551. Ianthia indica indica

(551) Ianthia indica indica.

The White-browed Bush-Robin.

Sylvia indica Vieill., Nouv. Diet. d'Hist. Nat. xi, p. 267 (1817) (India, Darjiling). Ianthia indica. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 107.

Vernacular names. None recorded.

Description.— Adult male. Feathers next the nostrils and lores black; forehead and broad supercilium to the nape white; whole upper plumage slaty-blue ; sides of head and neck blackish ; wing-quills brown edged with golden-rufous ; inner coverts slaty-blue, outer coverts edged with golden-rufous ; tail black suffused with blue on the outer webs ; lower plumage orange-rufous, richest on the breast, albescent on the centre of the abdomen, vent and under tail-coverts.

Colours of soft parts. Iris brown ; bill black ; legs pale horny-brown to light reddish brown.

Measurements. Total length about 155 mm.; wing 79 to 82 mm.; tail 64 to 72 mm.; tarsus 28 mm.; culmen 12 mm.

Female. "Whole upper plumage dark olive-brown, the rump slightly fulvescent; a partially concealed white supercilium ; wings and tail brown edged with olive-brown ; a ring of pale fulvous feathers round the eye; sides of head and lores mixed brown and ochre ; below dull rufous-ochre, paler on abdomen and vent.

Distribution. Garhwal (Osmaston), Nepal, Sikkim and the hills of Assam, East to the Shan States and Yunnan.

Nidification. I found this bird breeding in the Khasia Hills at and above 5,000 ft. and took the nests in April, catching the birds on the nest in both cases. These same pairs bred again in June quite close to their original nests. These latter were made of very soft grass and dead moss, the rather scanty lining being of grass and maiden-hair fern and roots. In addition to the grass one pair of birds made a foundation of leaves on which they placed the cup-shaped nest proper. Two nests were placed under stones and two amongst the roots of trees growing in a steep ravine running through pine-forest. The birds were extra¬ordinarily tame and the male constantly displayed to the female as we watched them. He commenced by perching on a high stone or the top twig of a low bush and then dropping his wings down to his feet and a little spread, he quivered them rapidly, at the same time expanding his tail and nicking it up with rapid little jerks. The performance lasted a couple of minutes, after which he indulged in a little restorative feeding. The female, as seems usual with all birds, treated his performance with the utmost contempt. The eggs, three or four in number, are not distinguishable from those of the Kashmir bird and measure about 17.6 x 13.3 mm.

Habits. The little I saw of these birds in the Khasia Hills proved them to possess the most confiding nature. When the nests were found nooses were set in the presence of the birds, who walked into them almost before we had time to hide, and even when released again after identification hardly seemed frightened. They kept exclusively to steep rocky ravines running through pine-forest, and though they selected ravines with bracken, bushes and other undergrowth, they kept quite as much to the open as to the cover. The only note uttered was a rather sweet little " Tuit-tuit" answered by a sharper note. The song, if one may call it so, was only a rapid repetition of this note on an ascending and descending scale. In Garhwal Osmaston found them common between 8,000 and 11,000 ft.

The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.2 1924.
Title in Book: 
551. Ianthia indica indica
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
White Browed Bush Robin
White-browed Bush Robin
Tarsiger indicus
Vol. 2
Term name: 

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