(182) Babax waddelli.
THE GIANT TIBET BABAX.
Babax waddelli Dresser, P. Z. S., 1905, i, p. 54 (Tsangpo, Tibet).
Vernacular names. Sorio, Teh-teh (Tibet); Kyu-mo (Gyantse, Tibet).
Description. Whole plumage ashy-grey; above with broad streaks of blackish brown edged with dull chestnut; below with narrower streaks but with the chestnut brighter; centre of belly, vent, under tail-coverts and thighs cinereous ashy without stripes; on the ear-coverts the central marks are obsolete, but on the cheeks form a broad, black moustachial stripe.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow; bill black; legs dark brown.
Measurements. Wing 132 to 140 mm.; tail 148 to 160 mm.; tarsus 40 to 43 mm.; culmen 33 to 37 mm.
Distribution. South Tibet and the extreme north-east of Sikkim *.
Nidification. The Giant Babax breeds freely in South Tibet from 11,000 to 14,000 feet, or higher, during May, June and July, a few odd birds breeding both earlier and later. The nest is a large, rather rough cup of grass, dead leaves, fern fronds, roots, wool, etc., lined with finer roots and fern stems or fine grass. It measures externally some 7 inches in diameter by 3 to 4 deep, and has an internal cup of about 4" by 2" or rather less. It is placed low down in the small thorny bushes which cover parts of the Tibetau plateaus or in willow-trees and small saplings. The eggs are two or three in number and similar to those of the last but averaging about 33.1 x 21.6 ram.
Habits. This is a very common Babax over the greater portion of South Tibet, going about in small parties of five or six birds and having all the habits of the true Laughing-Thrushes. They are great skulkers, keeping much to the ground or to the lower bushes and scrub, and though they come close to dwelling-houses, they seldom show themselves. Their food is chiefly, perhaps wholly, insectivorous, and their call is said to consist of two harsh notes, rapidly repeated.