332. Staphida striata ruflgenis

(332) Staphida striata rufigenis (Hume).
Staphidia striata rufigenis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 311.
The White-browed, or Hume’s, Staphida is recorded from Sikkim to Eastern Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra, but it does not occur South of this river except in the extreme East, in Lakhimpur. Harington records taking one bird in the Bhamo Hills, but this must have been S. s. striata.
This little bird, like others of the genus, does not seem to mind what kind of jungle it frequents so long as the cover is ample and there is a convenient road-side with a bank for it to breed in. Coltart and I found it fairly common in bamboo-jungle, deserted cultivation, secondary growth, mixed bamboo and scrub and in both light and extremely dense tropical forest, but we never found it in the breeding season at any distance from a road or path with a convenient bank. How far up the mountains it ascends we do not know but Stevens records it up to 5,000 feet in the Tista Valley, Sikkim. He did not find it in the plains in North Lakhimpur but came across it in the Sabansiri Gorge, just above plains level, as well as in the Abor-Miri foot-hills. Around Mar¬gherita it was common in the foot-hills up to 2,000 feet and in the broken ground of the foot-hills and the plains immediately adjoining them. Wherever found it was resident and breeding.
The breeding habits seem to be just the same as those of the two preceding birds, and all the nests Coltart and I found were built in small holes in road-side and pathway cuttings, the only point at all noticeable being the fact that they very often selected holes quite close to the tops of high banks, sometimes six or seven feet above the road. The nests are made of the very finest and softest shreds of grass and some very fine fibrous material feeling almost like floss-silk. Sometimes this is of the same grey material as that used by the Chestnut-headed Staphida but, in other nests, we found an equally soft tan-coloured fibre used, evidently taken from the bark of some tree, though we never discovered what. The cavity round the nest was filled in with rather a more miscellaneous assortment than I have found made use of by S. castaneiceps. Small scraps of moss, both green and dry, were commonly used, as well as bits of leaves, roots, fibres of various sorts and broken bits of grass. Lining there was usually none, beyond the silky material of the nest itself, but in one nest I found that fungus rhizomorph had been used for this purpose, though really it was neither so soft and comfortable as the silky tan of which the body of the nest was constructed. Among the various kinds of holes taken possession of by this bird for its nest Coltart and I found the following:—Deserted nesting-holes of Bee-eaters and King¬fishers, a hole made by a cooli with his “dao” in passing and, most often, natural hollows from which a stone had fallen.
Concealment does seem a matter of importance with this species, and I do not remember seeing any nest proclaimed to the world at large by its material hanging conspicuously outside the hole. In most cases a weed or two, a few hanging tufts of grass, or similar screen protected the hole from the gaze of passers-by.
The birds sit much closer than the Chestnut-headed bird does, and twice when riding along a jungle-cutting I have had the birds fly from their nests, almost hitting me as they passed overhead.
This Staphida begins to breed in early April and continues throughout May ; clutches taken in June and July are probably second layings of birds which have lost their first broods.
They lay three or four eggs, perhaps three only rather more often than four, which are quite typical of the genus and require no further description.
One hundred eggs average 16.6 x 13.3 mm. : maxima 18.0 x 13.2 and 17.2 x 14.1 mm. ; minima 14.7 x 12.4 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
332. Staphida striata ruflgenis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Browed Staphida
Yuhina castaniceps rufigenis
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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