(463) Elachura haplonota Stuart Baker.
THE PLAIN BROWN WEEN.
Elachura haplonota, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 450.
Only one specimen of this bird has so far been obtained, and that was trapped on its nest on a peak of the Barail Range above Hungrum at about 6,000 feet. Of this I wrote in 'The Ibis’ as follows:—
“On the 11th May, 1891, I was engaged in visiting numerous nests which had been previously marked down for me by some Naga boys. On being shown a nest built under a big log, which had fallen so as to rest on two rocks, and was thus slightly raised from the ground, I at once saw that it was new to me so, instead of taking the eggs, I sat down a short distance away for a chance of shooting the parent birds. I sat thus for half an hour, but no bird visited the nest, though two small brown birds kept scuttling backwards and forwards over the log, now hidden in the moss, now perched for a moment on one of the bunches of orchids that grew all over it. In their actions they closely resembled Pnoepyga pusilla, and as that bird is very common at Hungrum I thought they must be of that species.
“The Naga who was with me set some mithna-hair nooses on the nest before leaving it, and that same evening we found one of the birds caught in them. The nooses were again set in the hopes that the mate might be caught. On the morning of the 12th, on visiting the nest, we found that the bird had not returned and, though I waited about a long time in the hope of obtaining a shot at it, it did not appear, so we took the nest and eggs, of which there were only three. The nest was placed on a pile of dead leaves, broken twigs and branches, which filled up the hollow below the fallen tree, and was supported on either side by a broken branch. The greater part of the materials consisted of skeleton leaves, bound together with dark coarse fern-roots, a few bents and also one or two fine elastic twigs ; the outermost part of the nest was of dead leaves of all kinds, very loosely bound together, and con¬trasting with the inner part, which was very compactly lined with skeleton leaves alone. In shape the nest is a deep cup, with the back wall much prolonged, though not enough so to in any way form a roof or porch. The measurements of the nest are as follows :—Outside, not including the loose leaves and twigs, the broadest part is 3.3 inches, the length of the back wall 5.4, of the front wall 2.44 ; depth of interior from edge of front wall 1.4, diameter 2.0.
“The eggs, as I have already said, were three in number, they are very large in proportion to the size of the bird, measuring 17.0 x 13.2, 17.2 x 13.0 and 17.4 x 13.1 mm. One egg appears to be pure white unless very carefully examined, when a few excessively pale reddish marks may be discovered about the larger end. A second egg has these marks quite distinct, though still very minute. The third egg has the marks much larger and, in fact, almost blotches. The marks are the same pale reddish- brown as in the other eggs and form a distinct ring towards the larger extremity, some dozen freckles being scattered over the rest of the egg. The surface of the eggs is close, hard and rather glossy and the shell is decidedly stout. In shape the eggs are rather broad ovals, considerably depressed and pointed at the smaller end ; they were perfectly fresh when taken.”
The nest was found in deep forest of stunted Oak, with an under¬growth of bracken, Begonias and Jasmine and with a wealth of moss, ferns and orchids on every tree, fallen or standing. The ground was a steep hill-side, much broken with rocks and huge boulders, covered, like the trees, with rich vegetation, whilst the whole place was always damp but, owing to the elevation, never hot.
463. Elachura haplonota Stuart
(463) Elachura haplonota Stuart Baker.