1334. Serilophus rubropygius

(1334) Serilophus rubropygius.

Hodgson's Broadbill.

Raya rubropygia Hodgs., J. A. S. B., viii, p. 36 (1839) (Nepal). Serilophus rubripygius. Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 9.

Vernacular names. Rai-suya (Nepal); Rab-kyul (Lepcha); Dao-hungari (Cachari).

Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having the upper parts dark ashy-grey, the head and nape with no tinge of rufous, the back but very little; the chestnut is much deeper ; primaries black tipped with white; inner primaries and secondaries tipped blue and subtipped white on the outer web and tipped with chestnut on the inner web; the innermost secondaries all of this colour; below pure ashy-grey and the same on the lores and sides of the head; axillaries and under wing-coverts grey and thighs black.

Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel to deep crimson, powdered with gold; base of upper and lower mandible orange-yellow, remainder smalt-blue; legs and feet dull pale green to plumbeous-green.

Measurements. About the same as in S. lunatus; wing 83 to 87 mm.; tail 63 to 70 mm.

Female. Like the male but with a demi-gorget of white-tipped feathers on either side of the neck.

Distribution. Nepal, Sikkim to East Assam ; Cachar, Sylhet,. Hill Tippera, Chittagong Hill Tracts, Lushai Hills and Manipur.

Nidification. Gammie first took the nest of this bird in May in Sikkim. Prom 1887 onwards I must have seen hundreds in various parts of Assam, whilst Coltart, Primrose and others have also taken them. They breed from the end of April to the middle of July but I do not think they ever have two broods. The nest is the usual hanging structure, shaped like a pear with a long neck and with a tail of rubbish hanging below it. It is neater and more compactly built than most nests of Broadbills but even so is often of considerable bulk and weight. Some are as much as 2 feet 6 inches from top to bottom and over a foot in diameter, but the majority are about 15 inches by about 8 inches whilst a few are even smaller. The outside is rough and badly finished off but the inside is very compact and solid, nearly always with a lining of green leaves. Most nests are built over water, though in many cases this is but a trickle along a tiny ravine or a pool one can step across. The eggs number four to seven. A few are pure spotless white and a few are a warm pink spotted sparsely with claret, but the majority are not distinguishable from those of Gould's Broad bill though on an average the pink tinge is more noticeable and the spots are larger and bolder. Eighty eggs average 23.6 x 17.3 mm.; maxima 25.0 x 17.0 and 23.3 x18.1 mm. ; minima 22.3 x 16.2 mm.

Habits. This Broadbill is resident from the plains next the hills up to about 5.000 feet but is most common between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. It frequents forest of every kind ; dense or thin, evergreen or mixed. It is also found in bamboo-jungle, scrub and light tree-jungle but it seems to prefer mixed bamboo and tree forest, especially such as grow on the banks of rivers. It is a very crepuscular bird, feeding principally in the early mornings and evenings and at such times is fairly alert and wide-awake though during the day it is extraordinarily stupid and lethargic. I have never been able, even had I wished, to shoot every member of a nock but I have more than once shot a pair before the others took to flight. When feeding they move about fairly freely on the branches of trees and will also capture insects on the wing, though their flight is rather heavy and awkward except for sudden short efforts. They feed on any kind of insect food and much on larvae and grubs which they extract from the bark of trees. Their notes consist of a soft, rather musical whistle and a low chir-r-r, uttered both when sitting and flying.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.3 1926.
Title in Book: 
1334. Serilophus rubropygius
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Hodgsons Broadbill
Serilophus lunatus rubropygius
Vol. 3
Term name: 

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