(90) Paradoxornis flavirostris.
Paradoxornis flavirostris Gould, P. Z. S., iv, p. 17 (1836) (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 62.
Vernacular names. Dao mougasha gadeba (Cachari); But-but Sorai (Plains Miri).
Description. Forehead, nape, sides of neck and hinder parts of ear-coverts dull chestnut; lores black; feathers round the eye and a patch under it white, the bases of the feathers more or less black; anterior two-thirds of ear-coverts and the point of the chin black; cheeks and chin white barred with black; throat black; upper plumage fulvous-brown, rufous on the tail and visible portion of wings ; lower plumage fulvous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep red or red-brown; bill wax-yellow to bright yellow; legs clear slate or plumbeous grey.
Measurements. Length about 180 mm.; wing about 85 to 90mm.; tail about 100 to 110mm.; tarsus about 30 mm.; culmen about 12 mm.
Distribution. From Nepal to the Chin Hills and the hills south of the Brahmaputra from the foothills up to 5,000 or even 7,000 feet.
Nidification. This Parrot-Bill breeds in April and May and the early part of June, making a very compact, deep nest of soft grasses, a few shreds of bamboo-leaves and the bark of reeds, well coated over with cobwebs and lined with fine grass-stems. It is placed either in reeds, bamboo clumps or in bushes, low down and generally well concealed but sometimes quite exposed. The eggs are normdly only two in number, sometimes three. They are pure white in ground-colour, very sparsely speckled and spotted with tiny pinky-brown marks. Occasionally eggs are found which are more like those of Psittiparus, but such are very rare. Thirty-five eggs average 21.9 x 16.2 mm.
Habits. Gould's Parrot-Bill is found from the level of the plains of North Assam up to 7,500 feet in the Naga Hills, at which eleva¬tion Col. Tytler repeatedly took its nest. It is a shy, retiring bird, the flocks in the cold weather skulking about in grass and reeds, climbing with considerable agility but very loath to fly and then usually only fluttering away into thicker cover a few yards distant. When unaware that they are being watched they are in the habit of fluttering a few feet into the air above the reeds or bushes uttering a loud chirrup as they rise. They have the same bleating or mewing cry which seems to be common to the family. Although principally insect-feeders they also eat seeds and berries. Stevens refers to the curious snapping sounds made by these birds with their bills when feeding.