Page:The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma (Birds Vol 1).djvu/177

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139
DRYONASTES.

(120) Dryonastes ruficollis.

The Rufous-necked Laughing-Thrush.

Ianthocinda ruficollis Jard. & Selby, Ill. Orn., 2nd series, pl. 21 (Himalayas).
Dryonastes ruficollis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 73.

Vernacular names. Pobduya, Hath Gurrrguccr' Beng.): }i((2)chen-pho (Lepcha); Doopooleeka (Assam): Dao-jiopaUlca (Cachari).

Description. Crown and nape slat;-grey; remainder of head^ throat and centre of upper breast blatk; sides of neck to ear- coverts bright chestnut; upper plumage and wings olive-brown; the outer webs of the primaries ashy; tail black, the base suffused with olive-green; breast, upper abdomen, sides of the body and thighs olive-brown; centre of lower abdomen and under tail-coverts bright chestnut.

Colours of soft parts. Iris bright red; legs, feet and bill black.

Measurements. Total length about 250 nun.; wing 100 to 105 mm.; tail about 115 mm.; tarsus about 35 mm.; culmen about 20 mm.

Distribution. Eastern Nepal, through Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra, Mauipur, Lushai, Tippera and Chittagong Hill tracts, and Jihamo and the Upper Chindwin.

Nidification. The Kufous- necked Laughinj^ - Thrush breeds principally iu April and May, but nests may be found containing eggs ahnost any time from March to August, and I have had them brought to me once in September. The nests are deep, rather untidy structures of grass, leaves, roots and tendrils lined with roots, fern-rachides or coarse fibre. They are cup-shaped and are generally placed in high bushes or small trees in scrub- jungle or the secondary growth in deserted cultivation. The eggs number three or four and are an intensely glossy pale skim-milk blue, pale blue or practically white, the latter being rare. 200 eggs average 25-7 X 20-0 mm. They breed generally below 2,000 feet.

Habits. This Laughing-Thrush is a very gregarious, very noisy bird, haunting the outskirts of villages, scrub- and bamboo- jungle, reeds or long grass. It is verj- partial to the dense matted growtli which at once springs up in deserted cultivation but ifc is not a forest bird, and when seen in the forest it will be only on the fringe of it. The parties, which may number anything from half-a-dozen to twenty or more, feed both on the ground and in amongst the lower cover, clambering freely about in a very energetic manner and keeping up a continual noisy chatter, which every now and then bursts into a perfect babel of shrieks, laughs and expostulations. They are not shy birds and do not resent observation, though from their liabits they may some- times be difficult to see but in the vicinity of villages the flocks are