1247. Zosterops palpebrosa palpebrosa

(1247) Zosterops palpebrosa palpebrosa (Temm.).
THE INDIAN WHITE-EYE.
Zosterops palpebrosa palpebrosa, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. iii, p. 358.
The typical form of White-Eye, of which the type-locality is Cuttack in Orissa, is found in Southern and Western Bengal, South Central Provinces and the whole of Southern India, East and West from the hills of Mysore and Travancore.
This little bird is a very common resident throughout the plains of Southern Bengal and Southern India, ascending the Nilgiris at least to 6,000 feet and casually considerably higher. I include in this race the bird breeding in Poona, which is somewhat intermediate between occidentis and palpebrosa, while birds from Guzerat and Rajputana are nearer to, or identical with, the former.
The nidification of all the White-Eyes is much alike and a descrip¬tion of the nests and eggs of one subspecies suffices for all.
They frequent and breed in almost any kind of country, but are seldom found in deep forest, preferring gardens, open cultivated country, open waste land with busbes, hedges etc., and the neighbour¬hood of villages. They also breed in scrub and semi-pasture-lands and in secondary growth in deserted cultivation.
The situation for the nest varies in great degree. The first nest I ever found was built in a croton-shrub not 2 feet from the ground near a tank in Calcutta, the next was nearly at the top of a Pepul-tree in the Nadia district and fully 30 feet from the ground. These were of the Northern race, while of this one Davison makes the same remark about its breeding in the Niligris, and says that while some nest in hushes 2 or 3 feet from the ground, others may be found 20 or 30 feet up in trees.
Around Kotagherry Miss Cockburn says that out of eleven nests found by her ten were on wild gooseberry-bushes.
Probably three out of four nests will be found within 10 feet of the ground, and the majority even of these will be under 6 feet.
The nest is a very beautiful little cup made of miscellaneous materials, among which grass, fine roots, moss and lichen predominate. With these are mixed cobwebs, spiders’ egg-bags, hair and tiny bits of vegetable cotton, down and wool. The materials are closely interwoven and very compact, being bound together with cobwebs or with silk from cocoons of various silk-moths. Outside the whole is decorated with spiders’ egg-bags, lichen etc., and I have noticed that these decorations are often used even when they in no way help to identify the nest with its surroundings. Most nests are deep cups, rather more than hemispherical, but occasionally shallow cups may be met with. An average nest measures about 2.25 inches across by 1.25 deep externally, with an egg-chamber about 1.5 inch in diameter by nearly an inch in depth. The lining is neat and tightly wound round, consisting in most nests of fine grass-stems, less often of fine roots or other fibrous material. Now and then hair or the mycelae of fungi may be used.
Almost invariably the nest is built pendent or semipendent from small forks of outer branches of busbes and trees, less often from two or more twigs and, still more rarely, it is placed in an upright fork.
Davison, Miss Cockburn and Wait give the breeding season for the Nilgiris as February to May, but Davidson found them breeding in Kanara in June also, while in Poona nests with eggs have been taken in June, July and September, In Orissa the birds do not breed until the Rains break in June but, as with so many other very common birds, eggs may he taken in other months also from January to early October. The birds are double-brooded in many instances but not always.
In Southern India the normal clutch seems to be two only, more rarely three, but farther North three is the usual number.
In colour the eggs vary from a skim-milk blue to a blue nearly, but not quite, as dark as that of a Hedge-Sparrow’s egg. In shape the eggs vary considerably ; most are short blunt ovals, but longer, more pointed eggs are not exceptional. The colour fades very quickly in these eggs, and those which are deep blue soon become little darker than the others.
Forty eggs average 15.4 x 11.5 mm. : maxima 18.2 x 12.0 and 17.2 x 11.1 mm. ; minima 13.5 x 10.9 and 14.0 x 10.3 mm.
Both sexes assist in building the nest and both take part in incubation which, I believe, lasts eleven days. A nest of three eggs in which the last was laid on the 20th May were all hatched on the 1st June.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 3. 1934.
Title in Book: 
1247. Zosterops palpebrosa palpebrosa
Spp Author: 
Temm.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
1247
Year: 
1934
Page No: 
188
Common name: 
Indian White Eye
M_ID: 
25489
M_SN: 
Zosterops palpebrosus palpebrosus
Volume: 
Vol. 3
id: 
14327

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