Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/400

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grey-brown to greenish-leaden, with a wax-yellow tinge on toes, more decided in males than females; soles wax-yellow (Hume).

Measurements. Length about 140 mm.; a ing 62 to 65 mm.; tail about 55 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11 mm. Female and young male differ from the adult male in having the back, rump, scapulars and upper tail-coverts vinaceous brown; the crimson on the wing is replaced by pinkish white and on the tail by pale red.

Distribution. The Himalayas from Nepal to Eastern Assam in the Miri Hills, South to Manipur, Cachar, Naga Hills, etc.

Nidification. The Red-tailed Minla breeds throughout its range between 5,000 and 10,000 feet, making a most lovely little pendent cup or deep purse of fine green moss, lined plentifully with wool, hair or vegetable down, sometimes hair and down being mixed. They are placed in small forks of busiies 4 to 10 feet from the ground in evergreen forest. The eggs are two or three in number — Hodgson says four— and in colour just like the eggs of Fropasser or Siva, that is to say. deep Hedge- Sparrow's egg-blue with a few spots and specks of black or reddish. Fifteen eggs average 19*3 x 14'6 mm. The breeding season is May and June.

Habits. The Minla is found up to at least 10,000 feet and possibly still higher in the upper forested portions of the Chambi Vallev and Native Sikkim. It is said to go about in small parties, having much the habits of the Sivas, but in the Assam Hills it was very rare and I only saw it in pairs. In these hills it keeps much to the oak and rhododendron forest at about 6,000 feet.

Genus HYPOCOLIUS Bonap., 1850.

Since Blanford and Oates's first edition of the Avifauna was published, Mr. W. D. Gumming has written in the Bombay Natural History Society's Journal (vol. xii, pp. 760-765, 1900) some most interesting notes on this curious bird, which tend rather to confirm than to disprove its position in the Liotrichinœ. The young are practically the same as the female in plumage and shc/W no signs of barring, so that they cannot be placed in the Laniidæ or Campephagidæ. It has two moults but the plumage does not seem to differ, except that it is said to be brighter and clearer in the summer than in the winter.

The sexes are dissimilar.

In Hypocolius the bill is stout and broad at the base and about half the length of the head; the nostrils are small exposed ovals; the rictal bristles are weak but always clearly visible; the wing is short but pointed, the first primary being minute and the second reaching to the tip of the wing. The tail is long and slightly graduated. The tarsus is very short and stout, shorter than the middle toe and claw and is coarsely scutellated.