(131) Garrulax delesserti.
THE WYNAAD LAUGHING-THRUSH.
Crateropus delesserti Jerd., Madr. Jour. L. S., x, p. 256 (1839) (Wynaad, S. India), Garrulax delesserti. Blanf. & Oates, i, p, 82.
Vernacular names. Poong Karuvi (Tel.).
Description. Lores, ear-coverts and round the eye black; forehead, crown, mantle and sides of neck deep slaty-grey, the forehead mottled with lighter grey; back, rump and visible portions of wing chestnut-brown, except the outer webs of the first few primaries which are duller; upper tail-coverts brighter chestnut; tail black, tinged with rufous at the base; extreme point of chin black; remainder of chin, cheeks and throat white; breast and upper part of abdomen ashy-grey; lower part of abdomen, vent, thighs and under tail-coverts deep chestnut.
Colours of soft parts. Iris crimson; upper mandible blackish brown, lower mandible pale fleshy; legs, feet and claws fleshy-white.
Measurements. Total length about 250 to 260 mm. ; wing 100 to 105 mm.; tail 98 to 102 mm,; tarsus about 38 mm.; culmen about 24 mm.
Distribution. The hills of S. India from the Wynaad to the south of Travancore.
Nidification. Mr. J. Stewart describes the nest as varying greatly in character. In some it is a rather bulky, deep cup, almost semi-domed, in others it is a cup hardly bigger than that of Molpastes. It is composed of grass, leaves, weed stems, etc. lined with roots and placed either in a bush or in a tangle of creepers and briars. The breeding season is March to May, but Mr. Stewart has taken eggs in February and again in August, the latter possibly a second laying.
The eggs are generally two or three in number, very rarely four. They are in appearance a link between those of the G. leucolophus group and those of the other Laughing-Thrushes. Pure white and very round in shape like the eggs of the former they are a little less hard-shelled and have no pits ; on the other hand, they are harder shelled and different in texture to the eggs of the latter. 50 eggs average 27.5 x 20.5 ram.
The birds appear to breed at all heights up to 4,000 feet, but principally between 1,500 and 2,500 feet.
Habits. Apparently found from the level of the plains up to the highest hills, haunting thick underwood and having the same noisy and gregarious habits as others of the genus.