(194) Argya gularis.
THE WHITE-THROATED BABBLER.
Chatarrhaea gularis, Blyth, J. A. S. B., xxiv, p. 478 (1855) (E. side of Bay of Bengal). Argya gularis. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 107.
Vernacular names. Zay-we (Burmese).
Description. Forehead and short line to the eye grey with black streaks; crown to back and scapulars ruddy brown, with dark shaft-stripes ; rump and upper tail-coverts olive-brown, the latter with faint stripes; tail olive-brown, cross-rayed; exposed parts of wing olive-brown, some of the greater coverts indistinctly dark-shafted; ear-coverts and sides of the neck ruddy brown; lores black; chin, throat, cheeks and upper breast white; remainder of lower plumage ferruginous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris yellow or reddish brown ; legs and feet dark yellow; bill pale yellow-horny, culmen and tip dark horny-brown.
Measurements. Length about 260 mm.; wing 78 to 83 mm.; tail about 140 mm.; tarsus about 35 mm.; culmen about 19 to 20 mm.
Distribution. The dry zone of Central, North and South Burma.
Nidification. That of the rest of the genus. The full clutch seems to be four though often only three eggs are laid. Mr. Mackenzie gives me the measurements of 60 eggs as follows:— average 22.6 x 17.1 mm.: maxima 24.7 x 17.2 and 23.5 x 18.2 mm.; minima 20.6 x 17.0 and 22.0 x 16.0 mm. The breeding season is from early April to late May.
Habits. "The Zay-we is one of the most familiar birds of Mandalay and the dry zone generally, haunting both compounds and jungle, and goes by the names of the 'seven sisters' or 'rat-birds.' There is no mistaking them with their untidy dress, dirty white shirt fronts and long, ragged tails. They cannot be exactly called 'Laughing-Thrushes' as they seem never happy, but always complaining with their harsh, grating voices. They go about together in parties, and generally seem very busy as they hop about with tails held at different angles, hunting and turning over the fallen leaves. When they have to fly, which they always seem loth to do, they go in for a regular rocketing flight, with their small, round wings extended and their tails spread out in fans." (H. H. Harington.)