(550) Ianthia cyanura pallidiora, subsp. nov.
The Kashmir Red-planked Bush-Robin.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description.— Adult male. Similar to I. r. rufilata, but not quite so deep in colour above, and the rump often more a turquoise-blue.
Colours of soft parts and Measurements as in the Nepal Ianthia.
Females are very much paler than are birds from Nepal eastwards; above they are more olive-brown than rufous-brown, and below a trifle paler; the difference in the upper plumage is strikingly obvious.
Type-locality: Simla-Type No. 184.108.40.2064, British Museum, Simla.
Distribution. From the extreme North-West of India, Afghanistan, Baluchistan—at all events, on the Indian Frontier—to Simla and Garhwal.
Nidification. The Kashmir Red-flanked Bush-Robin breeds from the middle of May to the end of June between S,000 and 14,000 feet. The nest is made of grass and dead leaves, sometimes mixed with a few roots, and is lined with fine soft grass or, more rarely, with hair. It is cup-shaped, generally very roughly and loosely put together and is placed in a hole in a bank, in among the roots of some forest-tree, or in a hole low down in some dead stump.
The eggs number three or four, though once Capt. R. E. Skinner took seven eggs from one nest. These are, however, evidently the product of two birds. In colour they are either spotless white or with a few specks and spots of pale reddish brown at the larger end. The shell is fragile and the texture rather soft. Twenty-five eggs average 18.0 x 18.6 mm., and the extremes are 18.4 x 14.1 mm.; 16.6 x 14.0 and 17.4 x13.0 mm.
According to Davidson the nests are nearly always built in woods which are on the steepest of hill-sides. This Ianthia constantly breeds in immature plumage, and it is possible the majority of males do not acquire their full dress until the end of the second year.
Habits. Although this Bush-Robin, like others of the genus, frequents woods and rough county, they are not shy birds either during the breeding-season or at other times. They may be found either on the ground or on undergrowth and low trees. Like all the Robins they have a habit of nicking up their tails every now and then as they move about, often expanding it at the same time.