(616) Arrenga blighi.
The Ceylon Whistling-Thrush.
Arrenga blighi Holdsworth, P. Z. S., 1872, p. 444, pi. 19 (Cevlon); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 183.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Male. Whole plumage dark brown; the head and neck are almost black; rump, vent and tail paler and the latter obsoletely edged with reddish ; lesser wing-coverts bright cobalt-blue ; neck, breast, back and wing-coverts suffused with deep blue.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown; bill black; legs and feet dark horny-brown to blackish.
Measurements. Total length about 200 mm.; wing 113 mm.; tail 75 mm.; tarsus 35 mm.; culmen 21 mm.
Female. Whole plumage ferruginous brown, lighter below, especially on the fore-neck; the lesser wing-coverts are the same as in the male and there is just a faint indication of the blue suffusion on the back and wings.
Colours of soft parts are similar to those of the male.
Measurements. Wing 109 to 110 mm.; tail 69 to 71 mm.; tarsus 35 mm.; culmen 19 mm.
The British Museum has only three specimens of this bird, one male and two females. Oates* supposed young male is undoubtedly a female.
Distribution. Ceylon only.
Nidification. The Ceylon Whistling-Thrush breeds in March (Tunnard) and in April, during which latter month Captain T. Aldworth took several nests. They are very massive structures, much like those of Myiophoneus, made almost entirely of green moss and lined with black roots. They are placed on ledges and in crevices of rocks either in or beside streams and owing to its position the outside is nearly always wet though the inside may be warm and dry enough. The normal full clutch of eggs is two, or occasionally only one. They are small replicas of the eggs of the Himalayan Whistling-Thrush and range through the same variations in markings. One pair of eggs taken by Captain Aldworth is very well marked, better than in any of the many hundred eggs I have seen of the other Whistling-Thrushes. The six eggs in my collection vary from 29.3 x 21.4 to 34.2 x 20.3 mm. and in breadth from that of the latter egg to 31.6 X 22.2 mm.
Habits. This seems to be entirely a forest bird, frequenting streams running through well-wooded and rocky country between 3,000 and 6,000 feet. In its actions, voice and food it very closely resembles the birds of the genus Myiophoneus but its flight is slower and less well sustained. It is a shy bird and difficult to flush except in the breeding-season.