Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/223

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GRAMMATOPTILA. 185

Nidification. The Striated Laughing-Thrush breeds throughout its range at heights varying between 3,500 and 7,000 feet, but is not often found nesting below 4,500 feet. The nest is a large, rather deep cup, about 9 to 10 inches in diameter by some 4 to 5 deep and is composed largely of moss with grass, leaves, roots and tendrils mixed and a compact lining of roots. It is generally placed some 6 to 12 feet up in small saplings and other trees. The eggs are almost invariably two in number and are long ovals of pale blue, in nearly every case spotless, but rarely with a few tiny specks of blackish or reddish. They aAerage about 33-8 X 23-2 mm. This is a very favourite fosterer for the Red-winged Cuckoo ( 0. co7'oniandus). The breeding season lasts from April to July.

Habits. This bird is a true Laughing-Thrush in its habits but is more arboreal than most, frequenting both bush and the lower trees alike. It is found in pairs and small parties and is very loquacious, some of its notes being likened by .Jerdon to those of a hen whicii has laid an egg. It feeds on insects and fruit and seeds, the latter to a greater extent than most of the family.

(178) Grammatoptila striata austeni.

Austen's Striated Laughing-Thrush.

Grammatoptila atisteni Gates, Avifauna B. 1., i, p. 104 (1889) (Dafla Hills).

Vernacular names. Daopa (Cachari).

Description. Differs from the preceding bird in having two broad dark coronal bands meeting on the nape; no shaft-stripes on the crown, and those elsewhere narrower but better defined.

Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown to dark red; legs and feet pale slaty-grey, soles yellowish; bill dark slaty-brown or "bluish-horny" (Stevens). Measurements as in G. striata striata.

Distribution. Hills south of the Brahmaputra as far east as Margherita. Stevens procured this form on the eastern water- shed of the Sabansiri River, and Talkiner and Kemp both procured it on the Mishmi Expedition, so that it appears to work round the head-waters of the Brahmaputra, Dibong and Diliong as far west as this river.

Nidification. I found this bird breeding freely above 4,500 feet in the Khasia Hills and more rarely so in the N. Cachar Hills. Nest and eggs like those of the last bird, but I have never seen any egg marked at all. Twenty eggs average about 31-5x2'3*5 mm.

Habits. Frequents pine-woods as well as other forest, provided there is any undergrowth; otherwise its habits are like those of G. s. striata.