(570) Turdus merula albocinctus.
The White-collared Blacebibd.
Turdus albocinctus Royle, Ill. Him. Bot. p. lxxvii (1839) (Hima¬layas). Merula albicincta. Blanf. & Oates, ii, p. 127.
Vernacular names. Kundoo Kastura (Hind.).
Description.— Adult male. Neck and upper back, centre of chin and throat white; remainder of plumage deep chocolate-brown,, glossed with black; under tail-coverts with white central streaks.
Colours of soft parts. Iris dark brown ; bill bright yellow, more or less dusky at tip ; legs and feet yellow to buffy yellow.
Measurements. Total length about 275 mm.; wing 142 to 151 mm.; tail 101 to 109 mm.; tarsus 35 mm.; culmen 23 mm.
Female. A collar as in the male, but ashy white instead of pure white; dark parts In the male replaced with rufous-brown, dark above and paler below, the feathers ot these parts often fringed with still paler fulvous.
Colours of soft parts as in the male.
Measurements. Wing 131 to 143 mm.; tail 100 to 104 mm.; tarsus 35 mm.; culmen 22 mm.
Nestling. Very dark brown, the feathers of the head and mantle, back and upper tail-coverts streaked with rufous: below rich fulvous-rufous barred with blackish.
Distribution. The Himalayas from Eastern Kashmir, Simla States, Garhwal, through to Nepal, Sikkim and Assam and South to Manipur. It occurs in Winter in Cachar, Naga Hills and Khasia Hills, but is not resident there or in Manipur.
Nidification. They breed during May and June from 7,000 feet upwards, making a massive nest of moss, roots and leaves, apparent sometimes, but not always, mixed with mud and lined with grass and roots. It is generally placed on a high bush or sapling in forests but occasionally in among the roots of a fallen tree or on a steep bank. The eggs number three or four and approach nearer the "Blackbird type of egg than do those of the Southern birds, though they are more richly and boldly blotched with various shades of reddish and reddish brown. The average of twenty-five eggs is 30.9 x 21.1 mm., and the extremes are: maxima 32.6 x 22.1 mm.; minima 29.3 x 20.9 and 32.2 x 20.0 mm.
Habits. Although the White-collared Blackbird breeds at very high elevations, certainly sometimes up to 12,000 feet, in Winter it descends to the foot-hills and even into the adjacent plains. Mr. S. L. Whymper obtained it in the foot-hills of the Garhwal Ranges and Mr. H. Stevens found it in the plains below the Dana Hills. Coltart got it at Margherita practically in the plains but in the Cachar, Naga Hills, Khasia and Manipur ranges it seldom descends below 3,000 feet. It feeds a great deal on high trees and is a bold, fearless bird in its Habits.