598. Terpsiphone paradisi.
The Indian Paradise Flycatcher.
Muscicapa paradisi, Linn. Syst. Nat. i, p. 324 (1766). Muscipeta paradisea, Jerd. Ill. Orn. pl. 7. Tchitrea paradisi (Linn.), Blyth, Cat. p. 203 ; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 133 ; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 445 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 196; Hume & Henders. Lah. to Yark. p. 184. Muscipeta paradisi (Linn.), Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 274; Hume, Cut. no. 288; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 273; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 158. Terpsiphone paradisi (Linn.), Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iv, p. 346; Legge, Birds Ceyl p. 404 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. ii, p. 22.
The Paradise Flycatcher, Jerd.; Shah Bulbul, Hosseini Bulbul, Sultana Bulbul, Taklah, Doodhraj, Hind.; Tonka pigli pitta, Tel.; Wal Konda-lati, Tam.
Coloration. The young of both sexes have the forehead, crown, nape, and crest metallic bluish black; sides of the head, chin, throat, and the neck all round ashy brown, the brown of the throat blending gradually with the pale ashy of the breast, and this again with the white of the remainder of the lower parts ; upper plumage, tail, wing-coverts, tertiaries, and the outer webs of the other quills chestnut.
This plumage is retained till the second autumn by the male, and permanently by the female, which undergoes no further change of any kind. The young male for some time previous to the second autumn becomes gradually blacker on the chin and throat, and sometimes becomes quite black on those parts, as well as on the sides of the head, as in the adult, but the breast remains ashy and is never pure white contrasting with the black throat.
After the autumn moult of the second year the male has the whole head and crest glossy black, the lower parts as before the moult, and the whole upper plumage rich chestnut; the median tail-feathers grow to a great length, and are retained till May or June, when they are cast.
After the autumn moult of the third year the chestnut plumage is again assumed, and also the long median tail-feathers, but the whole lower plumage from the throat downwards is pure white, the breast being sharply demarcated from the black throat. After this moult a gradual transition to the white upper plumage takes place, the wings and tail being the first parts to be affected, but the change to a complete white plumage is not affected till the moult of the fourth autumn.
After this moult the male bird is fully adult, and permanently retains the white plumage. The whole head, neck, and crest are glossy bluish black ; the whole body-plumage white, the feathers of the back, rump, scapulars, and wing-coverts with black shafts; tail white, with black shafts and narrow outer margins, except on the middle feathers, where the shaft is black only on the basal third of its length and at the tip : wings black, with broad white margins on both webs, the later secondaries and tertiaries being almost entirely white.
Bill, gape, and margin of eyelids cobalt-blue, the tip of the bill darker; iris dark brown; feet plumbeous blue; claws dusky (Scully).
Length from about 9 to 21 ; tail 4.5 to 16.5; wing 3.7; tarsus .65 : bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. The whole of India proper as far east as Nepal in the Himalayas and the Brahmaputra river in the plains. To the west this species extends into Afghanistan, and to the north into Turkestan. In Kashmir and other parts of the Himalayas it is found in summer up to 9000 feet or so. This Flycatcher occurs in Ceylon. It appears to be everywhere a permanent resident, except in the Himalayas, where it moves to lower levels in winter.
Habits, &c. Breeds from May to July, constructing a small cup-shaped nest of grass, fibres, or moss in the branch of a tree. The eggs, four or five in number, are pink marked with brownish red, and measure about .81 by .6.