(270) Stachyris nigriceps nigriceps.
THE BLACK-THROATED BABBLER.
Stachyris nigriceps Hodgs., Blyth, J. A. S. B., xiii, p. 378 (1884) (Nepal); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 162.
Vernacular names. Sangriam-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Forehead, crown and nape black; the feathers edged with white, giving"a streaked appearance to these parts; round the eye white; ear-coverts golden-brown; cheeks white; a conspicuous deep brown or black supercilium ; chin and throat deep blackish grey, the feathers edged with white; whole upper plumage rich olive-brown, the quills of wings and tail edged rufous; lower plumage bright fulvous, the flanks, abdomen and under tail-coverts tinged with olivaceous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris reddish- or orange-brown; eyelids slaty ; bill horny-brown, the lower mandible fleshy-horny in winter; an summer the bill becomes much darker, blackish-horny above and slaty below; legs and feet fleshy-brown, greenish brown or more rarely yellowish.
Measurements. Total length about, 140 mm.; wing 58 to 62 mm.; tail about 55 mm.; tarsus about 21 mm.; culmen about 15 mm.
Distribution. Nepal, Sikkim and hills North of the Brahmaputra to the Miri Hills.
Nidification. The Black-throated Babbler breeds in May and June at all elevations from a few hundred feet up to at least 10,000, making a cup-shaped or domed nest of bamboo leaves and pieces of bracken, mixed and lined with grass. It measures 6" to 8" in height by some 4" to 6" in breadth and is always placed on the ground but generally on a bank so that it keeps well drained. It may be situated in almost any kind of cover. The eggs are pure white, broad, blunt ovals, they are stout in texture and have a fair gloss and number four or, more rarely, three. Fifty eggs average 19.2 x 14.7 mm.
Habits. This is a typical little Babbler in its habits, skulking about in thick undergrowth, in bamboo-jungle or mixed scrub and grass. It is found in small parties in winter which keep close together, seldom uttering any call beyond an occasional sweet, low whistle. It is purely insectivorous, finding its food in the lower cover and but seldom descending to the ground.