(161) Trochalopterum affine affine.
THE BLACK-FACED LAUGHING-THRUSH.
Garrulax affinis (Hodgs.), Blyth, J. A. S. B.; xii, p. 950 (1843) (Nepal). Trochalopterum affine. Blanf & Oates, i, p. 94.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, crown and nape dark brown tinged with rufous, paler on the forehead; lores and sides of head black: cheeks and a large patch behind the ear-coverts white, extending to,and becoming pale rufous on, the sides of the neck; hind neck rufous-brown blending with the darker brown of the head ; back and scapulars rufous-brown, each rather broadly terminated with pale grey ; rump olive-brown ; upper tail-coverts ferruginous; tail slaty-blue, three-quarters of the central feathers and the outer webs of the others overlaid with bright golden yellow; wing-coverts rufous; primary-coverts black; winglet and inner secondaries slaty-blue : outer webs of outer secondaries and primaries bright golden yellow, slaty-blue at tips and bases; chin black, throat rufous-brown; breast paler and each feather edged with grey; remainder of lower plumage rufous-brown.
Colours of soft parts. Bill black; feet reddish brown; iris from olive-grey (Blanfl) to brown (Jerdon).
Measurements. Length about 250 to 260 mm.; wing 102 to 115 mm.; tail about 125 mm.; culmen about 21 to 22 mm.; tarsus about 40 mm.
Distribution. Eastern Nepal to Bhutan.
Nidification. Osmaston took nests in May and June in Sikkim .at altitudes between 9,000 and 10,000 feet. "The nests were rather massive but neat cups, about 8 inches in external diameter and were composed of moss, thin twigs and dried grass stems, lined copiously with black rhizomorph of a fungus mixed with some birch-bark 'paper'." The nests were placed in rhododendron and viburnum bushes, 5 to 8 feet from the ground. The eggs generally number two only, but three were in one nest taken by Mr. W. P. Masson. In ground-colour they are" Thrush-egg blue with a few spots and blotches of purplish black at the larger end. Twelve eggs average 28.5 x 21.2 mm.
Habits. This is a common bird in Sikkim between 8,000 and 13,000 feet, haunting both rhododendron, fir and mixed forest right up to the snow-line. It is apparently generally found in pairs and not in flocks, but otherwise its habits resemble those of the genus.
Key to Subspecies.
A. Outer webs of primaries and part of tail
yellow T. v. variegatum, p. 173.
B. Outer webs of primaries and part of tail
slaty-blue T. v. simile, p. 174.