(462) Elachura formosa.
THE SPOTTED WREN.
Troglodytes formosus Walden, Ibis, 1874, p. 91 (Darjeeling). Elachura punctata. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 339.
Vernacular names. Marchek-pho (Lepcha).
Description. The upper plumage and wing-coverts dark brown tinged with rufous on the lower rump and upper tail-coverts, each feather with a small, subterminal white spot bordered above and below with black; inner webs of quills brown, the outer barred with chestnut and black; tail reddish-brown, cross-barred with black; lower plumage pale fulvous, inclining to rufous on the abdomen and flanks, each feather with a triangular white spot, above which is a smaller black one; all the feathers delicately vermiculated with white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; legs horny-brown; bill horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 110 to 115 mm.; wing 49 to 60 mm.; tail 30 mm.; tarsus 18 to 19 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim to Eastern Assam. Stevens records obtaining his specimens at Panchnoi, Dafla Hills, at quite low elevations.
Nidification. Several clutches of this Wren's eggs were obtained by Mr. W. P. Masson and Mr. K. Macdonald in Sikkim round about Darjeeling and in Native Sikkim. The former reported them as very common on the Singa-lila Ridge above 9,000 feet. The nest was described as a deep, semi-domed cup made of dead leaves, grass, roots, etc., densely lined with feathers and placed on the ground on a bank, half hidden in fallen rubbish or well concealed by the undergrowth. The eggs seem to number 3 or 4 only and are rather glossy, with a fine hard surface. In colour they are pure white with a few specks of reddish-brown. The few eggs I have seen measured about 16.5 x 12.5 mm.
Habits. Mr. Masson informed me that these birds were typical little Wrens in their behavior, keeping much to their legs and apparently 1oth to take wing unless very hard pressed As they live principally in deep forest with plentiful undergrowth and much broken with moss-covered boulders and rocks, it is not often one can force them to flight.