(238) Pyctorhis altirostris griseigularis.
Pyctorhis griseigularis Hume, S. F., v, p. 116 (1877) (Assam).
Vernacular names. Tiri-sorai (Assamese).
Description. Differs from Jerdon's Babbler in having the chin, throat and upper breast grey instead of white, and the lower breast, abdomen and flanks dull rufous instead of pale fulvous.
Colours of soft parts. " Bill pale horny, nearly white towards base of lower mandible; legs pale fleshy or orange-brown ; feet darker" (Hume); iris brown or golden brown, eyelid and orbital skin yellowish green.
Measurements. Wing 62 to 64 mm.
Distribution. The sub-Himalayan plains from the Bhutan Duars to the extreme east of Assam ; Cachar and Sylhet Plains.
Nidification. I found this little Babbler very common and breeding in great numbers in the ekra and elephant-grass plains in N. Lakhimpur, where I took several nests. These are facsimiles of the neat, compact cups of the Yellow-eyed Babbler, but are less often shaped like inverted cones, having the bottom rounded off. The nests found were always spotted by the bird being seen to quit, otherwise in these vast seas of grass they would never be seen, for though they will sit on the nest until an elephant or buffalo almost touches them, they slink away amongst the grass long before a man. on foot can get near them. I obtained nests in the months of April and July, but presume they are principally " Rains '' breeders when their food—grasshoppers—are most numerous. The few eggs I have seen are very beautiful, having a pale or bright pink ground-colour, with handsome blotches and smears of reddish brown, or light red with .secondary markings of neutral tint. Fourteen eggs average about 18.1 X 14.6 mm.
Habits. This little Babbler seems to be found only in the plains or in the rolling stretches of " sun-grass " lands on the foot-hills of the Himalayas. . It is found always in pairs and always in grass of some kind though this may be anything from two "to twenty feet high. It has a sweet little song of some dozen notes or so which it sings from the highest piece of grass near its nest.