(195) Argya malcolmi.
THE LARGE GREY BABBLER.
Timalia malcolmi Sykes, P. Z. S., 1832, p. 88 (Dukhun). Argya malcolmi. Blanf. & Oates, i, p. 108.
Vernacular names. Ghogoi (Hind.); Gangai (Hind, in N. W. P.); Gongya (Can.); Kokatti (Mahr.); Verri-chinda and Gowa-sida (Tel.); Bhaina (Lucknow).
Description. Upper plumage dull brown, the feathers of the mantle with dark centres; forehead bluish grey with fine white shaft-streaks; lores dusky; ear-coverts brown with pale shafts; the three outer pairs of tail-feathers white, the fourth pair with the outer webs whitish, the others pale brown, the central one cross-rayed; wings dark brown, the earlier primaries horny-brown on the outer webs, the others edged with the colours of the back; entire lower plumage, cheeks and sides of neck fulvescent, the throat and breast darker and washed with glaucous.
Colours of soft parts. Iris bright yellow; upper mandible dark brown; lower mandible, legs and feet fleshy or fleshy-yellow, sometimes tinged with bluish.
Measurements. Length about 2S0 mm.; wing about 112 to 119 mm.; tail about 135 to 145 mm.; tarsus about 30 mm.; culmen about 19 mm.
Distribution. The greater portion of the peninsula of India, South to the Nilgiris and Mysore, common in Central West India and rare in the North- West. To the East it is found as far as Allahabad, and further South I have had specimens sent me from Surguja.
Nidification. These birds breed more or less throughout the year, but possibly more regularly in the early rains. The nest cannot be distinguished from that of Turdoides terricolor and may be placed in a bush, cactus hedge or mango-tree, often at con¬siderable heights from the ground. The eggs are usually four in number, of the usual shape, colour and texture and one hundred average 25.2 x 19.4 mm.
Habits. Like the Common Babbler this bird frequents both the wilder and more jungly tracts, where it is a wild, shy bird, and the vicinity of towns, villages and houses, where it is as tame and confiding as it is possible to be. It is very gregarious, keeping in parties even during the breeding season and whatever is the business of one bird is the interest of the whole party. If one member is attacked by hawk, snake or other enemy the rest of the flock combine to attack and not infrequently will succeed in driving it off. It is very noisy and very excitable like the Jungle-Babbler and, like that bird, active on its legs, feeble on its wings. They eat both insects, seeds and fruit but principally the first.