(744) Pericrocotus roseus roseus.
The Rosy Minivet.
Muscicapa rosea Vieill., Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat., xxi, p. 48G (1818) (Bengal). Pericrocotus roseus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 486.
Vernacular names. Daoribi (Cachari).
Description.— Adult male. Lores dusky brown above and feathers next the bill and round the eye whitish; crown, neck, back, scapulars and wing-coverts ashy-brown, the crown generally darkest; rump and upper tail-coverts scarlet; greater wing-coverts broadly edged with scarlet; quills brown, all but the first three or four with a broad scarlet patch at the base; inner secondaries also edged with scarlet; central tail-feathers dark brown, next pair red on the outer, black on the inner web, remaining feathers red with a black band at the base; ear-coverts and sides of head pale grey; chin and throat almost white; remainder of lower plumage bright pale rosy-red; axillaries and under wing-coverts deeper rose-red.
The amount of red in this species varies very greatly, possibly due to a great extent to age but partly individually. In very few birds is the rump wholly red ; in many only the upper tail-coverts and a few of the rump feathers are tipped with this colour, and in many more these parts are pale brown flushed with rosy-pink. The under surface varies from pale rosy to, in rare instances only, a deep rosy-red. The depth of the grey also varies considerably, but this seems to be entirely individual, and I can trace no geographical correlation with the variation, either in the red or grey colours, within the limits of this work.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to dark brown; bill, legs and feet black.
Measurements. Total length about 180 mm.; wing 83 to 92 mm.; tail 75 to 87 mm.; tarsus about 16 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Female. Above grey-brown, the back suffused with olive-green; rump and upper tail-coverts olive-yellow; wings and tail as in the male but yellow instead of red; chin and throat yellowish white, remaining lower parts pale yellow; axillaries and under wing-coverts brighter.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the male.
Nestling. Above greyish brown, the feathers narrowly edged with yellow and subtipped with bars of dark brown ; wing-feathers and inner secondaries all boldly edged with yellow and with crescentic black subterminal bars; below pale yellowish white, the breast and flanks faintly barred.
Young males are like the female but retain the pale tips and bars of the upper plumage until after the first moult.
The adult plumage of the male is acquired in the most irregular manner and, as is usual with Mini vets, old feathers seem to become to some extent pigmented with red prior to and during the moult.
Distribution. Malabar, Travancore and Southern hills of the Bombay Presidency, N.W. Provinces, Oudh, Bengal, the Himalayas from Afghanistan to Eastern Assam, Burma from the Chin and Kachin Hills to Tenasserim, Peninsular Siam, Yunnan, Shan States and S.W. China.
Nidification. The Rosy Minivet breeds throughout the Himalayas and Burmese Hills between 1,000 and 0,000 feet, in May and June, making the ordinary shallow cup-shaped nest covered with lichen. It is perhaps rather more bulky and substantial than most but is made of the same materials. It breeds in dense forest but usually on the outskirts or in more open places such as river-banks, open glades round water etc. The eggs number two to four. In colour they are white with the faintest cream or buff tinge, in one clutch with an olive tint; the markings consisting of small blotches of brown, fairly numerous at the larger end and sparse elsewhere. There are also a few secondary blotches of pale neutral grey. Twenty-two eggs average 19.5 x 14.0 mm.: maxima 21.0 x 14.8 and 18.7 x 15.2 mm.; minima 17.8 X 14.7 and 19.4 x 14.0 mm.
Habits. In Summer found only over 1,000 feet, in Winter the Rosy Minivet wanders some distance into the Plains and has been obtained in Bengal as far South as Maldah and Purnea, from both of which districts 1 have seen skins of birds obtained in December and January.