289. Alcippe poioicephala brucei

(289) Alcippe poioicephala brucei Hume.
Alcippe poioicephala brucei, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 278.
Harington, who carefully worked out the range of this Babbler, gives it as “Mahableswar, Western Ghats from Rajkot in Khatiawar to Belgaum ; the Central Provinces ; Pachmarhi and the Pareshnath Hill, Bengal.” Pareshnath is, of course, in Chota Nagpore, the driest of all the Bengal districts. To this should be added North Kanara.
There is nothing recorded in Hume’s ‘Nests and Eggs’ of the breeding of this bird, which was, of course, well known to him under the binomial Alcippe phoeocephala. The notes were probably amongst those which were stolen.
Davidson has a brief note to the effect: “A very common bird in the evergreen forests all over the district (North Kanara).
I have always found its neat cup-shaped nests in bushes in the “Rans” in January, February and March. The nests were generally about three feet from the ground and in very thick cover.”
Betham records it as common at Poona, where he took many nests, and says the bird keeps carefully to thick jungle.
The nests seem to be just the same as those of the preceding bird, but a majority of those found by Betham were of the “sus¬pended” type but varying a good deal individually. Thus three nests taken by him are described as (1) “A beautiful nest suspended in a small fork of a branch of a tree overhanging a brook, a compactly built nest, lined with bents and stems” ; (2) “a flimsy cradle nest in a high bush in thick jungle” ; and (3) “acradle nest of leaves and roots with a little moss and lichen, suspended from the branch of a small tree or shrub.”
They breed in Kanara from January to April, but I have also one clutch taken by Davidson in August. Betham took most of his nests at Poona in this latter month and I have two clutches taken at Mt. Abu, in Rajputana, on the 2nd and 17th April.
The normal clutch is two only, though three eggs are not uncommon.
The usual type of egg is that described for the preceding subspecies, but I have two clutches which differ considerably from the rest, though matched by many eggs of the White-eyed group. These two clutches have the ground white and they are marked with deep purple spots, some looking as if they had run, confined to the larger extremity and then fast decreasing in numbers towards the smaller. The blotches are rather larger in one set than in the other, and in the latter there are a few lines as well as small spots. Some eggs have the ground-colour very pale cream, almost white.
Thirty-five eggs average 20.0 x 15.0 mm. : maxima 21.3 x 15.3 and 20.1 x 16.1 mm. ; minima 17.9 x 14.1 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
289. Alcippe poioicephala brucei
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Bombay Quaker Babbler
Alcippe poioicephala brucei
Vol. 1

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