whole lower plumage and the under wing-coverts chestnut.
Female. Upper plumage olive-brown, tinged with fulvous on the rump; upper tail-coverts and tail chestnut; wings brown, edged with rufous; sides of the head and lores mixed fulvous and brown, with paler shafts; lower plumage rich olive-brown, tinged with ochraceous; the chin and throat rather rufous, the abdomen whitish ; a large oval patch of white on the fore neck, and a small patch of brilliant blue on each side of it; under tail-coverts pale buff; under wing-coverts and axillaries buff.
Young birds are dark brown streaked with fulvous both above and below. In males some trace of blue, and in females an indication of the white neck-patch, make their appearance at an early age.
Bill black; legs brown ; iris dark brown (Jerdon).
Length about 6.5; tail 2.7; wing 3.2; tarsus .8; bill from gape .7.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Simla to Assam from 5000 to 8000 feet elevation ; the Khasi hills ; Karennee at 4000 feet. Blyth records this species from Arrakan and Tenasserim. I have not been able to examine specimens from these localities. It extends into Western China.
Habite, &c. Breeds in April and May, constructing a nest of moss among the roots, or in a crevice of a trunk of a tree, or sometimes against a rock. The eggs are pale buff freckled with dingy pink, and measure about .93 by .71.