(227) Timalia pileata bengalensis.
THE BENGAL- RED-CAPPED BABBLER.
Timalia bengalensis, Godw.-Aust., J. A. S.B., xii, 2, p. 143 (1872) (Khasia Hills).
Timelia pileata. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 132.
Vernacular names. Dao-maogasha gashim (Cachari); Ingeto (Kacha Naga) ; Vongnavi (Mikir).
Description. Forehead and short supercilium white; crown deep rufous ; ear-coverts white in front and ashy behind ; upper plumage and exposed part of wings olive-brown tinged with fulvous, the mantle suffused with ashy and with blackish shafts; tail brown, strongly cross-rayed; cheeks, chin and throat white; breast white with black shaft-lines; sides of neck deep grey, running on to sides of breast; remainder of lower parts fulvous or dull buff.
Colours of soft parts. Iris deep, bright red ; eyelids blue-grey; legs dark blackish or purplish brown, claws horn-colour; bill black.
Measurements. Total length about 170 to 180 mm.; wing 55 to 64 mm.; tail about 30 mm.; culmen about 15 mm.
Distribution. Lower hills and sub-montane tracts from Nepal to Eastern Assam.
Nidification. These little Babblers breed from April to July, probably often having two broods. They build either on the ground, or very close to it, in grass-land, cane-jungle and in low scrub and mixed jungle. The nest is domed and measures about 7"x 4" with an entrance near the top about 2" in diameter; it is composed of bamboo leaves or grass, according to whichever is the most easily obtained and is lined with grass or, occasionally, a few fine roots. The eggs, which number either three or four, rarely five, in a clutch, are broad, obtuse ovals in shape and with stout, glossy texture. The ground-colour is generally a pure china white, rarely pinkish, and they are densely covered all over with spots and blotches of umber and reddish brown. Forty eggs average 18.3 x 13.2 mm.
Habits. The Red-capped Babbler frequents plains and low hills of grass, reeds or bush-jungle, rarely, if ever, entering forest-laud. It goes about in pairs, creeping about the lower cover and every now and then taking little flutters to the top branches or longest grasses, and then dropping down again after uttering a few sweet notes. They call constantly to one another but are not noisy birds. They are found from the plains up to about 3,000 feet, but more often below 1,000 feet than over.