690. Tchitrea paradisi leucogaster

(690) Tchitrea paradisi leucogaster (Swainson).
Terpsiphone paradisi leucogaster, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. ii, p. 268.
Tchitrea paradisi leucogaster, ibid. vol. viii, p. 632.
The Himalayan Flycatcher extends throughout the Himalayas from Afghanistan and Baluchistan to Assam North of the Brahma¬pootra, breeding from about 3,000 feet upwards. Whymper obtained many nests round about Naini Tal, between 4,500 and 5,500 feet. Dodsworth and Jones found it abundant in the Simla States up to 6,000 feet, and the former found one nest at 7,000 feet in the Kote State. In Murree it certainly nests up to 7,000 feet but is most common at 5,000 feet, at which latter height Col. C. H. T. Mar¬shall took ten nests in May, June and July. Rattray, however, took them at far higher elevations, and one nest taken by him in Nangtba, at 8,000 feet, represents the highest of which I have any record. It is common over the greater part of Kashmir up to about 6,000 feet, where it breeds in open country, orchards and gardens. The kind of site the Flycatcher selects is well shown by Bates in his accounts of its nesting (‘ Bird-Life in India,' p. 118), in which he writes :— “At the bottom the gorge suddenly turns and, opening out, discloses a good-sized village surrounded by shady orchards, chenars and mulberry-trees. I was seated at the foot of one of the latter, when my eye was attracted by the antics of a female Paradise Flycatcher in a neighbouring fruit-tree. She was fussing round a nest on which the male was seated, his filmy snow-white tail curving down in a most slender curve below the nest. Both sexes take part in incubating the eggs, and this is unfortunate from the point of view of concealment, as the glistening white plumage of the male makes him such a very conspicuous object.”
As an example of this bird’s fearlessness, Bates relates how he cut down the branch on which the nest was, photographed it and then fastened it up again, and the hen returned within a few minutes and took up her seat upon it.
The positions chosen by the birds are much the same as those of the other races but they build them, on the whole, higher up.
Bates’s nest was built 20 feet up in a Mulberry ; some of those found by Whymper in his own garden at Naini Tal were between 15 and 25 feet from the ground. Again, writing of the nests, the latter says:—“They are generally perched high up on some tree that overhangs the side of a ravine, and are, consequently, somewhat difficult of access.”
The breeding season is during May, June and July, though few birds breed after the middle of the last month. My earliest date for eggs is the 22nd April (Kuman, Jesse).
The nest requires no description beyond that given for the preceding birds of the same species.
The number of eggs laid is three or four, generally the former, and in appearance they only differ from those of the two preceding races in being, as a series, paler in colour. Almost white eggs are common, while those of a deeper salmon-pink are rarer.
Fifty eggs average 20.1 x 14.9 mm. : maxima 21.0 x 14.4 and 20.4 x 15.2 mm. ; minima 18.0 x 14.0 mm.

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: 
690. Tchitrea paradisi leucogaster
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Himalayan Paradise Flycatcher
Terpsiphone paradisi leucogaster
Vol. 2

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