(819) Orthotomus ruficeps.
The Red-headed Tailor-Bird.
Edela ruficeps Less., Traite* d'Orn., p. 309 (1830) (Singapore). Orthotomus ruficeps. Blanf & Oates, i, p. 368.
Vernacular names. Nok-a-chip (Siam).
Description. Upper part of head from lores to nape chestnut; back, scapulars, rump and exposed parts of wing dark ashy-brown ; edge of inner webs of primaries and secondaries pinkish rufous; upper tail-coverts rufous-ashy; tail chestnut, the bases blackish ; lower half of head white; remainder of lower plumage white tinged with buff, deepest on the under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown to salmon or yellow-tan; bill above horny-brown, below fleshy or yellowish horny ; legs and feet fleshy-white to fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Wing 47 to 54 mm.; tail 36 to 43 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen 16 to 17 mm.
Female. Differs from the male in having the black on the tail extended over nearly the whole length next the shaft, with a broad bar at the sub-tip.
Young are much more grey below.
Distribution. Peninsular Burma and Siam, through the Malay Peninsula to Borneo, Palawan and Sumatra. Othotomus edela of Temm., generally given as a synonym of this species, is a totally different bird, being merely a local race of 0. sutorius. Lesson's ' type-locality for O. ruficeps, New Holland, is also of course wrong, and I now "designate the type-locality as Singapore.
Nidification. A series of the nests and eggs of this Tailor-Bird, taken by Mr. W. A. T. Kellow during the months February to May, in the vicinity of Taiping in the Fed. Malay States, are not distinguishable from those of the Common Tailor-Birds but the nests seem to be more stoutly built, with more material in the nest itself and with a denser lining of vegetable down. They were all placed low down in weeds and bushes in scrub-jungle on the outskirts of forest. The eggs go through the tame range of variations as the Common Tailor-Birds' do but they seem to average brighter with bolder markings. Thirty eggs average 15.4 x 11.4 mm.: maxima 16.3 x 11.5 and 16.2 x 12.0 mm.: minima 15.0 x 11.2 and 15.1 x 11.0 mm.
Habits. Nothing recorded. This Tailor-Bird seems to be a frequenter of the outskirts of forests and low scrub-jungle, and not of villages and gardens like the Common Tailor-Birds.