(1334) Serilophus rubropygius (Hodgs.).
THE NEPAL COLLARED BROADBILL.
Serilophus rubropygius, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 470.
This species extends from Nepal and Sikkim to Eastern and Southern Assam. It also occurs in the hill-tracts of Tippera and Chittagong and the Looshai Hills and Manipur.
I have taken and seen so great a number of the nests of this bird that my own notes cover all that can be said, and the nest taken by Gammie in Sikkim at about 3,000 feet differed in no way from these.
The birds are resident and breed in the plains adjacent to the foot-hills and in the hills themselves up to about 5,000 feet, but are most common between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. I have never been able to detect any special liking of these Broadbills for any special kind of forest or jungle, I have seen their nests in tall evergreen forest on the edge of streams over which the great trees met and shut out the light. I have taken others from thin forest with scanty undergrowth where the sun glinted through on foliage and nest. Some nests have been attached to the pendent ends of giant bamboos either in scrub and mixed jungle or in jungle consisting of bamboos only. Others have been attached to branches of bushes in scattered scrub-jungle, while yet others have been in canebrakes or on palm trees and fern-palms. One thing, however, the birds do life—that is, the vicinity of water—and two nests out of every three will be found hanging from branches of trees, bushes or bamboos over water, running or stagnant. Even when not actually over water nests are often built in ravines and nullahs which are moist at the bottom and in which water soon runs after any shower.
The nests are exactly like those of the preceding bird and vary just as they do in size and in the materials used, both for the body of the nest and for decorative purposes. They are equally untidy outside and have tails consisting of all kinds of oddments, sometimes hanging a couple of feet below the nest ; at the same time I should call the nest itself very compactly and strongly built. It is always fastened to a pendent support of some kind, to which it is very firmly attached, much material being passed round and round it, so that it requires a very powerful pull before it can be tom away.
This is one of the nests of which every one remarks it is so con¬spicuous that it is difficult to see bow it can escape destruction, but the fact that it is always attached to very thin pendent supports defeats the attentions of monkeys and large lizards, which are among the worst thieves of eggs and young birds. I have myself seen a Rhesus monkey stretch over to the nest of a Long-tailed Broadbill until he had got nearly within grasp, and then come a purler into the stream below.
The breeding season is almost confined to May and June, a few birds also breeding in April and July. So far as I know they are not double brooded, though if a first clutch be taken they will at once make a second nest and lay again, generally close to where the first was robbed.
The normal clutch of eggs is four or five, but I have seen a. few sixes and one seven. They are just the same in appearance as those of the Pegu Collared Broadhill, but both pure white and claret-tinted eggs are proportionately more numerous.
One hundred eggs average 23.0 x 17.3 mm. : maxima 25.0 x 18.2 mm. ; minima 22.3 x 16.2 mm.
Both birds incubate, for we have often caught the male on the nest. Both sexes also assist to make the nest. They work only in the mornings and evenings for about three hours, roughly day¬break to about 9 A.M., and again about 3 p.M. to sunset, even then breaking off to feed every few minutes. At the same time, con¬sidering its bulk, the nest takes a very short time to construct. I have never seen the work begun and completed, but I have seen many nests half made and then had to leave, while, on the other hand, I have seen some completed which were half made when found. From these I think it is safe to say the nest takes from five to ten days to build, the decorations often being added after the eggs are laid.
1334. Serilophus rubropygius
(1334) Serilophus rubropygius (Hodgs.).