(252) Pellorneum tickelli tickelli.
Pellorneum tickelli Blyth, J. A. S. B., xxviii, p. 414 (1859) (Tenasserim). Drymocataphus tickelli. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 146.
Vernacular names. Dao-busha (Cachari).
Description. Whole upper plumage olive-brown ; the forehead more fulvous; the feathers of the crown pale-shafted ; tail rather more rufous than the back; lores, eyebrow and feathers round the eye pale fulvous; ear-coverts fulvous-brown with pale shafts; sides of the neck similar to the back but paler; cheeks and entire lower plumage fulvous, with indications of stripes on throat and breast; centre of abdomen and sometimes chin and throat albescent.
Colours of soft parts. Bill bluish or dusky-horny above, paler below and more fleshy ; iris reddish brown to Indian red; eyelids livid or dull greenish flesh-colour; legs, feet and claws fleshy-white.
Measurements. Total length about 150 to 160 mm.; wing 60 to 66mm.; tail 52 to 55 mm.; tarsus about 27 mm.; culmen 17 to 18 mm.
Distribution. Assam South of the Brahmaputra, but not East of the Naga Hills, through West Burma and Karenni to Tenasserim and Malay Peninsula, Siam to Annam.
Nidification. Tickell's Babbler breeds from early April to the end of May and also, possibly a second brood, in late June and July. It may be found at this season at all heights between 3,000 and 7,000 feet, more often over 4,000 feet than under that height. The nest is sometimes globular, frequently a deep cup made principally of fine grasses but with a few leaves, bamboo-spathes or even a scrap or two of dried moss or bracken leaves added to the outer fabric. The lining is always of fine grasses only. It is never placed actually on the ground though often within a few inches of it but is built in some low bush, tangle of creepers or raspberry-vines, or occasionally, in a bamboo clump. Scrub near to openings forms the favourite site, but I have taken nests in fairly deep forest.
The eggs, either three or four in number, are perfect miniatures of the dull-coloured eggs of the Dayal or Magpie-Robin. The ground-colour is a pale greenish grey, and the markings consist of numerous freckles and small blotches of pale reddish brown and secondary markings of lavender and purplish grey, scattered over the whole surface. The texture is fine and close, faintly glossed and the shape is a broad, blunt oval. Two hundred eggs average 20.3x15.7 mm.
Habits. Tickell's Babbler is a timid, skulking bird, haunting low brushwood or practically any efficient cover. As a rule all one sees is a small brown object squatting on the ground, which suddenly dives into the nearest bush. They feed much on the ground and are so loath to fly that even trapped birds, when released, flew on to the ground and then made off in long, bounding leaps. The only note I have heard is a soft, rippling " chir-chir."