(562) Kittacincla macroura macroura.
The Malax Shama.
Turdus macrourus Gmel., Syst. Nat., i, p. 820 (1789) (Pulo Condore). Cittocincla macrura. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 118 (part.).
Vernacular names. Tai-tha-laik-Swe (Burm.).
Description.— Adult male. Whole head, neck, breast, back and wings glossy blue-black; rump and upper tail-coverts white; tail, four central feathers black, the others diagonally black at the base and white on the terminal halves ; inner webs of wing-quills and greater coverts dull blackish brown; abdomen, flanks, vent and under tail-coverts rich chestnut; thighs white or mixed chestnut and white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black; legs pale fleshy-white to fleshy-horny ; claws a little darker.
Measurements. Wing 90 to 97 mm.; 85 to 89 mm.; tail 140 to 180 mm., 97 to 108 mm.; tarsus 25 to 27 mm.; culmen 16 mm.
Female. The black in the male is replaced by slaty-brown, rather more ashy on the throat and sides of the neck; the underparts are paler and duller, more rufous less bright chestnut.
Two females collected by Mr. E. Gr. Herbert at Tung Sung Pah and Klong Wahip, Siam, have curiously pale underparts with the belly almost albescent.
Young male. Head brown, flecked with rufous; back black: rump and tail as in adult; below deep chestnut, the black showing through in patches on chin, throat and breast.
Nestling. Above dark brown with fulvous stripes and dark tips. Below rich rufous, each feather barred with blackish brown, more profusely on breast and flanks than on abdomen.
Distribution. Malay Peninsula, South Siam, Cochin China, Pulo Condore, Hainan. (I cannot separate K. m. minor and the measurements of specimens in the British Museum are no smaller than many from Bengal and Burma.)
Birds from Southern Tenasserim are undoubtedly nearer to this form than to the Indian bird.
Nidification. The Malayan Shama breeds in March, April and May, placing its nest in holes in trees or in bamboo clumps. It is always very roughly built of twigs, leaves and grass, lined with grass, and fits into the hollow in which it is built. The eggs number three or four, and are very like those of the Dayal but usually much more densely spotted and therefore more brown in general tint. The few eggs in the British Museum average about 22.6 x 17.4 mm.
Habits. This bird may be said to be the jungle representative of the Dayal and is an even finer songster though not so constant a singer. It is a bird of the plains and foot-hills not ascending much above 1,500 or 2,000 feet and keeps to jungle, preferring bamboo-jungle or secondary growth to evergreen forest though it is found throughout the latter. It feeds both on the ground, on low bushes and on trees but, perhaps, principally on the first and in its diet is exclusively insectivorous. Davison remarks on a habit all the races of this bird seem to have in common, a curious snapping of the wings together above the body as the bird flies across from one patch of jungle to another; it is made at all times of the day, but only, I think, in the breeding-season.