288. Alcippe poioicephala poioicephala

(288) Alcippe poioicephala poioicephala (Jerdon).
Alcippe poioicephala poioicephala, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 277.
This Quaker-Babbler is found from the Nilgiris to the South of Travancore both in the plains and in the hills. Stewart says it is found at all elevations but is most common between 2,000 and 4,000 feet on the Travancore Hills. In the Nilgiris it appears to be found higher and breeds at 6,000 feet (Cardew) and, possibly, even higher than this.
It is a Babbler of the forests and often of very deep forest, though it may be occasionally found breeding in scrub. In the Nilgiris it apparently breeds in the better wooded “sliolas.” Darling, quoted by Hume, says : “The Nilgiri Quaker-Thrush breeds on the slopes of the Nilgiri Hills, generally in the depths of the forest.” Stewart and Bourdillon both write of it as a shy bird but common in deep forest and seldom venturing into scrub ; Stewart says it prefers “damp forest.”
The nest seems to be much like that of the White-eyed Quaker - Babbler.
Bourdillon says it “is cup-shaped and made of lichen, leaves, and grass, usually placed 4 to 8 feet from the ground in the middle of the jungle, and is about 2" in diameter by 1.3/4-2 in depth.”
Miss Cockburn, on the 5th June, took a nest in a small bush, about 7 or 8 feet in height, standing on the banks of a stream. “It was placed in the midst of a clump of leaves, at the tips of three or four little twigs, between which the nest was partly suspended and partly wedged in. It was composed of fine grass-stems, with a few grass and moss-roots as a lining interiorly, and with several dead leaves and a good deal of wool incorporated in the outer surface, the greater portion of which, however, was concealed by the leaves of the twigs amongst which it was built. It was only about 3 inches in diameter and the egg-cavity was less than 2.1/2 inches across and not above 1.1/2 inches in depth.”
Another nest taken by Miss Cockburn differed again in the materials of which it was made. “It was a deep cup, massive enough but loosely put together, and composed of green moss, dead leaves, a little grass and moss-roots. It was entirely lined with rather coarse black moss-roots.”
The nests of this race, unlike those of the last, are not as a rule placed in small low bushes well hidden, but rather from 5 to 10 feet up in small saplings or thin high bushes and quite con-spicuous. Bourdillon says that when working in the forest one constantly comes across them and cannot help seeing them at once. Stewart also says it is “placed without any attempt at protection in saplings on bushes 4 to 8 feet from the ground.”
It breeds principally in May and June, often in April, whilst Stewart says that he has taken its eggs in every month of the year.
The full clutch of eggs laid is two only, three being obtained but seldom. A. P. Kinloch at Kalingode took several threes and thought that in that place three was the normal-sized clutch.
The eggs of this species do not normally vary to anything like the extent that those of the nipalensis group do. All those in my series, which includes Stewart’s, Bourdillon’s, Kinloch’s and many others, are of the same type. The ground-colour is a pale salmon and the markings consist of primary blotches and broad smudges of deep purple-brown or purple-black, with secondary similar ones of pale grey, inky-grey or pinkish-grey. In many eggs there are also short broad lines and hieroglyphics of the same colours. Within this one type the variation is pretty wide ; some eggs have the deep-coloured markings reduced to small specks and spots, in a few they are absent and replaced by reddish mottlings and, in others, the blots and smudges are but few and the lines and scriggles numerous.
In shape the eggs are moderately broad ovals, always blunt at the smaller end. The texture is fine and close and the shell not fragile, though there is only a slight gloss, sometimes more, some¬times less.
Forty-two eggs average 20.0 x 15.1 mm. : maxima 22.6 x 15.5 and 22.0 x 16.5 mm. ; minima 18.5 x 14.6 and 19.0 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: 
288. Alcippe poioicephala poioicephala
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Nilgiri Quaker Babbler
Alcippe poioicephala poioicephala
Vol. 1

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith