439. Brachypodius atriceps

(439) Brachypodius atriceps major Rob. & Kloss.
Microtarsus melanocephalus melanocephala, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 423.
Microtarsus atriceps major, ibid. vol. viii, p. 617.
This fine little Bulbul is found from Assam, South of the Brahma¬pootra and the Eastern Bengal hill-tracts, through practically the whole of Burma South to the Isthmus of Kra.
This Bulbul seems to be a bird entirely of forest during the nesting season, breeding from the plains and foot-hills up to some 2,000 or, perhaps, 2,500 feet. In Assam its favourite haunts were the very highest of tree-forests where the giant trees grew fairly wide apart and where, for the most part, the undergrowth was not very thick. Through these forests, however, ravines run in which the trees were less numerous and the undergrowth very dense, whilst there was nearly always water down the centre of the ravines, becoming little torrents during the Rains. Here in the foot-hills of Sylhet and Cachar H. A. Hole first discovered the bird breeding. Since then a few more nests have been taken, all in similar forests. The nests are always placed in bushes and nearly always quite low down.
The nests themselves are rather bulky, for the size of the bird, and are well built and compact. The chief materials are the very tough but fine stems of a wild bean, with which are mixed, in varying numbers, fine elastic twigs, dead leaves and grass. The leaves preponderate in the base and lower part of the nest and are kept in position by the stems of the bean. The lining is of skeleton leaves over which is placed fine grass-stems. The nest is, I think, always placed in upright forks of branches and not in horizontal ones, and part of the material of which it is made is wound round the twigs and keeps it very firmly in position.
All our Assam nests were taken in April and May, whilst Macdonald and Mackenzie, in Amherst and Pakokku, obtained their nests with eggs in April.
The eggs number two. I have heard of, but not seen, one set of three, but have, on the other hand, known single eggs to be incubated. They are more like what I term true Pycnonotus eggs than those of any other genus, but they have a very definite character of their own. Looking at a drawer containing nothing but Brachypodius eggs, the impression one gets is that of rather pale pinky or violet- purple series, pretty and distinctive eggs but nothing bold or rich in the markings.
One type is exactly like that of Pycnonotus, the whole surface covered with purple-brown specks, more brown than purple, whilst the almost invisible grey specks underneath are strong enough to give the characteristic violet tinge.
The second type looks a unicoloured purple-pink with a darker tinge at the larger end, but a powerful glass shows that the whole surface is covered with practically confluent specks.
Another single egg looks as if unicoloured pink-brown. Yet another type has the ground pale violet-pink, with irregular small primary blotches of reddish-brown and similar secondary marks of lavender, both kinds sparse but the secondary predominating.
A variation of this last type has the ground more pink and the markings pale pinky brown.
Finally, a clutch taken by that very good collector K. Mac¬donald is exactly like that of Molpastes, but very small.
Seventeen eggs average 21.1 x 15.9 mm. : maxima 23.2 x 16.1 and 22.4 x 17.0 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 15.4 and 20.8 x 15.2 mm. I have no doubt a larger series would give a much smaller average, as I have two pairs which are probably abnormally large, though in other respects very typical.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
439. Brachypodius atriceps
Spp Author: 
Rob. & kloss.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Norrn Black Headed Bulbul
Black-headed Bulbul
Pycnonotus atriceps
Vol. 1

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