(808) Tribura major.
The Large-billed Bush-Warbler.
Dumeticola major Brooks, J. A. S. B., xli, p. 77 (1872) (Kashmir). Tribura major. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 362.
Vernacular names. Chighchi(Turki).
Description. Whole upper plumage and visible portions of wings and tail dull olive-brown ; concealed portions of wings and tail brown; a white or creamy-white supercilium, often indistinct; lores and upper ear-coverts brownish; lower ear-coverts white, tipped with brown; chin white; throat and upper breast white spotted with dark brown; breast and flanks ochraceous-brown, paling to white on the centre of the abdomen ; under tail-coverts ochraceous tipped with white.
The amount of spotting on the throat and of the brown on the breast and flanks varies very greatly and, in a few birds, practically the whole of the lower parts are pure white, merely tinged with brown on the flanks. In other specimens the throat is lightly spotted with brown and the flanks only are ochre-brown. The spotting probably decreases with age.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill dark horny-brown to black above, lower mandible fleshy or pale horny ; mouth and edges of gape yellow; tarsus pale wax-yellow or fleshy-yellow ; toes darker and claws horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 150 mm.; wing 56 to 65 mm., the female rather smaller than the male; tail 59 to 63 mm,;, tarsus 21 to 22 mm.; culmen 15 to 16 mm.; " culmen 17.5 to 18.5 from base of skull" (Hartert).
Central Asian birds seem to average a little larger than those from Kashmir, but are otherwise inseparable.
Distribution. In Summer breeds between 6,000 and 10,000 feet in Kashmir, Ladak and Eastern Turkestan, descending in "Winter to between 4,000 and 7,000 feet. Whitehead found it breeding in the Khagan Valley at 9,000 feet.
Nidification. This Bush-Warbler breeds from early June to the end of July at heights over 6,000 feet, generally over 8,000 feet. It makes a deep cup-shaped nest of grass, lined with down, hair, fur or, rarely, with a few feathers, which it places either actually on the ground or low down in tufts of grass, a low bush or tangle of vines and creepers. The eggs number three or four and are typically rather broad blunt ovals, the ground-colour a pale pink, covered all over with dense freckling of pale lilac-red. In a few eggs the lilac tint is wanting and the eggs are darker and redder and, in still fewer, the markings are sparse enough to allow the ground-colour to show through. In many eggs the markings are more numerous at the larger end, where they form an indefinite ring or cap. Twenty-five eggs average 18.2 x 14.2 mm.: maxima 19.1 X 14.3 and 18.2 x 15.0; minima 17.5 x l4.5 and 18.2 x 14.0 mm.
Habits. The Large-billed Bush-Warbler is very common in parts of Kashmir, keeping almost entirely to the fringe of forests and low scrub-jungle, long grass, bracken or similar cover. Davidson says that it is a very shy bird, unwilling to rise unless almost trodden on and, even then, only flying a few yards before again dropping into the grass. The call-note is a constant tic-tic-tic.