167. Rhopocichla nigrifrons.
The Black-fronted Babbler.
Alcippe nigrifrons, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xviii, p. 815 (1849); id. Cat. p. 340; Legge, S. F. iii, p. 367 ; Hume, S. F. vii, p. 383; id. Cat. no. 390 ter; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 507, pl. xxvii, figs. 2 & 3; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 625. Rhopocichla nigrifrons (Blyth), Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 110.
Coloration. Forehead, ear-coverts, and all round the eye black, the shafts of the feathers of the forehead glistening; the whole upper plumage, sides of neck, and visible portions of the wings and tail rufous-brown, darkest on the crown; lower plumage, cheeks, and under the ear-coverts dull white, tinged with olivaceous on the sides of the breast and body; vent, thighs, and under tail-coverts rufous-brown; the feathers of the cheeks with Lengthened black shafts; under wing-coverts pale fulvous.
Iris yellowish white or very pale yellow; bill, gape, and culmen dark brown, margins of the upper and lower mandibles fleshy; legs and feet fleshy lavender; claws dusky; iris of young olive (Legge).
Length nearly 5.5; tail 2; wing 2.3; tarsus .85; bill from gape .7.
Habits, &c. According to Legge this bird breeds in Ceylon in January. The nest is a large shapeless ball of dead leaves and a few twigs, placed in a bramble or some undergrowth three or four feet from the ground. The eggs are white spotted with brownish red over bluish-grey specks, and measure .74 by .56.
The same author observes that this species frequents dense underwood in parties of six to a dozen, searching for food among the fallen leaves, and that it keeps up a constant little rattle-note.