488. Tephrodornis pondicerianus.
The Common Wood-Shrike.
Muscicapa pondiceriana, Gmel. Syst. Nat. i, p. 939 (1788). Tephrodornis affinis, Blyth, J. A. S. B. xvi, p. 473 (1847) ; id. Cat. p. 153; Hume, S. F. i, p. 434; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 276. Tephrodornis pondiceriana (Gm.), Blyth, Cat. p. 153; Horsf. 8; M. Cat. i, p. 169 ; Jerd. B. I. i, p. 410; Hume, N. & F. p. 176; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. iii, p. 275 ; Anders. Yunnan, Exped., Aves, p. 646 ; Legge, Birds Ceyl. p. 372; Hume, Cat. no. 265; Oates, B. B. i, p. 254 ; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 147; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 332.
Coloration. The whole upper plumage with the lesser wing-coverts ashy brown, the rump-feathers tipped with white; upper tail-coverts dark brown; a broad supercilium white, tinged with rufous; lores, cheeks, and feathers under the eye dark brown; lower plumage ashy, whiter on the throat and abdomen and darker on the flanks ; under tail-coverts white; wings, with the median and greater coverts, ashy brown, each feather very narrowly edged paler; the two outer pairs of tail-feathers white, the bases brown and with a brown patch near the tip ; the remaining feathers entirely dark brown, the median feathers tinged with ashy.
The nestling is banded with rufous above and slightly mottled with brown below.
Bill dark horn-colour; inside of mouth flesh-colour; eyelids plumbeous ; iris yellowish brown; legs and feet dark plumbeous brown ; claws dark horn-colour.
Length about 6.5; tail 2.7; wing 3.3; tarsus .75; bill from gape .88.
The plumage of this species varies considerably in different parts of its range, especially with reference to the depth of colour and the extent and purity of the white of the supercilium.
Distribution. This species is found over nearly the whole Empire in suitable localities, but does not ascend the Himalayas to any great height. It is also found in Ceylon. It appears to be absent from the whole of Tenasserim, and the Sittoung river is probably its eastern limit in Burma.
Habits, &c. Breeds from February to June according to locality, constructing a very beautiful nest of vegetable fibres and roots thickly coated with cobwebs and bits of bark on a branch of a tree. The eggs, usually three in number, are white marked with various shades of purple and brown and measure about .75 by .61.