469. Spelseornis longicaudatus oatesi

(469) Spelaeornis longicaudatus oatesi (Rippon).
Speloeornis longicaudatus oatesi, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 455.
The Chin Hills Long-tailed Wren is confined entirely to the country from which it was named, frequenting the hills between 5,000 and 9,000 feet.
Although on the whole it frequents much the same kind of country and forest as the Assam form, it apparently is also sometimes found in rather more open scrub and jungle.
Venning was the first to take the nest and eggs of this bird, which he describes in a letter quoted by Harington (Ibis, 1914, p. 16):— “One nest was obtained on the 30th April, on a sloping bank of dried grass beneath some trees. The bird was shot as it left the nest. The nest was a large oval-shaped domed structure, composed of an outer layer of dead leaves, canna-leaves, coarse grass etc. ; inside 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 one-sixteenth of an inch thick, composed, as far as I could determine, of a substance which looked like chewed thistledown or chewed grass. The bottom of the nest, when first found was quite moist from contact with the damp ground. The dimensions of the whole were : Exterior height six inches, diameter back to front five inches, side to side four inches. Entrance near the top about two inches across by one and a half high. Interior dimensions two inches each way ; depth of cup inside from entrance about one inch. Eggs three in number, dull white, sparingly freckled with reddish and faint purple.”
Apparently two other nests were taken near Haka, one with two eggs on the 24th May and one with three eggs on the 27th April, 1910.
In Cook’s collection I found two clutches taken on Mt. Victoria, Chin Hills, one of three and one of four eggs, marked, in his hand¬writing, 19.4.13 and 12.3.14.
Both Mackenzie and Hopwood also found nests and eggs of this Wren in the Chin Hills, Mackenzie taking one on the 29th April and one on the 5th May. The former contained three hard-set eggs and the latter a single fresh egg.
It would appear, therefore, that the Chin Hills bird is an earlier breeder than the other races, commencing lay in early March and from then up to the end of May.
Fourteen eggs in my collection, including nearly all those referred to above, are just like the eggs already described of the Assam form but, curiously enough, nearly all have a distinct tinge of pink in the ground-colour and the pure white ones are the_exception.
They average, with six others, twenty in all, 18.1 x 14.6 mm. : maxima 19.2 x 15.0 and 19.0 x15.2 mm. ; minima 17.2 x 14.0 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: 
469. Spelseornis longicaudatus oatesi
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Chin Hill Long Tailed Wren
Chin Hills Wren-Babbler
Spelaeornis oatesi
Vol. 1
Term name: 

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