148. Trochalopteron erythrocephalum

(148) Trochalopteron erythrocephalum erythrocephalum (Vigors).
Trochalopterum erythrocephalum erythrocephalum, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd ed. vol. i, p. 163.
Hume places the Western limit of this bird’s range as the Beas Valley but, as a matter of fact, it is common all along the outer Himalayas from Murree to Nepal, where it breeds at all elevations between 5,000 and 9,500 feet. To the North Ward records it as having been found in Badrawar in Kashmir. It is essentially a bird of the forests. Rattray observed it in “dense forest, generally with much undergrowth and often in broken ground, taking its nest at 6,500 feet above Murree and at 8,000 in similar forest at Mussoorie.” Whymper, at Naini Tal, took nests in “Chenar forests, at about 8,000 ft.” Osmaston obtained a fine series of nests and eggs round Deoban (Chakrata) in Oak and Silver Fir forests between 8,500 and 9,000 feet, whilst Dodsworth and Tones took many nests and eggs in the Simla States, between 6,500 and 7,500 feet in “dense forest” or “never far from dense cover.”
The nests, like those of most Laughing-Thrushes, are sometimes built low down in bushes, and such a nest was taken by Rattray about 4 feet from the ground. More often, however, they build in small trees between 8 and 20 feet from the ground. The tree may be one with thick foliage, such as a holly bush (Jones) or a “densely leaved rhododendron” (Dodsworth), but they seem to have a preference for Oaks, and the great majority of those obtained by Osmaston were in trees of this genus (Quercus semicarpifolia and Q. dilatata) at heights between 6 and 8 feet from the ground. Nests sent to Hume were “composed chiefly of dead leaves bound round into a deep cup with delicate fronds of fems and coarse and fine grass, the cavities being scantily lined with fine grass and moss-roots. It is difficult to convey any idea of the beauty of some of these nests—the deep red-brown of the withered ferns, the black of the grass- and moss-roots, the pale yellow of the broad flaggy grass, and the straw-yellow of some of the finer grass-stems, all blended together into an artistic wreath.”
Osmaston found that in addition to the root or rhizomorph lining, the nests he saw at Chakrata nearly always had oak-leaves incorporated with the other material. Jones also found flakes of bark used in the lining, whilst a certain amount of moss was used in the interior of the nest.
June to the middle of July is the principal breeding season. The earliest date I have recorded is the 2nd of May (Rattray) and the latest (Marshall’s) 17th of August, near Naim Tal.
The full clutch of eggs is two or three, most often the latter. In colour etc. the eggs of all the races of Red-headed Laughing-Thrushes are alike. The ground is a most beautiful soft blue-green, neither very deep nor very pale in tint and varying but little in depth. The markings consist of bold blotches and streaks of deep red-brown to black. In no eggs are they numerous. In most there are a dozen or so at the larger end, very bold and of some size, whilst elsewhere are scattered a few smaller spots and blotches. In some eggs the markings are reduced to a few bold spots of deep brown or black, while one clutch of three taken by Osmaston has no marks at all. In shape they are rather long ovals, compressed towards the smaller end, yet always obtuse.
One hundred eggs average 28.4 x 21.4 mm. : maxima 30.8 x 22.1 mm. ; minima 26.1 x 20.4 and 28.1 x 20.0 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: 
148. Trochalopteron erythrocephalum
Spp Author: 
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
Page No: 
Common name: 
Simla Red Headbd Laughing Thrush
Chestnut-crowned Laughingthrush
Trochalopteron erythrocephalum
Vol. 1

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