(488) Heteroxenicus cruralis.
The White-browed Short-wing.
Calliope cruralis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xii, n. 933 (1843) (Darjiling), Drymochares cruralis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 188.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.-— Adult male. Lores, frontal band and over eye velvety black; a supercilium from the forehead to the back of the ear-coverts white; centre of abdomen with broad ashy margins to the feathers; under tail-coverts with narrow ashy margins; remainder of plumage deep indigo-blue.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill dark horny blackish, lower mandible a little paler; legs fleshy brown to "greyish brown " (Wardlaw Ramsay).
Measurements. Total length about 140 mm.; wing 65 to 71.5 mm.; tail 42 to 44 mm.; tarsus 31 mm.; culmen 12 mm.
Female. Lores, a ring round the eye and narrow frontal line golden ferruginous; a silky-white supercilium; upper plumage olive-brown, tinged with ferruginous, especially on the head; lower wing-coverts like the back; visible portion of greater wing-coverts, wing-quills and tail chestnut-brown; under plumage ashy brown, paler and more fulvous on the abdomen and rufescent on the vent and under tail-coverts.
Distribution. Himalayas from Simla and Garhwal to Eastern Assam both North and South of the Brahmaputra. Chin Hills, Kachin Hills to Kareni.
Nidification. The "White-browed Short-wing breeds from 5,000 up to at least 10,000 feet, perhaps a good deal higher. Around Darjiling Osmaston found it breeding between 6,000 and 8,000 feet and in the Khasia, Naga and Cachar Hills it breeds from 5,000 feet up to 9,000 feet. The breeding season lasts from the end of May to the middle of July. The nest is a large oval affair made entirely of moss, lined with moss roots and placed in among the strands of living moss growing either on a rock face or, more often, on a tree. From its position it is very hard to find. The eggs number three or four and are pure white, fairly glossy and measure about 22.7 x 16.2 mm.
The male often breeds in immature plumage.
Habits. Like the other birds of this genus, this Chat is an inveterate skulker, keeping entirely to the ground or to the thick low cover in mossy humid forests. It frequents heavier undergrowth than either of the preceding genera and is even harder to watch or shoot but it has a pretty little song which betrays its whereabouts.