(94) Suthora poliotis poliotis.
Suthora poliotis Blyth, J. A. S. B., xx, p. 522 (1851) (Cherrapanji,. Khasia Hills); Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 65.
Vernacular names. Dao mougasha kashiba (Cachari).
Description. Upper plumage bright orange-brown; a broad black supercilium extending to the nape and a narrow white line-below it; lores, cheeks and under the eye white; ear-coverts and sides of the neck slaty-blue; a streak of fulvous behind the eye and over the front part of the ear-coverts; chin and throat black; lower plumage bluish grey, becoming whitish on the abdomen and under tail-coverts; primary-coverts black; primaries, with hoary outer webs, tinged with chestnut at the base; the outer quills chiefly chestnut on the outer webs and tipped with white; tail chestnut broadly tipped with blackish.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; legs slate-grey or bluish slaty; bill fleshy yellow.
Measurements. Length about 100 mm.; wing 44 to 46 mm.; tail about 52 mm.; culmen about 5 mm.
Distribution. Hills south of the Brahmaputra from the Khasia Hills to the Eastern Naga Hills.
Nidification. This little bird breeds in the Khasia and N. Cachar Hills in May and June, making a very neat little, cup-shaped nest of fine grasses and shreds of bamboo-leaves well fastened together with cobwebs and lined with the finest grass-stems. It is placed low down in thick bushes or tangles of creepers, both in scrub jungle and evergreen forest. The eggs are generally three in number and are of a rather deep hedge-sparrow's egg-blue, unspotted. In shape they are rather broad ovals with the smaller end broad and blunt. Twenty eggs average 15.7x11.9 mm.
Habits. Blyth's Suthora seems to be found at elevations between 2,000 and 4,000 feet, wandering about in small flocks in the denser undergrowth in evergreen forest or, less often, in scrub and secondary growth. They are great skulkers and very hard to get a shot at as they climb and scramble through the lower parts of the bushes, only showing themselves for a second or two as they feebly flit from one bush to another. Their call-note is a very plaintive little bleat, constantly uttered by each member of the flock, and they also have a variety of low cheeps and " chirrs." They feed both on insects and grass-seeds, etc.
Hellmayr ('Genera Avium,' p. 73) considers daflaensis separable from true poliotis in that it has the feathers of the chin and throat with longer white fringes than has the latter bird. I cannot separate the two races with the material available.