226. Xiphiramphus superciliaris superciliaris

(226) Xiphiramphus superciliaris superciliaris Blyth.
THE SIKHIM SLENDER-BILLED SCIMITAR-BABBLER.
Xiphiramphus superciliaris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 224.
This little Scimitar-Babbler is resident and breeds between 3,000 and 8,000 feet from Sikkim and Eastern Nepal to the mountains North and South of the Brahmapootra. Stevens, however, found it during April and May as high as 10,000 feet in Sikkim. In Assam South of the Brahmapootra I only once found it below 5,000 feet, and in the Khasia Hills its rare appearances, when breeding, were only between 5,200 and 6,000 feet.
It is a bird of very dense cover. Stevens found this bird in May and June in “the dense maling bamboo thickets.” In N. Cachar I found it in the stunted Oak forests where the undergrowth was exceptionally thick, whilst in the Khasia Hills it frequented evergreen forest and especially the dense Oak and Rhododendron forest on the rocky and broken ridges above Shillong and about 6,000 feet elevation.
The nests found have all been like that described by Hodgson— “large globular ones, composed of dry bamboo leaves and green grass, intermingled and lined with fine roots and fibres. It was placed in the crown of a stump from 2 to 3 feet from the ground. Sometimes the nests are placed in tufts of high grass or in bushes, but never at any great elevation from the ground." This description would suit any of the other nests taken except that all of them were nests which were either on, or almost on, the ground.
Gammie, however, describes a very different nest. He writes : “I took a nest of this Scimitar-Babbler on the 29th May, in the middle of the large forest on the top of the Mahaldorum ridge, at about 7,000 feet elevation. It was built on the ground, on the top of a dry bank at the side of a path, and was overhung by a few grassy weeds. In shape it was a blunt cone, laid on its side, with the entrance at the wide end. It was loosely made of the dead leaves of a deciduous orchid (Pleione Wallichiana), small bamboo, chestnut and grass, intermixed with decaying stems of small climbing plants.”
This Babbler seems to have a long breeding season for I have taken eggs from the 27th April to the 6th July.
They lay three to five eggs, perhaps a little more glossy than most eggs of Scimitar-Babblers but, otherwise, quite typical.
Thirty eggs average 23.7 x 17.8 mm. : maxima 26.1 x 19.9 mm. minima 22.4 x 18.0 and 23.2 x 16.8 mm.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
226. Xiphiramphus superciliaris superciliaris
Spp Author: 
Sericea
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
226
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
187
Common name: 
Sikkim Slender Billed Scimitar Babbler
M_ID: 
24238
M_SN: 
Pomatorhinus superciliaris superciliaris
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
13430

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