Subfamily CRATEROPODINAE

The first subfamily of the Crateropodidae comprises a number of birds, which form a natural group, without, however, possessing structural characters of marked importance.

The Crateropodinae agree in being gregarious, extremely noisy, cautious but inquisitive and frequently bold. No birds can hide themselves better, but on the whole they do not shun observation as the Timeliinae do.

The chief feature of this group, however, is the colour of their eggs. With few exceptions the eggs are either blue or white, perfectly unspotted. The few exceptions occur in the genus Trochalopterum and one or two others. These birds will ultimately find a place among the Timeliinae; arid Sibiinae; but until the colour of the eggs of all the species is known and their habits better understood, an accurate arrangement of these birds is not possible.

The Crateropodinae all feed on the ground like Thrushes. They pass a good deal of their time on trees, but they probably derive no portion of their food directly from trees, the fruit they occasionally eat being picked off the ground as they forage for insects.

The head in all the Crateropodinae is crested or subcrested. Their tarsi, toes and claws are remarkably strong and their wings are very rounded and weak. They are all non-migratory.

The sexes are invariably alike, and the young resemble the adults very closely.

The subfamily is represented in India by 10 genera and 72 species.

Key to the Genera.

a. Bill shorter than head, stout and not strikingly curved.
a1. Covering membrane of nostril bare ; frontal feathers with shafts or webs Lengthened.
a2. Nostrils nearly hidden by a profusion of bristles and hairs springing from forehead ……………….DRYONASTES, p. 72.
b2. Nostrils clearly visible, but overhung by numerous bristles…………GARRULAX, p. 77.
c2. Nostrils not overhung by bristles, hut merely by a few long and fine hairs.
a3. Bill slender ; Length from forehead to tip more than twice the depth at forehead.
a4. Tail markedly longer than wing……………….IANTHOCINCLA, p. 81.
b4. Tail and wing equal in Length……………….STACTOCICHLA,
b3. Bill stout; Length from forehead to tip much less than twice depth at forehead……………….GRAMMATOPTILA, [p. 104.
d2. Nostrils perfectly free and exposed, not overhung by either bristles or hairs……………….TROCHALOPTERUM, [p. 102.
B1. Posterior half of covering membrane of nostril clothed with plumelets continued back to the forehead, the feathers of which are short and rounded. [p. 87.
e2. Tail very much longer than wing……………….ARGYA, p. 105.
f2. Tail and wing of about equal Length……………….CRATEROPUS, p. 110.
b. Bill as long as head or much longer; slender and much curved.
c1. Bill from one to one-and-a-half times Length of head………….POMATORHINUS, [p. 115.
d1. Bill three times Length of head……………….XIPHORHAMPHUS, [p. 128.

BookTitle: 
The Fauna Of British India including Ceylon and Burma
Reference: 
OATES EW. The Fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Vol.1 1889.
Title in Book: 
Subfamily CRATEROPODINAE
Book Author: 
Eugene William Oates, Edited by William Thomas Blanford
Year: 
1889
Page No: 
71
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
90

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