(321) Actinodura egertoni egertoni Gould.
THE NEPAL BAR-WING.
Actinodura egertoni egertoni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 303.
The present subspecies of Bar-wing is to be found from Nepal and Sikkim to the Dafla Hills, North of Assam. Stevens found it not uncommon in the Abor-Miri Hills but does not give the elevation at which he obtained it. In Sikkim it ranges from about 4,000 up to at least 8,000 feet, as Osmaston took its nest near Darjiling at this height.
It is a bird of the forest but not so much of the dense evergreen forest as of the lighter, more open parts, where the trees are mixed with scrub and light undergrowth. It also frequents and breeds in scrub-jungle and in secondary growth and Stevens remarks that altogether it is more like the true Laughing-Thrushes in habits and habitats than the Sibias.
Stevens took several nests in Eastern Nepal in the Mechi Valley and elsewhere up to 5,500 feet, while Masson sent me one nest with eggs and parents, obtained on Singile La Ridge, probably at a higher elevation even than Osmaston’s nest, as Masson described it as having been taken near the top of the lower ridge, which would not be less than 9,000 feet.
All the nests I have seen agree well with the good description given by Hume :—
“The nests vary just in the same way as do those of Trochalopteron nigrimentum ; some show only a sprig or two of moss about them, while others have a complete coating of green moss. They are cup-shaped, some deeper, some shallower ; the chief material of the nest seems to be usually dry leaves. One before me is com¬posed entirely of leaves of some Polypodium, on which the seed- spores are all developed ; in another bamboo-leaves have been chiefly used ; these are all held together in their places by black fibrous roots ; occasionally towards the upper margin a few creeper tendrils are intermingled. The whole cavity is lined more or less thickly, and the lip of the cup all round is usually finished off with these same black fibrous roots ; and then outside all moss and selaginella are applied according to the taste of the bird and, probably, the situation, a few sprigs or a complete coating as the case may be.”
A nest taken by Gammie in an extensive evergreen forest measured 4.2 inches wide by 4 deep ; internally 2.8 wide by 2.4 deep.
The site of the nest varies considerably. Gammie and Mandelli took nests in what they call “small trees” at heights varying from 4 to 20 feet from the ground. Masson took two from a similar position in dense evergreen forest, whilst Stevens seemed to have found all his placed in bushes and small trees in mixed scrub and light forest.
The breeding season is from the end of April, Gammie obtaining his first nest on the 27th of that month, to the end of June, when, on the 23rd, Stevens found his last nest.
The eggs number three or four, more often the former than the latter. The ground is a pale blue with a rather grey tint, fairly bright when first laid but getting rapidly duller when incubated or when blown and exposed to the light. The primary markings are of dark brown and are of many shapes ; some are blotches, some are spots and specks, others again are loops and whorls and long fine lines wandering indefinitely over the surface of the whole egg, equally numerous everywhere except at the extreme smaller end of some of the eggs. In a few eggs the longest, finest lines are wanting and the various hieroglyphics are squat and heavy. Rarely the different markings are confined to the larger end, while in one egg the only markings are very large patches of dark brown. Most eggs have secondary or underlying blotches and spots of pale grey Or grey-brown, though these are never conspicuous and are often hard to find.
The texture of the eggs is rather coarse, but the surface is smooth though glossless. In texture, as in normal coloration, the eggs of the Actinodura group of Sibias show the close connection of these birds with the true Laughing-Thrushes of the genus Trochalo¬pteron. There are many eggs of the various races of egertoni which are extraordinarily like small eggs of Trochalopteron phoenicium. In shape they are broad, blunt ovals.
The average of twenty-five eggs is 22.9 x 17.7 mm. : maxima 24.0 x 18.2 and 23.4 x 18.3 mm. ; minima 21.6 x 17.2 and 22.4 x 16.9 mm.
321. Actinodura egertoni egertoni
(321) Actinodura egertoni egertoni Gould.