229. Dumetia hyperythra

(229) Dumetia hyperythra Franklin.
Dumetia hyperythra, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 228.
I can add little in detail to the breeding area of this Babbler already given in the ‘Fauna.’ It is found South as far as Khandalla in the West and to the Godavery Valley in the East. Thence it is found northwards throughout the Deccan and Central Provinces, Central India, Chota Nagpore and the drier Western districts of Bengal, Orissa and Behar and thence again to the foot-hills of the Himalayas from Kuman to Sikkim.
The Rufous-bellied Babbler breeds in gardens, parks, scrub and grass round villages and towns ; in grazing-grounds covered with half-eaten and trampled grass and dotted with bushes ; in open waste ground with enough bushes and grass to provide cover and even in ravines in jungle and forest. They also frequent bamboo-jungle for nesting purposes. This is one of the most common birds in India, so common in fact that, as with other birds equally common, no one has troubled to write any description of the breeding grounds and haunts, and there is, therefore, nothing to quote in regard to them.
The nests are little balls of grass with an entrance on one side between 4 and 5 inches in diameter each way, with egg cavities measuring, roughly, inches across, sometimes a little smaller and sometimes a little larger, the size depending a good deal on the compactness or otherwise of the outer material. This nearly always consists of either grass-blades or bamboo-leaves, sometimes one, sometimes the other, and sometimes the two mixed. Leaves are often incorporated with these two items, especially at the base and, less often, a few roots. These are put together better than they are by the Scimitar-Babblers and form a much more compact nest. The lining is of a few fine grasses, whilst Brooks once found a nest lined “with a few hairs.”
It is placed either actually on the ground under a bush, tussock of grass or clump of bamboo, or else in one of these a few inches to a couple of feet above it. Generally it is well hidden, but one nest found by Mr. Henry Wenden was “situated in a thorny bush in a cactus hedge, by a narrow lane, not four feet wide, through which numerous people passed. The nest, about three feet from the ground, was in no way concealed.”
The breeding season is June, July and August throughout its range.
The eggs are three or four in a full complement and some are very like small eggs of Timalia. Most, however, have the spots and blotches much redder-brown, with a tinge of reddish in the ground-colour also, whilst I have one clutch in my series, taken by Col. R. Sparrow in the Deccan, which is truly erythristic, having a deep cream ground with brownish-red, or brick-red, markings. The majority of eggs have an appreciable gloss ; in a few, highly developed, occasionally very faint. In shape they are broad obtuse ovals, rarely rather drawn out but never very pointed.
Hume mentions “striated” eggs as being among those he has seen, but there are none such among his series, now in the British Museum. They must, therefore, be quite exceptional.
Fifty eggs average 17.3 x 13.8 mm. : maxima 19.8 x 13.1 and 18.4 x 14.2 mm. ; minima 16.5 x 13.1 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
229. Dumetia hyperythra
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Rufous Bellied Babbler
Tawny-bellied Babbler
Dumetia hyperythra
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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