(734) Pericrocotus speciosus fraterculus.
The Burmese Scarlet Minivet.
Pericrocotus fraterculus Swinhoe, Ibis, 1870, p. 244 (Hainan) ; Blanf. & Oates, i; p. 481.
Vernacular names. Hnet-mintha (Burmese); Daoribi gadeba (Cachari); Ingorui (Kacha Naga) ; Vohshener (Mikir).
Description. This race only differs, constantly, in being smaller than speciosus and in the lower plumage being a somewhat deeper red in the males and a rather richer yellow in the females. In most individuals there is more red on the central tail-feathers, the whole outer web being often of this colour.
Colours of soft parts as in the preceding bird.
Measurements. Wing 90 to 96 mm. (one, 97); tail 78 to 81 mm.; tarsus about 18 mm.; culmen 13 to 14 mm.
Distribution. Assam South of the Brahmaputra except the Khasia Hills, all Burma except in the South of Tenasserim; Siam, Annam and the Indo-Chinese countries to West China and Hainan.
Nidification. In Assam this Mini vet breeds between 1,000 and 6,000 feet in fairly thick or dense forest. The nest is exactly like that of the preceding race nor are the few eggs I have seen in any way different. A pair taken by myself are very pale sea-green with tiny specks and streaks of light reddish, hardly visible at a short distance; two other pairs, one taken by Dr. H. N. Coltart at Margherita and one brought to me by Nagas with the bird, are also very pale with a few brownish spots, but have a buff instead of greenish ground. They measure 23.0 x 14.3 mm. to 23.0 X 15.8 mm. The breeding-season is May and June.
Habits. The Burmese Minivet is found from the level of the Plains up to at least 6,000 feet. In the breeding-season, when it is only found in pairs, it keeps almost entirely to forest, but in the cold weather, when it collects in flocks of twenty or more individuals, it is often found in the open country as long as there are lots of trees. It keeps entirely to trees of some height, seldom coming much below 20 feet and there are few prettier sights than a flock of these little red and yellow flashes of light as they flit, in follow-my-leader fashion, from one point of vantage to another. They are restless active birds, never still for many minutes, hunting actively among the branches for insects or actually seizing them in the air as Flycatchers do. They have a shrill but pleasant little call which they utter as they fly, but they have no song worthy of the name.