(143) Ianthocincla rufogularis rufogularis.
THE RUFOUS-CHINNED LAUGHING-THRUSH.
Ianthocincla rufogularis Gould, P. Z. S., 1835, p. 48 (Himalayas, Sikkim); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 86,
Vernacular names. Narbigivan-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Lores pure white; a large ring of grey round the eye; ear-coverts wholly black or tinged with rufous posteriorly; forehead and crown black; cheeks and a large patch under the eye and ear-coverts mingled black and white; a broad supercilium reaching to the nape, the sides of the neck and the whole upper plumage olive-green, tinged with fulvous and each feather of the hind neck, back and upper rump tipped with a lunate black bar; wing-coverts olive-brown, the larger series broadly tipped with black ; primary-coverts dark brown margined with black; winglet ashy, tipped black; earlier primaries hoary on the outer webs, the others with a black patch, increasing in extent whilst the basal portions change to olivaceous; outer secondaries with the outer webs olive-brown, broadly tipped with black and with a sub-tip white line; inner secondaries olive-brown on both webs and tipped with black and white; tail rufescent, with deep rufous tips and black subterminal bands; point of chin rufous, throat white; under tail-coverts deep chestnut; remaining lower plumage ashy-brown, albescent on the abdomen and each feather, except on the last, spotted with black.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown or red-brown; bill pale yellow-horny, darker at tip; legs dull fleshy-brown ; eyelids and orbital skin bluish.
Measurements. Length about 225 to 235 mm.; wing about 94 to 97 mm.; tail about 120 mm.; tarsus about 34 mm.; culmen about 24 mm.
The young have the crown olive-brown, tipped with black; the whole chin white, and the black bars and spots above and below smaller.
Distribution. Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan and the hills North of the Brahmaputra at least as far East as the Miri Hills North of Lakhimpur.
Nidification. This bird breeds very commonly in Sikkim and round about Darjeeling in May, June and July, making a nest of small twigs, many tendrils, a few roots and sometimes a leaf or two, lined with fine roots. In some cases nothing but tendrils are used for the outer part of the nest. It is placed as a rule in a high bush or small tree, less often in a low bush. The eggs number two to four, generally three, and are pure white, not highly glossed, though very smooth and very fragile for their size. In shape they are long ovals and fifteen eggs average 26.2 x 19.4 mm.
A second brood is sometimes brought up as late as September.
Habits. The Rufous-chinned Laughing-Thrush is found in pairs or in small parties of four and five and, like the rest of its relatives, haunts undergrowth, scrub and secondary growth, but always in forest or in its immediate vicinity. It is not a noisy bird, but has a large variety of notes, some of which are harsh and loud and some are soft and mellow; its flight, when it can be forced to take to wing, is feeble and ill-sustained, but in clambering about bushes and reeds it is very active and equally so on the ground, where it seeks much of its food, both insect and seed. It is found as low as 2,500 feet, but is most common between 4,000 and 6,000 feet, ascending as high as 8,000 feet.