Chestnut-crowned Warbler

Chestnut-crowned Warbler   Seicercus castaniceps

Etymology :

  • Seicercus : Greek word sei-to shake; kerkos-
  • Castaniceps : Latin word castaneus chestnut-coloured; ceps -headed

Distribution in India: Resident in Himalayas, North East hills in India.

Description:  9–10·5 cm; 4–6 g. It is a tiny, acrobatic warbler with prominent pale wingbars. The nominate race has crown and supercilium as rufous-chestnut, dark lateral crown-stripe blackening and broadening towards nape; some broken whitish streaking often visible at nape side,  head side, mantle. The scapulars are grey, back and wings are yellowish olive, two yellow bars formed by tips of median and greater wing-coverts; clear yellow rump and uppertail-coverts; tail feathers are ashy brown, fringed yellowish olive, white inner webs on outermost two rectrices; throat and breast to uppermost belly are grey, rest of underparts are lemon-yellow, whitish at centre, underwing-coverts are pale yellow. Iris is blackish brown, clear whitish narrow eyering; upper mandible is dark brown, lower mandible is yellowish flesh; legs are fleshy yellow, soles are almost white. Both the sexes are alike. The juvenile has drab grey-brown crown for a short while only; otherwise much as adult but duller overall, with paler yellow underparts.

Habitat:  It inhabits subtropical humid montane forests, both oak-rhododendron and oak forest, with stands of bamboo. It breeds between 1200 m and 2750 m in Himalayas, descending to foothills in winter.

Food Habits: It eats tiny insects. It is extremely active; forages amid outer foliage of upper canopy, quickly hovers, then tumbles down to lower levels, accompanied by wing-flicking and tail-flashing. The food items are obtained mostly by gleaning. It associates with mixed-species parties outside breeding season.

Breeding Habits: They breed during Feb–Jul, generally associated with start of wet season; chiefly Apr–Jun in Indian Himalayas. The nest is built by both sexes. The nest is a compactly woven oval ball of green moss, with dense lining of felted moss and tiny moss threads; well concealed on ground, hidden by overhanging mosses and creepers, often below bushes or in hollow at foot of tree, on bank or steep slope. They lay a clutch of 3–5 eggs. The incubation is done by both sexes. The nest is parasitized by Himalayan Cuckoo and Asian Emerald Cuckoo.