343. Yuhina nigrimentum nigrimentum

(343) Yuhina nigrimentum nigrimentum (Hodgs.).
THE NEPAL BLACK-CHINNED YUHINA.
Yuhina nigrimentum nigrimentum, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 320.
This Black-chinned Yuhina occurs throughout the Outer and Lower Himalayas from. Nepal to Eastern Assam, both North and South of the Brahmapootra and as far as Manipur, the Chin Hills and Arrakan Yomas. In Assam we only found it from 3,500 to 6,000 feet in the ranges to the South, while in the Miri-Abor Hills Stevens obtained it at 4,000 feet in March. In Sikkim, however, he says “it is strictly confined to the hot, moist valleys, and thus has a tropical status.” On the Tista it was obtained at 2,300 feet and 1,200 in Winter, though it never, I believe, breeds so low.
Gammie’s and Jerdon’s supposed nests and eggs of this bird were not correctly identified.
Absolutely authentic nests and eggs have been taken by myself in 1894 and 1895 in North Cachar, and again by Whymper in 1909 at Naini Tal.
The nests were all of the same description, only differing in the positions in which they were built. The first nest I obtained at Guilang on the 29th July, at an elevation of about 4,000 feet. I had been out birds-nesting and, on my return to camp, passed a dead tree by the road-side covered with most luxuriant lichen. To get some of this I sent a Naga up the tree and, in climbing it, he disturbed a bird ; looking under the bough in the place whence the bird flew, he found a nest and four eggs. Setting some nooses on the nest he came down, and it was hardly a quarter of an hour before the bird returned and was trapped. The bough of the tree, five or six feet from the ground, was covered with long pendent lichen, growing very thick and close, and it was between two long pieces of this, which hung either side of the branch, that the nest was suspended. In shape it was a very massive, compact little cradle, the two ends prolonged and intertwined with the lichen from which it hung. Outwardly, the longest way it measured 3.4 inches and across the narrowest way 2.4, whilst the depth In the centre was 1.85. The egg cavity measured 1.75 inch across by nearly 1 deep. The material consisted almost entirely of moss-roots, only a very few small scraps of dead moss being also used, whilst the lining was composed of the finest stems of grasses and one flowering-grass end. Strength is given to the nest by the use of cobwebs, these being most numerous at the ends next the supporting lichen.
Another nest was taken a few days later from an exactly similar position on a tree not twenty yards from the first.
Later I took nests both from trees, low down, and from under overhanging banks, where they were fastened to the roots of the plants and bushes which had forced their way through or from which the earth had fallen away. The nests themselves were quite like the first one in all respects.
Whymper writes of the nests taken by him in Naini Tal:—■ “ The first nest I took of this bird was underneath a hanging bank from which the earth had fallen away, exposing the roots of the bushes above, and to these roots it was slung. It was made of moss with a little cobweb externally and lined with fine black rootlets of ferns. I never saw a nest in any other position except once among the rootlets of a fern-covered fallen tree. An extraordinary number of these nests are destroyed, I believe, by the Green Magpie ; some years we would leave four or five nests, only to find that they had been destroyed later on.”
The eggs are of two types ; the most common in North Cachar had the ground a very pale but rather bright sea-green, rather profusely spotted all over with very pale brown blotches, mostly small and irregular, with a few specks and freckles intermixed with them. At the larger end the spots form fairly well-defined broad rings, with a few deeper, darker spots of vandyke-brown. The other type has the ground-colour a pale clay or clay-green, with the spots numerous but smaller.
In shape the eggs are broad ovals, distinctly compressed at the smaller end but quite blunt. The texture is smooth and fine but glossless, and the shell is stout for so tiny an egg.
Twelve eggs average 16.2 x 12.3 mm. : maxima 17.0 x 12.5 and 16.1 x 12.6 mm. ; minima 15.5 x 11.7 mm.
All my nests were taken in July, but Whymper took nests both in April and July and thinks that they have two broods. This may be the c,ase also in North Cachar, as I never worked this particular part of the country in early April.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
343. Yuhina nigrimentum nigrimentum
Spp Author: 
Hodgs.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
343
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
298
Common name: 
Black Chinned Yuhina
M_ID: 
25392
M_SN: 
Yuhina nigrimenta nigrimenta
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
13535

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