293. Aleippe poioicephala karenni

(293) Alcippe poioicephala karenni Rob. & Kloss.
Alcippe poioicephala magnirostris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 280.
Alcippe poioicephala karenni, ibid. vol. viii, p. 605.
This is one of the Alcippes whose range still requires working out in its limits. It was discovered in Karenni and is common so far North as Kalaw, in the Shan States. On the West it crosses the Sittaung into the Pegu Yomas but not further West across the Irrawaddy. It meets and merges into davisoni somewhere between Moulmein and the South of Karenni. East it is found in Siam, but how much farther is not yet certain.
I can find nothing on record as to the type of country affected by this Quaker-Babbler but have numerous notes from Hopwood (Tounghoo), Cook (Kalaw) and Mackenzie (Prome) which probably embrace the whole question, and may be summarized as follows :—
It is found both in the plains and in the lower hills and valleys. It is, perhaps, most often to be seen in light open forest with ample undergrowth but sometimes ventures a considerable distance into fairly heavy evergreen forest. Often it breeds in bamboo-jungle, where it makes use of bamboo-clumps as sites for its nests and, less often, it also nests in secondary growth or in the expanses of open grazing ground where the grass, growing some three or four feet high, is much trampled and grazed down. Here and there in the grass a certain number of bushes, small and big, and, perhaps, a few trees, grow, and several times in these little patches Cook found nests.
As regards the nests themselves these seem to be quite typical of the genus. Cook says : “This is one of the most common of the small jungle-loving birds of the lower hills and valleys. The nest is a small neat cup, rather loosely yet strongly put together, of grasses, bamboo and other leaves, tendrils and roots, neatly lined with a few black rootlets. It is always placed in bushes fairly low down, sometimes quite conspicuous but rarely very well hidden. The normal clutch is two eggs, three occasionally.”
Mackenzie describes a nest taken in a bamboo-clump:—“Nest placed low down in a bamboo-clump. Outwardly it measured 3.1/4" x 2.1/4" in depth. The egg-cavity was about 2.1/4 wide by 1.3/4 deep. The nest was made of grass with a complete outer covering of bamboo leaves, lined with fungus mycelia.” Another nest is described as “a shallow cup made principally of grass, containing fibre and roots.”
The breeding season seems to be a very long but not very early one. Hopwood took one nest in April and others in May, whilst Mackenzie took his first nest at Prome on the 20th June and then onwards up to the 1st September. At Kalaw Cook took nests in May, June and July.
The eggs are exceptionally beautiful. The normal type of poioicephala is the most common, the ground in these varying from very pale salmon-cream to a deep salmon almost obliterated by numerous smears and blotches of deep salmon-red. There is in my series one clutch of the lilac-speckled type of nipalensis egg and others of the type with a pink ground heavily covered all over with small red blotches. A very unusual clutch, and not quite duplicated by any other Alcippe egg which I have seen, is a clutch of three very pale creamy eggs densely marked with brownish-red in a ring at the larger end, from which part the specks gradually decrease towards the smaller end but are still rather dense inside the rings.
Thirty eggs average 18.8 x 14.6 mm. : maxima 20.2 x 16.0 mm. ; minima 16.8 x 13.6 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: 
293. Aleippe poioicephala karenni
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Lower Burma Quaker Babbler
Alcippe poioicephala karenni
Vol. 1

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