1479. Rhopodytes tristis tristis

(1479) Rhopodytes tristis tristis (Lesson).
Rhopodytes tristis tristis. Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iv, p. 178.
This Green-billed Malkoha frequents the Outer Himalayas from Kuman and Garhwal to Eastern Bengal and Assam. It possibly occurs in Chota Nagpore and the Northern Circars (Jerdon), while East it extends through the Chin Hills to the Southern Shan States.
The Malkohas are birds of the forest, and frequent alike that which is deep evergreen, mixed Bamboo and scrub and thick secondary growth. Very occasionally they may be seen in jungle entirely of clump Bamboo except for a little hush undergrowth. They breed at all heights from the foot-hills up to some 2,500 feet and, above that, less commonly up to 5,000 feet in Assam and Burma and up to 7,000 feet in the Western Himalayas.
Most nests are built on bushes, saplings or brambles in fairly dense evergreen forest, sometimes in thick or thin secondary growth and occasionally in Bamboo-clumps in Bamboo-jungle, When on bushes they may be anything from 4 to 20 feet from the ground but are usually under 10 feet from it. When in Bamboo-clumps they may be placed either resting on a tangle of twigs or right inside the clump, resting on the mass of debris collected therein. The nests I have personally taken from Bamboos have all been 4 or 5 feet from the ground, but one taken for Gammie at Mongpoo, at 3,000 feet elevation, was placed on Bamboo branchlets 8 feet from the ground.
Cripps took three nests in Sylhet, where the bird is common, 4,12 and 15 feet from the ground, all placed in small trees. Cripps and Gammie both describe the nests as exactly like the great number I have myself taken or seen in situ. When first found they strike one as glorified Doves’ nests with a lining of green leaves. In shape they are shallow saucers or mere platforms, sometimes built wholly of small twigs, none as thick as a pencil, sometimes of twigs mixed more or less with coarse roots and grass-blades. The twigs are interwoven to some extent and the nests will stand careful removal but not rough handling. They measure anything from 6 to 10 inches in diameter, sometimes being more oval than round, while in depth they vary from about 2 to 4 inches. The depression is never very deep ; in the platform nests it is often barely an inch and, even in the saucer nests, does not exceed 2 inches in depth by 4 or 5 in width.
The nests are not well concealed as a rule and are sometimes quite conspicuous.
The breeding season is a long one and I think some birds have two broods, though I have no actual proof of this. I have seen fresh eggs from the beginning of April to the end of August, May and June being the two months in which most eggs are laid.
The full clutch numbers two, three or four, one number just as often as another.
In texture they are the usual chalky white and in shape vary from short elliptical to rather long ovals.
Fifty eggs average 33.8 x 25.8 mm. ; maxima 36.1 x 26.9 and 34.1 x 27.9 mm. ; minima 27.8 x 20.7 mm.
The birds sit fairly close, but always leave with a tremendous fluster when they do go. If the nest is well hidden the sitting bird will sometimes wait until the passer-by is within arm’s reach of the nest.
I cannot say if both birds work at the nest ; I think so but, as the male and female are not distinguishable in the field and I have never seen both birds at the nest together, I cannot be certain. They are lazy workers and their nests, poor as they are, take any¬thing from five to ten days to complete.
Both birds incubate and we have snared both sexes on their eggs.

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: 
1479. Rhopodytes tristis tristis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Himalayan Large Green Billed Malkoha
Phaenicophaeus tristis tristis
Vol. 3

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