401. Molpastes cafer nigripileus

(401) Molpastes cafer nigripileus (Blyth).
Molpastes hoemorrhous nigripileus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 386.
Molpastes cafer nigripileus, ibid. vol. viii, p. 613.
This is an Eastern Burmese race, apparently occurring throughout Karenni down to the South of Tenasserim ; in Burma the Sittoung on the West and the Salwin on the East form its boundaries. Its Northern limits are somewhere not far North of Kalaw, though at this particular place all Cook’s and Macdonald’s birds are typical nigripileus. Southwards I think all the peninsular Siam birds should be united with this race.
When the second edition of Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ was written the only record of its nidification was that of Darling, who took a nest with three eggs on the 16th March, built in a little bush about a foot from the ground.
Since then Cook and Macdonald round Kalaw and Hopwood and Mackenzie in Tenasserim have taken numerous nests and eggs.
Davison says that it is a bird of the more open and cultivated parts of Tenasserim. “Not an uncommon bird, frequenting gardens, clearings etc., but avoiding the forest as a rule. It is rather a shy bird and is found less often in close proximity to houses. Thus in Moulmein, though common in large park-like grounds, it appeared to be quite wanting from the small gardens in the heart of the town, where emeria was a common bird.”
About Kalaw, also, it seems to be a sort of half-way bird haunting larger gardens and village surroundings but keeping at a distance from the houses and not entering the villages for nesting purposes. Sometimes, too, they nest in the more open jungle, such as partly grazed scrub, bamboo and grass, light forest and small copses and spinnies of both bush and trees. At the same time I have no record of its actually breeding in forest at all dense or extensive.
It breeds throughout the plains and up to some 4,000 feet. Hopwood found it breeding freely on the sea-coast at Maungmagan, in Tavoy, whilst all Cook’s nests at Kalaw were taken between 3,000 and 4,000 feet.
The breeding season is April, May and June, eggs being laid equally often in each of these three months.
The nests seem to be generally placed in low bushes, Cook and Hopwood taking all theirs in low “raspberry bushes” and similar places. The only nest take at any height from the ground is one noted by Mackenzie as built “in an orange tree, 15' from the ground.”
The nests are quite typical Molpastes nests but Hopwood remarks :— “I notice that the nests are always lined with skeleton leaves,” a quite unusual feature in Bulbuls’ nests and, apparently, not present in those nests of the same bird taken by Cook.
The eggs number two or three and are quite typical of the genus in colour, shape and texture, but the prevailing type seems to be that with a lilac-pink ground and very large, rather sparse blotches of purple-red with numerous secondary ones of inky grey.
Thirty eggs average 22.8 x 16.6 mm. : maxima 25.0 x 16.5 and 24.0 x 17.8 mm., minima 20.2 x 16.2 and 22.0 x 15.3 mm.

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: 
401. Molpastes cafer nigripileus
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Tenasserim Red Vented Bulbul
Sooty-headed Bulbul
Pycnonotus aurigaster
Vol. 1

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