The name Urocichla is pre-occupied but the birds placed by Sharpe in that genus are congeneric with those which he placed in his following new genus Spelaeornis in the Catalogue of Birds. This name is therefore applicable.
The birds of this genus have short, rounded tails of 10 feathers only; the plumage is soft and full and the feathers squamated; the bill is like that of Elachura and Troglodytes but stouter than either; the tarsi are long and strong and the feet the same. The sexes are alike but the young differ from the adults in being unmarked above and, generally, in having redder wing-quills.
Key to Species.
A. Lower plumage without any black and [p. 451.
white bars S. longicaudatus,
B. Lower plumage barred with black and
white S. caudatus, p. 456.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Under parts fulvous-rufous, neither barred [p. 452.
nor spotted S. I. longicaudatus,
B. Under parts rufous with black terminal
spots S. l. chocolatinus, p. 453.
C. Under parts principally grey, more or less tinged with rufous on flanks.
a. No distinct spots on lower plumage .... S. l. reptatus, p. 455.
b. Lower plumage conspicuously marked
with dark brown terminal and dull
white subterminal spots S. l. sinlumensis, p. 453.
c. Sides of breast more strongly tinged with
rufous and spotting on lower plumage
less conspicuous S. l. kauriensis, p. 454.
D. Whole lower plumage practically white
with triangular black tips S. l. oatesi9 p. 455.
At present there is so little material available for examination that it is difficult to say whether or not some of the hitherto so-called species are even good subspecies and with better series some may have to be done away with. Spelaeornis l. kauriensis, for instance, is very probably nothing more than feebly marked specimens of S. Z. sinlumensis, both occurring in the Bhamo Hills at about the same elevation. On the other hand, more material might possibly show that in Spelaeornis longicaudatus^ Spelaeornis sinlumensis and Spelaeornis oatesi we have three quite good species. For the present it seems safer to retain them all as geographical
races of longicaudatus, dealing with them more definitely when we have more specimens for examination.