(380) Criniger tephrogenys flaveolus.
THE INDIAN WHITE-THROATED BULBUL.
Trichophorus flaveolus Gould, P. Z. S., 1836, p. 6 (India) (Cachar). Criniger flaveolus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 255.
Vernacular names. Kussap-eechiop-pho (Lepcha); Dao-balip-gurrmo-didi (Cachari).
Description. Differs from the last in having the upper plumage more green, the edges of the feathers being distinctly olive-green; the lower surface is a bright yellow, the chin and upper throat alone being white; there is a white supercilium always present and sometimes quite conspicuous.
Colours of soft parts. Irides deep red; bill pale greyish blue, gape and mouth still paler; legs greyish-horny, pale bluish-horny or fleshy-grey.
Measurements. Total length about 210 to 220 mm.; wing 88 to 96 mm.; tail about 83 mm.; tarsus about 18 to 20 mm.; culmen 17 to 18 mm.
Distribution. The Sub-Himalayas from Garhwal and Nepal, where it is apparently very rare, to the East of Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur and Tippera.
Nidification. This fine Bulbul breeds in some numbers in all the ranges of hills south of Assam from 1,000 feet, or even lower, to above 5,000 feet. At first I took most of my nests at higher elevations but later, when I knew the bird's habits better, I found it extremely common below 2,000 feet and many nests were taken in the ever-wet, deep forests of the lower valleys. They were almost always placed near running water and a favourite site was low down in some thick tangle of canes and bushes growing amongst palm-ferns. The nests are very heavily made, hemispherical cups of leaves, bamboo-spathes etc., wound round with roots, grass and stems of weeds; the inner lining is generally of bamboo leaves but there is always also a true lining of coarse, red roots of ferns and bracken. Roughly the nests average about 5"x 2 1/2" externally and 3 1/2'' x 1 3/4" internally. Oates men¬tions finding these nests 10 feet up in small trees but nearly all mine were less than 4 feet from it. The birds lay in May and June and often during the early rains of July and August, and in North Assam and Sikkim, where the rains do not break until June, few nests will be found before that month. The normal clutch of eggs is two only, sometimes three and very rarely four. They are extremely beautiful eggs ; the ground-colour is a deep salmon, rarely with a lilac tinge, and the markings consist of irregular lines, specks and blotches of different shades of blood-red and maroon with secondary markings, sometimes absent, of grey and neutral tint. The markings are generally rather profuse everywhere, but in some are confined to the larger end and the lines are generally on this part of the egg. The surface is hard, fine and intensely glossy and the shape is a long oval, distinctly pointed at the smaller end.
One hundred eggs average 26*9 x 18*6 mm. and the extremes are 27.5 x 18.6 mm.; 26.1 x 20.0mm.; 23.3x 18.3mm. and 24.8 X 18.0 mm.
Habits. Though this Bulbul may be found up to 6,000 feet, it is typically a bird of the humid forests of valleys between 1,000 and 3,000 feet. On rare occasions it may wander into bamboo-jungle but it is essentially a resident of tree-forest with the most thickly grown underwood. It is, unlike most Bulbuls, really gregarious, wandering about the bushes, cane-brakes and scrub in small parties of half-a-dozen to a dozen, creeping and clambering about them very much in the same manner as do the Laughing-Thrushes- It is, however, a good flyer when forced to take wing, though it prefers pedestrian work when possible. It feeds on both insects and seeds and fruit, and in North Cachar was very partial to the berries of a babool-like tree (Phyllanthus emlica), swallowing them whole although they were as big as marbles. They are noisy birds with a few sweet calls and many discordant ones.