721. Ploceus megarhynchus.
The Eastern Baya.
Ploceus atrigula, Hodgs. in Gray's Zool. Misc. p. 84 (1844, desc. null.) ; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. xiii, p. 491 (1890). Ploceus philippinus (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 115 (pt.). Ploceus baya, Blyth, Horsf. & M. Cat. ii, p. 515 (pt.); Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 343 (pt.); Hume, N. & E. p. 436 (pt.); id. & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 398; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 597; Hume, Cat. no. 694 bis; Oates, B. B. i, p. 358. Ploceus megarhynchus, Hume, S. F. iii, p. 406 (1875); id. Cat. no. 694 ter; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 119. Ploceus passerinus, Hodgs. MS., Reichenow, Zool. Jahrb. Jena, i, p. 156 (1886).
Coloration. The male in winter and the female at all seasons resemble the same sexes of P. baya at the same seasons. In summer the male has the forehead, crown, and nape bright yellow; the whole upper plumage fulvous streaked with blackish brown, the streaks becoming obsolete on the lower rump and upper tail-coverts ; wing-coverts, quills, and tail dark brown edged with fulvous ; sides of the head, chin, and throat dark blackish brown; the remaining lower plumage fulvous or tawny, becoming albescent on the abdomen ; the breast and flanks occasionally with narrow shaft-streaks.
The present species varies as much as does the last in the intensity of the fulvous tinge, and towards the southern portion of the bird's range the fulvous changes to a rich tawny.
The male in summer has the bill black, the inside of the mouth flesh-colour; eyelid grey; iris dark brown; legs flesh-colour; claws pinkish horn-colour. The male in winter and the female at all seasons have the bill yellowish horn-colour.
Length about 6; tail 2; wing 2.9; tarsus .8; bill from gape .75.
This species increases in size from south to north, and attains its greatest size in the Himalayan Terai. Here the tarsus frequently reaches to a length of .95, and the bill, from gape to tip, .85. To this larger bird Hume gave the name of megarhynchus. It is, however, impossible to separate this larger race from the form inhabiting Burma and the Malay peninsula, and consequently Hume's name will stand for the species, no previously-imposed name being available.
Distribution. Bengal and the base of the Himalayas from the 85th degree of longitude to Assam, and southwards through the whole of Burma to the southern end of the Malay peninsula, ex¬tending to Sumatra and Java. This species, in a somewhat larger form, is found along the base of the Himalayas as far west as the Dhoon, in company with P. baya.
Habits, &c. Breeds from April to September, constructing a nest very similar to that of P. baya. The nest is not unfrequently attached to the thatched eaves of native houses, or even to the ends of the loose leaves inside the verandahs. The eggs measure about .82 by .6.