(397) Alcurus striatus (Blyth).
THE STRIATED GREEN Bulbul.
Alcurus striatus, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 379.
The Striated Bulbul has a very wide distribution, being obtained in Nepal and Sikkim, thence all along the Himalayas to the Chin Hills, Kachin Hills and Yunnan. In Burma it seems to be found throughout all the hill-ranges down to Tenasserim. It breeds, I believe, only at fairly high levels. In Sikkim Stevens obtained it between 4,700 and 6,100 feet, whilst Mandelli took a nest near Lebong at about 5,000 feet and Masson one at about 7,500 feet. In the Assam Hills its breeding range is certainly not below 4,000 feet, and probably runs between this and 7,000.
Very little is really known or recorded about this handsome Bulbul. Stevens says it is strictly confined to forest, and both he and other observers, such as Davison, all say that it keeps much to the higher trees. So far as I have seen this is not the case in the Hot Weather and Rains when the birds are breeding, at which time all those I have seen—they are but few— have been haunting low bush-scrub and undergrowth in rather stunted evergreen forest of Oak. Here and there in the forests were small patches of enor¬mous trees, providing nesting places for Hornbills etc., but the Bulbuls never seemed to frequent these.
The only nest recorded, other than those taken by myself, is the one obtained by Mandelli and described by Hume in ‘ Nests and Eggs,’ taken “about 4 feet from the ground amongst the foliage of a kind of prickly bamboo growing out of the crevices of a patch of large stones.” It seems to have corresponded well with those taken by myself, though Hume refers to it as being “altogether a light brown nest,” a feature not observable in mine. My own notes read :— “Personally I have taken two nests only of this species and have seen two others, all of which were much alike in shape, materials etc. Outwardly all four nests were composed of fine elastic twigs and coarse fern-roots, these materials being very strongly and closely interlaced with one another. Inside this are more twigs and roots, a few dead stems of weeds and, in one case, a few tiny scraps of fern and moss ; none of these are at all intertwisted, being merely wound round and round in the same manner as is the lining, which is composed entirely of very fine shreds of grass. The nests are fairly compact and rather stout, measuring externally 3.8 to 4.2 inches in diameter by about 1.5 to 1.75 in depth ; internally they measure about 3 inches by 1 or a little more.
“The first nest I took was found in a thick bush growing by the side of a path zig-zagging up the side of a steep hill. The parent birds flew out of the bush on my approach and kept hovering about, calling very loudly, much in the way the common Bengal Bulbul does. In spite, however, of my having noticed whence they flew, I was unable to find the nest, so at last came to the conclusion they had not to build. I therefore left the place and went on my way but ; I got to the turn of the path, just above the nest, one of the birds flew into it again, so I returned to have another search and this time, noting very carefully whence it flew, I suc¬ceeded in finding the prize. It was placed quite close to the ground and, besides being hidden by numerous thick twigs and branches, was half buried in dead leaves and also concealed by a thick creeper which grew over the bush. This nest was in fairly thick forest with dense undergrowth and the two nests which were brought to me were said to have been taken in much the same sort of place. The fourth nest was taken from a clump of small bamboos growing in mixed scrub and bamboo jungle.
“All four nests were found in June.
“One nest contained two young birds ; the other three each three eggs.”
The only other nest I have any information about is one taken by W. Macdonald above Darjiling at about 7,500 feet. The nest was sent to me with the skin of a cock bird. The former was like the one described and was said to have been taken in a bush in forest. This nest also contained three eggs.
Two clutches are in ground-colour a very pale cream faintly suffused with brown at the larger end. The primary markings consist of rather bold blots and small blotches of dark reddish- brown and very deep purple in colour ; these are scattered over the whole surface and are more numerous and form rings at the larger end ; the secondary marks are of grey and neutral tint of similar character and distribution.
The clutch from Darjiling has a rather bright pink ground, with dark chestnut primary and grey secondary markings dis¬tributed like those of the other clutches.
The two types are very unlike, yet both can be matched by eggs of almost any one of the birds of the genus Molpastes.
Twelve eggs average 22.05.x 16.3 mm. : maxima 23.0 x 17.2 mm. ; minima 21.0 x 16. and 22.1 x 15.3 mm.
Three of the clutches were broad ovals in shape, the third more narrow and pointed.
All the nests known were taken in June except Mandelli’s, which was taken on the 8th May.
397. Alcurus striatus
(397) Alcurus striatus (Blyth).