405. Molpastes leucogenys leucogenys

(405) Molpastes leucogenys leucogenys (Gray).
Molpastes leucogenys leucogenys, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 389.
The White-cheeked Bulbul occurs in the Himalayas between 3,500 and 7,000 feet from Afghanistan to Bhutan. I have also had specimens sent me for identification from the Abor-Mishmi Hills in North Lakhimpur.
It is a bird of villages, towns, gardens, parks and cultivated lands, but it will also nest in scrub-jungle, secondary growth in abandoned cultivation and in bushes and small trees in ravines which are quite well wooded, as well as on open, bush-covered hill-sides.
It almost invariably builds its nest in bushes or in low thickly foliaged small trees between two and ten feet from the ground, but far more often below five feet than above that height. Rarely it is placed in saplings or small trees at fifteen or twenty feet from the ground.
Concealment seems never to be sought for, even when the nests are placed in gardens or near well-frequented paths and roads. In Naini Tal, at about 5,000 feet, Whymper had them “breeding abundantly in the orange-trees in my garden.” The situation selected seems to be generally one in an upright fork of some branch, or in between vertical twigs, while the pendent or cradle type of nest appears to be exceptional with this species.
The breeding season is from April to July.
Unwin found it breeding in Agrore in April and May ; in Murree Marshall, Rattray and others took eggs during May and June. In Mussoorie Hutton, Ollenbach, Whymper and others took nests from early April to the end of June, whilst in Naini Tal Whymper and Marshall found eggs from the end of May to the end of June. The only record I have for July is a nest taken by Jones in the Keonthal State on the 3rd of that month. In Kashmir most birds breed in June.
It seems almost unnecessary to describe the nest beyond saying that it is quite typical of the genus. Hume, however, gives a general description of them, which I quote :—“ The nest is a loose, slender fabric externally composed of fine stems of some herbaceous plant and a few blades of grass, and internally lined with very fine hair¬like grass. The nests may measure, externally, at most, 4 inches in diameter ; but the egg-cavity, which is in proportion very large and deep, is fully 2.1/4 inches across by 1.3/4 inches deep. As I before said, the nest is usually very slightly and loosely put together, so that it is difficult to remove it without injury ; but sometimes they are more substantial, and occasionally the cup is much shallower and wider than I have above described.”
This description would do for many nests but others have more materials used. Brooks says they make use of fine grass, roots and fibres ; Whistler describes one of his nests as “a deep, well-made cup of fine yellow dry grasses, placed on a slight foundation of thicker grasses, bents and one or two dry leaves, here and there a little vegetable-down.”
The eggs are typical Molpastes eggs and are, on the whole, fairly well and richly marked, but speckled eggs number many more than those with large blotches. A rather exceptional type is one with a pale pink ground lightly freckled everywhere with tiny purple-red specks which practically coalesce at the larger end to form dense broad rings.
They give one the impression of being longer in shape than most Molpastes eggs, but measurements prove that this is not the case.
One hundred eggs average 21.6 x 16.1 mm. : maxima 25.0 x 17.0 and 24.Ox 18.0 mm. ; minima 19.0 x 15.2 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: 
405. Molpastes leucogenys leucogenys
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Cheeked Bulbul
Himalayan Bulbul
Pycnonotus leucogenys
Vol. 1

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