82. Trochalopterum erythrocephalum.
The Red-headed Laughing-Thrush.
Cinclosoma erythrocephalum, Vigors, P. Z. S. 1831, p. 171; Gould, Cent. pl. 17. Garrulax erythrocephalus ( Vig.), Blyth, Cat. p. 97. Pterocyclus erythrocephalus ( Vig.), Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 206. Trochalopteron erythrocephalum (Vig.), Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 43; Stoliczka, J. A. S. B. xxxvii, pt. ii, p. 37 ; Hume, N. & E. p. 258; id. Cat. no. 415: Scully, S. F. viii, p. 290; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 300; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 55.
Coloration. 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 series broadly tipped with deep ferruginous; primary-coverts and winglet yellow on the outer webs, ashy on the inner; outer webs of the primaries and secondaries bright golden yellow; tertiaries and tips of the secondaries ashy blue; the base of the outer webs of the 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.
The young are at first without the black marks on the throat, breast, and back, but they soon acquire them.
The only variation this bird exhibits is in the colour of the ear-coverts ; Nepal birds have a great deal of black on the ear-coverts, and the black diminishes in quantity as we proceed towards the north-west, till on arrival at Chamba the ear-coverts are almost entirely chestnut.
Legs and feet pale brown ; iris pale yellowish brown; bill black (Hume) ; iris greyish brown (Scully).
Length nearly 11; tail 4.8; wing 4.2; tarsus 1.5; bill from gape 1.1.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Chamba to Nepal, up to about 7000 feet.
Habits, &c. Scully remarks that this species moves about very rapidly and noiselessly amongst bushes, and its note is subdued and not unmusical.
It breeds from May to July, constructing a nest of dead leaves bound together with ferns and grass in a low tree or bush, and laving from two to four eggs, which are blue marked with brownish red and measure 1-2 by -82.