230. Dumetia albogularis

(230) Dumetia albogularis albogularis (Blyth).
THE SOUTHERN SMALL WHITE-THROATED BABBLER.
Dumetia albigularis albigularis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, 229.
This little Babbler is found throughout Ceylon and South-West India as far North as, but not including, Rajputana. It is very common at Baroda but at Deesa, just North of this State, the Mt. Abu form takes its place.
The White-throated Babbler haunts areas covered with grass, scrub or bamboos, whilst in Ceylon it is very common in Tea and Rubber Estates. It also occurs and nests in thin forest, more especially at the edges, but it does not breed in heavy or very humid forest. Occasionally it may breed in gardens and often it does so round about villages in the grazing-grounds and scrub. It is found up to about 4,000 feet or more in India, whilst in Ceylon Wait records it as ascending “up to about 5,500 or 6,000 feet.” The nest is a little ball of grass-blades or bamboo-leaves, most often the former, measuring about 5 or 6 inches in diameter, with a cavity for the eggs nearly 2 inches less each way. The entrance is at the side, just above half way up, and may measure anything between one and two inches. Sometimes there is a little lining of roots and fibre but often there is no lining at all. Darling describes the nests taken by him in the Wynaad at 3,000 feet as balls of grass about six inches in diameter “and lined with fine grass.”
The favourite situation for the nest is undoubtedly a small thorny bush growing in, and mixed up with, grass, standing in grass fields. Here it is wedged in among the roots actually on the ground or in a fork a few inches above it. At other times it is built in among the roots of the grass, whilst at odd times many other sites have been recorded. Miss Cockburn had a nest brought to her which had been built in a Coffee tree at Kotagherry. Darling obtained nests “built in high grass nearly on the ground, or in date palms, or in arrowroot in the jungle up to heights of three feet.” Wait says that they like the sides of tracks running through grass or scrub, whilst among the nests taken by W. W. A. Phillips have been come “in clumps of lemon grass,” in Tea-bushes and even from small bushes on the outskirts of forest.
In the Nilgiris the White-throated Babbler breeds principally in May and June ; in Mysore Darling says any time between May and October. In Baroda Betham found many nests in June, July and August, whilst in Ceylon they seem to breed more or less throughout the year, for I have eggs in my own series taken in February, March, May, August and November. Wait gives its breeding season as December to June.
It is a shy, skulking little bird, deserting its nest on very slight provocation and, unless the eggs are hard set and near hatching, will often desert, although the nest itself may not have been touched. Betham, in epistola, writes : “In Baroda I used to watch the birds building, but they desert on the shghtest excuse and I had to be careful not even to approach the nest. Even then I was not very successful, and more birds deserted than laid a full clutch.”
The eggs number three or, very rarely, four, and I do not think they could be distinguished from those of the preceding bird. A few clutches differ in having very fine markings such as I have not seen in D. hyperythra. I have also a single clutch of three which has a glossy china-white ground marked with primary dark brown and secondary ashy markings which form a bold ring round the larger end and are sparse elsewhere. This is, of course, a somewhat abnormal clutch which might be found in any species or subspecies of Dumetia.
Fifty eggs average 17.4 x 14.1 mm. : maxima 19.0 x 14.1 and 17.9 x 14.4 mm. ; minima 15.5 x 13.1 and 17.2 x 13.0 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
230. Dumetia albogularis
Spp Author: 
Blyth.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
230
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
192
Common name: 
Sourn Small White Throated Babbler
M_ID: 
24342
M_SN: 
Dumetia hyperythra albogularis
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
13434

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