295. Rhopocichla atriceps bourdilloni

(295) Rhopocichla atriceps bourdilloni (Hume).
Rhopocichla atriceps bourdilloni, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 282.
This geographical race of the Black-fronted Babbler is confined to Travancore but does not, perhaps, extend to the extreme North, as Stewart thought the form he obtained there was nearer true atriceps than bourdilloni. Both Bourdillon and Stewart obtained fine series of nests and eggs of this quaint little Babbler, and the following is a summary of their notes sent to me with their scries of eggs:—
The Travancore Babbler is found throughout the whole of Travancore except, perhaps, in the extreme North. It is found at all elevations, both when breeding and at other times, but is more common above than below 2,000 feet. At the same time it is not rare either in the plains or at heights of 6,000 feet. Its favourite resort is forest with ample thick undergrowth, and Bourdillon says it is particularly fond of damp evergreen forests, breeding in these during the Rains, when the humidity is very great. It may also be found in bamboo-jungle and scrub, but only if these are dense and with much undergrowth. All the year round some of these little birds may be met with still in flocks of half a dozen to a dozen, for the breeding time is so diversified that there is no season at which a certain number are not resting from domestic labours. They are so sociable that those not actually nesting always get together and their constant, but not unmusical, chatter may be heard throughout the year.
The nest is oval or globular and seems invariably to be made from the leaves of the “eerul” reed. Sometimes it is lined with fine roots and fine grasses but, at other times, it would seem there is no lining at all. It is a flimsy affair, the reed-blades being very loosely and untidily put together, with but little attempt at inter¬lacing, whilst the lining, if present, is meagre and poorly con¬structed. The nest is placed in bushes, tangles of grass and creepers, or brambles, nearly always quite close to the ground and sometimes within a few inches of it, rarely more than five feet up.
The months in which most eggs are laid are April, May and June, but it seems to lay at odd times throughout the year, and Stewart has taken eggs in every month. The normal clutch of eggs is two only and, though Bourdillon twice took three, the latter number may be considered abnormal. One of Bourdillon’s clutches of three is also very small and unusually heavily marked.
The eggs are exactly like those of the Nilgiri bird and I have no eggs which call for remark other than the three already referred to.
Twenty-four eggs average 19.1 x 14.1 mm. : maxima 20.0 x 14.3 mm. and 19. 0 x 14.6 mm. ; minima 18.4 x 14.2 and 18.4 x 13.8 mm.

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: 
295. Rhopocichla atriceps bourdilloni
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Bourdillons Babbler
Rhopocichla atriceps bourdilloni
Vol. 1

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