(256) Turdinulus brevicaudatus striatus.
THE STREAKED WREN-BABBLER.
Turdinus striatus Blyth, J. A. S. B., xxxix, p. 269 (1870) (Khasia Hills). Corythocichla striata. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 148.
Vernacular names. Dao-pufli (Cachari).
Description. Differs from the Short-tailed Wren-Babbler in having the sides of the head brown, instead of deep ashy; the breast and lower plumage are brown merely tinged with rufous, and the wing-spots are less conspicuous and fulvous instead of white.
Colours of soft parts. Irides dark red; upper mandible dark brown, lower plumbeous, darkish at the base, paler elsewhere; mouth creamy-slate colour; legs and feet pale fleshy-brown.
Measurements. Length about 130 mm.; wing 56 to 61 mm.; tail about 44 to 46 mm.; tarsus about 24 mm.; culmen about 16 mm.
Distribution. Assam aud Manipur. Probably not North of the Brahmaputra.
Nidification. This Babbler breeds in May and June at all heights above 4,000 feet, invariably in very rocky ground on steep well-forested hill-sides. In the Khasia Hills it frequents rhododendron forest for breeding purposes, making its deep, cup-shaped or semi-domed nest of dead leaves, fern fronds, grass and moss bound together with roots and tendrils and lined with dead leaves. Although fairly well put together the materials are very rotten and the nest falls to pieces when handled. It is always placed on the ground, generally in some damp situation at the foot of a tree, rock or other cover and so closely resembles the rest of the decaying vegetation round it that is very hard to find.
The eggs number 2 to 4 and are a glossy china-white with rather sparse specks and spots, or small blotches, of reddish and pale pinkish purple. Thirty eggs average 21.3 x 16.0 mm.
Habits. This is one of the most shy birds and though not uncommon in suitable localities is seldom seen and still less often possible to watch. At the slightest sound or movement its links away at a great pace on foot and at once becomes invisible, though its low, chirring note may be continued close by until the intruder leaves. It is generally found in pairs but occasionally small family parties may be met with in the cold weather. It is a purely tree-forest bird and never seems to haunt the low scrub-jungle or secondary growth so beloved by many Babblers and, even the forest, to suit it, must be damp and shady and much broken up into rocky ravines and steep slopes. It is found up to the top of the highest hills in S. Assam but in the cold weather may be found down as low as 3,000 feet.