Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/447

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SPIZIXUS.

brown on the inner webs green on the outer, the inner secondaries green on both webs but more or less tinged with brown on the inner; tail yellowish green, with an inch-wide band of dark brown near the tips; lower plumage dull greenish yellow, brightening to yellow on the belly and under tail-coverts.

Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown to pure vandyke-brown; bill very pale straw-white or ivory-white; legs and feet dull deep flesh-colour to grey-brown.

Measurements. Total length about 210 mm.; wing 79 to 89 mm.; tail about 90 mm.; tarsus about 18 to 19 mm.; culmen about 13 mm.

Distribution. Hills South of the Brahmaputra, Arrakan, Chin and Kachin Hills to Yunnan.

Rothschild (Nov. Zool., xxvii, p. 50, 1921) points out quite correctly that Bangs and Phillips's S. c. ingrami is merely the immature S. c. canifrons which has the throat grey instead of brown and the under parts rather dull olive-green instead of greenish yellow.

Nidification. The Finch-billed Bulbul breeds from the end of April to the end of July from about 3,500 feet up to the highest peaks in the North Cachar, Khasia and Naga Hills and up to 6,000 or even 7,000 feet in the Kachin and Yunnan Hills. The nest can be told at a glance from any other Bulbul's nest, for it is made entirely of tendrils, some stout, some fine and rarely they may be mixed with a few tiny twigs or scraps of bracken, but these are so scanty that they are not noticeable. The lining, as a rule, consists merely of tendrils finer than the rest but I have seen scraps of dried bracken also used for this purpose. The internal shallow cup measures something under 3 inches (75 mm.) in diameter by under 1 inch (25 mm.) deep but the outer measurements are difficult to ascertain as the ends of the tendrils stick out in all directions. The nests are extremely well put together and stand very rough handling. The site selected is usually in a tall, scraggy bush or a small sapling, some 5 to 10 feet from the ground, standing in dense evergreen forests or in thick scrub-jungle.

The eggs number two or three only, four being quite exceptional, and are like very large examples of those of Xanthixus flavescens. The ground-colour is anything from the palest pink to a rather deep brick-red pink but they are so completely covered with innumerable freckles and tiny blotches of light red, deep red or dark brownish red, that little of the ground-colour is visible. Many eggs, indeed, look almost unicoloured at a short distance. In shape they are long, blunt ovals and the texture is fine, practically glossless and very fragile. 100 eggs average 25.7 × 17.6 mm.; the greatest length and breadth 28.1 × 18.0 and 26.0 × 19.3 mm. and the least each way 24.0 × 16.1 mm.

Habits. The Finch-billed Bulbul is a bird of fairly high altitudes and is not found below 3,000 feet even in the cold