203. Pomatorhinus nuchalis

Pomatorhinus nuchalis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 208.
This Scimitar-Babbler inhabits Eastern Burma, East of the Sittaung, from Papun in the South to the North of the Northern Shan States. Cook found it breeding in Thayetmyo, whilst Hopwood and Mackenzie both observed it at Prome. The earliest record of its breeding is that of Harington in the South Shan States. He writes (Journ. Bomb. Nat. Hist. Soc. vol. xv, p. 519, 1904) : “On the 6th May, 1902, at Loilem, South Shan States, I found a Scimitar-Babbler’s nest containing three eggs. The bird unfor¬tunately escaped and deserted the nest, not coming back the next day. The nest was cup-shaped, composed of grass and leaf-stems and placed in a bush about two feet from the ground.”
In 1911 Mr. S. M. Robinson found the nest of this Babbler at Thandaung “ where there is a high cutting. The hill above is covered with heavy bamboo jungle, and the dead leaves falling have collected on the ledges of rock. The nest was cup-shaped, almost covered with the dead leaves, and was 3.3/4" deep by 3.5/8" in diameter (inside). It consisted of dead bamboo leaves loosely rolled round the cup and strapped round with narrow leaves of a coarse grass between the layers of the bamboo leaves to keep them together. Inside dry grass-bents and finished with fine grass. The eggs were three.”
Unlike these cup-shaped nests, which I think must be exceptional, are others, all dome-shaped, found by Cook (ibid. vol. xxi, p. 659), who records that "the nest was placed in a bamboo clump and about 3" from the ground and egg-shaped in form, the aperture being much closer to the top than to the bottom ; the lower part of the nest was a fairly deep cup. It was carefully lined inside with dried grass and packed exteriorly with dried bamboo leaves, so that the nest on first sight looked like a collection of leaves.
“I think the 30th October an unusual time of year for any of the Babblers to be laying.”
Mackenzie’s nest was, like so many Scimitar-Babblers’ nests found by myself, a domed affair shaped like a large egg lying on its side, with the entrance at the smaller end. It was placed low down in a bamboo-clump, which seems to be the favourite nesting¬-site for this bird. All other accounts also agree in describing this bird’s haunts as dense bamboo-jungle or the thick secondary growth in deserted cultivation. Less often it is found in thick grass and scrub.
The very few eggs I have been able to measure vary between 24.2 x 18.8 and 23.0 x 17.3 mm. ; but Mackenzie measured eggs, broken and not kept, as running from 23.5 x 17.5 to 26.75 x 18.5 mm. Including all his and Robinson’s eggs, which latter I have not seen, the average of twelve eggs is 24.2 x 17.8 mm.
Nests have been taken in April (Robinson), May (Harington), July (Mackenzie) and October (Cook), so it is difficult to say what is really the breeding season ; but in addition to the nests taken by himself, Mackenzie had others brought to him by reliable Burmans in September and October. It looks rather as if this bird bred twice, first in April and May and then a second time in September and October.

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: 
203. Pomatorhinus nuchalis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Tweeddales Scimitar Babbler
Pomatorhinus schisticeps nuchalis
Vol. 1

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