197. Argya longirostris

(197) Argya longirostris (Hodgs.).
The Slender-billed BABBLER.
Argya longirostris, Fauna B. I., Birds, 2nd od. vol. i, p. 202.
I found this Babbler breeding in small numbers on the grass plateau land in the Khasia Hills between 3,000 and 4,000 feet ; with this exception no one seems to have taken its nest.
It occurs, and is doubtless a resident breeder, from the lower hills of the Nepal Terai, Bhutan and Buxa Duars, into Assam both North and South of the Brahmapootra.
The nests taken by myself or by my collectors, in the latter cases the parent birds being shot off the nest, are all alike and were placed in exactly the same kind of position—small, scrubby bushes growing in a sea of grass about four feet high. A single nest taken by myself in Panitola, in the Lakhimpur district of Assam, was in a Tea-bush, growing in deserted Tea cultivation overrun with grass and weeds and adjoining extensive grass-lands.
The nests, for Babblers, were quite neat and well put together. In shape they were deep cups, the measurements of one being internally about 3.5 x 2.4 inches and externally about 4.2 inches deep by 3.2 across the top. The materials consist of leaves, scraps of grass-blades, stems of plants and a few soft elastic twigs, the whole being bound together with fibres, roots of ferns and two or three long pliant weed-stems, with a lining of fine dark grass- stems and a few fern-roots. In some nests the strips of grass-blades formed three-quarters of the whole nest ; in others the grass was less in proportion. The eggs number three to five and are just like the eggs of Argya caudata, but I have one clutch and a single egg which are very pale blue, exactly the same in tint as the pale eggs described of Argya subrufa taken by Bourdillon.
Twenty eggs average 21.5 x 16.7 mm. : maxima 23.0 x 18.3 mm. ; minima 19.8 x 16.0 and 21.1 x 15.2 mm.
All my nests with eggs were taken in May and June.
The birds sat close, only leaving the nest when I was within a few feet of it and, after leaving it, they slunk quietly into the grass and were not nearly so noisy or demonstrative as are most Babblers of this genus. They do not seem to be gregarious in the breeding season.

BookTitle: 
The Nidification Of Birds Of The Indian Empire
Reference: 
Baker, Edward Charles Stuart. The nidification of birds of the Indian Empire. Vol. 1. 1932.
Title in Book: 
197. Argya longirostris
Spp Author: 
Hodgs.
Book Author: 
Edward Charles Stuart Baker
CatNo: 
197
Year: 
1932
Page No: 
164
Common name: 
Slender Billed Babbler
M_ID: 
24702
M_CN: 
Slender-billed Babbler
M_SN: 
Turdoides longirostris
Volume: 
Vol. 1
id: 
13402

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Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith