325. Sitta frontalis.
The Velvet-fronted Blue Nuthatch.
Sitta frontalis, Horsf. Trans. Linn. Soc. xiii, p. 162 (1821); Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 358: Oates, B. B. i, p. 134; id. in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 196. Sitta corallina, Hodgs. J. A. S. B. v, p. 779 (1836). Dendrophila frontalis (Horsf.), Blyth, Cat. p. 190; H. & M. Cat. ii, p. 722 ; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 388; Hume, N. & E. p. 161; id. S. F. vii, p. 459; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 560; Hume, Cat. no. 253; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 140. Dendrophila corallina (Hodgs.), Hume, S. F. iii, p. 89; Sharpe, t. c. p. 436; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 633.
Coloration. The male has a broad band on the forehead and a long supercilium black; the whole upper plumage and wing-coverts blue; wing blackish brown, edged on the outer webs with blue, except the first two primaries, the tertiaries almost entirely blue; middle tail-feathers blue, the others blackish, edged and tipped with blue; ear-coverts lilac; chin and throat whitish; lower plumage greyish lilac.
The female resembles the male, but has no black supercilium.
Iris yellow ; eyelids plumbeous ; bill coral-red ; mouth red; feet pinkish brown; claws pale horn; the young have the bill black, pinkish at the gape and nostrils; iris dark brown.
Length 5 ; tail 1.7 ; wing 2.9 ; tarsus .7 ; bill from gape .7.
Distribution. Throughout the greater portion of India and Ceylon. The limit to the west appears to be approximately a line drawn from Bombay to Kumaun through Gwalior. This species inhabits the Himalayas from Kumaun to Dibrugarh, being found up to 5000 feet or higher. From Assam it ranges to the extreme south of Tenasserim, extending to the east at least as far as Karennee, where Wardlaw Ramsay obtained it.
It is found in the Malay peninsula and down to Java.
Habits, &c. Frequents well-wooded localities and forests alike in the hills and plains. Breeds from February to May and even to June, according to locality, constructing a small pad of a nest, composed of feathers, moss, and hair, in a tiny hole in a tree. The eggs are generally four in number, white, spotted with red, chiefly towards the large end, and measure about .7 by .56. This bird, contrary to the usual Habits of Nuthatches, does not employ any mud to line the entrance to its nest.