738. Pericrocotus brevirostris brevirosttis

(738) Pericrocotus brevirostris brevirostris (Vigors).
THE INDIAN SHORT-BILLED MINIVET.
Pericrocotus brevirostris brevirostris, Fauna B. I., 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 323.
This little Minivet is a hill form, breeding from 3,000 feet up to 10,000 feet in the Himalayas from Gilgit in the North and Murree in the South as far East as Nepal. To the East it is replaced by P. b. affinis and the mountains of Tenasserim by P. b. neglectus, the nidification of both of these being still unknown.
The Short-billed Minivet keeps to open forest, or to open country well furnished with large trees. In both the Garhwal and Simla Hills the birds seem to be particularly fond of grass-covered hillsides dotted all over with Deodars, many of great size. About Murree Rattray merely records that they are common everywhere, and that he took seven or eight nests on fir-trees and one on a Chestnut-tree, while at Danga Gali he took five from Cherry-trees, two from Chestnut-trees, and only one from a fir.
Scully, writing from Nepal, says that the Minivet breeds in forest during May and June at an elevation of 7,500 feet, and tha the took one nest with two eggs in the Sheopuri Forest on the 17th June. Hodgson also obtained a nest in the same forest oh the 16th May.
Hume writes :—“It lays in May and June, building a compact and delicate cup-shaped nest on a horizontal bough pretty high up on some oak, rhododendron, or other forest tree. I have never seen one on any kind of fir-tree.
“Sometimes the nest is merely placed on, and attached firmly to, the upper surface of the branch ; but, more commonly, the place where two smallish branches fork horizontally is chosen, and the nest is placed just at the fork. I got one nest at Kotegurh, however, wedged in between two upright shoots from a horizontal oak-branch. The nests are composed of fine twigs, fir-needles, grass¬roots, fine grass, slender dry stems of herbaceous plants, as the case may be, generally loosely, but occasionally compactly interlaced, intermingled and densely coated over the whole exterior with cobwebs and pieces of lichen, the latter so neatly put on that they appear to have grown where they are. Sometimes, especially at the base of the nest, a little moss is attached exteriorly, but, as a rule, there is nothing but lichen. The nest has no lining. The external diameter is about inches, and the usual height of the nest from 1.1/2 to 2 inches ; but this varies a good deal, according to situation, and the bottom of the nest, which in some may be at most 1/4 inch thick, in another is a full inch. The egg-cavity has a diameter of about 2 inches and a depth from 1 to 1.25 inch.
“Five seems to be the maximum number of eggs laid, but I have now twice met with three, more or less incubated, eggs.”
The nest is quite typical of the genus, but it is rather deeper than most externally in proportion to its size. It is often built at great heights, and both Dodsworth and Jones have taken nests from trees at heights over 30 feet from the ground. Rattray, on the other hand, found several between 15 and 25 feet up.
The breeding season is principally April, May and June, but Osmaston took one nest near Mussoorie at 7,000 feet elevation on the 23rd March.
Although Hume speaks of five eggs being laid, I have never seen or heard of anyone else taking more than four, while three are quite frequently incubated.
The eggs have a white ground, never quite pure and sometimes definitely tinted with pink or green, more often the latter than the former. The whole surface is spotted and blotched with marks varying from light brown to blackish-brown, with secondary marks of pale lavender and inky grey. In a few eggs the marks are specks only, in others biggish blotches, but extremes are rare ; in a few eggs, also, the marks are scanty on the smaller half of the egg. As a whole they are richly marked, handsome eggs. The normal shape is a broad blunt oval ; the texture is smooth and fine but very rarely glossy.
Fifty eggs average 19.8 x 15.1 mm. : maxima 21.0 x 15.0 and 20.2 x 15.9 mm. ; minima 18.6 x 15.1 and 19.6 x 13.0 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
738. Pericrocotus brevirostris brevirosttis
Spp Author: 
Vigors
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
738
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
289
Common name: 
Indian Short Billed Minivet
M_ID: 
18705
M_SN: 
Pericrocotus brevirostris brevirostris
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13880

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