(910) Horornis fortipes fortipes.
The Strong-Footed Bush-Warbler.
Horornis fortipes Hodgs., P.Z.S., 1845,p. 31 (Darjeeling); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 435.
Vernacular names. Daotisha gashim (Cachari).
Description. Whole upper plumage and exposed parts of wings and tail dark rufous olive-brown, the wings and tail edged rather brighter and paler ; a narrow supercilium to the nape buff; lores and a line through the eye brown ; sides of the head and lower plumage buffish brown, paler on the chin and throat, and almost white on the centre of the abdomen; under wing-coverts white tinged with yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill horny-brown, paler below; legs pale fleshy-brown to brown.
Measurements. Wing 50 to 57 mm.; tail 41 to 51 mm.; tarsus 21 to 22 mm.; culmen about 10 to 11 mm.
Young birds are brighter, more yellow-brown below.
Distribution. Garhwal, Nepal, Sikkim, Bhutan Duars, Assam, Manipur, Chin and Kachin Hills, Shan States and hills of Burma South to Karenni. There are also specimens in the British Museum from "N.W. India " and from Kashmir.
Nidification. The Strong-footed Bush-Warbler breeds in May and early June, sometimes having a second brood in July, between 3,000 and 7,000 feet. It makes a nest of old scraps of grass-blades and grass-stems very thickly lined with soft body-feathers of small birds. As a rule the nest is shaped like a very deep purse, the top edges somewhat drawn in, at other times it is domed or semi-domed and, occasionally, it is quite round and completely domed. It is usually placed low down in a small bush or tangle of raspberry and blackberry vines in either Pine or Evergreen forest. A Daphne bush is a very favourite site. The eggs number four or five and are in colour a deep rich chocolate, rather glossy and with a close but fragile texture. Forty eggs average 17.3 x 13.4 mm.: maxima 18.0 X 13.9 mm.; minima 16.8 X 12.9 mm.
Habits. A very shy skulking little bird, keeping close to bushes, brambles and bracken but every now and then darting out like a Flycatcher at some passing insect. Most of its prey, however, it seeks among the leaves and brambles of the under-growth and it is very active on its feet. In the breeding-season the cock-bird occasionally leaves its retreats and sings from the top of a low bush or one of the under brandies of a small tree. Its ordinary call-note is a loud shrill treble note, each note on an ascending scale. It. is a very poor flier for a "Warbler and very loth to take wing when disturbed, generally flying for a few yards only and then scuttling away on its legs into the undergrowth.