(1313) Prionochilus ignicapillus,
THE CRIMSON-BREASTED Flower-pecker.
Dicaeum ignicapilla Eyton, P. Z. S., 1839, p. 305 (Malaya). Prionochilus ignicapillus. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 384.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. - Male. Whole upper plumage, sides of head and neck, exposed parts of wing-coverts and innermost secondaries dull blue; a patch of crimson on the centre of the crown; tail dark brown, suffused with blue on the central feathers and the edges of the lateral feathers; wing-feathers dark brown, the primaries and outer secondaries edged with pale green ; a narrow-black moustachial streak black with a white streak above it; point of chin white or very- pale yellow ; whole lower plumage bright dark yellow, a bold patch of crimson on the breast; the flanks washed with greenish; the vent and under tail-coverts paler and more greenish; axillaries and under wing coverts white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown to dark brown; upper mandible black, the lower paler and plumbeous ; legs and feet dark plumbeous.
Measurements. Total length about 100 mm.; wing 52 to 57 mm.: tail 25 to 27 mm.; tarsus 13 to 14 mm.; culmen about 9 mm.
Female. An orange patch on the crown, with this exception whole upper parts green; the concealed parts of wings and tail brown; moustachial streaks as in the male ; lower parts dull ashy-green, albescent on the throat, yellow on the centre of the lower breast and abdomen.
Young birds are like the adult female but have no coronal patch.
Distribution. South Tenasserim, through the Malay Peninsula, to Sumatra and Borneo; South-West Siam.
Nidification. The only nest I have seen of this bird was one taken by Major J. C. Moult on at Kuching, Borneo, on the 23rd of April The nest measures almost 4 inches deep by 2| inches broad and may be described as half-way in appearance between that of Leptocoma and Piprisoma. It is not a felt-like substance like that of the latter nor an untidy bulky structure like that of the former. It is made of a sort of reddish vegetable down and lined with a well-matted mass of the same material. Outside it is decorated with all sorts of oddments but these are much more tidily attached than in any nest of Leptocoma. The single white-egg it contained measured 13.1 x 10.0 mm.
Habits. Davison found this little Flower-pecker haunting lofty trees in pairs feeding on both insects and berries, but preferably the latter. The note is said to be one similar to the sharp note of the Dicaeums and its actions and night are also similar to those of the birds of that genus.