(283) Mixornis rubricapilla rubricapilla.
THE YELLOW-BREASTED BABBLER.
Motacilla rubricapilla Tickell, J. A. S. B., ii, p. 576 (1833) (Manbhum). Mixornis ruficapilla. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 167.
Vernacular names. Dao-pere gatang-lili (Cachari).
Description. Grown pale ferruginous blending on the neck into the olive-green of the upper plumage and sides of neck; supercilium, lores and front of forehead yellow, the two latter with black shafts; ear-coverts dull yellow with pale shafts; cheek, chin, throat and upper breast yellow with black shaft-lines; centre of breast and abdomen plain yellow ; remainder of lower plumage dull ashy-yellow.
Colours of soft parts. Iris white or pale yellow to yellow-ochre ; eyelids pale slate-colour; bill horny-brown or slate-brown, the culmen almost black and the lower mandible paler; legs olive-or brownish-fleshy, the claws yellower.
Measurements. Total length about 125 mm.; wing 53 to 58 mm.; tail about 52 to 54 mm.; tarsus about 18 mm.; culmen 10 to 11 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim and Eastern Bengal to Assam and East to Chin, Kachin and Shan States; South to Arrakan and N. Tenasserim.
Nidification. The Yellow-breasted Babbler breeds during April, May and June and sometimes into July at heights up to 2,500 feet or more and also in the plains. In Burma it begins to breed in March. It makes a rough domed nest of grass and bamboo leaves, with a meagre lining of finer grass, which it places either in a bamboo clump or a bush close to, but not on the ground; occasionally 4 or even 5 feet above it. The eggs, generally three, sometimes two only or four, are china-white with numerous specks and small blotches of red and reddish brown distributed all over but, as a rule, more thickly at the larger end. The texture is glossy and stout and the shape a broad oval. One hundred eggs average 16.6 x 12.6 mm.
Habits. The birds of this genus are typically plains' birds, seldom ascending the hills to any height. They keep to bushes, lower trees and bamboo when hunting for food, never resorting to the ground for this purpose and almost equally seldom visiting the higher trees. In their attitudes and manners they are more thoroughly Timaliine and less Tit-like than birds of the genera Stachyris and Stachyridopsis, for though they keep in good-sized flocks they creep and clamber about in a quiet, unobtrusive manner instead of fluttering or moving restlessly from one twig to another. They are very partial to bamboo-jungle, whether with or without undergrowth and are also found in scrub and grass and in deserted cultivation patches. Harington describes their note as a monotonous "chuk" constantly repeated.