(148) Trochalopterum erythrocephalum erythrocephalum.
THE RED-HEADED LAUGHING-THRUSH.
Cinclosoma erythrocephalum Vigors, P.Z.S., 1831, p. 171 (Himalayas, Chamba). Trochalopterum erythrocephalum. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 89.
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. Forehead, crown and nape chestnut; ear-coverts chestnut, each feather blackish near the tip and edged with white; lores, chin and upper throat black, with a chocolate tinge; cheeks mingled chestnut and black; mantle and sides of neck olive-brown, each feather with a semicircular black mark near the end, lower back plain olive-brown; rump and upper tail-coverts slaty-grey; tail ashy, suffused with golden yellow on the outer webs; wing-coverts olive-brown, the greater broadly tipped with deep ferruginous ; primary-coverts and winglet yellow on the outer webs, ashy on the inner; outer webs of primaries and outer secondaries bright golden yellow inner secondaries and tips of outer ashy-blue ; the base of the outer webs of the outer secondaries golden red; lower plumage pale fulvous, washed with olivaceous on the sides of the body and under tail-coverts, each feather of the throat and breast with a narrow crescentic black bar near the end and tipped with fulvous white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris grey-brown or yellow-brown; bill black; legs and feet pale yellowish- or fleshy-brown or light "brown.
Measurements. Length about 280 mm.; wing 102 to 105mm.: tail about 120 to 125 mm.; tarsus 37to 38 mm.; culmen about 20 to 22 mm.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Chamba to Nepal. Nidification. This Laughing-Thrush breeds in May and June at heights from 4,000 to 7,000 feet or more, making the usual cup- shaped nests of leaves, bracken, ferns and grass with a thin lining of roots and fine grass. Outwardly the nests measure about 6 inches in diameter by 3 inches in depth, and are placed low down in thick bushes or tangled undergrowth in forests. The eggs, two or three in number, are pale bright Thrush-egg blue-green in colour, dotted and blotched sparsely at the larger-end with dark brownish red. In shape they are rather long ovals and in texture smooth and fine with but little gloss. Fourteen eggs average 29.2 x 21.3 mm.
Habits. This bird, and indeed most of this genus, is much less noisy than those of the genus Garrulax, and though sometimes found in small flocks, is not so invariably gregarious, often wandering about in pairs. They keep up a continuous conversational chatter, interrupted with louder calls, some of which are quite mellow and sweet. They feed almost entirely on the ground itself for in the lower undergrowth in forests, and take to wing only when forced to do so. They are both insectivorous and eat small seeds.