(120) Dryonastes ruficollis.
THE RUFOUS-NECKED LAUGHING-THRUSH.
Ianthocincla ruficollis Jard. & Selby, 111. Orn., 2nd series, pl. 21 (Himalayas). Dryonastes ruficollis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 73.
Vernacular names. Pobduya, Hath Gurri-gurri(Beng.); Rapchen-pho (Lepcha); Dao-pooleeka (Assam); Dao-popalika (Cachari).
Description. Crown and nape slaty -grey; remainder of head, throat and centre of upper breast black j sides of neck to ear-coverts bright chestnut; upper plumage and wings olive-brown; the outer webs of the primaries ashy; tail black, the base suffused with olive-green; breast, upper abdomen, sides of the body and thighs olive-brown; centre of lower abdomen and under tail-coverts bright chestnut.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright red; legs, feet and bill black.
Measurements. Total length about 250 mm.; wing 100 to 105 mm.; tail about 115 mm.; tarsus about 35 mm.; culmen about 20 mm.
Distribution. Eastern Nepal, through Assam, North and South of the Brahmaputra, Manipur, Lushai, Tippera and Chittagong Hill tracts, and Bhamo and the Upper Chindwin.
Nidification. The Rufous - necked Laughing - Thrush breeds principally in April and May, but nests may be found containing eggs almost any time from March to August, and I have had them brought to me once in September. The nests are deep, rather untidy structures of grass, leaves, roots and tendrils lined with roots, fern-rachides or coarse fibre.- They are cup-shaped and are generally placed in high bushes or small trees in scrub-jungle or the secondary growth in deserted cultivation. The eggs number three or four and are an intensely glossy pale skim-milk blue, pale blue or practically white, the latter being rare. 200 eggs average 25.7 X 20.0 mm. They breed generally below 2,000 feet.
Habits. This Laughing-Thrush is a very gregarious, very noisy bird, haunting the outskirts of villages, scrub- and bamboo-jungle, reeds or long grass. It is very partial to the dense matted growth which at once springs up in deserted cultivation but it is not a forest bird, and when seen in the forest it will be only on the fringe of it. The parties, which may number anything from half-a-dozen to twenty or more, feed both on the ground and in amongst the lower cover, clambering freely about m a very energetic manner and keeping up a continual noisy chatter, which every now and then bursts into a perfect babel of shriek?, laughs and expostulations. They are not shy birds and do not resent observation, though from their habits they may sometimes be difficult to see but in the vicinity of villages the flocks are very tame and confiding. They keep generally below 2,000 feet and are most common in the low foot-hills and adjoining plains, but they are also found up to 4,000 feet.