(86) Remiz coronatus.
THE PENDULINE TIT.
AEgithalus coronatus Severtz., Izv. Obsck. Moskov, viii, p. 136 (1873) (Chodynt, Syr Daria).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Crown white, varying considerably in extent and the hinder part much marked with black; forehead, lores, sides of crown, cheeks and ear-coverts black, running round the nape as a broad band; chin, throat and neck white, forming a collar below the black band; back dark rufous, paling to dull fulvous on the lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts; tail blackish brown,, most of the outer webs and edges of inner webs white; lesser and median wing-coverts like the back but duller; greater coverts, blackish suffused with deep chestnut and with broad tips of pale rufous-cream; quills blackish brown edged with white. Below white, suffused with vinous or rufous on breast and flanks; under tail-coverts white.
Measurements. Length about 105 mm.; wing 52 to 55 mm.; tail about 42 to 45 mm.; culmen 5 to 6 mm.; tarsus about 12 mm. Distribution. Transcaspia, West Turkestan, to East Persia, Baluchistan and extreme N.W. India. It has been recorded from Sukkur in Sind (T. P. Bell), Lachi and Kohat (Whitehead & Magrath) and Jhelum (H, Whistler).
Nidification. This little Tit makes a wonderful retort-shaped nest of vegetable wool and down lined with the softest seed-down and with an entrance near the top. It is fastened to the end of a branch of a tree.
The eggs, four or five in number, are white faintly marked with reddish specks. Four eggs in my collection measure about 14.3 x 11.0 mm. The birds are said to breed during May and June.
Habits. Apparently very similar to those of the Long-tailed Tit. In Sukkur, Beli found them in small parties in well-watered,, dense tamarisk-acacia jungles but in Kohat they were noticed in flocks numbering as many as forty. Here they were seen frequenting Shi sham-trees and also orchards and camel-thorn scrub. The call-note is said to resemble that of the White-eye (Zosterops) and to be constantly uttered as they hunt about for insects, their principal food, though they will also eat seeds and fruit, as do most other Tits.
Genus MELANOCHLORA Lesson, 1839.
This genus was placed by Oates amongst his Liotrichinae, with which, however, it appears to have nothing in common. It is undoubtedly, a very aberrant form of Titmouse and might possibly be well placed in a Family or Sub-family by itself. The wing is long and pointed and the nostrils are slightly exposed, both features unlike any other of the Parities. On the other hand bill, feet, habits and nidification all point strongly to its affinity with these birds.
There is only one species extending from Nepal to the Malay Peninsula.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Yellow very brilliant and strong; rather
larger M. s. sultanea, p. 101.
B. Yellow paler and less bright; rather
smaller M. s. flavocristata, p. 102.