(350) Erpornis xantholeuca xantholeuca.
THE WHITE-BELLIED HERPORNIS.
Erpornis xantholeuca Hodgs., J. A. S. B., xiii, p. 380 (1844) (Nepal). Herpornis xantholeuca. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 219.
Vernacular names. Dung-pu-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Whole upper plumage, visible wings and tail clear greenish yellow; lores, cheeks and lower plumage white, slightly tinged with grey; ear-coverts ashy-white; under wing-coverts pale yellow; under tail-coverts bright yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or red-brown; bill pale fleshy horn-colour, the edges of the commissure, lower bill and gape brighter, paler fleshy ; mouth and extreme corner of gape yellow; legs and feet flesh-colour or yellowish flesh-colour.
Measurements. Length about 120 mm.; wing 63 to 70 mm.; tail about 45 mm.; tarsus about 16 mm.; culmen 10 to 10*5 mm.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Nepal to Assam, both North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur and practically the whole of Burma, Siam and N. Malay Peninsula.
Nidification. The White-bellied Herpornis breeds from practi¬cally the level of the plains up to some 3,000 feet but more often below 1,500 feet than over. The nest is a cradle of fine roots, mixed with fibres and fine grass stems and lined with the latter. It may be pendent in a horizontal fork or just hanging from a few twigs either of bamboo or some shrub within a few feet of the ground. Hopwood took its nest in Burma in March but in India it breeds in April and May. Its nest is built either in evergreen forest, mixed bamboo and scrub or in bushes in thin cover. The eggs are two or three in number, the ground-colour white or, rarely, creamy-white and the markings consist of sparse blotches of pale reddish, generally confined to the larger end. The texture is faintly glossy and is stout for the size of the eggs ; in shape they are rather long ovals and twenty eggs average 16.7 X 12.6 mm., the extremes being 18.8 x.l4.0 and 15.2 x 12.0 mm. In each of these cases the same individual egg gives the extremes in breadth and length.
Habits very like those of Ixulus but Erpornis seems to keep much to the tops of very high trees. In the non-breeding season it is not usually found in heavy forest but prefers the thinner outskirts of big forests or the smaller forests which generally fill the ravines and pockets in the grass-lands. It was common in the thin deciduous forest in the North of the N. Cachar Hills, where we found it in small parties diligently hunting the smaller branches and twigs for insects. It is a very silent bird and I have not heard its note.