The genus Acanthoptila was instituted by Blyth for a remarkable bird discovered many years previously, characterized by its spinous plumage and long, graduated tail. Sharpe originally placed this genus in his Crateropodinae but Oates, in the Avifauna, removed it to the Sylviidae. It has two phases of coloration, in one of which the lower part of the head becomes partially white. Oates considered the change to be a seasonal one, but there is nothing in the British Museum series to show this and I consider it is the plumage of the older bird. This acquisition of white is found in other Timaliine birds such as Gampsorhymchus and Gypsophila. In its general appearance it is very closet o Babax and Argya. The feathers of the upper plumage and breast have stiff shafts which become very spinous when worn; the bill is nearly as long as the head and gently curved; the nostrils are long,lunar-shaped slits ; the rictal bristles short and weak; the wing rounded and 4th primary longest; tail graduated and much longer than wing, and the tarsus very strong and about one-third the length of wing.
The Fauna Of British India, Including Ceylon And Burma-birds(second Edition)
Baker, EC S (1922–1930) The fauna of British India including Ceylon and Burma. Second edition. vol.1 1922.
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