283. Mixornis gularis rubrieapilla

(283) Mixornis gularis rubricapilla (Tickell).
THE ASSAM YELLOW-BREASTED BABBLER.
Mixornis rubricapilla rubricapilla, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 273.
Mixornis gularis rubricapilla, ibid. vol. viii, p. 604.
The Yellow-breasted Babbler is a species which has a very wide range and has been divided into many races the exact geographical limits of which are not quite satisfactorily worked out even now. Three subspecies certainly enter our boundaries and the nidification of all three of these is now well known.
The present race extends along the foot-hills of the Himalayas from Sikkim to Eastern Assam. It is found in the Chin and Kachin Hills and then down Arrakan and the Western side of Burma to North Tenasserim. In Assam it is extremely common in the hills South of the Brahmapootra, where it ascends as high as 2,500 feet, though it breeds most numerously below 2,000. In the Himalayas it is a bird of the foot-hills and plains only, extending far into the latter but, probably, not breeding much above 1,000 feet. The highest record I have for these hills is one taken in the Darjiling Districts at about 2,200 feet. It is said to occur in the Central Provinces but there is no record of it breeding there.
This Babbler prefers rather thin bamboo-jungle to all other cover, both of the giant and small clump variety and of the single small bamboo ; if there is a little grass and bush undergrowth so much the better, but the condition of the ground does not interest it greatly as it does not hunt therein for its food, nor does it place its nest there. It is also commonly found in any kind of scrub or bush cover, especially secondary growth, while I also found it breeding in land surrounding Miri villages, wide extents of grass¬land much grazed over and trodden by buffaloes, mixed here and there with a few clumps of bamboo and a good many thorny bushes. This was the only place in which I saw the birds feeding on the ground. Occasionally it ventures into deep evergreen forest for nesting purposes and I found one nest at Haflang, in North Cachar, built in a forest of magnificent timber with dense undergrowth.
The nest is placed in a bush or bamboo-clump anywhere from one to four feet from the ground. When placed in a bush it is nearly always so built that it is very well concealed by the sur-rounding leaves but, when built in bamboo, there seems to be no attempt at concealment ; nor, indeed, is this necessary, as the nest looks just like the hundred and one little clusters of bamboo- leaves which lie about everywhere and collect in all the jutting twigs and branches. In Pegu Oates took a nest built on the top of a stump and another in a shrub ten feet from the ground—both quite unusual positions in other parts of their habitat. The nest is nearly always made of bamboo-leaves alone, sometimes of broad grass-blades, sometimes of the two mixed. The lining, if any, is of finest grass or of fine fibrous roots. The nest is, I think, always globular, like a small football lying on its side, varying in size according to the amount of material used. I have seen them as small as five inches by four, sometimes as large as eight inches by five. When built in a bamboo-clump in the thick tufts of twigs which grow on the first few feet of the clumps it would be quite impossible to detect the nest until the bird quits it for, after it is built, other bamboo oddments fall on it and take away the general appearance of a nest very quickly.
They breed principally in May and June in Assam, a few nests and eggs being found both earlier and later ; however, in Burma the first few eggs may be found in March, and they continue to breed through April and May, whilst Oates found two nests, with eggs, on the 2nd and 28th June.
The eggs number three or four, occasionally five. The ground is china-white or white very faintly tinged with pink, and the surface is freely, but not heavily, speckled and blotched with very small blotches of red or reddish-brown ; sometimes these are scattered over the whole surface but, more generally, they are more numerous at the larger end, where they form a ring. Secondary specks are present, but not very obvious, of pale lavender-pink, often difficult to see without a glass.
In shape the eggs are rather long obtuse ovals, varying from this to rather broad ovals. The surface is fine and strong with a decided gloss.
One hundred and twenty eggs average 16.6 x 12.6 mm. : maxima 17.2 x 12.6 and 16.9 x 13.0 mm. ; minima 14.9 x 11.8 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
283. Mixornis gularis rubrieapilla
Spp Author: 
Tickell.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
283
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
237
Common name: 
Assam Yellow Breasted Babbler
M_ID: 
24352
M_SN: 
Macronus gularis rubicapilla
Volume: 
Vol. 1
Term name: 
id: 
13479

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