(254) Cursonia crispifrons.
THE LIME-ROCK BABBLER.
Turdinus crispifrons Blyth, J. A .S. B., xxiv, p. 269 (1855) (Tenasserim). Gypsophila crispifrons. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 149.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult. Whole head, neck and lower plumage pure white; upper plumage olive-brown, the feathers of the back margined with black; each inner secondary of the wing-quills minutely tipped with white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris pale red, red, light red, deep red-brown ; upper mandible dark brown, lower pale plumbeous ; legs, feet and claws dark purplish green (Hume Coll.).
Measurements. Total length about 190 mm.; wing about 78 to 83 mm.; tail about 74 to 77 mm.; tarsus about 28 mm. ; culmen about 17 to 19 mm.
Birds of the first year have the forehead to back olive-brown, each feather margined with black; the rump, upper tail-coverts, tail and exposed portions of wing olive-brown; the sides of the forehead and a short supercilium are greyish white with black specks; chin, throat and upper breast white, streaked with dark brown, especially on the breast; remainder of lower plumage ochraceous olive-brown.
Birds in intermediate plumage have the forehead and a varying amount of the sides of the head white; the chin and throat become pure white, and even the upper breast loses many of the streaks.
The adult plumage seems to take some time to acquire, and probably, as in Gampsorhynchus, the wholly pure white head and under parts are not acquired until the bird is two years old.
Distribution. The limestone ranges of Tenasserim, such as those at Wimpong, the Toungsha Gyne River and Momenzeik.
Habits. Davison says that they wander about the limestone rocks in pairs, singly or in small parties. They are excessively-lively, sprightly birds, keeping up a continuous twittering, chattering note, and occasionally one will perch itself on some point of a rock and, with lowered wings and erected tail, pour forth a fine and powerful song. They feed principally on insects and land-shells, but also in part on seeds. They are not shy and are easy to watch and procure. He observes that this bird is " really a little Thrush."