(41) Garrulus leucotis oatesi.
Garrulus oatesi Sharpe, Bull. B. O. C, v, p. 44, 1896 (Chin Hills).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Like the Burmese Jay but has the anterior crown and crest white, broadly streaked with black instead of wholly black.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in G. l. leucotis.
Distribution. Upper and lower Chin Hills right up to the borders of Manipur and Looshai and probably inside these countries also, though the Chindwin and Irrawaddy rivers may prove to be its west and eastern boundaries.
Nidification. This Jay breeds in the Chin Hills in April and probably May between 3,500 and 5,000 feet. Mr. J. M. D. Mackenzie describes a nest as " a shallow cup in a low tree in scrub jungle on a steep hillside. It was placed about 10 feet up and made entirely of roots with a few scraps of moss outside. It measured externally 6"x2 3/4", inside 4 1/2"x 2".
The eggs are like those of the Burmese Jay but the few I have seen average smaller, being about 29.5x23.1 mm.
The hen sits very close and has literally to be driven from the nest.
Habits. Messrs. Hopwood and Mackenzie found this Jay fairly common in the Chin Hills, keeping to hillsides with oak and scrub forest. Voice, flight and habits generally are in no way distinguishable from other species of the same genus. They report this Jay as moving about fairly widely in the spring and autumn, visiting comparatively low valleys in the winter but always breeding at over 4,000 feet.
Key to Subspecies.
A. The palest of all the forms. Throat vinaceous
like head . G. b. bispecularis, p. 63.
B. Darker and browner and less vinaceous;
throat and lower breast about the same
colour G. b. interstinctus, p. 64.
C. Still darker and browner; throat and breast
D. Above very rich red-vinaceous; throat and sides of head much paler; forehead faintly
streaked G. b. haringtoni, p. 65.
E. Above rich red-vinaceous; throat almost pure white and sides of head paler; fore-
head faintly streaked G. b. rufescens,p. 65.
It is very doubtful whether the whole of the Garruli should not be treated as subspecies of the same species in so far as leucotis and bispecularis are concerned. Haringtoni in many ways links up the white-eared forms with the dark-eared ones but the breeding areas still require to be carefully worked out and, until this is done, it seems desirable to keep them apart.
The above key is a far from satisfactory one but may suffice to enable students who know whence their specimens come to identify them.