300. Schoeniparus rufigularis

(300) Schoeniparus rufigularis rufigularis (Mandelli).
Schoeniparus rufigularis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 286.
The Red-throated Tit-Babbler was discovered in the Bhutan Duars, whence it spreads throughout the hills of the Outer Himalayas through Assam, North of the Brahmapootra, as far as Sadiya and Lakhimpur. It is also resident in the hills South of the Brahmapootra, Manipur and the Eastern Bengal hill-tracts.
Dr. Coltart and I found this Babbler very common in the Lak¬himpur District all round Margherita in the foot-hills and broken ground for a mile beyond them. Stevens records it as common across the whole of the Assam Plains from the Naga Hills in the South to the Dafla Hills in the North, but neither Coltart nor I ever found it in the true plains country for some miles on either side of the Brahmapootra. It does not ascend the hills to any height to breed. No Nagas living in villages as high as 3,000 feet knew the bird or brought specimens to Dr. Coltart, whilst Stevens never came across it beyond the first few low ranges of hills on the North. Probably valleys at about 2,000 feet or a little over form its limits as to elevation.
Around Margherita we found it nesting not only in evergreen forest but far more often in small stretches of open forest, bamboo-jungle, scrub and secondary growth. The one thing necessary was ample cover, but what the cover was did not seem to matter much. The places in which we found most nests built were in the ravines running through the Tea plantations. These might be twenty feet across or they might comprise a, conglomeration of small ravines, hillocks and broken ground a hundred yards or more across. In these places trees were few, and such bamboos as there were grew in little patches of a dozen or so. Everywhere else was a dense bush-jungle, in some parts three or four feet high and in others seven or eight. The places next most often resorted to were the stony hills, too broken and rough to be worth cultivating for tea, and covered with much the same growth as the ravines.
The nests were either placed actually on the ground or on fallen rubbish and leaves above it or, very rarely, down at the bottom of a bush or in a tangle of creepers and canes. One nest was shown to us in Margherita built in among the stems of a creeper growing very thickly over an old garden-post, in among a shrubbery in a garden. This, of course, was an exceptional occurrence, but the garden where it was built just adjoined one of the favourite ravines, whilst the actual spot where the nest was placed was a hundred yards or more from the house. There is not much attempt at concealment but lying, as it generally does, among a mass of leaves and debris similar to the materials of which the nest is made makes it very hard to see, and most of our nests were discovered by seeing the little bird, which sits very close, slipping off the nest as we came to it.
The nest itself is typical of that of the genus. It is domed and made of all kinds of dead leaves, including bamboo-leaves, and grass mixed with roots, moss and a few tendrils and lined first with roots and then with an inner layer of dead leaves. Sometimes the dead leaves are the only materials used for this purpose and the roots are omitted. They are better-made nests than those of the dubius group and are often more or less bound together with tendrils, fine elastic weed-stems and long roots but, even so, they are loosely built affairs and soon tumble to pieces. Roughly they may measure between 5 and 7 inches in their vertical diameter by 1 inch or so less in their horizontal diameter. The egg-cavity barely measures 2 inches across.
They are early breeders ; Coltart found nests in the end of March and most of our nests were taken in April, a few being obtained in May. One year we took several nests in June but this was in a year when there had been storms and sufficient rain in April to temporarily wash out some of the ravines, and these were all probably second nests.
This species, unlike dubius, very seldom lays four eggs, three being the almost invariable clutch. The eggs are much the same as those of Schoeniparus dubius but, as a series, they are much paler, less brown and more grey both in ground-colour and in their markings.
One hundred eggs average 19.5 x 14.7 mm. ; maxima 21.1 x 15.3 and 21.1 x 15.7 mm. ; minima 17.3 x 14.0 and 18.4 x 13.9 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: 
300. Schoeniparus rufigularis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Assam Red-throated Tit-babbler
Rufous-throated Fulvetta
Alcippe rufogularis
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