107. Argya malcolmi.
The Large Grey Babbler.
Timalia malcolmi, Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 88. Garrulus albifrons, Gray, in Hardw. III. Ind. Zool. ii, pl. 36, fig. 1 (1834). Malacocercus malcolmi (Sykes), Blyth, Cat. p. 141; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 218; Jerd. B. I. ii, p. 64; id. Ibis, 1872, p. 310; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 180, Argya malcolmi (Sykes), Hume, N. &; E. p. 273; id. Cat. no. 436; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. vii, p. 398 ; Davison, S. F. x, p. 382 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. i, p. 72.
Ghogoi, Hind.; Gangai, Hind, in the N. W. P.; Gongya, Can.; Kokatti, Mahr.; Verri-chinda and Gowa-sida, Tel.; Bhaina, Lucknow.
Coloration. Upper plumage dull brown, the feathers of the mantle with dark centres; forehead bluish grey with fine white shaft-stripes ; lores dusky ; ear-coverts brown with pale shafts; the three outer pairs of tail-feathers white, the fourth pair with the outer web whitish, and the remainder of the tail pale brown; the central tail-feathers cross-rayed ; wings dark brown, the earlier primaries hoary brown on the outer webs, the others edged with the colour of the back ; entire lower plumage, cheeks, and sides of neck fulvescent, the throat and breast darker and washed with glaucous.
Iris bright yellow; upper mandible dark brown ; lower mandible, legs, and feet fleshy, slightly tinged blue (Davison).
Length about 11; tail 5.5; wing 4.6 ; tarsus 1.2; bill from gape 1.
Distribution. A great portion of the peninsula of India. In the north-west this Babbler appears to be rather rare. I have seen specimens collected at Umballa in the Punjab and Sehwan in Bind. At Sambhar and Abu it commences to be common, as also at Delhi. Its extension to the east is not well indicated by the specimens I have been able to examine, but it appears to be common at Allahabad and it is probably found some distance further east. Southwards it is spread over the whole peninsula as far at least as Mysore and the Nilgiris. It, however, seems to be absent from certain tracts of country, its distribution being, as Jerdon remarks, peculiar.
Habits, &c. In the south of India this bird appears to be confined to the jungle, but in the north it is found chiefly in fields and gardens. It is a noisy chattering bird, associating in small flocks and taking refuge in trees when disturbed. It breeds pretty well throughout the year, constructing its nest in low branches of trees and shrubs and laying four eggs, which measure .99 by .77.