246. Pellorneum palustre

(246) Pellorneum palustre Jerdon.
Pellorneum palustre, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 242.
The Marsh Spotted Babbler has so far only been found in the plains of Assam and the upland grass-hills of North Cachar, running between 1,000 and 2,5000 feet.
Stevens found it common in Lakhimpur both North and South of the Brahmapootra, while I obtained several specimens in North¬-West Lakhimpur at Dimagi. Further West than this it does not seem to occur North of the Brahmapootra. This Babbler haunts the great tracts of reeds and coarse high grass alongside swamps and rivers and, though it is very common, it is such a skulker that one seldom sees it. Its call, “chi-chew,” is constantly heard, giving warning of its presence, but I found it very hard to obtain specimens. In North Cachar I found it not rare in the grass-covered plateau near the Hot Springs. Here it kept much to the longer growth of ekra and elephant-grass growing in the hollows between the rolling hills, where there was nearly always a certain amount of water, either stagnant or running. The nests I came across were always found by accident whilst after Buffalo and Gour ; wounded animals would take me after them through this dense growth of grass and, more than once, I have seen the bird fly from its nest as I approached, Once I found the nest in quite short sun-grass about two feet high on the crest of a rounded hill, but more often they bred in the ekra and elephant-grass in the hollows, not quite at the bottom, where there was nearly always mud and water, but a little way up the sides of the hill where it was dry under foot. The nests were typical Spotted- Babbler’s nests, just balls of grass, lined with rather finer grass or a few ekra roots and built practically on the ground among the roots of the tangled growth. They were well hidden and, even when the birds gave away their presence by their constant little calls, would have defied being found by design, as they were always more or less covered by the matted roots and fallen stuff. Other nests taken at Dimagi and Lakhimpur, and one below Cherra, where the bird was first discovered, were in similar situations, though in stretches of ekra and grass far greater in extent than those in North Cachar. It is true the three or four found were all on the outskirts of these huge areas, but the birds could be heard calling in the interior of them, and they may have bred there also.
The eggs are just small replicas of those of Pellorneum r. mandellii, and fourteen average 20.3 x 15.7 mm. : maxima 22.0 x 17.0 mm. (a large double-yolked egg) , minima 19.3 x 14.9 mm.
The breeding season is, I think, from the beginning of June onwards, after the Rains in Assam have first broken ; one nest, however, was taken at Lakhimpur, near the Rangagora River, on the 22nd May.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
246. Pellorneum palustre
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Marsh Spotted Babbler
Marsh Babbler
Pellorneum palustre
Vol. 1

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