116. Pomatorhinus schisticeps.
The Slaty-headed Scimitar Babbler.
Pomatorhinus schisticeps, Hodgs. As. Res. xix, p. 181 (1836) ; Blyth, Cat. p. 146; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 234; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 29; Hume, N. & E. p. 250; Wardlaw Ramsay, Ibis, 1878, p. 132, pl. iii; Hume, Cat. no. 402; Scully, S. F. viii, p. 288; Hume, S. F. ix, p. 251; Oates, B. B. i. p. 72; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 411; Hume, S. F. xi, p. 148; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 81. Pomatorhinus leucogaster, Gould, P. Z. S, 1837, p. 137; Blyth, Cat. p. 146; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 30 ; Hume, Cat. no. 403. Pomatorhinus pinwilli, Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 413 (1883).
The Slaty-headed Scimitar Babbler, Gould's Scimitar Babbler, Jerd.; Pabdoa, Beng.; Phoyeum-pho or Pharreeum-pho, Lepch.; Bhiakuroh of the Parbuttiahs.
Coloration. Forehead, crown, and nape dark slate-colour, the shafts darker; upper plumage and wing-coverts rufescent olive-brown ; a very distinct supercilium, reaching from the nostrils to the nape, white; lores and ear-coverts black; chin, throat, cheeks, breast, and abdomen white; a large patch on the side of the neck produced down the sides of the breast and abdomen chestnut; the portion below the neck streaked with white; sides of the body, vent, and under tail-coverts dusky olive-brown.
The colour of the crown varies much, being frequently the same colour as the back or very little darker. An indistinct rufous collar is sometimes present On the hind neck in birds from Assam and Tipperah.
Bill horny yellow; the base of the upper mandible dusky; iris reddish cream-colour; feet plumbeous, the soles yellowish; claws livid horny (Scully).
Length about 10 ; tail 4.5; wing 4; tarsus 1.3; bill from gape 1.2.
On examining the large series of this bird in the British Museum which has become available since Sharpe wrote his Catalogue of this family, it seems quite impossible to recognize P. pinwilli as a species or even as a race, all the characters pointed out as belonging to it being shared by others throughout the Himalayas to Assam. Simla birds are no doubt small, but the size increases gradually, ranging, as regards the Length of wing, from 3.6 at Simla to 4.4 in Arrakan.
Distribution. Throughout the Himalayas from Simla to Sadiya, and through the hill-tracts of Eastern Bengal, Tipperah, Cachar, and Manipur to Arrakan.
Habits, &c. Breeds in Sikhim from April to June, constructing a cup-like nest of grass and leaves on or near the ground in brushwood and thick grass. The eggs, usually four in number, measure 1 by .73.