(251) Pellorneum nigricapitatum.
THE BLACK-CAPPED BABBLED..
Brachypterus nigricapitata Eyton, P. Z. S., 1889, p. 103 (Malaya). Drymocataphus nigricapitatus. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 145.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. The lores, a broad supercilium reaching to the nape and the cheeks grey, each feather with a white shaft-stripe; ear-coverts ashy-rufous with whitish shafts; a very narrow moustachial stripe black; forehead, crown and nape black; the whole upper plumage, tail and exposed, parts of the wing deep ferruginous brown; chin and throat white ; sides of neck and the whole lower plumage ferruginous, brightest on the breast and tinged with brown on the flanks, lower abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts.
Colours of soft parts. Iris rhubarb-red; upper mandible black, lower fleshy-white; legs and feet fleshy-white, slightly tinged with brown or reddish-horny.
Measurements. Total length about 170 to 180 mm.; wing 69 to 72 mm.; tail about 52 to 54 mm.; tarsus about 28 mm.; culmen about 17 mm.
Distribution. Tenasserim and S.W. Siam, down the Malay Peninsula to Sumatra.
Nidification. Davison describes the nest as being built on the ground, of coarse fern roots on a foundation of twigs and leaves. It was placed at the base of a small clump of ferns and contained two eggs. They are described as creamy-white, densely speckled all over with inky-purple and purplish brown. They measure 20.8X15.7 mm.
Habits. The Black-capped Babbler appears to be more essentially a ground bird than any of its relations. Davison says that he never found it off the ground, and even when pressed to flight it always alighted again on the ground. It has the same shy, skulking habits of the birds of this and the last genus, and inhabits dense cover, most often in heavy forest. Its note is said to be a single loud call, and it is usually found alone or in pairs *.
* Drymocataphus rubiginosus Walden, A. M. N. H. xv, p. 402 (1875) (Karennee) are nothing but young Pomatorhini of some kind.