(226) Xiphiramphus superciliaris.
THE SLENDER-BILLED SCIMITAR-BABBLER.
Xiphiramphus superciliaris Blyth, J. A. S. B., xi, p. 175 (1842). (Sikkim) ; Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 128.
Vernacular names. Karriok-tamveep (Lepcha). Description. Lores black; chin and throat white streaked with ashy ; a white supercilium, the rest of the head slaty-grey; upper-plumage bright rufous-brown; tail dark brown or blackish, the outer webs tinged with rufous at the base; wings dark brown, the outer webs olive-brown and the inner secondaries rufous-brown ; breast and abdomen ferruginous; flanks, vent and under tail-coverts rufous-brown ; thighs plumbeous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown to almost vermilion ; bill black, paler at tip ; legs dull grey, horny-grey, or plumbeous brown.
Measurements. Length about 210 to 220 mm.; wing about 72 to 77 mm.; tail about 90 mm.; tarsus about 30 mm.; culmen about 55 to 60 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim, Bhutan and hills South of the Brahma¬putra. I obtained it in both the Khasia and Cachar Hills, and have had it sent me from the Naga Hills.
Nidification. This bird breeds from April to July between 4,500 and 8,000 feet, but as a rule over 5,000 feet. It makes the usual grass-ball nest, rather more tidy and neat than most Scimitar-Babblers and measuring roughly about 6" in diameter. The eggs, three to five in number, are like those of the genus Pomatorhinus, and measure about 23.8 x 18.1 mm.
Habits. These are typically those of the Scimitar-Babblers, but as far as I saw they were always in pairs, not flocks. Their voice is a high-pitched replica of the triple "hoot," a quite sweet note and not often uttered. They were seen frequently in bracken and fern cover and are also sometimes found in Fine forests in which the undergrowth is very scanty and confined to the ravines and hollows.