(469) Spelaeornis longicaudatus oatesi.
Rippon's Long-tailed Wren.
Urocichla oatesi Rippon. Bull. B. O. C., xiv, p. 83 (1904) (Mt. Victoria).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Upper plumage and wings fulvous-brown, with faint dark margins to the feathers and slightly more rufous on the rump and tail; lores, sides of forehead and cheeks grey; ear-coverts greyish-fulvous to golden-brown; below white with triangular terminal spots of blackish brown; in some cases the lower plumage is faintly tinged with fulvous, especially on the aides; flanks brown obscurely barred with blackish; under tail-coverts rufous The white colour of the lower parts at once distinguishes this race from all the others.
Colours of soft parts. Iris red-brown; bill dark horny-brown; legs brownish-fleshy.
Measurements. Wing 47 to 49 mm.; tail 37 to 39 mm.; tarsus 21 mm.; culmen 12 to 13 mm.
Distribution. Chin Hills above 5,000 feet.
Nidification. Major Venning and Mr. F. Grant found this Wren breeding in the Chin Hills between 5,000 and 9,000 feet in March, April and May, eggs' being found between the 12th March and the 24th May, two fresh eggs having been taken on the latter date. The nest is typical of that of the genus. Venning describes one taken by him as " a large, oval, domed-shaped structure, composed of an outer layer of dead leaves, canna leaves, coarse grass, etc., inside which was a layer of grass stems, fibres and a little moss, the cup being lined up to the level of the entrance with a plaster about 1/16 inch thick, composed, as far as I could determine, of a substance which looked like chewed thistle stem or chewed grass. The dimensions were : exterior height 6 in., diameters 5 in. and 4 in." Other nests taken were exactly like the one described; they were all placed on damp ground in undergrowth or grass in forest.
The eggs, which number two to four in a full clutch, are not distinguishable from those of the Assam race. Fifteen eggs average about 18.2 x 14.6 mm.
Habits. There is practically nothing on record about this bird, but it is not likely that its habits differ in any way from those of the other races. It, however, seems occasionally to be found in rather more open country.