(102) Suthora ruficeps atrosuperciliaris.
THE BLACK-BROWED SUTHORA.
Chleuasicus ruficeps ex. atrosuperciliaris Godw.-Aust., P, A.S. Beng., 1877, p. 147 (Sadiya, Assam). Suthora atrisuperciliaris. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 67.
Vernacular names. Dao-mougasha (Cachari).
Description. Differs from the last bird in being darker and more richly coloured everywhere and in having a well-defined black eyebrow.
Colours of soft parts. Maxilla fleshy, the culmen and base a little darker and becoming bluish next the forehead, lower mandible pale fleshy, the gonys almost white; irides light bright brown; legs pale, clear bluish plumbeous, claws paler still.
Measurements. Total length 145 to 150mm.; wing 57 to 59mm.; tail about 99 mm.; culmen about 10 mm. and from gape about 12 mm.
Distribution. From Cachar to Lakhimpur in Assam, south of the Brahmaputra and east of the Dibong in the Abor and Miri Hills, north of the same river and thence eastwards to Yunnan through the Shan States. Godwin-Austen's birds from Baladhan were undoubtedly of this and not the last race.
Nidification. The only nest I have seen of this bird was an exact miniature of those of Paradoxornis and Psittiparus. Outwardly it measured 2.5" x 3" deep and inwardly 2" x 2". It was composed of fine shreds of grass and reed-bark with a lining of the finest grasses but, under these, were a few scraps of bamboo leaves. It was bound together with cobwebs and placed in a bamboo clump growing on a grass-covered hillside.
The single egg contained in the nest was a pale hedge-sparrow blue and measured 19.5 x 15.2 mm. A nest with three eggs taken by a Naga were similar but the latter measured only about 18.4x13.6 mm.
Habits. An inveterate little skulker in long grass and scrub-jungle, never taking to flight unless actually forced, but creeping in and out low down and out of sight, though its constant twittering may be heard the whole time. They go about in large parties numbering a dozen or more and, when they think they are not being watched, every now and then one climbs to a tall grass, chirps loudly and immediately descends again. They con¬sort frequently with both Psittiparus ruficeps and Paradoxornis and it is very curious to watch these three Red-heads in company.
The Black-browed Suthora is found in winter practically in the plains and in summer breeds between 2,000 and 4,500 feet. I found in the stomachs of those examined by me small grasshoppers, Coleoptera, and a few hard seeds.