Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/278

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236
TIMALIIDÆ.

with black centres to the feathers; sides of head and neck rufous- grey-brown; whole upper plumage reddish brown, darkest on the wings and tail; chin, throat and upper breast whitish; remainder of lower plumage pale fulvous,

Colours of soft parts. " Upper mandible pale horn-colour, low er pinkish liesh-culour; iris hazel-brown; eyelid and orbital skin greenish yellow; legs and feet pinkish brown " (Oates).

Measurements. Total length about 165 mm.; wing 57 to 62 mm.; tail about 80 mm.; tarsus about 22 mrn.; culmen about 12 mm.

Distribution. The plains of Lower Burma.

Nidification. A nest and eggs sent to me as belonging to this bird do not diifer from those of the Tellow-eyed Babbler, the eggs being of the boldly marked cream-coloured type. The five eggs measure 17"0xl4*l mm. Hahits. This Babbler seems to be confined to swampy, h)w- lying plains, covered with ekra or elephant-grass where it is very abundant. It is, however, such an inveterate skulker and flies so seldom that it is very hard to watch or to shoot unless high floods practically cover its hiding places. It lives in great part on grasshoppers, large and small, and its note is said to be quite different from that of sinensis but has not been more minutely described.

(238) Pyctorhis altirostris griseigularis.

Hume's Babbler.

Pyctorhis i/riseif/ularis Hume, S. F., v, p. 116 (1877) (Assam).

Vernacular names. Tiri-sorai (Assamese).

Description. Differs from Jerdou's Babbler in having the chin, throat and upper breast grey instead of white, and the lower breast, abdomen and flanks dull rufous instead of pale fulvous.

Colours of soft parts. " Bill pale horny, nearly white towards base of lower mandible; legs pale fleshy or orange-brown; feet darker" {Hume); iris brown or golden brown, eyelid and orbital skin yellowish green.

Measurements. Wing 62 to 61 mm.

Distribution. The sub-Himalayan plains from the Bhutan Duars to the extreme east of Assam; Cachar and Sylhet Plains.

Nidification. I found this little Babbler very common and breeding in great numbers in the ekra and elei)hant-grass plains in N. Lakhimpur, where I took several nests. These are facsimiles of the neat, com|)act cups of the Yellow-eyed Babbler, but are less often shaped like itiverted cones, having the bottom rounded off. The nests found were always spotted by the bird being seen to quit, otherwise in these vast seas of grass they would never be