1549. Ramphaleyon capensis burmanica

(1549) Ramphaleyon capensis burmanica (Sharpe).
Ramphalcyon capensis burmanica. Fauna B. I,, Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 266.
This race may be said to be found over the whole of plains of Burma and Siam. It is not found in the Andamans, the bird occurring there being definitely separable.
* When compiling my Catalogue for the Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soe. I gave the Andaman bird the name of osmastoni, intending to review this species in the ‘Bulletin’ of the B. O, C. This was not done, and the name is, therefore, a nom. nud. The Andaman bird is paler and smaller than the Burmese race : wing 141 to 152 mm. as against 146 to 165 mm. in that bird, and the bill is larger, 78 to 85 mm, as against 72 to 84 mm. I now name it Ramphaleyon capensis osmastoni.
It occurs in much the same kind of country as the preceding bird and keeps quite as closely to forest. It ascends the hills for some 2,000 feet only and that but rarely.
Normally, or at least more often than not, this bird makes the usual tunnel and egg-chamber in the bank of some small stream but, at other times, it deposits its eggs in most curious positions.
Bingham is quoted by Hume as informing him “I am rather diffident about writing a note on the finding of the eggs of this bird, as they were found by myself personally in a made nest in the fork of a bamboo growing near the bank of a choung. Moreover, though I fired at the bird as she flew off, I missed her. In my own mind there is not a ghost of a doubt that the eggs in question belong to the above species, as I had a close look at the bird, as she sat on the nest, with a pair of binoculars, at not more than 15 yards distance. The nest was placed in a fork of a bamboo near water. It was a loosely constructed shallow cup of rough grass-roots, wholly unlined, at a height of about four feet from the ground,”
As Hume says, the eggs sent to him are certainly Kingfisher’s of sorts, and Bingham’s identification of the bird was quite satisfactory, though the nest used was almost certainly that of some other bird. Herbert’s account of its nesting is equally interesting and even more conclusively identified. He writes (Journ. Siam Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. vi, p. 308, 1924) “The nest consists of a hole in a tree within easy reach of the ground, and I will give an account of the four nests that I have seen. The first was on 26/5/13, when I flushed the bird from a rotten mango-stump, which was only three feet high and was situated alongside an irrigation canal in the Samray fruit-gardens ; there was one egg, which was visible from the pathway, and I therefore took it. The second occasion was on 12/5/19, when a collector caught the bird in a nesting-hole, sitting on one fresh egg. He brought both to me, and after measuring the bird I released it, The nest was in a branch of a Durian-tree at Banlampoo and about four feet from the ground. The third occasion was 28/7/19, when a collector missed the bird when it left its nest, which contained four slightly incubated eggs. The hole was in a dead patch in a growing Tamarind-tree at Bansakai, and was about six feet from the ground. In none of these cases was there any nesting material, and the dead wood was dry and clean. The fourth occasion was on 31/8/19, when I looked into a hole in a branch of a “tong-long tree at Koh Yai and found the bird inside. It left instantly, and there were about half-a-dozen green leaves arranged in the form of a nest.”
Yet another curious site for a nest is given by Hopwood, who found four eggs laid in a chamber with a short tunnel cut m a “White-ants’ nest-mound, standing on the bank of a stream.”
The breeding season seems a long one, Hopwood, Mackenzie and Bingham all took eggs in March and April, while the latter also recorded them as breeding in February. Then we have Macdonald taking hard-set eggs on the 16th May and Herbert taking fresh eggs and young in that month and finding a new nest not yet laid in on the 31st August.
They may, like gurial, have two seasons and be double-brooded. The full clutch seems to be three or four eggs. They are quite typical, but one clutch of eggs taken by K. Macdonald and another by Mackenzie have one end quite distinctly smaller and pointed.
Twenty-eight eggs average 36.5 x 30.6 mm. : maxima 39.9 x 31.3 and 39.3 x 32.1 mm., minima 34.3 x 30.0 mm. ; an abnormally small egg taken by Herbert measures only 32.1 x 26.3 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1549. Ramphaleyon capensis burmanica
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Burmese Stork Billed Kingfisher
Pelargopsis capensis burmanica
Vol. 3

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