178. Grammatoptila striata austeni

(178) Grammatoptila striata austeni Oates.
Grammatoptila striata austeni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 185.
The Assam, or Austen’s, Striated Laughing-Thrush occurs through¬out the hills of South Assam, as well as to the East of the Subansiri watershed, North of the Brahmapootra, so it may also be found further West into the North Assam Hills. It has been obtained breeding in the Chin Hills.
I found this fine Laughing-Thrush breeding in some numbers in the Khasia Hills between 5,000 and 6,200 feet and in the North Cachar Hills and adjoining Naga Hills between 4,500 and 8,000 feet, whilst Hopwood took two nests in the Chin Hills at about 4,500 feet.
We both found them breeding in deep forest of great trees with plenty of undergrowth and where there was much moisture. The only other kind of situation in which I obtained nests was in the stunted Oak (Quercus serratifolia) forests at about 5,000 feet elevation in North Cachar, where, however, there was ample under¬growth. They also breed in the thick Pine forests above Shillong and are one of the few species which occasionally place their nests in the Pine-trees.
The nest is similar to that of the other Striated Laughing-Thrushes, large cups measuring up to 8.1/2 or 9 inches in diameter and 6 inches in depth, whilst the egg-cavity is generally a perfect hemisphere about 4 inches by 2. The bulk of the nest is composed of a miscellany including leaves, grass, roots, tendrils, creepers and bamboo-leaves in varying amount ; some of these ingredients may be altogether missing in some nests, more plentiful in others. In every nest I have seen there has been much green moss on the outside, sometimes covering the whole of the sides and lips, sometimes only half covering them. They are often built on small trees, 6 to 10 feet up, and twice I have found them on small Pine-trees, very conspicuous objects from some yards away. Their favourite sites, however, are in thick bushes, 2 to 4 feet from the ground and very well concealed.
In the Chin Hills Hopwood took eggs, two clutches of three, on the 29th of April, but in the Assam Hills May and June were the normal breeding months, whilst I have had brought to me fresh eggs taken above Margherita, in Assam, on the 2nd August.
This race seems to lay three eggs almost as often as two. They are exactly like the eggs of the other subspecies but are not so pointed as those of the Sikkim bird and, though I have seen big series of these eggs, I have never seen any with marks on them.
Thirty-four eggs average 31.5 x 23.5 mm. : maxima 35.0 x 22.8 and 31.6 x 24.5 mm. ; minima 29.2 x 23.0 and 34.6 x 22.1 mm.
I cannot say what part the sexes take in building the nest as I have never had a chance of watching the operation, but we have snared both sexes on the eggs, so it is certain that the male takes his share in this part of their domestic work. They are rather individualistic birds, some being very shy and sneaking off the nest before there is any danger of being observed, whilst others stay on until the last minute.
Like the Naini Tal bird, this form of Striated Laughing-Thrush is also much cuckolded by Clamator coromandus.

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: 
178. Grammatoptila striata austeni
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Austens Striated Laughing Thrush
Striated Laughingthrush
Garrulax striatus
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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