550. Lanthia cyanura pallidiora

(550) Ianthia cyanura pallidiora Stuart Baker.
Ianthia cyanura pallidiora, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 101.
This Bush-Robin, which is comparatively common in many parts of Kashmir, extends on the West to the Afghan and Baluchistan frontiers and on the East to the Simla States and Garhwal Hills, breeding throughout its range between about 8,000 and 14,000 feet. In Kashmir it sometimes breeds at lower elevations, for Hume says : “Further West in Kashmir they breed as low as 6,000 ft. and I have eggs taken there in the latter half of May and the first half of June.” Stoliczka did not think it occurred West of Nachar, “and not below 8,000 ft. It breeds near Chini and, even here, almost only at the limit of trees, at about 12,000 feet. It is often seen about Korzog in Rupshu at an elevation of between 15,000 and 16,000 feet.” About Sonamurg Davidson and Bell saw many nests built from 9.000 feet upwards. In Garhwal Whymper and Osmaston found no birds below 10,000 feet and some as high as 12,000. In the Kurram Valley Whitehead found a nest at 10,000 feet but, in the Simla Hills, Skinner took a nest on “the Chor” under 9,000 feet. From the above it would seem that they only breed exceptionally under 8,000 feet.
At the greater elevations the birds nest in thin forest of scattered Birch, Silver Fir and Rhododendron or on practically open grass and bush-covered slopes of hill-sides. They seem to prefer very steep slopes, for Davidson (Ibis, 1898, p. 25) says : “They were placed either among the roots of fallen trees or on slopes so steep that it was difficult to traverse them with a gun in one’s hands.” Sometimes, however, they breed in fairly dense forest, especially at the lower levels, as in the Simla States and near Murree.
The nest is placed in holes in banks, under fallen trees or in among their roots (a very favourite site, according to Whymper), hollows in the steeply sloping ground of woods or, very rarely, in holes and natural hollows in dead tree-stumps. They appear to be nearly always well concealed, either tucked away far inside the hole or adequately screened by protecting roots or herbage.
The nest is cup-shaped, rather roughly and loosely put together the principal material being grass, though this may be more or less mixed with moss, roots and dead leaves. Nests sent to Hume from Kashmir by Brooks are said to have been made of “moss and grass, lined with soft white grass.” Most of the nests found by Whymper had a good deal of wool in the lining, while those obtained by Osmaston had, in several instances, a lining of musk-deer hair.
The breeding season commences in May, some eggs being laid during the last ten days of that month. It continues all through June, whilst Whymper took fresh eggs as late as the 27th in the same month.
They lay three to five eggs, generally four. Skinner, however, found one nest containing seven eggs. These may have been laid by two birds or may have been two clutches from the same pair, the first having gone wrong. The early date, however, 24th May, would seem to infer that they are a genuine clutch of seven, the more so in that none of them showed any signs of staleness.
In colour they are a pure chalky white, rarely very faintly tinged with pink ; a few eggs are immaculate but, generally, they are faintly freckled at the larger end with pale pink, where the specks often form a zone, usually ill defined, occasionally well marked. One clutch taken by Whymper in Garhwal on the 3rd June is mottled with pale dull pink, in one egg the mottlings assuming the character of large blotches distributed over the whole egg. These eggs are also rather exceptionally long and pointed, most eggs being shaped broad ovals, sometimes blunt, sometimes rather pointed at the smaller end. The texture is fine and rather close, the shells being fairly stout for the size of the egg, whilst the surface varies from glossless to slightly glossy.
Sixty eggs average 17.8 x 13.5 mm. : maxima 19.0 x 14.2 and 18.0 x 14.5 mm. ; minima 16.1 x 13.3 and 17.4 x 13.0 mm.
The birds are not at all shy, but they are so quiet and unobtrusive in their habits during the breeding season that they do not attract attention. The males breed in immature plumage, not more than one out of every three males nesting having the fully adult coloration.

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: 
550. Lanthia cyanura pallidiora
Spp Author: 
Stuart baker.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Kashmir Red Flanked Bush Robin
Himalayan Bluetail
Tarsiger rufilatus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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