(458) Trogolodytes troglodytes nipalensis.
The Nepal Wren.
Troglodytes nipalensis Hodgs., Blyth, J, A. S. B., xiv, p. 589 (1845) (Nepal). Anorthura nipalensis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 337.
Vernacular names. Marchek-pho (Lepcha).
Description. Upper plumage dark rufous-brown, the lower back, wings and tail closely barred with black; sides of the head, lores and an indistinct supercilium brown with tiny rufous-ashy spots; lower plumage rufous-brown, almost immaculate on the chin, throat and upper breast in old birds, elsewhere closely barred with black, often with some albescent on the belly and with some white spots on the under tail-coverts.
Some birds have a few small white spots on the lesser and median wing-coverts, a feature found occasionally in all the races of this species. In the same way the barring on the sides of the throat and neck varies very much in extent.
Colours of soft parts. Iris hazel; bill dark brown, fleshy at the base; legs fleshy-brown to horny-brown.
Measurements. Total length about 95 mm.; wing 48 to 53 mm.; tail 27 to 30 mm.; tarsus 19 to 20 mm.; culmen 11 to 12 mm.
Distribution. Sikkim and Nepal to Bhutan. Specimens from Garhwal appear to be of this race, whilst those from Simla are nearer to neglectus. . Specimens collected by Whymper are undoubtedly nipalensis but Osmaston records two specimens of neglectus taken by him in the Northern parts of Garhwal. Very possibly Garhwal forms the connecting area between the two subspecies.
Nidification. The only collector who has seen the nest and eggs of this Wren is Mr. S. L. Whymper, who describes them as follows:—''Two nests were found with eggs and three with young birds, all in crevices in birch-trees, from 20 to 30 feet up, a decidedly different situation to all the nests of the Kashmir Wren I have seen "or heard of. The nests were large and domed, made of moss, grass 'and leaves, and very thickly lined with feathers. The eggs were white with a few red specks." An egg subsequently sent me by Mr. Whymper measures 16.6 x 12.6 mm. and is not distinguishable from those of T. t. neglectus. It was taken on the 29th of June.
Habits. There is not much on record about this Wren but the habits are not likely to differ from those of neglectus. Whymper found it in Tehri-Grarhwal between 11,000 and 13,000 feet. In Sikkim, Blanford found it hunting over loose, moss-covered stones, constantly entering the crevices between the blocks and emerging again at a considerable distance. He usually saw the birds in small families, three or four together, hunting on the ground and low bushes and with the same predilection for exploring hollows under stones.