347. Salpornis spilonota.
The Spotted-Grey Creeper.
Certhia spilonota, Frankl. P. Z. S. 1831, p. 121. Salpornis spilonota (Frankl.), Jerd. B. I. i, p. 382; Blanf. J. A.S. B. xxxviii, p. 170; Adam, S. F. i, p. 375 ; Ball, S. F. ii, p. 397; Hume, Cat. no. 240 ; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 300 ; Gadow, Cat. B. M. viii, p. 330; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 139; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 220.
Coloration. Lores and a line behind the eye black; above these a broad white supercilium; ear-coverts, cheeks, chin, and throat white ; crown ashy brown streaked with white ; the whole upper plumage and wing-coverts black spotted with white; quills dark brown, spotted with white on both webs and partially barred with blackish; tail black, barred with white, the bars interrupted at the shaft, and the middle feathers ashy down the middle; lower plumage pale fulvous barred with black.
The young appear to resemble the adults.
Legs and feet blackish plumbeous; bill blackish, light below; iris dark brown (Hume).
Length about 6; tail 2.3; wing 3.5; tarsus .65; bill from gapel.
Distribution. Throughout a considerable portion of the plains of India, from the foot of the Himalayas southwards to near the Kistna river. On the west the limits of this species appear to be Gurgaon, Sambhar, Ajmere, and Abu. Further south it has been met with at Dhulia in Khandesh, and Blanford records it from Chanda, Sironcha, and the Godavari valley. Ball obtained it at Sambalpur and at various localities in Chutia Nagpur, and I have seen a specimen collected in Behar, but in what particular part of it was not recorded. Our knowledge of the distribution of this peculiar bird is therefore far from satisfactory.
Habits, &c. Blanford writes : - " These birds keep to the largest trees, running round the stems in all directions and flying with a steady flight, not unlike that of a Woodpecker, but swifter and more elegant. They have a whistling note." Mr. Cleveland found the nest in Gurgaon on the 16th April. It was placed on a horizontal bough of a tree and attached to a vertical shoot. It was cup-shaped, and composed of bits of leaf-stalk and leaves, chips of bark, and the dung of caterpillars, bound together by cobwebs ; it was very firm and elastic. The nest contained two young birds and one egg. This latter was greenish white, with a ring of blackish-brown specks round the large end, and a few specks over the remainder of the shell. It measured .68 by .53.