227. Timalia pileata bengalensis

(227) Timalia pileata bengalensis Godw.-Aust.
Timalia pileata bengalensis, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 226.
This little Babbler ranges from Kuman, where it has been obtained breeding by Whymper, all along the outer Lower Himalayan Terai and submontane regions to the extreme East of Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra. Whymper found it at about 3,000 feet in the Kuman Terai and I have found it up to 4,000 feet— this is quite exceptional—in the Khasia Hills and commonly up to 2,500 in the N. Cachar Hills. In Assam and Eastern Bengal it is found in suitable localities throughout the Plains. It extends to Arrakan but Venning reports it as “not common” and generally found near the sea.
The Red-capped Babblers may most often be met with in wide open grass-lands in the hills or in the enormous tracts of elephant grass, reeds and sun-grass running along the foot of the Himalayas. They also frequent reed-beds about swamps, whilst Jerdon says they may be found in unfrequented jungles and thickets—this is probably very unusual—or, as Cripps says, “in the patches of cane brushwood jungle found in and around villages.” In their- upland grass haunts I think they prefer those which have dotted about them a certain number of small bushes, for the majority of nests one finds are tucked away in the bases of, or among the roots of, these bushes. Occasionally it places its nests in the grass- covered bunds or banks which divide ricefields or other patches of cultivation from one another, whilst occasionally it may even be built among the scrub and grass at the edge of a village road.
The nests are rather roughly made balls, some 4 by 6 inches in size, constructed as a rule almost entirely of coarse grass-blades, or shreds of grass, lined very scantily with rather finer grass. Occasionally either a few leaves or a few roots, sometimes both, may be worked into the nest with the grass. The entrance is large in proportion to the size of the nest, about two inches in diameter and very carelessly finished off, the ends of the grasses crossing it everywhere. It stands no handling and comes to pieces almost directly it is taken out of its position. The nest is always, I believe, placed quite low down. As I have already said, most of those I have taken personally were built either on the ground under the shelter of a bush or tussock of grass or else were wedged into the roots of bush or grass only a few inches above the ground. They are always well hidden, so that one has almost invariably to push the grass or branches on one side before the nest is seen and, if the position is roughly handled and disturbed, the birds will desert at once, even if the nest itself is not touched.
I think these birds probably breed twice, as in Assam we have found nests with full clutches during the first week in March, yet we found others up to the end of June. Cripps, in Furreedpore, obtained nests in April, but Parker got them near Calcutta on the 14th August.
They lay three to five eggs, of which the ground is a china-white, and they are marked with small blotches of dark umber-brown and a few secondary ones of dark inky grey. As a rule the markings are fairly numerous everywhere, but still more so at the larger end ; in other eggs the blotches are more scanty and then often a little larger. Rarely the blotches are reduced to very small spots or even specks. In some eggs the underlying marks are numerous and give a purply tinge to the egg ; in one or two the larger primary blotches are a rather reddish-brown, and I have one clutch of three in which the markings, but few in number, consist of rather light reddish-brown spots, with secondary ones of pinkish-grey. The texture is hard, fine and close, the surface having a slight or, in a few cases, a high gloss. In shape they are broad blunt ovals, very little compressed towards the smaller end.
Fifty eggs average 19.0 x 14.5 mm. : maxima 19.6 x 15.8 mm. ; minima 17.0 x 13.9 and 18.2 x 13.2 mm.

The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
227. Timalia pileata bengalensis
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Bengal Red Capped Babbler
Timalia pileata bengalensis
Vol. 1
Term name: 

Add new comment

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith