894. Seicercus castaneoceps castaneoceps

(894) Seicercus castaneoceps castaneoceps (Gray).
Seicercus castaneoceps castaneoceps, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 492.
This very beautiful little Warbler is found throughout the Outer Himalayas from Nepal to Eastern Assam, Manipur, Chin and Kachin Hills into the North and South Shan States.
In the South Assam Hills it is found between 3,000 and 6,000 feet, but I have taken its nest as low down as 2,500. In Sikkim Stevens records it as breeding at 6,000 and 6,500 feet but he also observed it at 4,500 feet in Summer, though he did not find its nest at this elevation.
Hodgson describes a nest as follows :—“A beautiful structure of mosses, lichen, moss and fern-roots, and fine stems worked into the shape of a large egg, measuring 6 and 4 inches along the longer and shorter diameters ; it is placed on the ground in the midst of a clump of ferns or thick grass, with the longer diameter perpen¬dicular to the ground.”
Stevens (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xxix, p. 1026, 1924) says:—“ Semana-Mirik Ridge, 6,000'-6,500', May, June 1923. I found six nests in all containing eggs, in one instance a single egg of Chalcoccyx maculatus along with the three eggs, one of which was broken, slightly incubated, and forsaken On the 22nd May, and in two other cases single juvenile Cuckoos of this species, females, the only occupants.
“It builds in the dark recess of an overhanging bank, constructing the usual compact cup-shaped nest of moss, like its congeners, with the entrance more often than not facing the bank.”
Cup-shaped may be a slip for ball-shaped, otherwise the entrance could not face the bank.
Of the many nests I have seen of this bird all were oval balls, made of bright green moss very compactly and strongly wound together, with a dense lining of felted moss and tiny moss-roots. I have never seen “stems” employed in its construction as stated by Hodgson, nor have I seen any cup-shaped nests as described by Stevens, though there is no doubt as to the identification of his nests, for after he had written the paper in vol. xxix he found many more nests of this species.
All the nests taken by myself were on the ground ; some in hollows at the foot of trees and bushes on banks or steep and broken hill¬sides ; others in sides of ravines, both overhanging and sloping. The nests were generally well concealed and often quite hidden by overhanging moss and creepers.
One nest found by me was placed among the fallen debris at the foot of a clump of bamboos. Both birds were caught on the nest and the identity certain, but I have seen no other nest in such a position.
The breeding season is May and June, most eggs being laid in May.
The full clutch is four or five and the eggs are quite typical. It is curious that these little eggs are stouter and more glossy than the larger eggs of xanthoschistos.
Fifty eggs average 14.6 x 11.6 mm. : maxima 16.0 x 12.0 and 15.4 x 12.2 mm. ; minima 13.6 x 12.0 and 13.8 x 10.9 mm.
Both sexes assist in building the nest and Hodgson records that “both are said to assist in hatching and rearing the young,” a fact I have been able to confirm myself.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 2. 1933.
Title in Book: 
894. Seicercus castaneoceps castaneoceps
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Chestnut Headed Flycatcher Warbler
Seicercus castaniceps castaniceps
Vol. 2

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