205. Lioptila gracilis.
The Grey Sibia.
Hypsipetes gracilis, McClell. P. Z. S. 1839, p. 159. Sibia gracilis (McClell.), Blyth, Cat. App. p viii; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 216 ; Godw.-Aust. J. A. S. B. xxxix, pt. ii, p. 105; xliii, pt. ii, p. 179 ; Hume, S. F. iii, p. 413. Malacias gracilis (McClell.), Hume, Cat. no.429 bis; id. S. F. xi, p. 172; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 406. Lioptila gracilis (McClell), Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 135,
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and lores black, paling on the nape and ear-coverts, and blending with the rich slaty brown of the hind neck, back, and scapulars ; rump and upper tail-coverts ashy grey ; lesser and median coverts, primary-coverts, and the outer feathers of the greater coverts black ; the remaining greater coverts and the tertiaries bluish ashy, edged with black, and the basal portions more or less white; quills black, the earlier primaries edged with hoary grey on the outer webs; central tail-feathers bluish grey with a subterminal black band, the next with the black band and the ashy tip increasing in extent, and so on till the outermost feathers are entirely black with a bluish-grey tip ; chin, throat, and cheeks white, becoming fulvous on the breast and abdomen, the sides of which are washed with lilac; vent and under tail-coverts buff.
Tarsus pale brown; feet and claws darker; bill black; iris brownish red, dull maroon or dull red (Hume); iris crimson (Cockburn).
Length about 9.5; tail 4.5; wing 3.7; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. The Khasi and Naga hills ; Manipur; generally above 4500 feet.
Habits, &c. Hume describes this bird as being very active. It runs along the branches, dodging in and out of the bunches of parasitic ferns, orchids, and mistletoe, so as to be very difficult to shoot. Godwin-Austen found the nest at the end of June. It was constructed of grass, moss, and rootlets, and was placed near the top of a pine. The eggs, three in number, were pale sea-green, with ash-brown streakings and blotchings all over.