(1256) Zosterops ceylonensis.
The Large Ceylon White-Eye.
Zosterops ceylonensis Holdsworth, P. Z. S., 1872, p. 459, pl. xx,. fig. 2 (Ceylon); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 215.
Vernacular names. Mull~kurrala (Cing.).
Description. A small ring round the eye white; lores dusky black, generally produced back as a black line under the eye; whole upper plumage, wing-coverts and edges of quills and tail-feathers olive-green, with a slight yellow sheen on the upper tail-coverts and rump; chin, throat and upper breast dull oily-yellow, shading into the green of the sides of head and neck; lower breast and abdomen greyish-white, paler in the centre and often with signs of a yellow streak; under tail-coverts yellow ; axillaries and under wing-coverts yellowish-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel-yellow, light brown or reddish-brown ; bill black, the base of the lower mandible pale slaty; legs and feet pale plumbeous-grey or bluish-slaty.
Measurements. Wing 53 to 59 mm.; tail 39 to 43 mm.; tarsus about 17 to 18 mm.; culmen about 11 to 12 mm.
Distribution. Ceylon, in the hills above 1,500 feet. It has been recorded from the Nilgiris by Mr. D. G. Hatchwell, who says that he saw several birds of this species and shot one (Journal Bombay Nat. Hist. Society, xv, p. 726.) This record has never been confirmed by further specimens being obtained in that naturalist-haunted district and was probably due to a wrong identification.
Nidification. Wait says that this White-Eye breeds in March, April and May and that the nest and eggs closely resemble those of the Small Ceylon White-Eye, the eggs averaging 16.2 x 11.5 mm. Three eggs in my own collection average 16.4 x 12.2 mm. They were taken at an elevation of about 4,500 feet on the 7th March.
Habits. Legge says that this bird is common on the hill-ranges over 4,000 feet, still numerous down to 3,000 feet and that it is found on various Coffee Estates down to 2,000 and once was obtained at 1,500 feet. Wait, however, says that it may be considered rare below 3,000 feet. The birds frequent both the interior and outskirts of forests and well-wooded tracts and seem to be very common in rubber- and tea-plantations at the higher, elevations. They collect in nocks in Winter though Holdsworth believed these to consist of males only, the females remaining solitary at this time. They frequent the highest trees and lowest bushes alike and Legge says that their food very largely consists of buds. They are extremely active energetic little birds, constantly on the move and adopting a very follow-my-leader mode of progression through the forest. They are very bold and fearless and I saw them feeding within a few feet of me at Nuwara Ehya, quite undisturbed by my presence and constantly uttering a rather loud chirp, quite different from the high " pip pip " or musical twittering call of the Small Ceylon White-Eye.