475. Lanius nigriceps.
The Black-headed Shrike.
Collurio nigriceps, Franklin, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 117; Hume, N. & E. p. 172. Lanius nigriceps (Frank!.), Blyth, Cat. p. 151; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 106; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 404; Anders. Yunnan Exped., Aves, p. 644 ; Hume & Dav. S. F. vi, p. 202: Cripps, S. F. vii, p. 268 ; Hume, Cat. no. 259; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 264; Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 268; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 144; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 89; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 315. Lanius nasutus (Scop.), apud Oates, B. B. i, p. 248.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, nape, hind neck, lores, and sides of the head and neck black ; upper part of the back ashy; remainder of back, rump, upper tail-coverts, and scapulars chestnut; wing-coverts black ; quills dark brown, the tertiaries broadly, the other quills narrowly, margined with rufous ; a white patch at the base of the primaries ; tail-feathers black, more broadly tipped and margined with rufous from the middle pair to the outer pair, the two outer pairs frequently suffused with rufous and the outer webs entirely of this colour; cheeks, chin, and throat white, blending softly into the pale rufous of the breast; middle of the abdomen albescent; remainder of lower plumage rather bright rufous.
The young are barred both above and below with brown.
Iris dull reddish brown ; eyelids pinkish plumbeous; bill dark horny black ; the base of the lower mandible and the gape fleshy plumbeous ; mouth flesh-colour ; legs dark brown ; claws black.
Length nearly 10; tail 5 ; wing 3.8; tarsus 1.2 ; bill from gape 1.
The plumage of this species is very variable, especially with regard to the extent and depth of tint of the grey on the back. The reader is referred to Hume's excellent summary of the plumage of this Shrike for full particulars. The name L. nasutus, Scop., by which I designated this species in the ' Birds of Burmah,' appears to be applicable to the race from the Philippine Islands only, in which the grey of the back is very fully developed.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Garhwal to Assam up to about 5000 feet; the plains of India east of a line drawn from Garhwal through Etawah, Raipur, and Goomsur, from which latter place Jerdon records this species; Assam and the whole of the tract south of this province down to Tenasserim, where Davison procured specimens at various localities as far south as Kyikto near Moulmein.
This species extends into Siam and Cochin China.
Habits, &c. Breeds from May to September, constructing a nest in bushes, hedges, and trees. The eggs, usually four in number, measure about .92 by .75.