733. Perieroeotus flammeus speciosus

(733) Pericrocotus flammeus speciosus (Lath.).
THE INDIAN SCARLET MINIVET.
Pericrocotus speciosus speciosus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 319.
Pericrocotus flammeus speciosus, ibid. vol. viii, p. 636.
This very beautiful Minivet ranges along the Outer Himalayas from the Sutlej Valley to the hills of Eastern Assam, North of the Brahmapootra, and also the Khasia Hills now South of that river, but undoubtedly at one time North of it, that river having divided the Khasia Hills from the North Cachar Hills.
It breeds at all heights from 3,000 feet upwards, certainly to 6,000 and, probably, to 7,000 feet, in dense forest, preferring that which is evergreen, wet and with plenty of undergrowth. Rattray obtained its nest in Murree at about 5,000 feet, while Whymper took several nests round about Naini Tal at about the same elevations.
In the Khasia Hills I obtained one nest at 5,000 feet, and from Darjiling Masson sent Coltart another taken at about 7,000 feet, this being the highest elevation at which I have its breeding recorded.
The accounts of its nidification in Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ are either quite wrong or at least doubtful. Hutton’s nest and eggs were undoubtedly those of a Shrike. Hodgson’s description is good except for the expression “deep cup,” as the nests of this, as of other Minivets, seem to be always very shallow. He says that “the nest is a beautiful deep cup, externally 3.25 inches in diameter, and rather more than 2 inches high, composed of moss and moss-roots, lined internally with the latter and entirely coated externally with lichen and a few stray pieces of green moss firmly secured in their places by spiders’ webs. The nest is placed in some slender branch between three or four upright sprays.
A nest taken in the Khasia Hills is a shallow cup or saucer with upright walls, measuring over 4 inches across and barely an inch in depth inside. It is made of the finest twigs and coarse grass-stems beautifully interwoven and very lightly and strongly put together, with many cobwebs to further strengthen it. Outside it is covered all over with white scraps of lichen, tiny bits of bark and a few small bits of green moss. It was placed on the upper surface of a branch of a Rhododendron-tree growing in the densest and most humid of forests, the tree itself covered with the same lichen and moss as that decorating the outside of the nest.
* As the name Campephaga, which applies to an African genus of Wood-Shrikes, is the oldest name, it must, therefore, form the basis of the family name rather than Pericrocotus.
Whymper found all his nests built at the end of long slender branches of “Simul” trees at a considerable height from the ground, and the eggs were most difficult to get, having to be pushed out with a long stick into a net. The nests were in forks of the branches, not on the upper surface and, except that they were very shallow, agreed well with Hodgson’s description.
The breeding season, so far as we know, is April (Hodgson only), May and June. Rattray took one nest on the 8th May, while Whymper took another as late as the 23rd July.
A full clutch consists of two or three eggs, the one number as often as the other.
The eggs are of two distinct types. The clutch taken by Rattray and those taken near Darjiling and in the Khasia Hills are like the eggs of P. brevirostris except in size. The ground is a greenish-white, and they are marked profusely all over with rather longi¬tudinal blotches of grey-brown or reddish-brown, denser still at the larger end ; under these primary markings are others, smaller, but equally numerous, of lavender-grey.
In the second type the ground is a pale but clear sea-green ; in two clutches the surface is lightly flecked with pale reddish blotches, quite faint and inconspicuous and, in the third, with darker specks of bright red-brown, fairly numerous at the larger end but scanty elsewhere. The shape is a long oval, often much compressed and pointed at the smaller end ; the surface is fine and close and, in some cases, distinctly glossed.
Thirteen eggs average 22.4 x 16.8 mm. ; maxima 24.4 x 18.2 mm. ; minima 19.8 x 16.0 mm.
The cock bird incubates as well as the female and looks extra¬ordinarily conspicuous when doing so if the light shines at all upon him.

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: 
733. Perieroeotus flammeus speciosus
Spp Author: 
Lath.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
733
Year: 
1933
Page No: 
285
Common name: 
Indian Scarlet Minivet
M_ID: 
18711
M_CN: 
Scarlet Minivet
M_SN: 
Pericrocotus speciosus
Volume: 
Vol. 2
id: 
13876

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